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After my 3 days rest at The fantastic Zellingen I set off at 8.45am with the intention of covering about 100km.
The river Main twists and turns in huge sweeping curves like when you shake a child’s skipping rope. There are lots of potential shortcuts but I chose to stick to the river route per my original plan. “George” my bike had a quick service at the weekend and fresh oil applied,his 3rd of the trip .
I felt really good today , the weather has been kind , cloudy but warm 23′ soon I was at Lohr then Markt-Heidenfeld passing some very pretty places .

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I stopped for a few minutes to watch a German Shepherd dog working the sheep and a great job he was doing .

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Lunch was taken at the very pretty Wertheim , a Great banana split , along with two cups of coffee .

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On the river you see many of the barges plying their trade , carrying all kinds of cargo. Today I passed this barge and if it had any more cargo it would be officially classed as a submarine!!

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The water was only cm’s from lapping over the sides!
Soon after I passed Miltenberg and still feeling great rode on . I’m now at Gross Wallstadt , camping on the riverside for free . The has been some kind of festival and there are a few groups of people still camping so I asked if it was ok for the night , they said “yes” so here I stay until the morning then head to Frankfurt . I’ve put in a warmshower request but as yet heard nothing so time will tell . If not I have other options open to me as there a several campsites along the river.
Today I’ve cycled 146km ( approx 85-90 miles , feel fantastic . It’s another very nice evening and now I’m going to make myself something to eat.
Toos. (goodbye)

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BBQ

Again I have been amazed at the kindness of people and the friendship they have shown.
Last night along with Nico and Ralph I was invited to a Barbecue . The person holding the party was Nina, along with her partner Footsie,and her very pretty 7 yr old daughter, and Nina’s mother.
We ate very well and the food fantastic.

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I took along 6 beers , my Iphone with all my music on, which ended up playing a lot of Bob Marley and we drank just about every kind of Schnapps that there is.! My favourite and probably the funniest name was “feckin” We got through two bottles of that alone!
I also showed my skill ! at playing the watering can!

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The party went on till 5am then I walked backed to my tent to this very nice view .

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My plan was to stay 2 days but as I’ve only had about 4 hours sleep and was very tired ,even though i was amazed at the fact i did not have a hang over at all, I was going to cycle on.
Hearing the rain on the tent was not a good start but I started to pack up ready for leaving. Then i got invited to breakfast so by the time that was over, it was 11.30am and the sun was starting to come out. I thought to myself “Have another day, Its a great place, great people, then start again in the morning”. A very wise decision.

I wish to thank NIna , and all her family, friends for a fantastic night. – Prost.

Ralph, who is a miner and Nico were setting off and they have been great guys to camp next too and talk with. Ralph spoke good English and helped me learn more German!

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I was going to just chill out this afternoon but got invited to the outdoor swimming baths next to the site with Nina, Footise, and Leah. After their kindness last night I paid for us to get into the pool, €9 which was a bargin for this .

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The water was cool but by no way cold and it was great to be able to get some decent swimming time in. At 5.00 pm I had burger and chips, and we left at 5.45 pm. Im now really tired, the site is almost deserted as most of the people are weekenders , but Nina, Footsie and her daughter are still here for the moment, setting off soon to head back home.
My plan now is to enjoy the evening sunshine, have a single beer, relax and get an early night ready for a start at 7.30 in the morning.

Thank you everybody at Campingplatz Zelling am Main.

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Rest Day.

After my decision yesterday to carry on for another few weeks, today ive taken as a rest day.
There was a party at the campsite for one of the regulars last night so I ended up having a few beers, food, improving my German, along with a very good time.
The combined effect of good company, beer, and being tired enabled me to sleep very well and i never heard one of the goods trains rattling along on the far bank of the river.
This morning I felt great, and made the instant decision to have a rest day.
I was offered a beer at 9.30am but politely declined at 11:00 am I accepted;).
One of the site regulars, Frank has himself made a sauna which took him 100 hrs to make from scratch.

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So guess who is going to have a sauna and been invited to a barbecue tonight.

ME 🙂

The sun is very warm today with a tempreture of 25′ so as I’ve been cycling down the river Main for 4 days now I thought it only fair that I took the chance to swim in it.

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Also why not show you how much weight the little fat buddha has lost 😉

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So today has been a very wise decision to take the rest day, and incase you were wondering how i do the blog here it is. Today is a luxury day , Im sitting at a small table , sharing a few cold beers, in the sunshine, talking to Frank.

