5/8/17. The last few days have been trying for us. Christine has completely lost all enthusiasm for cycling at the moment and, as a result, is finding any time on the bike a chore. This, of course, is meaning that Stephen is not enjoying things either (although he has not lost his enthusiasm!)
It started on our first day back in Germany. When we left the municipal campsite near Seltz the weather was quite cloudy but it looked as though it was going to get better. By the time we crossed the border after about 20 km the sun was blazing down and the temperature was climbing into the low 30”s. Christine does not function well in these sort of temperatures, particularly if she is exerting herself physically, and she started to wilt. To make matters worse there was a dearth of campsites on this stretch of the river and it was after 92k and nearly 7 o’clock when we rolled into the campsite in Speyer at the second attempt. The first place we had tried turned out to be a private place for permanent mobile homes.
En route Christine felt her rear tyre go flat for the second time in recent days (the first one was when we were border hopping between Germany and Switzerland). Again it was not because something sharp penetrated the tyre – this time it was an old repair patch whereas the previous time was a split along the seam/join of the inner tube. Remarkably these were the first flats either of us had experienced since we were riding through Holland along the North Sea coast last August in which time we have ridden between 13 and 14,000 km combined. That is one heck of a testament to the puncture resistance of Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour tyres!
The campsite had a certain charm but was expensive for what it was – €22, the toilets and showers were in two containers (with the Ladies even having urinals!) and the only place to wash up was using a stand pipe. It was a real disappointment after the three sites we had stayed at in France which were much more reasonable at €12 or 13 and with better facilities (although it must be said their Ladies did not have the urinals!)
The campsite did not improve Christine’s demeanour and nor did the heavy rain and thunder during the night. By the time morning came the last thing she wanted to do was get back on the bike. On the other hand staying at the expensive campsite was not an attractive proposition either so, being a real trooper, she just “got on with it”.
By 12 o’clock we had covered 25 km and were on the edge of Ludwigshafen, a largish city across the river from Mannheim. With Christine’s funk continuing or worsening, we decided to find a hotel, there being no campsites in the vicinity. The nearest one looked rather nice but a bit pricey. Stephen decided to give it a go but was put off by the price which started at €100 but which came down by 20% when he pulled a face. However, the lady caught sight of a baleful looking Christine outside and made a final offer of €60 which we gratefully accepted!
While Christine applied her stock remedy for all ailments, namely bed and a couple of hours sleep, Stephen took himself off to Mannheim by bike – just to see what there was too see. Not much was the answer but that view was coloured by him getting hopelessly confused by the one way system and the aggravating cycle route signs which only showed Mannheim Centre on about one sign in two. He will not be rushing back!
After a good breakfast (included in the price) Christine felt a little better so we set off for Worms with the idea that she could have a look round the city which, as you may well know, is very significant in the development of the Protestant faith (Martin Luther, the Diet of Worms and all that). Just as we approached the city, we found the canoe club campsite and got ourselves set up there.
Christine walked into town where she looked round the (surprisingly) Catholic cathedral and saw the monument to Luther before indulging in an ice cream from a cafe offering 80 different flavours. Stephen followed later by bike meeting with her briefly before turning to camp as his knee still gives him some “gyp” if he walks any distance.