day 04

Today's ride:

And the ride so far:

The observant will have noted that our track appears to have crossed a little yellow line today. However, fear not, I had earlier taken care of that.

My accommodation criteria are fairly simple, but didn't seem to be doing as well as it had last time:
1. Free wifi
2. Vaguely en-route
3. Reasonably priced
4. Decent reviews

Laterooms wasn't helping much either, so was the winner so far. I thought I'd found a decent place slightly north-west of where we wanted to be, but the overall reasonable rating turned out to comprise a mix of people who loved it and hated it. Most damningly of all, several guests said the wifi was flakey. This is, obviously, on a par with rats running around the kitchen. suggested another place, and we decided to forgive it the small matter of its failure to be Dutch.

We just had one brief stop to make in the town. In my defence, I would like to point out that Magsafe converters are extremely small. I think what defines a Premium Apple Reseller is that, despite remembering my name from the previous day, they discreetly sold me another one whilst very carefully not asking me why.

Errand completed, we were on our way.

The first half of the route was alongside a moderately busy road, but still pretty enough.

It was again a hot day, but there was again plenty of shade.

We passed through a number of villages and small towns.

In addition to the huge bike-parks at train stations, I'd noticed bike-sheds at bus-stops. Bus-stop parking facilities were a little more informal out here.

Stretches of the route were very straight.

And there were hills!

This one was six or seven feet high:

We also had a long slog uphill for about half a mile to crest this summit:

A balloon apparently lives here.

At a couple of petrol stations, the cycle path detoured around the back of it, adding literally 30-40 feet to our journey. The precision of today's GPS units was illustrated by my Garmin complaining that we were off-course when behind the petrol station and that we were back on course afterwards.

Eric had spotted an interesting-looking old town en-route: Groenlo. This is apparently where Grolsch comes from.

I'm not so much into old stuff, but it had a moat and soldier and cannon and stuff. (Eric's briefing on the place may be more comprehensive than mine.)

While Eric investigated its history, I went ahead to scout out something of far greater import.

This was almost exactly at our half-way point.

The town was, like many we had passed through, decked out with patriotic bunting.

We departed company from the main road here and headed into more rural terrain.

With more identikit villages.

And tree-lined bike paths.

We made sure at this point that our lights had all the proper CE markings and that we had the paperwork for all modifications to our bicycles.

We were occasionally thrown off the bike path and onto roads, but even in the middle of nowhere, the cycle lane markings were present.

We more-or-less paralleled the border for a while - it is, I think, the tree-line here.

Funky house!

According to the GPS, this rather unprepossessing corner is the border. There was no sign of this in the actual world.

Cycling down this lane, I checked the plates of the cars in the driveway and they were all Dutch, so I suspected the GPS might be lying to me.

Around half a mile further on, however, I spotted a familiar-looking sign colour (albeit mounted on a post inclined at a very non-Germanic angle).

The street signs also switched from completely unpronounceable names to ones I might mangle sufficiently lightly that a local would know what I'd meant to say.

And the official confirmation.

If we needed any further evidence, the quality of the cycle paths declined somewhat, and were now shared with pedestrians.

Otherwise, however, it was business as usual.

And we could still maintain awesome speeds.

Awesomely slow shutter speeds, anyway.

Our hotel was located in a tiny village that appeared to have two names: Isselburg and Wert(h). I made a note to google it later. I wasn't very much wiser when I had, but I think it's something vaguely along the lines of Wert(h) at one point having had a castle and being administratively part of the city of Issel. This also seemingly made Wert(h), which even today has only 1800 residents, officially a city.

The hotel itself was located in a very pretty location.

The staff didn't speak much English, so I tried to dedge up my pitifully small German vocabulary and complete absence of German grammar or gender. I did at least succeed in booking dinner for 7pm and breakfast for 10am - hoping I'd got that the right way around.

It turned out to be academic, as the manager turned up later and informed us - in English - that breakfast would finish at 9am.

I hadn't yet taken a photo of a windmill, which was rather lax on my part. Given that we moved the border, this one counts, right?

The setting for dinner was quite acceptable.

I didn't recognise anything on the very short wine-list, but with two German reds and two Spanish reds, I was inclined toward the Spanish. I asked if I could taste each, but the waitress said one was much better than the other, so we opted to accept her recommendation, which was pleasant enough.

It was accompanied by a weiner schnitzel on Eric's part, and spare ribs for me. The waitress informed us that the dessert options were ice-cream or her 'strawberry speciality.' I'm not entirely sure that putting two scoops of ice-cream in a dish, adding strawberries and then squirting in some strawberry sauce and whipped cream counts as a speciality, but we struggled through them.

Tomorrow, our mission would be to put the border back where we found it without anyone noticing.