- Distance Instructions
- Distance 56 km
- Time 3 h 49 min
- Speed 13.2 km/h
- Min altitude 0 m
- Peak 0 m
- Climb 763 m
- Descent 755 m
The day's events started again with a cat, named Max.
I was sitting outside on the door mat and putting on my shoes, leaving the door open because I was not a 100% certain that I already had put all my stuff outside to put it on my bike.
And then Max came along. He and his friend Zora should not be in the house while nobody is at home, so I closed the door a bit, thought for a bit and since Max was moving in, closed the door shut. I went to the garage and even before I opened the door, I realized that my drinking bottles were still inside the house....damn....
I called Sabina, my host mum, and left a message on voice mail, hoping that there would be a spare key somewhere close. After 10 minutes she called me back and indeed there should have been a spare key, only it wasn't where it was supposed to be (or I overlooked it). Plan B was that Sabina was in the area and that I could have her key, get my bottles and bring the key back to her. I cycled to the given address (at least I assumed it was) and waited there for 30 more minutes for nothing.
It was already pretty hot, so I wrote Sabina a note that I was going to leave. I bought a bottle of water and finally got on my way.
The first part went pretty well, I cycled along the Dortmund-Ems-Canal which connects the Ruhr area and the North Sea for shipping goods.
Unfortunately, the cycling path along the canal seems not to be one of the important ones, so there are only signs indicating the distances to the next village but not for the long distance destinations, like Dortmund. Often signs are missing at intersections and one has to cycle into the presumed direction before eventually there is the next sign - or not. There are also no benches or places to rest and only very few restaurants or cafés are advertised along the way. Overall not a very customer-friendly cycling route.
I was also still upset about the whole drinking bottle, cat and key thing and was cursing more or less during the whole day. I tried to stop but then another opportunity, like a missing sign or me losing the way completely, occurred and it all started over. During the same time the temperatures rose and reached about 30°C at 2 PM which didn't really help the situation.
Additionally, I was a bit unsure about my accommodation for the following night: On AirBnB it was described as "centrally located" when I was looking for Dortmund but when I entered the address into my phone, it showed a description to Luenen which is a town about 15 k from Dortmund. This also made me worried and more and more upset since I had to leave the already hard to find cycle path and had then to cycle along the roads again, checking my phone every 5-8 minutes for directions.
And running around in circles of fuming thoughts, it never occurred to me that this address might be the wrong one.....(in retrospect: some people ARE asking for disaster.... ;-) )
Finally, around 3 PM, I arrived at Luenen, town center. At first, I wanted to take a hotel right then and there and cancel my accommodation because I was so fed up. I also didn't want to cycle around to find the address which was very obviously far from "centrally located", even in Luenen. I asked at one hotel but they were already fully booked. So I decided to take it slowly and find this stupid address.
After that, I cycled around through the surroundings of Luenen (which is not on the track any more) for another 1.5 hours (cycling, going wrong, circling back,....) before I finally made it to the Bruederweg in Luenen. Only to realize that this was not the correct address at all. What a nightmare....
I considered a good cry for a few seconds....and then suddenly all the negative emotions haunting me the whole day left at once and my practical sense kicked in.
I checked the address again with my phone and - what a surprise - there is a Bruederweg in Dortmund as well....darn....or good ;-)
So, I had two options: canceling the room in Dortmund and try to find an accommodation in Luenen. Not such a good idea because there are only three hotels and the hotel manager I asked didn't even know IF there is a tourist information center in Luenen.
Or I could make my way to Dortmund.
Cycling the 15 k was out of question. My upper thighs and upper arms were sunburned, I was already pretty confused and had drunk probably not enough water during the day. So I decided to take the train.
I wrote Laci, my host, a notice that I had gone to the wrong address but that I was going to be there within the next hour or so. not knowing of the final surprise the Deutsche Bahn had in mind for me.
First thing at the train station in Luenen was that the elevator didn't work. (and no, I won't comment on the state of German train stations....) Luckily, some teen boys were hanging out close by and one of the guys, took one of his cronies and together they carried my bike up the stairs....I was beyond being thankful because with unloading and re-loading the bike I would never had made it in the four minutes before the train was due.
As you assume correctly, it didn't arrive after four minutes - but after 24.
In the meantime, there was no announcement, no notice on the display board, just a big fat N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Nobody knew what was going on or if or when the next train would arrive. Some people told others that the previous train was canceled altogether. Then there were rumors that there might be another train on another track and some of the people left but I couldn't follow because I was stuck with my bike. So I stayed put and miraculously, another couple of minutes later the train arrived on our track. Yippieh ay ey.....
And more luck for me (it seems that after all I am a lucky girl): two wheel chair drivers were in my compartment because otherwise I would have had the same bike-lifting problem in Dortmund....I couldn't find an elevator or escalator at all on our track, in Dortmund!!!! Unbelievable.
So I followed the wheel chair drivers and was allowed to ride the cargo elevator with them and was then also guided through the station underground labyrinth right to the main entrance.
Finding Laco's apartment was then a piece of cake because it actually WAS centrally located. So at 7 PM I had finally arrived at my destination but I was absolutely beat.
I took a shower and had a quick chat with Laco and his neighbor who were drinking coffee together and was probably asleep at 9:30PM.