Daily Archives: July 7, 2017

Day 27: Wesel, Germany to Arnhem, Netherlands

89 km and basically flat.

Had to put on riding shoes that were still damp, but everything else is dry and hopefully will stay that way. The forecast has 4% chance of rain 👍.

Today riding was mostly on levees on bike paths. We went through a town called Rees where there were concrete statues of town people so had to stop and take a photo.

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Rees township

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Riverside path in Rees

Then back on the bike paths. Some bike paths are shared with walkers and some are just for bikes. This changes frequently and occasionally you are not sure which is the correct path for bikes. So a couple of times we accidentally went on the wrong path, and within a minute or two a German striding along – often with walking sticks – would politely or extremely rudely wave sticks around to direct us to the correct path.

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Countryside after Rees

There were lots of people walking dogs, and they were frequently off the the lead but when there were riders approaching they were all called to heel and sit, waiting for them to go past. Well almost all of them, a couple were joyfully ignoring any commands from their owners.

There are lots of dogs here, they are allowed on trains, buses, in restaurants and hotels.

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Bike paths, good riding, with climbing today of only 48 metres!

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Loaded coal ship passing Emmerich am Rhein

We crossed the border into the Netherlands at 49 km. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, riding on levees lots of other cyclists, walkers and dogs. Lots of canals appearing, and the pasture was very green.

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Border crossing

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Crossing the border from Germany into the Netherlands

There were quite a lot of sheep grazing along the river banks. Different from our sheep in NZ, there was one that had black spots, and quite a few black sheep.

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Black and white sheep

We got to the Hotel at 2pm, and quickly got changed and went by taxi with John W and John H to Kroller Muller museum and Sculptor park, 40 km away. When the taxi arrived I thought “this cant be for us” as it was a gleaming new Mercedes S something series, with sunroofs and leather seats. The driver (also called John) was immaculately dressed – this is nothing like the Wellington cabs. John agreed to also pick us back up at 430pm so we would be back at the hotel in time for the riders meeting.

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Driver John

The Kroller Muller museum has the second largest collection of Van Gogh in the world – 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Plus works by Monet and Picasso and many other artists. There are 25 hectares of sculpture gardens, plus a surrounding 5,500 hectares of forests, grasslands, and sand drifts. These are home to deer, mouflon (wild sheep) and wild boar. There are over a 1,000 white bikes at various places around the park that you can use for free to ride around the park. We could have spent all day here but we only had 2 hours.

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Vincent Van Gogh – Terrace of a cafe at night

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Vincent Van Gogh – Self portrait

The Kroller Muller museum represents the life work of Helen Kroller Muller. Between 1907 and 1922 she and her husband Anton bought 11,500 works of art. One of the largest private collections of the 20th century.  Helen’s dream was to have her own museum where she could share her passion with other art lovers. This dream was fulfilled in 1938 when the Kroller Muller museum opened.

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Claude Monet – Monet’s Studio Boat

I had a great time looking around but I felt like I only skimmed the surface.

John the taxi driver picked us up on the dot of 430pm, and drove us through the park grounds on the way back.

We got back to the hotel just in time for the riders meeting and dinner. I had dinner with Brett, John W, Graham, and Henry Gold. I had bell pepper soup which was rich and tasty, steak and salad with fries, cream brûlée, and red wine.

Tomorrow is the last day of riding!

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Tolkamer, The Netherlands

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Day 26: Cologne to Wesel

121 km – 193 climb, 367 down.

121 km and basically flat, so should not be a long day but! So much navigation today, there were 4 pages of navigation notes, both sides of the page.

We had breakfast with Maureen. Maureen was born in Ireland but has lived in Johannesburg most of her life, but is now in the process of moving to Portugal. This is Maureen’s TDA first ride. Maureen was a communications advisor, but is now retired and lives with her husband and two Labrador retrievers. Her husband doesn’t like touring.

There was pouring rain when we woke up, and it looked rainy, but apart from a few spots we managed to avoid it for the morning. There were a few places where it had clearly been pouring not long before.

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Monheim am Rhein

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Private garden patches on the outskirts of towns and cities

We went out of Cologne, first of all past the big Ford  factory (the number one employer in Cologne), then through the countryside and skirted through the outskirts of a couple of towns, and then had to go through DĂŒsseldorf (which sounds like it should be a school house in a Harry Potter novel).

DĂŒsseldorf is huge city, population bigger than the whole of NZ – 5.16 million. It took about 2 hours to get through the city and outskirts. This is where the 2017 Tour de France bike rides starts this Saturday.

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DĂŒsseldorf city centre

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DĂŒsseldorf city centre

The whole city is busy with preparations, the Main Street there was a row of tents going up. There were temporary over bridges over roads being constructed, and rows of group barrier fences waiting to be erected in the fields.

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Tour de France preparations underway for the Grand Depart from DĂŒsseldorf

After DĂŒsseldorf we were back in the country, then through a smaller city, Duisburg. At this stage the rain, which had been threatening all day, was looking more and more likely. By now we had done 80km, so at least we avoided the rain for two thirds of the ride. It poured for about 20 km, there was flooding on the road and we had to be really careful going through small towns with cobblestones. We got soaked, but luckily it was still about 17 degrees C.

As we were coming out of one of the towns a young brat on a bike rode straight into Brett and swerved at the last moment, then did the same thing to me.

We stayed at a great hotel called Welcome Hotel, we had a suite with a lounge, balcony, kitchen, bedroom and shower, and thankfully plenty of places to hang wet clothes. However there was terrible internet and I couldn’t get on.

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Welcome Hotel in Wesel.

Germany has two million refugees, the population in Germany is 81.41 million.

We have a really nice buffet dinner, high quality food which was really nice. I had some salmon and chicken and vegetables, and a selection of cheeses, plus sparkling water.

We had dinner with Peter and Catrina, John W, and Yvonne (Scott was feeling sick).  Henry Gold, the owner and founder of TDA, has come for a few days and we had a great chat with him after dinner about the South America ride.

When I got back to the my suite, I was really tired but I felt I needed to sit up in the lounge for awhile at least to enjoy the space.

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Restaurant artwork decorations

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