May 15, 2010 GMT
15th May 2010 - Germany

The overnight ferry trip (Stena - Harwich, UK to Den Haag, Holland) was fantastic. We had a 5 berth cabin with 3 singles and one double bed and a nice hot shower. It was very cosy.

Got to Holland at 07:45 after a good sleep. Had a good day today. Weather started off nice and sunny. Had breakfast before we got off the ferry. Left Den Haag and spent most of the day riding. Went through Utrecht and stopped for a break in Arnhem. Stopped at a hotel for a break and discovered they had free wi-fi so phoned some friends in Australia via skype for a chat about our trip.

Weather started to get colder once we got to Germany. At this point I discovered I hadn't brought enough warm clothes! Rich gave me his neck warmer which made a massive difference. I have learned never to underestimate the importance of wearing the right clothes on long journeys. I enjoyed it far more once I was warmer. Got to a place called Kassel and started to look for a B & B. The plan for the trip was to mostly camp but it was a very cold day and we both wanted a bit of comfort. First hotel - only single rooms available and Rich suspected it might be a brothel! 2nd hotel only single rooms. 3rd hotel 85 euros which was more than we were prepared to pay and the hotel was smelly. 4th hotel looked great but there was only a dog in reception who was very friendly and seemed quite happy to see me but was unable to tell me if there were any rooms. It was now 6pm and we really just wanted to find somewhere. Stopped at a petrol station and Rich managed to find a more detailed map than ours which showed a campsite in a place called Ahnatal. We passed a lovely looking pub on the way. Popped in - no rooms available. Up to now everyone we had spoken to seemed fairly abrupt. Got to the campsite and initially thought it didn't look like a campsite, more like a pub with a couple of caravans round the back. Not very big. Then we found Heidi. Really lovely and so welcoming! She didn't speak much English but showed us to a spot where we could pitch the tent and nothing was too much trouble. She brought over a slab of concrete for the bike stand so it didn't sink into the mud.

When I asked her how much to pitch the tent she said 'very cheap' and smiled. Once we got the tent up we found her again and she introduced us to her husband, Peter, who told us it would be 9 Euros and 50 cents for the night. And then he bought us both a beer!

It also turned out that Heidi was a biker. Heidi and Peter made a huge difference to our first night away. They were so friendly and great company. It was a very simple place. They had a big room that they used as a bar (the bar was a big fridge full of beer etc) and there were a few tables and chairs and a tv. Lots of people turned up during the evening for drinks, cards and to watch the football. We went to bed at 9.15pm as both pretty tired. Planning to get up at 6am tomorrow. I didn't enjoy the riding much today as mostly motorways but we knew this would be the case. I think the best riding is yet to come.

Posted by Richard Tibbetts at May 15, 2010 11:25 PM GMT

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