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|
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|
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.