Without-a-map: Maastricht – Mt Blanc and back. Pt.5, the Rhine

After crossing five countries without gps, maps or navigation except for my compass, the sun and my own made maps I’ve found the Rhine. My ticket home. Maybe…

I was happy to find the river that is one of the two big rivers in the Netherlands. Surely if I would follow this one I would end up home. But I also noticed the Black forrest in Germany was close by, and fore sure I had to check this out! A detour of three days was made to climb the hills of the Black Forrest with my bike. Now this was traving without a map again! A cool map was made by Mathias, who I met while camping, and a cool place to sleep was explained.

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This was not like the mountains, this was different. Climbing up for an hour, and downhill for 10 minutes. And again, and again. It nearly broke me. I’ve never went uphill screaming full of aggresion. I’d like to call it “constructive aggression”. But damn, after this I was done cycling uphill in 30+C.

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Quickly I found the Rhine back and started following it like described on the map Mathias made for me. 2 days passed where I just followed the Rhine. 2 days of nothing else then a river on 1 side, a gravel path, and trees on the other.

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There I went, on my way to Karlsruhe, where a hostel and an international beerfestival (nice surprise!) would be waiting for me. Finally in Karlsruhe, I found out I’ve been cycling northeast for 100 kilometers, in stead of northwest… The joys of cycling without a map, right?

Although cycling without a map is enjoyable, it teaches you how to be flexible and to go with the flow. I notice I am way more appearent of the surrounding and where I need to go. Detours are part of the day and frustration is a part of making a huge detour. If you want to learn how to deal with frustration, cycle without a map, it might leave you more relaxed then before…

Now I’m getting closer to Maastricht, just 500 kilometers left. At least I think.

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