Or, the other title for this post could be, “Is there a train station nearby?”
It is interesting and fun to be in Europe during the FIFA World Cup. For my USA friends, this is not NFL football, it is the one with the round ball that players alternately walk slowly or sprint outrageously fast after, but usually the slower option prevails. Occasionally someone scores a goal and one half of the stadium erupts into riotous celebration, while the other half simply breaks into a riot.
But it is always fun to watch sports when those around you are excited and completely absorbed. Even though it was the just the first game, Germans went nuts and drove about blasting their car horns when their team won. Tom and Ginny’s daughter, Mari, is studying in Amsterdam and she said the same thing happened there when Netherlands won their first game. The cafés and bars and restaurants place large screen televisions outside for patrons to enjoy. We are all going native with the soccer/futball craze. (Go USA.)
We left a nice hostel in Strasbourg and rode across the impressive pedestrian bridge to Germany to visit the grocery store. Then we biked back to France on a different bridge and tried to find our way north out of the large city. It always seems to be a challenge, and time consuming, to get out of the cities. When we finally figured it out it was closer to noon than our desired depart time of 0930.
We cycled on the west side of the Rhine into a strong headwind. We were on the land side of the levee so we could not see the river at all. And we tried to stay down low to protect us from the wind so we didn’t want to be on top or right alongside the river where we would be completely exposed to the wind. Once again, the riding became a little monotonous. Then the trail scooted to the right to be along the river, then to the left up on top of the levee, and then back down into the protected gully. Oh, such excitement.
As the clock ticked away we realized we were never going to make it to Phillipsburg, Germany. A miscalculation, some perambulations on the road, and it just wasn’t going to happen. And we were now behind schedule. We agreed that we would stop in Karlsruhe, Germany, a large city, because we would have a correspondingly large railway station. In the morning we would ride a train north to catch up. And I volunteered my Garmin services to find a campground in Karlsruhe.
What was I thinking?
The campground was a few kilometers outside of the other side of the city. The bike path dumped us into an industrial section with roads under construction at rush hour. I go nuts when I am stuck in car traffic and I’m on a bike. It’s even tougher for Tom and Ginny because they have harder to maneuver trailers (at one point I stopped just past some railroad tracks and Ginny asked me to move up. I didn’t know why until I turned around and saw her trailer straddling the tracks). The Garmin says it is designed for bicycle tourists. I looked at the instructions for the next turn and it read “Turn left on principal highway.”
If there was a swamp handy, I would have thrown the damn thing.
Finally I went around the cars and the traffic cones. When I turned around I had lost my friends. Somehow, they had managed to get on the other side of the road. I shouted to Tom to find a cafe that had Internet and beer (equal weighting on both).Then I had to cross the construction zone and several trolley tracks to join them. Two beers later and all was well again. We found a reasonable youth-hostile style room near the Rhine, secured the bikes in the garage, ordered a couple of pizzas, and we would worry about the train in the morning.