Excellent breakfast from an eat as much as you like buffet – with a couple jugs of coffee to rev me up. Along with the usual selection of meats, fish, cheeses, cereals, jams, honeys, juice, hot boiled egg, salads, breads and croissants (I could go on) there was also a samovar for tea…
I felt inspired to make several daily draws (a bit of catching up to do) and was completely surprised when this attracted an audience of staff (and a couple of curious guests too)– who then gave me a guest book to write about my cycle ride in (so I included in a picture). I also remembered to make a roll up for lunch (takeaway).
Today is pleasant cycling – following well posted signs (that make sense!) following first the railway (electric) and then the River Main.
I stopped for lunch to sit on a bench overlooking a pond and was soon joined by an elderly German man who spoke little English. He spread out his handkerchief fastidiously so he could sit on the bench next to me, then opened a bottle of beer - called Herzog something (the beer I mean – the man was called Andreas). From a mixture of sign language, the occasional English word and context I gathered he had an Australian friend he’d not seen for years, that he was 70+yrs old, that he had a daughter who spoke excellent English, that the beer was good and that he loved nature, and the pond had huge carp in it. At around this point, a huge carp leapt out of the water as if to illustrate his point. He also said the pond was privately owned. I accused him of secretly fishing in it and he didn’t deny it. I also persuaded him to let me try his beer – dark, bitter, warm and not unpleasant – sort of like a stout, without the full body.
I carried on, all rather lovely and breezy – apart from that the breeze was head on. Would have been wonderful indeed if it had been a tail wind – but one can’t have it all, I suppose. It was at this point I realised that Welly was not at her usual station: Argh! The traitor(ess)!!! She had jumped ship back at the Pension Heuler (ie, I had left her on the table when I loaded up the bicycle that morning). It was too far to go back. (Really it was). I resolved to email Pension Heuler later that evening. I guess I can’t blame her at all – she obviously hadn’t liked being strapped in on the bicycle with a bungee, even though the view was excellent, and it WAS very nice at the Pension.
I don’t know what they’ll do with a stray sheep – but I hope they care for her (she can be a bit of a handful). Or even send her back to me.
I continue on, slightly sadder, but endeavouring to maintain a better posture on the bike takes concentration. I’ve noticed that straightening my back and aligning my head also changes the position of my bum on the saddle – to the detriment. I continue to experiment all the way into Schweinfurt – a bloody big city on the Main. At this point, I decide enough is enough and to seek shelter. I am turned away from the first Youth Hostel – I am beginning to suspect that all Youth Hostels are being used as temporary accommodation for refugees from Syria/Afghanistan etc. The woman suggests a camping place in a small place on the outskirts called Heinig – I am on my way there when I spot ANOTHER DJH - this place DOES have a bed – in fact, an entire dormitory to myself. The first floor of this place is given over to young male refugees (lads without parents, the manager says). They are noisy late in the evening (odd thumps and sounds echo through the building) but, to give them their due, it all settles down before midnight. I have to pay €4 extra for being over 27yrs old (and she didn’t even look at my passport!) – this surcharge is peculiarly German, I’m told. The hostel is cheap and cheerful – and nothing like last night’s luxury.