Today’s pictures on flickr (If we’ve had a chance to upload them!)
We started off with a promising start: I had to fix a flat tire before we even got started. It appears that the tape holding my liner in had started to rub through my tube!
So I sacrificed that tube to try and put it in as a liner in a different fashion. Cross your fingers; I hope this will work, or at least get me to Amsterdam.
We headed back down the canal towards Emden. It’s a nice journey, but it’s pretty much exclusively paving stone the whole way. Paving stone is better than gravel, but it makes your bike shake and tires a person out. It’s even worse for Bethany with her shoulders and wrists bothering her.
Our hope was to head to Emden and then take a ferry to Delfzjil, Netherlands. This would take us across a bay and save almost a day’s worth of cycling around the bay. Alas, the ferry’s last journey was in September and we were forced to go the long way around.
We cut south from the canal a little bit before Emden, partially for a shortcut, and partially to get away from those paving stones! The latter wasn’t completely successful, but we did get some pavement.
When we got to the river Ems, we saw the ferry sailing away just in front of us; we’d missed it by 6 minutes, the next one was in 54 minutes. A search in town for an open grocery store yielded a tiny kiosk that had a wide selection of alcohol, but not much in the way of real food. We bought some crackers and cookies as emergency rations in case we couldn’t find food after setting up the tent; missing the ferry killed the slack in our schedule so we wouldn’t have any daylight to kill in a restaurant before we got to the campground.
The ferry itself was quite small, there was only room for two cars. I suppose that rather than pay the passage, most people use the bridge 30 kilometres to the south. The primary customers must be pedestrians and bicycles; there were 5 other bicycles on the ferry with us. On the other side of the river, we thought we had hit paydirt: what looked like a hot dog stand. No hot dogs, though, just fish. So my last meal in Germany was perhaps my most interesing: some sort of raw fish (herring, perhaps) and raw onion on a bun. It was delicious. There was no way Bethany was going to touch it; she had something deep fried.
Our route through the last part of Germany basically followed the North Sea dike. Yes, more paving stone. We had to share it with some sheep; our bikes probably need a good cleaning now!
As the day wore on, the slight east wind got stronger and stronger. Since our principal direction is west, this has been greatly appreciated.
Towards the end of the day, we crossed over in to the Netherlands. Although not so obsessively neat and tidy as the Germans, everything seems newer here. The houses have bigger windows, the ditches are bigger, and most noticably, the farms seem much larger and further apart. The only trees to be seen are the ones planted in yards. Oppressively flat, the horizon is cut short by a dike in every direction.