day 05

Today's ride:

And the ride so far:

We managed to start breakfast just before 9am and weren't thrown out until 10am. It was another beautiful day.

First we needed to exit Wert(h) and go through Isselburg itself. The road was closed, which always presents cyclists with a dilemma: you never know how long a diversion will be, and you also don't know whether you might be able to sneak through the closure.

We decided to chance it, and although they were re-tarmacing both the road and the cycle path, they had gotten as far as stripping the surface of the path but weren't yet laying hot tar on it.

The surface was actually better than some of the brick paths we'd been on.

Navigating Isselburg proved a little entertaining, but we eventually escaped.

It wasn't so hot today, but it was still good to have shade.

The locals hadn't received the memo about the border: the bunting here was green.

I'm kind of running out of things to say about the scenery. The bits that weren't under trees looked something like this:

And you know what the other bits look like by now:

We were following Eric's GPS at this point, and were still in what would have been Germany without our border move. There were hills straight ahead, and the route on the GPS was zig-zagging in a fashion that looked suspiciously like hairpin bends. We figured a bit of a rethink of a navigational variety might be in order.

We found an alternative route that followed a river. Rivers are good: they very rarely go uphill. We were headed towards Zevenaar, and the riverside path was signposted to there: sorted.

Except this riverside path promptly waved farewell to the river and headed up into the hills.

Look, riverside path, you had one job ...

But what goes up must come down, and we found a path beside a railway. We hoped this would live up to its billing.

It did, and offered a couple of interesting sights into the bargain, such as this abandoned windmill:

And, er, him.

The fire-station hadn't heard about the border move either.

But there were some Netherlands somewhere out ahead.

Ah, here they come.

We were roughly halfway when we found a cafe serving funky Earl Grey tea.

Nothing to see here, just a GPS mileage update.

The GPS seemed under the impression that the cafe was in Germany - just.

The cafe owner seemed under the impression he was in the Netherlands.

We figured that, on balance, he was probably better informed. The border put back where we found it, we continued west.

Ok, ok, here's an actual Dutch windmill. It was even working.

The next stretch followed the railway line for a long way and was very straight.

This was about as bendy as it got:

At one point, Eric decided to race a train. The train won.

Then it was time to leave the train line behind and tackle another Dutch Alp.

I needed a brief hedge stop on the far side, and found my hedge equipped with most of a bicycle.

We were headed for Arnham.

Where we found a trolley museum.

It was closed. I spotted signs for a tourist info place, so thought we'd call in and find out whether there were any must-see sights. Following the signs took us through the centre of the town.

Literally. Coincidence that tourist signs take you (quite unnecessarily) through the centre of the main shopping area?

You'd think that if you work in the Arnhem Tourist Info office and a Brit wanders in to ask you what the must-see sights are, you'd be able to rattle them off. Instead, there was a pause, then a tentative "Are you interested in WW2 at all? There's a memorial at Arnhem bridge." Another pause. "And a church with a glass lift you can go up." A further pause. "And the shopping area, here."

We opted to check out the memorial. We headed straight down to the river, then along toward the bridge. Passing a beach.

And a funky sculpture.

The memorial was small, but clearly still got regular visitors from British soldiers.

Then it was time to cross the bridge and head south to our B&B on a farm just beyond Elst.

Part of the route took us through a kind of nature reserve/park type affair.

Things got briefly urban.

Then back to nature.

We passed through Elst itself, which didn't take long. At a little over 46 miles, we found the farm more easily than I'd expected, and it was rather impressively rustic.

Unfortunately, so was the wifi.

There was covered parking for our bikes directly outside.

I'd facebook messaged JW, Helen and Ian with the address, and JW & Helen said they expected to arrive at 6pm. Which they did, re-uniting me with my MacBook Air power supply at the same time.

Ok, so the hotel hadn't spotted the built-in cable tidy, but they had got it to my friends on time.

Ian wasn't doing so well, having hit heavy traffic and eventually being forced to turn back. Hopefully we'd meet up in the next day or two.

JW & Helen had suggested a good restaurant, and we carefully checked it for TV screens before sitting down. The only screen was outside.

We stayed inside.

The food was very good, and the company excellent. We were also given Important Tips on Dutch Culture, viz which cakes to try in different regions.

And that was day five. Writing the blog after wine rather than before made it perhaps a little briefer than usual. Tomorrow, we'd be aiming for somewhere in the Venray/Venlo area.