Saturday, 26 May 2012

Day 5 - Escape from the hills

Another good night's sleep. I realised that now when I was going to bed that my legs did not ache, which must be a sign of getting fitter.

Wilgersdorf - Marburg (using
Alfons had gone to work so I had breakfast with his wife, Korola. It was the same spread as last night, but the gaps that I created had been filled, and there was also fruit and yoghurt. Korola spoke good English and she told me about her family, her work, and how she had had a wonderful time visiting Ross-on-Wye the previous year. She looked after two gardens, ran 10 km several times a week, managed three teenage boys at home plus Alfons and worked in an office three days a week. She rode to work on a big black BMW motorbike. An impressive woman.

Breakfast over, I asked her how much I owed her for the night's stay. "Nothing!", she exclaimed most insistently. She loved England so much when she visited it that she felt that this was a way of saying thank you. I was amazed. Is England really that good?
Alfons' handy map
So, belly full and clutching Alfons's hand-drawn map, I set off down the hill into the next valley and off to the first 5% climb. The countryside was still beautiful and the weather kind, although the 25° temperature was perhaps a little high. I pushed on through the forested countryside and felt my spirits soaring, glad that I had taken this opportunity for such a wonderful experience. These sort of things happen too rarely.

Just as I approached the top of one climb a mature German in all the cycling gear and on an expensive carbon bike caught me up and started chattering away in German. I explained I did not understand, but this did not stop him. However the similarities with English and sign language meant that we were able to communicate, and I told him where I was coming from and going to. He was delighted. As we crested the hill he said something that sounded like, "Alles ist gut! Auf wiedersehn!" and sped off down the hill.

Alfons's route took me on to Route 62, and this followed the River Lahn down towards Marburg, so it was much flatter. I found a delightful place by a small, old bridge over the river for lunch. I lay on my back in the sunshine, closed my eyes and felt the pressure disappearing from my sitting bones. I had noticed over the last few days that my bottom was definitely feeling less uncomfortable each morning. I guess it was toughening up and my Brookes B-17 was becoming even more adjusted to my anatomy.

I arrived in Marburg in the middle of the afternoon and lay down on a bench by the Elisabethskirche, where Oliver came to meet me. We went back to his apartment where I had a great shower and managed to wash some clothes. I noticed how by the end of each cycling day my skin felt tired, dry and stale, and that having a shower really revived me. My hayfever symptoms were largely confined to sore eyes, and after a day of concentrating on the road ahead and the wind rushing past them and they were often tired. I used the showers to flush them clean and bring them back to life.
Marburg from its castle
Oliver was keen to show me Marburg, so we walked into the town on this beautiful warm, spring evening. Marburg is a lovely little university town, retaining much of its 14th and 15th century architecture, including a castle on the top of its hill. There was a lovely view over the town from the top of it, and after walking back down to the main square we found a restaurant where we could sit outside, I could enjoy my usual evening reward of beer and Oliver could tell me about all things German. He is a very well-educated and interesting person, and I learnt a lot sitting and listening to him explaining about the relationship between the different parts of the country, its politics, its history, its culture... and the Bavarians again!

We discussed my route out of the town and the next day and what might lie ahead. He didn't know that part of the countryside very well, but felt that there were plenty more hills to come.

375 miles gone. The last few days had been slow because of the hills, and I was keen to try to increase my daily mileage. It would all depend on what lay ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment