On a friendly recommendation we headed for the very pretty town of Koblenz. Situated where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet, Koblenz is full of historic fortresses, palaces, romantic narrow lanes and inviting town squares.
Cologne sent us off on a beautiful sunny stunner of a day. Waving goodbye to Margreet and Bernd we set off on our loaded bikes to follow the Rhine.
Checking out Google, we discovered that Cologne’s best pub Lommerzheim, serving the local brew Kölsch, was right behind our hotel. From the moment we arrived we were welcomed with open arms. A man next to us at the bar noticed we were strangers and introduced us to the barman. The barman then pushed us through the crowd and plonked us onto a table which was already occupied by Margreet and Bernd. We became instant friends as like me they loved beers, fast cars and not working.
Off to Cologne! On a suggestion from a passerby we made a little detour to the old medieval fortress town of Zons.
We made it to Germany! There wasn’t a border or pass but the street signs and architecture changed almost immediately. The bike paths changed too with a little more off roading.
50km away was our next stop Venlo and we were on a pretty good run when we came across a windmill. But it wasn’t the windmill that stopped us, it was the albino emu.
With storms chasing us across the map, we decided to try and outrace the weather, stopping only for one night in the smaller towns. We wanted to join up with EuroVelo 4 or 6, crossing into Germany and following the Rhine. It was the first time the bike paths turned to dirt, winding through forests, horse trails and fields.
Starting at 7am as it was going to be a big day of riding we loaded up the bikes in the chilly rain. We were heading for Breda the next big town on the map and it was going to be our longest kms yet: 66km. We should have added another number 6 to that as every km totally sucked. The bike paths followed farming paddocks and field lines and the wind and rain came howling straight across them with no shelter or protection. For 6 hours (yup another 6) battling headwinds and crosswinds the bikes were reduced to a crawl with every rotation of the pedal a huge exhausting effort. The hours crawled by and we could do nothing but put our heads down and get through, soaked to the bone and freezing.
The Cube Houses: The Overblaak Development was designed by Piet Blom. Each cube, tilted on a 45° degree angle, was built to resemble a tree and together they represent a forest.
We took a quick weekend camping trip to test out the bikes with the gear. It was to be a easy ride using mostly bike paths from Wolli Creek to Sutherland (approx. 20km). From there we would take the train to Kiama, and then a small local train to Berry. Camping at the Berry Showgrounds for the night we would then ride out for a day trip to Seven Mile Beach (approx. 12km). Despite getting prepared the night before it still took quite a while to get going. Unusual scraping noises had to be investigated, panniers to be rearranged, and finding bike paths took a bit of time. Also getting used to how heavy the bikes were with all the gear, there were a couple of little hills near Sutherland that I was pushing the bike up!