Having not written for a while, this may be some what of a bumper edition.
My path through Germany was in the Main river bound, I followed the Rhine and joined the Main at it's mouth city - Mainz. I then followed this river right up to the snowy source above Bayreuth. By the end of Germany, it felt like I was out on the ski slopes, the same speed and rushing cold wind, just a narrow black band of asphalt ahead of me between the white sheets either side.
There have been a few cases of extreme Germanic behaviour, in a museum cafe awaiting the arrival of Simon, I dropped my helmet on the floor, it skidded to a man reading the paper sitting a meter or two away but a few tables blocked my reach, he examined it carefully without moving,. I fiddled on and then turned to him: 'Einsculdigung, sie mein helmet passen bitte', the reply in perfectly articulated English, 'No'.
'Oh I am sorry it was an accident'.
'There is no problem whatsoever, but, it is not so hard for you to get it' said in an observant tone.
Flawless logic, but delivered with less humanity than a well engineered crankshaft.
I also had the company of an unscheduled but extremely pleasurable escort in Germany, in the form of Simon Kuttruf, a colleague from my days in India. As fascinating a man he was then as is now, and there is a fairly poetic angle: Simon was actually a major source of inspiration for the cycle in the first place. When I met him, he was fresh back from a cycle trip down the length of South America. My young an naive self heard these tales, and figured I would do a round the world trip someday - and here we are.
Whilst cycling with Simon, we bumbled into what I believe to be the 'Spirit of Cycle Touring' incarnated in human form. We caught up with a wizened old man wearing a thick black overcoat, cycling an 'Omafiets' (Grandma city bike) that was more heavily loaded than an Indian farmer's motorbike. We uncovered he was 'Luke from Belgium' and he had cycled for half the year every year for the last few decades, purely in Europe - owing to his lack of a passport and 'Europe being quite big enough'. He camped wild every night irrespective of rain or snow, and lived on 2-3 euros a day to buy rice and pasta. He became a partial hero of mine, but not someone Asli would like me to emulate I think!