What a beautiful morning!
Helped by the fact I had a wonderful night’s sleep. This might be due to one of the features of this Ferienwohnung (holiday accommodation) proudly listed on their website:
bedroom with new 7 zone-cold foam mattresses
Or it might be just that I was incredibly tired!
Anyway, I was woken by Poppy whining a little in her crate (she sleeps in it overnight). I let her out and she stood by the door to the apartment so I decided she needed a loo trip. It was 7:30am so I threw on some clothes and came down the stairs quietly; it turned out that the house owner’s car had gone so they obviously got up before me. Poppy seemed to appreciate the chance for the loo and I definitely appreciated the landscape with its snow and frost and sunshine. It may have been minus 11 degrees celsius but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.
When we got back in I went back to bed for half an hour and then decided to get up and make the most of the day.
Normally at home I do my cycling in the morning and then use the afternoon for walking the dog and working. As we’re in unfamiliar surroundings I decided it might be better to take her for her walk in the morning and do my cycling in the afternoon (so she’s tired and can just sleep whilst I am away). This also means it would hopefully not be as perishingly cold when I go out riding and my brakes might have a chance to unfreeze.
So after general faffing and getting ready Poppy and I stepped out at 10am for our walk to Sankt Hubert, the nearest village (about a mile away) to buy some fresh rolls for lunch.
There is a free violin and organ concert at this church on Sunday afternoon so I might go along to that.
At a small crossroads in the middle of the village I found two bakeries and a café/konditorei. Not bad at all! I went into the smaller bakery and made my selection for this afternoon. This was some of what I had to choose from!
I had some lunch (the Brötchen I had bought today and some cheese and ham – after all, I am in Germany) and then it was time to go out cycling.
As usual I’ve been looking online at various cycling routes around here and I had downloaded three different ones to try out (that I had found on GPSies.com). I decided to do one called “Kempen-RundtourNr01-GemütlicheFahradtour.gpx” as it sounded rather nice!
We set off anticlockwise, heading first in a north-westerly direction (into wind, but fortunately the wind wasn’t too strong).
The blue sky of this morning had changed into cloud so it felt a bit cooler but it was decent cycling weather and I had my thermals on.
Up till now the route had been asphalt all the way, although generally super-quiet routes (I only saw a couple of cars in five miles). But now I was on a track which wasn’t quite as good and still snowy although I made reasonable progress.
From Grefrath to Kempen is four and a half miles and it appeared to be mostly on the disused railway line. I used this route from Nettertal from Grefrath a couple of times last August, now I was going on a further section. Lovely smooth asphalt.
This fab cycle route curled round Kempen’s very centre to the east side and then led me through an industrial estate (which was quite nice, not like a UK industrial estate!) and then under a main road, heading towards Sankt Hubert. I rather liked this graffiti on the bridge – politer than normal!
I was in familiar territory now and headed back, detouring slightly to check out the location of the vet with whom I have an appointment on Monday morning. The road to his place was still surprisingly snowy!
Statistics for this ride:
Distance: 24.13 miles
Moving time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Average speed: 9.65mph
Maximum speed: 19.48mph
Average Heart Rate: 122
Maximum Heart Rate: 157
Calories burned: 1024
I had a little play of the piano and the landlady, Gudula, heard me. She came up to ask if I liked singing (I said I did) and whether I’d like to come along to their choir practice this evening. Sounded like a plan so off we went to the Ev. Kirchgemeinde Sankt Hubert and did some singing. In my honour (!!!) we sang a couple of songs in English – Danny Boy and All Around My Hat, both of which I knew but not the alto part but I managed. Gudula is a soprano, I joined the altos and they found me all the music I needed and we had a good sing.
Afterwards, rather amazingly, we had wine and nibbles and drinks.
This isn’t every practice, it was because three of the choir members had birthdays this week, but was very cool. We also sang happy birthday to them (in English) except for the “Dear so-and-so” when we sang “Liebe so-and-so). It was a most enjoyable evening and I had a wide-ranging discussion on the UK and Germany in the EU, the financial crisis, the difference between the American mindset and the UK mindset and more.
As we left the church there was fresh snow – here’s hoping it’s cleared by the morning. Still, it’s been an interesting and varied day and it was great to meet some of the choir members and sing with them.