Our path into Germany
We entered Germany through the back of the wardrobe, well through a woodland path really, but just as magical and no border signs. Yet another hot, sunny day and a mixture of sensible cycle paths and quiet roads with respectful and considerate drivers, without exception. Our first night was camping by the Rhine with terns’ acrobatic feeding over the water and swallows’ aerial displays over the surrounding fields keeping us entertained.
Germany appears to have embraced green energy in the practical way you’d expect, in stark contrast to the conference I attended in Brighton on my last day at work. We are still harping on and on about how great we will be when… In Germany there are solar clad roofs through towns, villages and farm buildings even here in the north and turbines on every horizon. I am as guilty as the next person in my desperation to protect the landscapes we have left in the UK, but I don’t see any intrusion on the view here. Maybe its just down to space – there’s so much of it here – or maybe because its not ‘my’ view and of course I have no idea about local views over such issues.
The vast expanses of forest throughout Germany are mind blowing. Travelling at our speed you become aware of scale and just enough detail to see the different stages of reversion to broadleaf in some areas. The bird song is immense and there is always a bird of prey in view – red kite, kestral, hen harrier, buzzard….
We immersed ourselves in some German culture with an impromptu night camping by the River Weser with some locals who drive their campers out there every weekend and party to the tunes of the seventies. I drifted off to such classics as Rhinestone Cowboy, Daddy Cool and You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet! They even delivered fresh rolls to our tent on Sunday morning before we set off for kaffee and kuchen in Niemburg, where I couldn’t resist snapping Woolworth and C&A’s next door to each other, both thriving.
My fourth cycling trip through west Germany has again left me feeling great warmth for the people we’ve met and a fascination with its landscape and wildlife and I can’t wait to see the eastern regions.