Day 4 Haltern am See to Venlo - We have seen better days

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

On the evidence of this trip, running the Lower Saxony tourist office must be one of the toughest jobs in Germany. Outside of the big cities, there is almost nothing to entice people to come here. I'm not saying it's ugly, just bland. Every town we went through today was like a mini Milton Keynes - nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but just soulless. I imagine that most Germans know this and don't come here for a holiday so the tourist office must spend heavily on advertising and also have an army of people trying to delete negative reviews, posts and comments. Today's post could just read - "see previous posts". Long straights on bike paths and flat B roads, headwinds, cornfields etc. Everything we have already experienced all over again. On days like today, you have to get your enjoyment where you can. Hence today's highlights were; 1. Michael finally getting a Macdonalds - so he can now shut up about it 2. Me enjoying a little schadenfreude as Michael buggered up directions, got us lost and added 6km to the day 3. Us dropping a full kit wanker wearing a malliot jaune who couldn't hold our wheels as we re-took him on a hill. (He looked back at me after passing - see the previous post on that rule) To be strictly true, the guy couldn't hold Michael's pace as once again he sat on the front in the headwind. Today was also the first day we have experienced a few long silences. At times we both dropped into that mental state of just needing to block everything else out just to focus on pedalling. If you've ever done any long rides you will likely have experienced this yourself. You just don't want to talk to anyone. An uneventful day concluded with us crossing the border into Holland without noticing it. There was not so much as a signpost. However, the welcome we got from our Dutch host made up for that. He was effortlessly cool, relaxed and friendly in a way that only the Dutch can pull off.

Accommodation Rating: Friends

Michael's Bit I woke up to the sound of chirping birds and church bells. Well, that and "GET UP, ITS NEARLY 9 O CLOCK". Breakfast at the bakery. Since Haltern was so beautiful we decided to see the lake for which it's famed. The big muddy puddle that greeted us was not so impressive. Back on the straight German roads fighting a headwind, I collected my thoughts on Germany. There are lots of things I like, and equally, as many I don't. Bakeries everywhere - love it. Beer and Sausages as the national food - brilliant. Endless straight roads interrupted only by soulless, café-less towns with names containing far too many 'z's and 'k's - Not a fan. The one thing that really gets to me though is the bike paths. They take the piss. It's like they have a mind of their own and they find it hilarious to annoy me. Ahh the bike path goes on the pavement here .. HA! No it only looks like it did. Cross the road now. Oh and cross back again. Is the path the red bricks in the grey pavement or the grey bricks in the red pavement? Cars have to stop when you're on the bike path at a junction. Or they don't, who knows. Ahh finally a straight, consistent path on a long country road... "DAS ENDE". You get the point. Numbers for today: Number of Macdonalds had: 1 (Finally!!) Total distance ridden: 476km

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