Todays breakfast consisted of cereals without milk and near stale rye bread with butter. Not the perfect start to the week but this was all I had, being Sunday yesterday. On leaving the campsite and cycling a few miles, I was soon in Celle town center, where I was able to stock up in my favourite supermarket in Germany called Edeka.
There are plenty of Aldis and Lidls as you can imagine in Germany but I’m not a great fan, especially when camping and travelling. The prices are often good but thats where it ends! When camping I often want smaller quantities or different varieties. However in these shops its often hard to find what I want, for example almond milk or Couscous, and the queues are always really long. Edeka on the other hand often have a much better range and easy to pop in and out quickly. I do like to compare supermarkets and see how they can improve, after all, I did work in Waitrose for half a year!
Jilly, the garmin was playing up a bit, taking ages to load todays route, so it gave me a chance to fill up my stomach after a measily breakfast, getting some quality German pastries from the store. I was slightly frustrated at Jilly, but knew I couldn’t be too harsh, at least I had her!
Taking breaks from cycling are important, no matter how much you love to cycle. So far on this trip I had normally taken a break around 11am then lunch around 1-2pm. However, as the days get hotter and hotter, it seems wrong to be taking a break in what is often the coolest part of the day. Today. I decieded to skip my elevenses and have an early lunch instead.
I can safely say it was my best lunch ever! I was in a small but busy town with school children running and cycling home (already? It’s only 12.30!). Sitting on a bench beneath a small tree, eating my Bio Amaranth and Quinoa rye bread sandwich with Gouda cheese and cucumber, I felt completly satisfied and relaxed. As I munched, I thought to myself, what else do I need right now? Nothing, I had good food, 32°c sun and peddling my way though Europe, perfect! I wish life could always be that simple!
On the garmin, I could see a large point appearing in the elevation. I looked around, and yes, hills made up the horizon in front of me. One of then I needed to climb. By this point, I had done 55 miles, so knew the end couldn’t be too far, but the sun was still blazing away and my third bottle of water was slowly being finished.
On this journey so far, I have been lucky as most of the days have been fairly flat, but as I head further south, I will come across more and more mountainous terrains. This was my first hill with hairpin bends in. Following the twisty road up, cars and lorries stacked up behind me, as I crawled upwards at my leisurely 4mph.
Pleased I’d completed the firdt major climb, I had a quick snack at the top, whilst reading about the European Wildcat. Apparently, in 2007 it was reintroduced into the nature reserve at the top of the climb, though only 10 live here now. The picture showed them looking similar to domestic cats, but with bigger body and slightly more aggresive. Shame I didn’t see one, I could have given it a cuddle and stroke!
The last few nights have all been camping, so I thought it was time to visit a youth hostel. However, once climbing a very steep track to reach Bodenwerder youth hostel, which had lovely views on the town, I was turned away. I think this is the first time I can remember turning up at a hostel and been told its full, but with many school children having their evening meal, they must have booked the whole hostel.
Luckily there was a campsite nearby, though the owners didn’t seem too happy to see me and didn’t speak a word of english, even after I said “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” Something I’d been practicing specially! Although my German vocabulary is still tiny, I’m starting geting better at guessing at words, and am even attempting to start conversations in German, even if it doesn’t last long!