Diepholz to Zeven
I woke up this morning at 7am to the sound of pouring rain. The bed was comfortable but I felt exhausted and my head hurt. I got up and looked in the mirror, I had bags under my eyes. Yesterday was a hard day. Today would be much better, but I didn’t know it yet.
Breakfast was served from 7 and I went down at half past, the lady was already there and had prepared my place. I had asked her the night before if she could prepare a vegetarian breakfast, and I got the standard breakfast without meat: an egg, cheese, jam, two bread rolls and a big jug of coffee. It was a good breakfast and cost comparatively little, just €5.
I went upstairs and packed my stuff away, left the key in the door and went down to bike, it was raining mildly and I dug out the cycle computer which I had canibalised from my racer in Berlin. I wripped the old one off (I didn’t have the computer unit for it) and put the new one on, then I realised I didn’t steal the accompanying wheel-magnet from the Racer, but luckily the existing one worked (as you would expect, with it just being a magnet, but I’m sure I have had problems before, maybe to do with strength and sensor sensitivity). I calibrated it to my 26" wheel, I hope. Otherwise my distances will be wrong.
I set off. As already mentioned I didn’t feel great, but was better for the breakfast. Pretty soon my legs and hips started aching, and it got gradually worse for about an hour and I wondered if I would even make it to Bremen. If I stopped the bike and put weight on my right leg it would seize up painfully.
I noticed that the pain happened most significantly when my leg extended, and the seat was quite high, I lowered it and it was immediately better. Over the subsequent hour it got gradually worse but then it just got better again.
As with yesterday, it alternated between rain and wind and sun. Occasionally I would feel a warmth run though my body and I thought that this was my immune system (or something) kicking in - maybe it decided that this level of exertion wasn’t going to stop, so it did something about it. Whatever happened I was soon at a self-sustaining level and 3 hours after I started I knew I would have any more problems. I am now sitting in the campsite and my legs feel fine.
The route was mostly flat today, which accounted for my good time, I managed to keep an average speed of around 20kmph, my overall average is lower because I cycled through Bremen.
It was about 65km to Bremen from Diepholz and I was there at around 12:30 in time for lunch. I was looking for places to sit down, got to the toilet and buy a drink. Its usually quite to rare to find all three of these things together (and I have often postponed my lunch by hours just looking for two of them) so I was happy when I encountered the banks of the Weser. There were many benches (with back rests) all the green, grassy, banks. There was a mobile toilet (good because I could keep my bike close), and a kiosk.
River Weser, Bremen
I went to the loo, got a Club-Maté drink (€1.80 - pretty expensive) and sat down and cracked open a can of baked beans and the stale bread buns I had bought the day before.
I cycled through the center of Bremen, and saw the Bremer Dom (Bremen Cathedral) and the Alte Rathaus (old town hall). Very gothic looking structures. I also saw a strange large tower, and I wondered if it was Europes tallest Minaret - but it was the Fallturm (literally fall tower) in which 9 seconds of weightlessness can be produced apparently).
I would have liked to have stayed longer in Bremen, but this trip is all about getting as far up the west coast as Norway as possible in a month.
Not wanting to be stuck for accommodation again I had downloaded the offline map Lower Saxony which includes POIs (Points Of Interest), among which are campsites. There was a campsite in the town of Zeven which I guessed would be around the 100km mark, so that was my destination.
I rolled past the 100km barrier and felt good. Probably could have kept going all the way to Hamburg, but again maybe a bit too early in the tour for really long distances.
The cycle network in Germany has been really good, I haven’t cycled on a single busy road, there are always cycle paths, and most of them are pretty good.
In Zeven I have found a great campsite (Camping Sonnencamp). It cost €10 (showers included) and I have pitched my tent next to a shelter with a picnic table inside, and there is a power outlet. It is peaceful and the sun is out.
Camping Office, Sonnencamp, Zeven