Monday, 28 July 2008

Tuesday 15th to Saturday 19th July - Heidelberg/Heidelberg to Karlsruhe

So there, on the most central street in Heidelberg, with the only balcony situated above the dismal tourist-haunted 'Cafe romantik', I was to stay with my host Arne for the next few days. Arne was a fantastic host, before I'd even arrived agreeing to accept delivery of my replacement bike frame and he, his girlfriend Agnieszka and all his flatmates made me feel warm and welcome from the moment I arrived. The city grew on me more and more the longer I spent there, with lots of fantastic little bars tucked away down side streets which really reward exploration. My favourite was the Orange Bar, a living room sized place full of fascinating clockwork regulars and run by a Kurdish Iraqi refugee called Osama, who had famously escaped by donkey and foot to Heidelberg of all places and displayed a gleeful disdain for quaint European things such as smoking bans and closing times.

My frame arrived the day after me, so I headed out to find the nearest friendly bike mechanics and ended up at Madame Velo, a great, grubby little place run by punks and metallers. I was looked after by Daniel and Sebastien, who lent me the full use of their tools and helped me out on the many occasions I needed some expert knowledge, effectively filling in the gaps and teaching me how to strip down and rebuild the bike from scratch! At the end of the day they asked for nothing, they were so kind and really helped to get me back on the road.


So THAT's what a punk bike workshop looks like...


Daniel, the local god of bicycles

The ride to Karlsruhe when I finally and reluctantly left on Saturday was thoroughly boring, flat and featureless farmland. There was some interesting graffiti going on though, as the kids from Heidelberg and Karlsruhe seem to have some kind of street art battle going on, which the local authorities tacitly support by giving up legal wall space in many places. The Black Forest is the next stop for me now, and that certainly will not be dull, flat and featureless!





Av. 18.1 kph, Max. 34.7 kph, Dist. 112 kms, Time 6.11.52

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