Day 7

The day's route (50.6 miles):

And the ride to date (364 miles):

I'd grabbed some telly to watch in the evenings, and had thought some Dr Who in bed might be nice. You would think the point of downloading content into the iPlayer desktop app would be so that you could watch it while offline. But no. It needs an Internet connection to check that you're allowed to watch it, whereupon it tells you that you're a dirty foreigner and have no right to watch Aunty's finest British content. (I could look into proxy servers but telly isn't important enough to justify the effort and/or expense.)

We were running low on clean clothes again, and as we were staying in a hotel rather than a guesthouse, I figured laundry was likely to be on a per-item basis and thus rather expensive for cycling clothes. We asked Google Maps for the nearest laundrette to our hotel. Hamburg, it told us. Laundrettes are not common in Germany.

As we'd sorted our route and accommodation the previous evening, all we had to do was breakfast and pack. We were thus on the road at the crack of 10.30am, an unheard of hour since day one.

Today's route was around 50 miles. Unfortunately, my GPS had other ideas, displaying it as 83 miles. Eric's was reading 80km, so we decided to follow that ...

The first part was a particularly evil brick surface.

Pretty, but I could feel my trike and internal organs competing to see which would shake to pieces first. The next section was not a notable improvement.

Before the GPS decided we should head somewhere across there:

Despite this, we still weren't tempted to follow mine.

Eric doesn't seem to be able to stay away from elderly motor vehicles.

Back on roads (actual roads, not tracks the GPS considered to be roads), I was more able to appreciate the scenery.

Navigating the next section was relatively straightforward: follow this straight road for 15km.

Which we managed.

Zooming out to see where my GPS was trying to take us, it was trying to avoid a river. Basecamp reckoned there was a ferry across at Brake. Eric's GPS reckoned there was a ferry across at Brake. And I was feeling reassured by the fact that there were signs pointing there, with places beyond.

As we reached the outskirts of Brake, my cake detector pinged and we pulled into this rather cute petrol station conversion.

Tea-break entertainments included Eric demonstrating his odd feet ...

And a local showing off his electric bike when he saw us taking an interest.

We then headed on into town, which was inoffensive enough but not quite as pretty as some we'd seen.

We followed the train line down to the port area.

Where we were pleased to find that the ferry did indeed exist.

They seemed to be having some trouble with the ramp at the bow end. I'm no expert in these things, but this definitely looks wrong to me.

They eventually figured out how to reboot it, and off we went.

Across the river, we had a choice of two cycle paths. We opted for the one on the outside of the fence.

The scenery looked oddly familiar (only with added trees).

Ahead was a roadworks section with a very narrow gap to allow bicycles through. You'll note I said 'bicycles' not 'tricycles'. Some amusing video to follow.

The other side had a steep concrete ramp with a high kerb at the bottom. Also fun on a trike with a fairing.

This is a thingy. There was a sign that would have told us what it was if we could have been bothered to stop, but the surface was good and we had a tailwind, so we didn't.

The thingy looks like this from the front (most of my photos are taken without stopping - I am morally troubled by the concept of unnecessary braking whilst cycling).

Someone will email me and tell me what it is, I'm sure. Far more efficient.

I was starting to worry that we'd somehow made a U-turn and ended up back in Holland.

I suggested to Eric that we climb this mast to attach our cameras for one of our patented fly-by videos. He wimped out on the basis that it was behind a serious-looking fence with a serious-looking 'keep out' notice.

This was a curious-looking structure. It overlooks the water and has a radar unit on it. Something coastguardy, maybe? There was probably a sign, but we didn't stop.

Lots of thatched houses and barns in this part of Germany.

Then more open road. We were starting to keep an eye out for places that looked like they might be equipped with tea-shops.

Finally, we found one.

More Germanic scenery followed.

The terrain was flat, the winds were being kind and a 50-mile day felt quite luxurious by now.

We did get a hill or two toward the end of the ride, and some rain decided to join us. As yesterday, it was light, and kind enough to wait for the tail-end of the ride, when we had hot showers waiting for us.

Halfway up one of the hills, I stopped to photograph the town sign, so I could stand some hope of remembering what it was called. Eric unkindly suggested I simply wanted a rest. Personally, I find that kind of cynicism quite unbecoming.

A final fast downhill run to the hotel.

I checked us in and arranged for a garage to be unlocked for our bikes. Just as we finished putting them away, the heavens opened. Our timing was very, very good!

Just in case we couldn't work out what the weather was without technological assistance, the alarm-clock in my room helpfully advised.

And that was our day's ride done.

I decided to conduct a laundry experiment: hand-wash one day's clothes and see if they dried on the towel-rail. If they didn't, I could always hang them from the trike tomorrow to dry them that way. The experiment was a success, so I washed the rest.

We were certainly exploring the full range of culinary delights Germany had to offer. Last night was essentially a back-street burger hut, and tonight was a semi-posh hotel with excellent food and extremely well-trained waiters.

The only sticking-point was wine. The wine list was extensive, and majored in German wines, about which I know absolutely nothing. Despite having had a German girlfriend for three years with very similar tastes in wine to mine, I don't think we'd ever had any.

We're still friends, so I called her to ask for advice. She suggested we go for something from the Franken region, which narrowed things down to three wines, but she didn't know any of them. I then asked the wine-waiter which he would recommend, and surprisingly he suggested the least expensive (this being a relative term, you understand).

The strategy was a whole-hearted success. The wine was indeed excellent.

Since we were pushing the budget already tonight, and were well over halfway and significantly ahead of schedule, we decided to call it an official celebration and round the evening off with a Bowmore.

We'll gloss over the fact that the otherwise impeccably-behaved waiter actually asked whether we wanted it 'pure' or 'on the rocks' ...

On to day 8