Odyssey day 35 Cologne to Wesel 75 miles flat

Through a fan oven.

Industry reappears. In one sense on a massive scale, in another it is absorbed into tgey landscape and appears in its place. More juxtaposition of towns, factory and farms, all taken by the mighty Rhine in her stride.

Oh no, Japanese knotweed appears, along with giant hogweed. Good to see the insect cities being promoted.

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A day of fine bridges too.

Cologne

The skyline is dominated by the Dom Cathedral. It stands as a monument to building, including the plucky original workers who put up the spires. Going up its 533 steps you don’t even get to the top. You are afforded a great view including a perspective of what rebuilding a city that was 95% destroyed by Allied bombing.

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The glass roofed railway station and the entry bridge are just what railway stations are about. A grand statement. Do a good job of it too.

The chocolate museum is much better than anticipated. Doesn’t quite give a straight answer to the question it poses in a seemingly transparent way: does chocolate give you diabetes? Fairly open about the poor working practices in some countries and the near monopoly of large multinationals. We scoff the free samples.

Getting hotter.

Odyssey Day 34 Koblenz to Cologne 65miles 300m

Another fine way to enter a city: Riverside cycle path to main bridge, turn left, stop. Taking in some fine architectural sites as well as a connection with Greece and Albania: a scrap yard. Everything ends somewhere.

A day spent following the Rhine through villages and the outskirts of Bonn. They know how to build solid bridges here. A key one is missing at Remargen: paused there to reflect on Jimmy’s experiences 74 years earlier and join in the aspiration the site has for peace. Queue a rant about Brexit.

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Getting hotter. Cycle traffic lighter though it is a Monday.

Odyssey Day 33 Mainz to Koblenz 61 miles, 200m

Good to be back in saddle. Turn right, keep Rhine on right. Stop at Koblenz. Take in another UNESCO site ( this stretch of the Rhine), castles, churches, storks. Fantastic variety. The designation means they also charge silly prices which didn’t include the China.

I particularly like the transport infrastructure. River, road, rail, bike: all parallel. The river and radio had regular and massive goods wagons, interspersed with passenger or tourist carriages. Makes so much sense. Great to see so many cyclists, even if they all think they have the right of way (when clearly that’s ours).

Koblenz is at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine. Like many places here is a mixture of post war rebuild and old. The former is more adventurous than our equivalents.

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Odyssey Day 31 and Heidelberg

Feeling blessed. The room has both a Gideon Bible and a Mormon Book of Prayer.

The University Botanical Gardens are a pretty sanctuary and open on Corpus Christy, the public holiday. Reunited with frogs and their mating noises.

Friday and all is back to normal. Heidelberg feels a young town despite its antiquity. The University days back to 1400s, and still dominates. The Church in the market Square is old too, with links to the Lutherans (first time in ages George Wishart’s name has appeared). Wonderful stained glass and a great tower. The rotating perspex cross casts different light. Perhaps more eloquent than the heat of the Catholic-Protestant claim to the church. Until 1936 it was divided down the aisle by a partition.

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Tomorrow flatter again.