PROST (CHEERS)

Not giving up yet!

As you know , this morning i was very close to saying “thats it” .
Last night i chose to wild camp on the bank of the River Main as yet I’ve only wild camped once. For those of you who do not know what wild camping is it where you find a secluded spot normally away from prying eyes and camp for free.
Just outside the town of Wipfeld I found the ideal spot. It was about 1km away from the town on a bend in the river and 100 metres from a bridge. it had good cover and i went about 40 metres away rom the cycle path behind some woodland.
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I saw nobody at all slept very well but set my alarm for 5.45am to give me time to pack up before people started to wake . It was then the sky darkened quickly, the usual rumble of thunder in the distance, then a cool wind , then the lightening. Im learning fast the sequence of events. I had seconds earlier packed the tent and loaded my panniers then it began. It was raining harder than I’ve seen in a long time bouncing off the river and the wind was making sweeping patterns on the river.20120706-195755.jpg
The thunder was loud but one particular bit of lightening directly above my head made me say “F*ck Me” it was really close and as i was standing under a tree for some shelter! it was not pleasant at all.
I stood like a drowned rat for 20 mins while it just kept on going .
When you in a situation like that you ask yourself the question “what the hell am I doing.” “This is not fun anymore”.
And so my decision was made to give up and head back home.
The rain was so bad that when i was taking a few pictures to show on the blog , water got into my iPhone and misted up the camera lens for a half the day.20120706-200508.jpg
I passed some beautiful vines which cover the surrounding hills as this is a serious wine region, but as the camera was misted up there was no point in taking the pictures, also like me the battery was nearly flat.
I passed the town of Sommerach which on Saturdayis hosting a wine festival. The small main street was closed off and hundreds of tables with benches lined the street , along with temporary bars , bursting with beer barrels. The tables were sopping wet and it looked like the party was over not going to begin!
I passed the town of Kitzingen, and the sun was starting to appear again, another pattern of events, crap mornings followed by bright sunshine as the day goes on with warm temperatures. I was on my second change of clothes for the day and at last the camera lens cleared up but the battery was flat. Lunch was called for!
In the town of Ochsenfurt I stopped at a restaurant on the street , and had fresh fish with potatao wedges, carrots, brocolli, and mixed veg. It was delightful to eat fish for the first time in ages. I asked the lady if she would charge my phone while i ate and this was no problem.
A couple of weeks ago i went through the town of warendorf, where they have painted horses along the streets, well in Ochsenfurt, they have painted bulls! I was sat directly at the table behind the bull.
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I kept going till i came to Wurzburg another very nice place and at last the sun was high and bright in the sky. it makes all the difference.20120706-211136.jpg20120706-211224.jpg
I was still at this point undecided on my plans when `i went around a blind corner and two young boys about 12! came flying around on my side, the first one swerved and missed me the second was not so lucky, hitting the side of my panniers and finding out why tarmac is harder than human skin!. He went a good 6 metres on his side and hands. I slammed on my brakes stopped to see if he was ok after calling him few choice “Geordie swear words”. He picked himself up dusted off his pride along with some gravel and buggerd off, bet next time he stays on his own side!

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After serious consideration, Ive decided to carry on for another 2-3 weeks, and home by end of July.
A special person i know taught me to be more determined and focused in my life so thats what I’m now doing.
I feel physically great,apart from still having a sore left shin, but the pain killers are keeping that at bay.
everyday I see some fantastic sights, meet some great people. If I can get passed this bad spell of weather then its all good and I planned a certain route so im sticking to it. I know people have said , fly south, or change my plans but I’m not I want to follow the route I planned all those months ago.
I want to take this chance to thank everybody for the encouraging emails, texts , and the particular emails from my family. Also my mate George, who at a very low point took the time to call me and we ended up having a good laugh on the phone for 20 mins. thats true friendship. cheers mate.
So on we go . Tonight Im camped at Zellingen, another day in which ive cycled 100 km + thats now 5 days off the trot, but its not hard work as the River Main is pretty flat compared to my last two previous routesThe site is very nice at €9 euro all in and again all the facilities that you need. Im pitched next to two German motor cyclist, Ralph and Nico touring their own country, they are riding nice bikes,

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The campsite is right on the river side and one of the drawbacks is that on the other side of the river is the railway line and so far about 30 goods trains have gone past each about 50 carriages long! The very nice ferry cruises for the wealthy sail passed and i tried to take a picture of one but they are so long i could not fit it all in the picture!

