At this stage our bike tour seemed like a different trip. We were no longer camping: our last night out in the tent had been in Italy (in the Alps) and each day was seemingly easy in comparison to the isolation of Kazakhstan and the tropical heat of Vietnam. Even the hot days from Greece and Italy were very much a distant memory, and the hard part had become staying warm. We thought we were sick of the sun after nine months with nothing but blistering hot sun, but once the biting European cold hit, we found it hard to be comfortable. We wanted to ride fast, or be tucked in a bed but the in between was painful. It was hard to enjoy our roadside breaks, the joy of eating delicious picnics was punctured by the cold winds from the North.

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We stayed for one week with family friends in Mainz and it was bliss. Grace worked on her latest documentary write up and David relaxed on the couch and read a lot. We explored Mainz and the surrounding bike paths and we went for walks with the Forst family. It was a great catch up time with our friends in Germany and lovely to be warm and cosy.

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Back on the road and the sunshine came out, just when we arrived at one of the most picturesque scenes we visited in Germany. It’s a great ride, this section of the Rhine.

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Solar panels line the bridge coming into Bonn. David was keen to see Bonn, because of the atmosphere described in the book A Small Town in Germany by John le CarrĂ©. Unfortunately we didn’t get the same fog.

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These two have a great little flat on the top floor, where the ceiling is low and the windows at odd angles. We liked it a lot, though David felt he was a bit tall. A very nice couple who had pet turtles and a fondness for really good loose leaf tea. We talked bike touring as they were about to pack up and do a similar trip themselves.

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