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Day 7 Dusseldorf to Kleve 98km

Updated: Jun 6


While not exactly a cliffhanger, when I posted my blog last night I was still on the train heading towards Frankfurt hoping not to be thrown off (for the second time). You’ll be pleased to know I made it as far as Cologne and then had to change trains there at 1am in the morning . As a final bit of 'adding insult to injury', on that last train the conductor told me that my ticket was no longer valid because it expired at midnight. 'Yes' I said, 'because of all delays caused by your inefficient railway'. Imagine the insult of calling a German inefficient! 'Okay, okay I’ll let you go this time he said. I was not in the mood to take any more shit from a conductor.


As sidenote, the state of the German railways is absolutely shocking. A few years ago it was the paragon of efficiency (at least on a European scale) but now it is no better than travelling on most UK mainline trains: late, dirty and overcrowded. One of the platform conductors at Nuremberg said to me last night  “you know there is a lot of shit going on with the railways right now". In the words of Eddie Murphy "Tell us something we don’t know, motherfucker" (that quote is just for my brothers and my mate Brian, unless you too watched 'Raw' as a student about 100 times)


I digress. Dusseldorf station was absolutely rammed at 2 am in the morning when I arrived. it was a real shock to the system. Honestly, it was like trying to get off a train at rush-hour with literally hundreds of people trying to get onto the train. It turns out there was some kind of festival in the city here last night. My hotel was pretty crappy, but had the benefit of only being 2 km from the station and again I was grateful that family members had stepped up and booked it for me while I was on the train. While they were doing that I booked my accommodation for Sunday night and even remembered to alter the route in Komoot. By the time I had washed my kit it was 3am and I dog tired.


So where am I at now with my trip you ask? Well, you know that bit in the Shawshank Redemption where he swims through shit to freedom? That's what this week has felt like and while today isn't about me sitting on a boat on a sandy beech, it's definitely me having cleaned myself off and walking towards a new day.


On any other trip, I would’ve described today’s ride as dull and uneventful. But blimey, dull and uneventful was exactly what I needed after the previous six days. There aren’t really many highlights to share with you. The ride was 98 km in an almost completely straight line on dedicated cycle paths, that felt completely flat from start to finish. My only three points of note were;

  • In my tired and sleepy mind last night while I did remember to change the endpoint of the ride today, I completely missed the fact that Komoot had rerouted me off the Rhine cycling path and was sending me in a straight diagonal line to my end destination for today, Kleve. The result was I didn’t see much of the Rhine at all.

  • I finally broke the bad habit of not stocking up on food and drink when I have the opportunity by turning around and heading back to a petrol station once I realised almost every shop in the country is closed on a Sunday. In the petrol station I got shouted at by a tiny German man who could’ve passed for Dobby Der Haus Elf and who was very upset about something that I think was related to me resting my bike against the front window of the petrol station.

  • During the afternoon, I passed a tiny football ground with a game going on so I stopped to watch it for a few minutes. Just as the halftime whistle blue a DJ at the side of the pitch (yes they really did have a DJ at the side of their pitch) started playing booming techno tunes. I can’t think of many things more German.


So as I sit here this evening, I’m thinking about my planned route across the Netherlands. I’d like to stick to the route and see something of the Rhine, but equally, I’m keen to get something positive out of the trips and up for diversions. It’s 220km to Rotterdam, so that’s at least two days. I also need to find some new accommodation and pay more attention when I adjust the route this time. Tonight‘s Airbnb is what you would call cheap and cheerful, keeping in line with the rest of the day I feel, but that’s fine. It definitely beats spending the day soaking wet, and then spending the evening shivering in a bed trying to warm up

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5 Comments


Oh my life, I’m so sorry and I’m willing you through this trial. I will buy you a beer on your return, for sure. 🍺 (hopefully Rachel, too, as it sounds like she’s been worrying and doing everything to try to help)

Rotterdam is to Amsterdam what Glasgow is to Edinburgh… funkier, friendlier and cooler but not quite so pretty (although knowing how well travelled you are, you have probably been to both before). I hope you get some friendship and funkiness - because there is a lot of ‘miserable bastardliness’ debt to repay.

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😄 I will accept the offer of a beer!

It's getting better today Fiona. Chilly but dry

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Firstly what great news that today involved riding your bike and not in the bloody heavy rain - excellent.

Secondly, so glad you picked up on the good thing, superb and well done for pissing a small German person off.

Finally, brilliant that you’re silly enough to not only remember Raw but also to quote it fella, it leave me with only one thing to say “goonygoogoo” 😂

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I've just caught up with your blogs. At D&B Rachel mentioned you'd been having a grim time. By heck you know how to suffer! Hopefully, just types 1 and 2 fun from now on.

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I would surely like some type 1 fun sometime before I get home!

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