CURRENT LOCATION: Cologne HBF
It’s now day 61 and it’s turning out to be a ‘fun’ morning. I’m booked onto a train to Xanten from Cologne but in chaotic scenes very reminiscent of taking a train in the UK, there is some confusion regarding the train that arrived on platform 4 a few minutes ago, wouldn’t let passengers on and then scarpered. I need to change at Duisburg… I’m forcing myself into ‘zen’ mode. It might have been easier to keep cycling and take the train from a quieter station. The plan was to arrive in Xanten – famed for its Roman ruins I Iearnt last night – then cycle over the border into The Netherlands. Come back later today to find out if that ever happens or whether I’m still here in Germany. Or indeed Cologne…
Yesterday? It was a damp start – one of only three from memory on this entire two-month trip so I can’t really complain – with the gentle sound of rain on the tent in the ‘wild camping’ area of the campsite. This ‘wild camping’ area was just an excuse for not maintaining a large area of the site but still get people to pay for the ‘experience’. It was difficult to imagine you were in the wilds as, throughout the night were the sounds of goods trains trundling north and south on either side of the Rhine and large barges doing the same on the river itself made long periods of sleep somewhat challenging in the tent. [Train update: platform 4 has become alarmingly quiet and I’m wondering if there has been a platform change…]
The cycling never reached the visual heights of day 59 but it was a good, long day on the bike nevertheless. Koblenz was first on the list. The Deutsch Eck (the ‘German Corner’) is the central point of Koblenz and marks the point where the Mosel branches off the Rhine in the direction of France but the entire area was fenced off for an ‘event’. A concert of some sorts by the looks of things. I cycled on, and on, and on…
One of the interesting things about cycle touring is that you tend to see everything – warts and all – of a particular area. There was a lot of this yesterday; run-down towns that few people visit from the cruise ships, factories, abandoned hotels. A very different side to the Rhine, intermingled with the more famous honeypot towns such as Linz and Remangen. Later in the afternoon, affluent Bonn was my final destination before I branched away from the river in the direction of my friend Janina’s house in the Cologne suburb of Hürth. A nice evening with her husband and two young children was had.
So three more cycling days to go? Will I ever get to Rotterdam in time for my ferry on Saturday evening? Will I ever leave Cologne station? Stay tuned… [Platform 4 is getting busy again…]
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