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There is a Birthday party on for one of the camp regulars and the party is in full swing, they have asked me to join them so i’m off for a few beers, maybe a rest day tomorrow!!

Worst storm yet

I wild camped on the banks of river main last night . Great place slept great. Up at 5.45am quickly packed up as I could see what was going to happen .
The worst lightening , thunder rain storm of the trip so far. Just got packed the wind picked up then it began . Rumbling thunder close by then lightening and right above me. When your sheltering under a tree and it right above you it’s not fun the lightening got so bad one flash above me made me say those immortal words
F#ck Me”.

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Now at 7.50 am I’m again soaking wet . Changing my clothes , I’ve good waterproofs but they can only take so much .
Im seriously considering today if I should call it a day . Save the rest of my money and head back . The forecast for the rest of the weekend is the same !!
I will decide some stage today .

Update

This blog is long so be warned.

Let me start by saying the reason for no blogs the last few was due to personal reasons and leave it at that.
One thing i can say is that at the age of 47 i’m as fit now as i was when i was 25 . I’ve lost a lot of weight (fat) and developed some cracking good leg muscles again,and now I have a flat stomach.
Im getting stronger all the time and into a very good routine . I even know where everything is in my panniers and have a half empty one for when i buy fresh food. Its only taken me 5 weeks to get to this stage but hey- ho.
Where have i been and wheat have i been upto?
One problem I have developed while on this trip is trying to remember what day it is without checking my iPhone, every day is a cycling day or rest day. its that simple!
The 2nd of July!! started by going through a small village and a crowd of people were waiting on the street. Soon the reason for the crowd was coming down the street ,it was a vintage car rally .
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Ive lots more pics but also got lots more to add to this update so will post them at some time in the future.
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soon after it started to rain, oh what a suprise, I cycled for a couple of hours then took a lunch break in this shelter to at least have some rest bite from it.
I either having brilliant sunshine with very high 27-35 temperature or torrential rain. But whatever the weather you see some amazing sights along the way. 20120704-190332.jpg20120704-190410.jpg20120704-190432.jpg
Ive climbed some serious hills hence the now solid leg muscles20120704-190600.jpg20120704-190645.jpg
and that is the look of sheer agony, but satisfaction at completing a 12% climb for 2.5km without stopping and grinding away in the lowest gear.
I can certianly recommend the campsite at Joditz its very nice , clean and good value.
From Joditz my travels took me to Hof and the Fernwehpark where they have a collection of signs from all over the world.
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Hof took me to Munchberg then Sparneck where i stopped to take a picture of this 70 yr old mans garden who makes everything himself20120704-191616.jpg
I arrived a Zell the town near the source of the river Saale at 5pm but wanted to ride the extra 2 km into the forest to see the very source. Its a hell of a climb be warned. and the sign post to the source is pointing up the hill once in the forest , look out for a small track to the right or you will miss it.
I found it and took several pictures some i published yesterday but here are some more.20120704-191931.jpg20120704-192024.jpg20120704-192056.jpg
I was totally alone in the forest and as ive said my emotions from the last few days from personal stuff got to me and I shed a few tears. I sat at the source for about half an hour just reflecting on my life this trip and the future!
Deciding that I deserved a treat i booked myself into a very nice hotel (there are only two in the main st) showered then had a well deserved meal and beer with chips for the first time in 5 weeks ! 20120704-192740.jpg
This morning i had a wonderful breakfast paid my bill a total of €49 including my room , breakfast, meal from last night and 3 beers.
I set off at 9.45 in glorious sunshine and a temperature of 30 ‘.
I headed to Bad Bernbeck to pick up the river Wiesser Main Then Kulmbach following the very good signs .

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Ive cycled 105 km today from Zell passing through Kulmbach, Bergkunstadt, Lichten -fels Bad Staffelstein and now camped at the very nice site at Unterbrunn

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So thats me back uptodate with the blog .
Im physically very strong now , got some very nice cycling ahead of me and heading down the river Main towards Frankfurt on Main.
Alex .

River Saale – Source

Look where I’ve made it too.
The very source of the River Saale.

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I’m totally alone in the forest , and man enough to admit , Ive had a few tears.
The last few days, for various reasons, some personal have been an emotional roller coaster in my life.
I’m bloody proud of myself.
Xxx
Alex .