Monday, May 14, 2012

Germany - Bread, Hedgehogs, and Münster Fun

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Drooling over German bread. Photo credit: German Embassy Doha

55 Miles - Saturday, August 20

We’ve been sailing on the most incredible tailwind for a week – apparently a western prevailing wind. As we pedaled under grey skies through the farmland, north of the Koln-Dusseldorf metropolis, we wondered what lay ahead. Prague is a week and a half away. So we navigate an eastern course, skirting large Deutschland cities.

Fortunately, Monique, our friend in Den Haag, had warned us about grocery store closures at 1pm on Saturday through Monday morning. We stocked up on 2 days worth of food. Since I am the primary food carrier, I stuffed both front panniers with 2 lbs. of spaghetti, 1 lb. of granola, oatmeal, two huge baguettes, onions, etc. It takes a half mile to get used to the sluggish steering, but I’ve grown accustomed to added weight, then gradual decrease as we eat through our cache. We spent 48 marks ($30 USD). Not bad for 2 days of eating.

Photo credit: HIH

German bread costs less than in other countries - for an incredibly vast selection. There are five varieties of white bread, long crusty baguettes, and ten unique loaves, all varying between round to long and squatty. To a hungry cyclist, German bread is heaven. We cannot pronounce the multi-syllable names, but when it’s our turn in line we point to any loaf. I suspect we’ll like anything that’s handed to us. We supplement fresh bread with Volkornbrot, a dense, dark bread that tastes like soured dough/molasses studded with rye kernels. It comes in .25 inch slices and the compact plastic wrapped package weighs over a pound. The taste is unique. It also stores well in our baggage. All for 1.99 marks ($1.20 USD).

A "hedgie" in defense mode.  Photo credit: 123RF
Photo credit: Snowflake Books

70 miles - Sunday, August 21

Early morning a hedgehog was scratching at our trash bag just outside the tent. I took my rubber sandal and poked him. He curled into a ball, his round back like a pin cushion. He was awaiting my retreat, apparently thinking he could fool me, but I knew that two humps in the hazy moonlight was more than our garbage. I pushed the creature until it toppled on its side like a football. Then its arms and legs moved and the animal scurried away. Andy knows how much I like “hedgies.” There are so many dead on roadsides that we enjoy the live ones, even though they're a nuisance.

Not long afterwards we woke to a noisy couple in the next tent, unabashedly fond of each other. Thin walls mean close neighbors. It’s a reminder to keep our own tent fun in check.

Hills near Münster. Photo credit: tripadvisor
We're gradually shifting to earlier starts. Daylight is growing shorter. To bed by 10pm; awake by 6am; rolling by 8:30. Mornings on the roads are quieter; we look forward to relaxing in the campground by late afternoon.

Halfway through the day the terrain changed to long rolling hills. Bike paths are few, only just outside of towns. I'll miss the designated lanes. Andy and I would often ride side by side while he looked up German words in his dictionary.

Panorama of the city of Münster. Photo credit: See the World

As we rolled into the center of Munster a human-powered relay race looped the city streets. French was heard over the loudspeaker. Happy for a break, and curious, we rested on the handlebars and watched the silly-clad teams get in and out of their "cars". There were jesters; one car was a teddy bear; another in the shape of an umbrella; one with a face, etc. Pure fun on wheels. After a while we reluctantly left, heading to a known campground. We love the pleasant surprises that leave us smiling. Why the French language spoken in a German city? Andy suspected a cultural celebration, including the town's sister city in France. We’d often seen the signs listing each partnering locale at village entrances.

Promenade Park in Münster with lots of Pedestrians and cyclists. Photo credit: Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. I know they're flea-ridden little devils, but, I adore hedgehogs (and badgers).


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