Its been a long time since the last post and an update is well and truly due. For the last 6 months we have been living in Bonn, Nord-Rhein Westfalia, Germany. Initially we stayed with Jasmin’s parents while we searched for jobs and looked for an apartment. At the moment though we are living in Poppelsdorf (just outside Bonn city center), Jasmin is working in a climbing hall and I am working in an Irish pub (a fitting position for me).
As we left winter in the Southern Hemisphere, we got back just in time for the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Facing our second winter in the space of a year was not a very enticing prospect. Motivation to cycle was low and exercise wasn’t considered much at all. But I find winter a good time to be productive with your health and a good time to train in preparation for future adventures/summer/life. Just finding the motivation is the hard thing.
Luckily for us, our jobs required a lot of commuting by bike. When we were staying with Jasmin’s parents, Jasmin had a 14km (there and back) trip to work and I had a 22km trip. Nothing compared to what we where doing in New Zealand but none-the-less some kilometers cycled on the days we worked. Another good thing about Jasmin’s job in the climbing hall is that we get to go climbing a lot. To add to that I go running a few times a week and do a short calisthenics routine most evenings. Also, eating a (semi) healthy diet means that we have retained some level of fitness through the winter.
It was particularly wet these last couple of months. Travelling in New Zealand had destroyed some of our rain gear, my jacket especially was leaking like a sieve by the end… It was time to invest in some new gear against the weather. Now, I finally have a jacket and shoes that repel water and Jasmin has new Gore-Tex gloves. We also had to kit out the bikes with lights for the short days. Most of our cycling over the past few months has been done in the dark.
Germany is one of the most cyclist friendly places in the world and its an awesome place to live if you spend more time on your bike than off it. Jasmin and I cycle everyday (not just for work), even if it’s just into town for a coffee or down to the shop to load up the panniers with groceries. Every now and then I go on a long cycle, sometimes to clear my head, sometimes just to get my heart rate up. Normally I follow the bike paths that run along the big rivers in the region, namely the Rhein and the Sieg. There are also the Sieben Gebirge (The Seven Mountains) close by which are great for cycling in, especially if you feel like tackling some hills.
As for our plans for future bike trips, nothing is set in stone yet. But we are dreaming of different routes we could take on a daily basis. We have a big world map on our wall which we look at all the time. Sometimes we trace a line from Germany to the East and think, what would be the best route to Asia through the Middle East. Other times we imagine cycling South towards Spain and Portugal to escape the cold weather. America’s West Coast, Australia, Iceland and many other countries and continents beckon us to explore. We are not sure what route we will end up taking but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is getting out there. So, our plan for the future is to travel more.