Day 103: Krefeld to Niedermormter, Germany: Hell on wheels - Grampies on the Go - Again! - CycleBlaze

August 30, 2012

Day 103: Krefeld to Niedermormter, Germany: Hell on wheels

We both woke up fairly hung over from the experiences of yesterday. However we were glad that no ill came of our wild camp. It was in one sense great because it was so isolated. On the other hand, with any foul play we would have been totally on our own.

Our “hang over” included having had little dinner and little breakfast, so we were on the lookout for any sort of bakery or café. However, the industrial desert continued, supplemented by suburban desert, office building desert, highway desert, etc. Also, signage, which had been quite good in general in Germany, was now pretty weak. It was hard to distinguish signs that were related to the long distance Rhine Cycleway, from all sorts of miscellaneous ones. Plus, most annoying of all, signs that were the right ones and pointing in a reasonable direction would be followed by nothing at all at critical forks in the road. It was shades of England. Sheesh.

Duisburg, which is north of Düsseldorf, and which includes a number of satellite communities on both sides of the river, was our main problem area. It took for ever to get beyond this morass of roads and blended together towns.

Once we had cleared Duisburg, navigation became a bit easier, but our horizons were still filled with smokestacks and nuclear plants. Still, no cafes or bakeries had jumped out at us, so we decided to take proactive action. At a point where the cycle route was preparing once again to swing us away from a town, we took careful note of the spot, and dropping mental breadcrumbs along the way, headed in towards the church. The church area had nothing, so I asked a passerby. He scratched his head, hemmed and hawed (in German – not sure what you call this) and finally pronounced that there was a café some km away. We gave up, and retraced our way to the cycle path.

Things stayed kind of grim until the path took us in to the town of xxx. This place has a complete original wall around it – more impressive then than Zons. More impressive still was a café, and with all the necessary attributes: Outdoor tables so we could park our bikes near us, food on offer – not just beer, smokers downwind rather than in our face. The menu featured ten kinds of weiner schnitzel. Schnitzel is absolutely ubiquitous – just like hamburgers in America. This place, though, put a twist on it. Dodie got a “California”, which was a schnitzel with peach halves on top and cheese melted over all. I got schnitzel with onions and peppers, which was schnitzel drowned in a tomato/green pepper sauce. Except that the tomato part was dangerously close to ketchup, it was quite good. Most importantly, this hot meal gave us the necessary strength to soldier on.

Slowly now, things began to pick up. We ran into some horses, some sheep, and soon, more and more cows. We took this as signalling the approach of Holland. The buildings, too, had been changing. No more stucco that you could paint pastel colours or make a fresco on. Rather, all houses are red brick. The same tile roofs remain, though.

Finally we arrived at the outskirts of Xanten. We did not try to go in to the town, but could see its large cathedral. Xanten seems to be part of a chain of towns at which a lot of Roman remains have been found. We came across the ruin of a Roman watch tower, for example. Xanten is at the south end of two lakes, and we rounded these, heading for some camping that we saw towards the north, The area of the lakes really lifted our spirits. Firstly, they are lakes – beautiful, and open. Next, throughout the area we could see where we would put our tent if necessary. Nothing makes us more nervous than an industrial wasteland with no chance of calling it quits.

When we did reach the camping, we got that most rare of German camping items – a hollowed out bit of forest creating an area you can call your own. Since we were not exhausted, dehydrated, lost, etc., and with our incredible supply of 2 1/2 fuel canisters, we cooked a good supper. The place is dead quiet, so we can anticipate a good sleep, and we ordered four buns to be picked up at 7 in the morning. Food, sleep, quiet – what a great tonic!

AVI, VIOLET, AMELIA: HERE ARE SOME ANIMALS WE SAW TODAY:

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But to get to these we had some ugly cycling to do:

We set off in pretty barren surroundings
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Early morning sight seeing!
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This crane moved on rails over our heads
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No hats in sight
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Hooray, leaving Duisburg (actually a cruel hoax, because we were entering another part of it)
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Our typical path for today
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Orsoy, with the complete original wall
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Yikes, more nuclear
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Occasionally there were lots of cyclists on the path
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House styles are changing as we head North
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The lake area around Xanten
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Xanten cathedral
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A pulley of the waterski system. Cables surround the lake, and like a snow ski lift, tow bars carry the water skiers just as fast as a speedboat - but quietly
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Waterskiing without a tow boat
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The roman tower
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Peaceful lake area north of Xanten
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Our maps and Gps for finding the camping did not account for extensive construction. We think it is a flood control project
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Along the way. someone very adept at sculpturing shrubbery
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We cycled late because of bad signage and construction
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Housing near the camping at Obermormter
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Today's ride: 91 km (57 miles)
Total: 5,246 km (3,258 miles)

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