Click here to see the detailed statistics of today’s cycle.
Let’s start with the positive:
I’ve arrived in Münster, the sun is shining sporadically and, on the whole, the physical cycling conditions today were good. For most of the time I was able to travel along dedicated cycle paths rather than converted pavements and they were of good quality, or along the side of the canal that more or less connected my departure and arrival points. The two towns in which I paused were smart little places, especially the first – Olfen – where I had not one, not two but three conversations with locals; the first about the weather with the woman serving me in a café, the second with the guy who photo-bombed the picture of the town square below who told me of his own cycles around Germany, and the third with a guy next to the inner tube vending machine who said he had met an Italian recently who was running to Nordkapp! That put me in my place. (Perhaps I should ditch the bike.) My picture of the inner tube vending machine incidentally has been the most retweeted tweet that I have so far tweeted (too many tweets there) since I sent my first tweet [stop!] of the journey back in Tarifa on April 9th. 41 retweets [I give up] and counting…
If you’d like to follow me on Twitter by the way, here is the link. #TTNK refers to ‘Tarifa to Nordkapp’.
Münster seems a nice enough place (despite its tendency to, alas, get you to cycle of the pavement and the preponderance of cobbles) which is twinned with York in the UK. This is turning into a tour of towns of Germany that are twinned with places to which I have a strong connection; Aachen and Halifax (my birthplace), Düsseldorf and Reading (where I have lived for the past 15 years) and now Münster and York (where I studied for my degree). Of the three I would say that Münster and York are the most well-matched. Or put another way, when the people of Münster visit their twin town in the UK they would be pleasantly surprised. That said, there’s the Piece Hall in Halifax and in Reading there’s, err… The Oracle? I’ll move on…
“Can I ask you something Andrew?”
“Yes, of course. Who are you by the way?”
“I’m the annoying square bracket conscience of this website.”
“Ah yes… Go on. Get on with it.”
“You said ‘let’s start with the positive’. So, what’s the negative?”
The weather has been bloody awful. At times dreadful. Occasionally worse than that. I kept stopping to add extra items of clothing or layers to the point at which I probably now have more clothing on my body than in my panniers. I even had to rebalance the back panniers at one point as the back right hand one had become significantly lighter than the one on the left. I’ve had cold so far on the trip, I’ve had wind and I’ve had rain. Occasionally I’ve had cold and wind, cold and rain or wind and rain. Today was the first time I’ve experienced cold, wind and rain all at the same point. Not nice. I’m beginning to get the feeling again that I had in northern Spain / southern France that I’m cycling north more quickly than the season is progressing. We are just two days away from June. Is this normal? I was told that it isn’t by the lady in the café earlier. She did add that it should get better – 30°! – by the end of next week, but I’m also told on Twitter (so it must be true) that more bad weather is to come for northern Germany. If I had the courage to do so I’d go online and check myself. As it is, I think my right pannier bag might be quite light for a few more days to come…
Tonight it’s another WarmShowers night. I’m staying with Dirk who lives just south of the centre of Münster. Or rather, I’m staying in ‘a garden house in a large garden’. Intriguing. Perhaps there is no word in German for ‘shed’. Let’s hope it’s waterproof…
Love the inner tube vending machine. Would be even greater if they also sold pumps.