Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wednesday 26th April and Thursday - Germany a little ahead of schedule.

Yesterday (Wednesday) we cycled as planned from Leeuwarden to Groningen. We set off quite late and got there around 6:30, at which point we thoroughly failed to find any accommodation despite spending threee hours trying. No one was in at the B&B we found and all the hotels were fully booked as there is a big conference going on this week. This is why it is a good idea to book accommodation in advance, but because we never know how far we are going to get in a day we aren't in a position to do so.

So we were in the city centre checking the last few hotels when it became apparent that we would be bedless for the night, and so we switched to plan B. We had some dinner at a mexican restaurant where we were served outside dispite the cold because it meant we could stay with the bikes, and it also meant we got some mexican food. This time we had everything with us so I have finally managed to turn up to an appropriate restaurant with the extra super duper hot sauce I have been carrying around. Travelling light requires taking nothing but the essentials, hot sauce is essential. Since we weren't spending a fortune on a hotel we splashed out a bit and had starters and a post meal warm drink. This helped to keep us warm and chirpy and also dragged out the meal which was good because of the long night ahead of us.

After dinner we set out cycling again, with the aim of cycling all night and (hopefully) arriving somewhere with some hotels in the morning. We have done an all night ride before, there is an organised annual event from London to Dunwich, so we knew what to do - stay warm and keep moving at a slow steady pace. This all nighter was a far better experience than the last. They were both comfortable, I did the last one on my other recumbent, but this time I didn't suffer from a sweaty back thanks to the mesh seat rather than the non-breathable hard shell seat on the two wheeler. They also both hurt, despite the lack of hills this time there was still the fact that all the riding over the last few weeks has taken its toll. I think it is recommended to rest for several days before any big event. I was glad for the extra wheel, it is just that much less mental effort to cycle when you don't have to balance and that matters when you are getting tired fast. I was also once again glad that I was recommended the narrow version of the trike as we ended up on some quite small cycle paths with water to either side - they were only just wide enough for me.

The roads were lovely and quiet at night, and we were lucky that there wasn't too much brick surface to suffer at all. Most of the roads were fairly direct so the navigation wasn't much problem. At about 3:30 we crossed the border into Germany and carried on as far as we had maps for - which was into Leer. We got some breakfast from a bakery at about 8:00 and then went to the tourist information office when it opened at 9:00. They found as a room at a local B&B just out of town for 36 euro, and they were happy for us to check in so early. Since then I have had a snooze, washed, and am just about ready for an evening out - it has come to my attention that I am missing a meal. Hel wanted to go the bike shop and look at waterproofs so she left an hour ago which has given me some time to write this.

As far as plan Bs go, this isn't such a bad one, we have arrived where we wanted to get to 9 hours early and spent much less money doing so. I am hoping the pain in my knees subsides before tommorow, 106 miles takes some recovering from.

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