- distance cycled: 20.4 miles (Bonn to Köln)
- cumulative cycling: 697.9 miles
We’re doing it again! We’re revisiting our first Eco-express Waschsalon, in Köln. We first came here in 2015, when we cycled from IJMuiden to Köln and back. We know we could get to the Dutch coast in 3 long cycling days, including a 100-mile day. However, we don’t need to be at IJMuiden until 3:30 on 31st August. Allowing the 30th and the morning of the 31st to get from Hoek van Holland gives us 6 days to do about 200 miles. This will allow us time to get lost in the Netherlands a few times: the Rhine goes a bit crazy, changes name a few times, and I suspect my head is going to be working even less well than it is just now. Still, just now it is very pleasant sitting together watching our lycra get dizzy!
By the way, I am now in my standard touring ‘uniform’: blue buff, Trespass base-layer, LifesCycle jersey, Vaude shorts, blue-green-red tights, thermocline inner socks and sealskinz outer socks. This will probably do for the rest of the journey. It was lovely to put on a complete set of clean clothing!
Today might have been the highlight of the trip: a morning in Bonn’s museum of German history since 1945.
- It brought back so many dimly-remembered tales: from my mother’s stories of her childhood (in Vienna, 1930 to 1938); Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schröder, Angela Metkel’s rise.
- It told me tales I didn’t know: revolutions and counter-revolutions, the origin of the Wirtschaftswunder.
- It frightened me with the simplistic propaganda posters that people may have believed, and may still do.
- It made me cry with images of bombed-out cities. (Perhaps the positive take is Germany has recovered. Even if you accept that WW2 was necessary, and despite my immediate ancestry I’m not sure it was, I don’t see a justification for the civil targets ‘we’ attacked from the air.)
- It questioned my political beliefs with its clear dislike of DDR ‘communism’. (NB I’m a vegan pacifist: I have no positive feelings for Stalin or his supporters whatsoever. What he and his accomplices did was not communism, but brutal oppression. If a left-wing solution exists, it can only spring from people choosing that course, not from it being imposed.)
- And finally it hugely annoyed me, when it reminded me that the people and ruling politicians of the geography in which I live chose to reject this in favour of gross incompetence, lies and multiple buckets of shit.
Don’t get get me wrong: the museum was superb: an accurate depiction of some of history. It’s just you bloody humans who have made history so stupid and tragic. This graffito outside the museum sums it up: By the way, I am taking my antidepressants but my mood may be a little affected by the ongoing foot-pain.
Todays cycling wasn’t that much fun: a few gravel paths, then quite a lot of tarmac that matched Edinburgh’s low standards. Let’s hope it’s better tomorrow as we head for Düsseldorf. Tschuss!