Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crazy Bike Adventure!

Starting out slowly in the morning is pretty great.  Today, I had never seen so much food on a breakfast table before.  We had a delicious start with several kinds of bread, cheese, cured meats, homemade bran muffins, cereals, and fruits.  I wanted to take a photo, but the camera was upstairs and I was enjoying the climate around the table far too much to move.

After a leisurely breakfast, we debated a bicycle tour or a canoe tour.  In the end, we settled on a bike tour.  Martin was feeling a bit under the weather, so he stayed home to rest.  Powering along well-developed cycling paths on our rented bikes, we stopped at a lake to try to watch birds, but animals have the sense to rest in the heat of the day, so we simply stopped at a lake.  We also dropped by an old church in a small village.  One of the buildings had this painting, showing the tale of the Hedgehog and the Rabbit.  It is similar to our Tortoise and  the Hare.

After this, we arrived at our most significant destination, a mill.  We first enjoyed a bit of shade along with some desserts.  We sampled a cherry cheesecake and a citrus yogurt cake.  They were quite refreshing after a long ride.

Once we had appeased our hunger and our taste buds, we dropped inside the mill.  The first floor was the gift shop/bakery counter.  On the following four floors, old milling equipment was displayed.  It was clear that this equipment was no longer in use, but it was still interesting to see.  Unfortunately, all the signs for the equipment were in German, so we mostly guessed at its purpose.

Here is us on our bikes in front of the mill, ready for adventure!  The stream that runs under the bridge heads to the left side of the mill and was once used to power the machinery in order to grind the flower.  Quite the picturesque day, huh?

We also sidetripped to a local castle.  There wasn't a whole lot of information or the opportunity to go instead, but it was still lovely to see.  It was situated on some nice green grounds, providing many lovely places for picnics.

As we were riding back towards Marburg, Marina spotted a cherry tree.  We waded into the grass to find that someone had already picked all the reachable cherries.  Undaunted, Marina parked her bike at the tree trunk and shimmied right up, creating a pouch to pick into from a scarf!  I loved watching another determined, creative soul when it came to gathering ripe, seasonal produce!

Later on down the road on one of our breaks to double-check the map, we passed some chickens.  CHICKENS!!!  I attempted to befriend them with cherries.  I didn't quite make a friend, but it was nice to commune with the fowl.

Here is a view from the way back.  Do you see that tiny hill between the trees?  We biked around the far side and well over to the right (off the picture), though more small villages before reaching that destination.  We were pretty pooped at this point.  Kelly especially as his bike wouldn't change into the lowest gears, so the many hills we climbed were tough nuts to crack!
In the end, we estimated we biked over 60 kilometers over the course of about 8 hours.  This is over 37 miles.  We were very grateful we had done all the walking previously to at least sort of prepare for this undertaking.  Let me tell you, though, we have a couple of very sore tushies!  I don't really want to think about how our legs will feel tomorrow morning.  All this aside, we are mighty!  Rawr!
Returning to the flat to a slightly anxious Martin at about 8pm, we mostly dropped our things and turned around to head out to dinner.  We tried a Vietnamese/Thai/Chinese restaurant about 1.5km from their house (more biking - yay).  The food was plentiful, delicious, and well-earned.
Kelly and I still have to discuss our plan for tomorrow, but we know we will be heading to Frankfurt and checking into a hotel near the airport so we can catch our flight the following day.  It has been an amazing trip, but we're also very excited to return to the comfort and familiarity of home.  We really hope, though, that a lot of the wonderful CouchSurfers and travelers we met along the way will some day turn up in the Portland area.
Wheel never stops turning,

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