|Thursday, August 3
Zutphen to Xantem
5 hrs 6 min
I am on my own today. Totally. I had hoped that Cor would lead me out of Zutphen and point me in the right direction. No; his back was getting worse and he was taking the drastic action of staying off his bicycle.
It was 9:30 when I cycled in front of Cor’s home for some obligatory bon voyage photos. A right hand turn and I was down the road heading for the Rhine River. Forty five minutes later I was taking shelter in a highway bus shelter from a rain storm.
While I waited out the shower an elderly lady pulled in to also seek shelter from the storm. She was heading off to Devinder, some 30 kms away. She had been on the road for 15 kms so far. She was wearing a dress and hadn't broken a sweat yet. She didn't think it a big deal what she was doing. So how could I brag about what I was doing. We had a pleasant conversation and then bid each farewell and headed in opposite directions.
I was doing good with my direction; stay on the highway until Knooppunt 38 appears. But I found Knooppunt 32 which led to 38 and was actually a shortcut. I took it and for a change it worked out. Cor had given me a series of Knooppunts to follow from 38 which would lead me to Emmerich and the Rhine.
I lost the thread. My direction started to drift west, too much west. I had to do a major correction and track more east with my south. I found Emmerich, just the wrong side of it. Then I passed through the city and over the Rhine. Then keeping my left hand in the Rhine River I continued on to Xantem. And the pathways were more of what I was familiar with back home; cracked, tree rutted, patchy. How do the Dutch get away with such fine pathways?
In the center of Xantem I found a tourist information shop. The attendant didn’t seem that friendly toward cyclists but I was able to pry a map of the Xantem area from her. She had shown me a glossy fold up map of the Rhine Route which sold for about 10 euros. I decided to buy and went to get the money. Except it wasn’t for sale. It was the last copy. Duh? Why display if it is not for sale? Whom am I to set the Germans right.
With help from a cyclist I find the campground which is about six kilometers back from the direction I had entered town. Oh well, at least there was a campground. I checked in and found a spot in a large field which was unoccupied. I set up my tent and then went to shower.
There was a restaurant on site. While I was rehydrating via cold beer, a couple of female cyclists pulled in to the campground. Chatting with them later I found out that one of them was from Ireland and the other from the Netherlands. They were doing a small tour that included stops at major art festivals in Germany. One happened every five years and the other was on a ten year basis and both would coincide with their trip.
I had supper at the restaurant. When in Germany eat what the Germans eat: bratwurst and potatoes. Hydrated and fuelled I retired to my tent. Tomorrow would have me coming close to Duesseldorf.
Check out the Relive video of today's ride. Cut and paste to your browser.