Odyssey Day 37 Arnhem to Amsterdam 63 miles flat

Arnhem has the only hill in the Netherlands. And a reminder that fast moving bikes and scooters don’t make for a good mix.

After that it’s dedicated cycle tracks through forests and canals almost all the way to Amsterdam. Feels wealthy manicured.

Approaching the capital the wild flowers are a mass of pink and blue. The cyclists are also a mass: anarchy that seems to work if you can suspend rational thinking and plough in. The scooters are terrifying. No helmets to be seen: we never used to wear them. This trip has changed that habit reinforced by the accidents where the helmets worked as designed.

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We arrive. Champagne and off to get stitches out. EHIC works its magic again.

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.

Odyssey Day 36 Wesel to Arhem 51miles flat

Following the Rhine, the houses soon (in Germany) feel different. Just be a border thing. That didn’t exist: one moment the signs are in German, the next Dutch. Curtis are looking good: fresh crops or newly harvested hay.

Industry is never far away, especially from the river. We’re mainly on the flood defence embankments, a truly impressive scale of engineering for miles.

Giant hogweed, Shetland ponies are strange sights but not as half as strange as the life size statues adorning the town’s. The solar panels are different too! (Look closely at the photos),

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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.