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Follow The Thin Blue Line

October 26, 2009

It is almost a week since my last post. I would like to be writing more, but my laptop screen smashed a couple of weeks ago and I have found it hard to find internet cafes in western Europe. The laptop should be fixed within a few weeks, but until then blogs may be sporadic. I must hit the road shortly as I am in a race against time to get to Passau to meet friends this Friday evening, but here is a quick blog to keep all updated….

In the past week I have learnt alot. I have learnt that in Belgium the language seems to change every few kilometres; I have learnt that I can cycle 100kms a day; and I have learnt that I should plan my route more carefully from now on, always trying to follow the thin blue line on the map. Rivers are, by definition, almost flat to cycle alongside. Germany has over 45,000km of cycle paths and most of them follow rivers. So if my route looks strange, that is the reason.

Here are a few “Moments of the Week:”

Best Moment: yesterday, cycling through the UNESCO World Heritage Site where the calm of the Nahe River meets the power of the Rhine. Stunning vineyard covered valleys and autumn at its best.

Worst Moment: The day spent cycling from Saarburg to Nohfelden. The weather looked suspiciously cloudy as I sat and ate my breakfast. But locals know best, so I asked the campsite proprietor what she thought the day held in store. “Sun all day, don’t worry young man!” Now think of the hardest rain imaginable, an that is what it was like all day. Thanks old lady.

Least Funny Moment: when a car pulled up next to me on the road and the driver wound down the window and said “Hey, you know it’s quicker if you drive!” Some readers may find that vaguely amusing, but I can assure those readers that after quite a few kilometres of cycling in the pouring rain, it was pretty far from funny. Plenty of good retorts came to mind afterwards, but at the time I just smiled and rode on…

Eureka Moment: as I pedalled out of Durbuy, in Belgium, and down river valley after river valley, I began to really appreciate my surroundings, and my journey. Until then I had been unable to focus on the present, always thinking “God it’s a long way to Brisbane, I’m never going to get there.” But that day my energy levels were so high and the cycling became easy. I began to enjoy the moment rather than worrying about what lay ahead. Since then I have found it easier. I give myself targets, and reward myself every time I reach that target: I turn my ipod off untilI reach a certain town, and then when I get there, I listen to 5 songs as a reward; I buy a Mars Bar and tell myself that I’m allowed it after I have cycled 15 more kilometres. I simply can’t cycle without a goal…maybe I should learn to!

But today my first goal, apart from leaving the Youth Hostel in Frankfurt where I spent a great evening drinking with a French Canadian, two Germans and two Americans, is to find treasure. Yes, I have been set a treasure hunt in Frankfurt! As I was cycling through the western suburbs yesterday evening, I was joined by a mountain biker, Rasmus, who was interested in my trip. I happened to tell him about my lights getting stolen on my first night in France. Late last night I got an email from him saying that he had left some bike lights for me in a bike water bottle under a picnic table on my way out of Frankfurt….so I’m off to look fo them! Thanks Rasmus, I hope I find them!

Next blog likely to be from the town of Passau on the German / Austrian border….550kms to do before then, in 5 days…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ray Higginbottom permalink
    October 26, 2009 11:12 am

    Hi oli

    So glad that the ride is changing for you. A year of just pushing yourself every day and not appreciating the places and people you’re passing by or meeting would be a waste. Hope the treasure hunt is successful and enjoy whatever’s round the next bend.

  2. October 27, 2009 12:39 pm

    Great work mate! Sounds like you’re loving it and Im getting very excited about my own trip now. Keep smashing those miles and all the best with it!

  3. amber permalink
    October 28, 2009 9:29 pm

    in keeping with your blog above:

    Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life. By Eckhart Tolle

  4. Emma permalink
    November 6, 2009 11:21 pm

    Oli Your blog/website is great – very interesting to hear news of your amazing adventure. Good luck and look forward to reading the next installment. Emma (C), next desk from 55!

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