After a super fresh egg, and some bread cheese and ham, I packed up and hit the road. The sun was out and Germany was looking good.
I headed towards Vreden where I joined onto one of the German national cycle routes. The signposting is pretty comprehensive and the route is so well marked, you barely need a map.
After just over an hour I passed through a town which looked quite inviting but I felt it was too soon to take a break so headed on.
The cycle route here has a lot more variety than in The Netherlands. There are more twists and turns and when not following roads or cycle paths the tracks can get quite muddy / rocky / gravelly / sandy.
Sometime after 12 it started raining and with heavy grey skies it didn’t look like it was going to stop any time soon. When the rain was light I cycled through it but there were a few real downpours with thunder where I looked for cover under various trees or purpose built shelters. It was so bad at one point I wondered if I would have to spend the night in the shelter. I waited a while, made a cup of tea and had some biscuits and the skies cleared a little. The power of a cup of tea!
Whilst in the shelter I was looking for accommodation options. The nearest campsite I could find in Germany was a long way away – the closest options were back in the Netherlands. I also hadn’t seen anything resembling a guesthouse of even a shop since the town I passed in the morning. Not much option but to keep on pedalling in the rain – my map showed a town wasn’t too much further along my route.
At around 5pm from out of nowhere I saw a cafe with about 30 bikes parked outside (I had only seen a dozen other cyclists all day, and none since it had started raining). More importantly there was a sign outside ‘B&B’. I enquired within. It looked like there was some kind of cyclists party going on. They had a room but it was €45 not including breakfast. As wet, tired and hungry as I was I didn’t fancy paying that for a B&B! I headed onwards to the next town which was only about 15 mins away. It had two hotels, one of which was closed and the other was €60. I cycled around not finding any B&Bs. There was also really bad phone signal so I couldn’t use bookings.com. Eventually I found somewhere I could get enough signal to access google maps. I noticed a ‘pension’ nearby. Not knowing what that meant exactly I thought I’d give it a try.
I’m very glad I did. It was a large building resembling a farmhouse. I made my way past some ponds and geese and then came a cross a woman tending the garden, who it turned out was one of the owners. She spoke no English whatsoever but was really nice and helpful and with my best bad German I got myself a room for the night with breakfast for a really good rate.
There were two or three long-term lodgers there. I had my own room and bathroom overlooking the ponds.
I headed into the centre of town for dinner. Starter was whatever I fancied from the salad bar. For the main course I opted for beef and mushroom with a kind of potato latke on the side that came highly recommended by a German couple I got talking to.
I walked around a bit and took a few photos then headed back to get an early night.
Ammeloe to Havixbeck, 86 km. Total so far 505 km.