Day 263 (Germany): Frankfurt - Heidelberg (a sort of homecoming)
daily distance: 90km
total distance: 15,494km
riding time: 4h
The night was way short … way too short. As I mentioned yesterday, I went to bed at 1pm or thereabouts. At 2:49am I was sitting upright in bed and couldn’t sleep any longer. I tried for a bit, but then gave up. And because I couldn’t concentrate on a book I turned on the computer which was conveniently located in the room that I was sleeping in and stayed online for the next few hours until Sandra and Stephan woke up. Crazy stuff I know, but lying around didn’t seem like a good thing either. I tried to keep myself occupied and the computer seemed to be a good way to do that. Plus, the view from Stephan’s room is absolutely amazing (he admits that the view prolonged his submitting his Ph.D. and I can see why).
At the usual hour Sandra and Stephan went back to being judges and I had breakfast with Maike, another Frankfurt friend - including the much-desired Bretzel and Nutella combination. Yummy!!!
This was followed by the first flat on this entire trip. Here you go … 15,404 km over the rough roads that Turkmenistan has to offer or the non-roads in parts of Tajikistan and then you come to Germany and you get the first flat tire. What happened was that the valve probably gave up on the plane. After pumping the tire up last night I found out that the tire was flat when I put the bike down. We quickly found a bike store and I replaced the tube (it was the valve) … and then set out.
And then … out of Frankfurt and further on south. I didn’t leave Frankfurt until 1pm which meant that it would be a close call to make it to Heidelberg, my destination for today. Back in German traffic. It was rather relaxing … cars actually paid attention to cyclists, weren’t completely crazy about where to squeeze themselves into and … most importantly for me … didn’t honk when they overtook you. The weather was largely bad and cold, light rain or snow for the most part. But a beauty of a tailwind almost the entire way. And it was good to be back on the bike. Really nice.
Covered mileage on to Heidelberg and when it got dark approaching Weinheim I decided that it would be better to cover the last part by tram. But as luck would have it, the next tram was an old one where I couldn’t really put my bike into and so I decided to do the last part under my own steam. Which was a lot of fun and a sort of homecoming. Schriesheim, Dossenheim, Handschuhsheim (I used to live there) and a nice reminder of the many times that I ran and biked in that area. The place drew me in rapidly and soon enough I entered my former work place to meet up with some friends. And was met by former colleagues, one of whom was wonderfully caring when she said: “I followed the tour all along and was was worried when I didn’t hear anything for a few days.”
Spent the night at Michi’s place and sort of came full circle. I stayed with Ina and Michi already in Basle on my second day … but I was shot at night. So shot as a matter of fact that I almost fell asleep over dinner.