Week 14 : Luftplatz Michaëlisdonn – Nordenham – Erica (NL)

Tuesday 21/8 : Luftplatz Michaëlisdonn – Hechthausen  (65 km – 135m D+)

As the pinkish-blue sky had heralded Monday evening, the sun was already high up in the sky when I crawled out of my tent Tuesday morning. No rain in the air, this was the time to repair a few tiny punctures in my tent, to tighten my front brake and fix the seam of the little bag that my ex-colleague Marc Blondeel gave me as a present. I took my mobile phone too many times out of this bag.


Before I left Camping Flugplatz, I made a selfie picture with the young German couple that had camped next to me and I filmed a plane that took off from the adjacent runway.

Due to the sunny weather, I cycled like a leasurely cyclist rather than a kilometer cruncher. The path alongside the Elbe was too bumpy to ride at a high speed anyway. The trajectory was interrupted by two ferries to cross the Nord-Ostzee Kanal and the Elbe near Glückstadt.


In the rural village of Osten my GPS categorically sent me to the ‘Schwebefähre Osten – Hemmoor’ ferry, but I only saw a gigantic metal structure over the river, but no ferry. Fortunately there was a bridge a little bit further, so I could continue my way and reached a campsite before 20 hrs. At the campsite, an elderly German cyclist welcomed me, warning that he was already going to sleep and that he was likely to snore…. Good night!


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Wednesday 21/8 : Hechthausen – Nordenham  (62,5 km – 219m D+)

Before 6 o’clock the snoring German cycling tourist began to pack his tent and he left the camp site around 7 o’clock. I suspect he camped for free because the reception was unmanned between 18-8 hrs. He was on his way to Bremen to visit a friend.


When I got up about 1 hour later, the sun was already there. During the morning, I updated the Facebook page, because for lack of wifi I was a few days behind.


Around 13 hrs I left for a quiet ride through rural Schleswig Holstein and Niedersachsen, with some stretches over gravel paths. This is a horse region and the latest anti-fly horsehead fashion drew my attention.

At the Bremerhaven Marina, I filmed an unusual rotating bridge over the access canal.


Due to the time I lost at this rotating bridge, I was a few minutes too late for the ferry across the Wezer river and had to wait for 40 minutes. So it was again quite late when I reached the campsite in Nordenham and the reception was closed, but aan nice 11-year-old girl showed me a spot to pitch and told me the code of the sanitary building. A little bit later she came back to warn me that I needed a coin for the showers. What a lovely girl.


I presume this was the last ferry crossing of this long bicycle journey. When I am home, I am going to count them, just for fun.


#ReachoutforBubaque #returnfromNorthCape #lovelypeople #Bubaquestudentproject#fundraising

Thursday 23/8 : Nordenham – Hahn-Lehmden (43,7 km – 74m D+)

Today was not an enjoyable cycling day. When I got up, I saw my bike had a flat rear tire. I tried to repair it, but lacked the tool nr. 15 to take off the wheel. So I pumped up the tire and rode to a cycle shop 2 km further. They replaced the inner tire and around noon I could set off.



After 20 minutes, however, the tire had deflated again. They had probably forgotten to remove the cause of the first puncture. Fortunately I had bought the tool nr. 15 in the meantime, so I could give it a try myself. Everthing went well apart from the reinstallation of the wheel. I needed another tool to immobilize one screw so as to be able to loosen the other one. A kind man who saw I had a problem came to help me out with the right tool, and then the job was done fairly quickly. Afterwards, I bought an adjustable wrench, just in case…


The tire was fine, but my ride continued through a monotonous landscape and yet again I had to cope with a strong opposite wind. I only advanced very slowly.


After 43 km of sweating and sighing I saw a sign to a campsite and stopped my laborious ride.


Tomorrow the wind is expected to be the same, but hopefully my tires won’t incur anymore punctures…


#ReachoutforBubaque #returnfromNorthCape #lovelypeople #Bubaquestudentproject#fundraising

Friday 24/8 : Hahn-Lehmden – Elisabethfehn (63 km – 125m D+)

The rear tire of my bike had again deflated somewhat during the night so, while my tent was drying from overnight showers, I spent some time searching for the puncture in the very first inner tire. That was located at the rim-side of the tire, so its cause was to be found on the rim! Since I had no rim tape, I had to look for another bike repair shop. A few kilometers before Oldenburg I found one that could do the job.


Around 14 hrs, after waiting for a rain shower to stop while I was at the bike shop, I set off to Esterwegen, where I would like to visit the Concentration Camp Memorial the next day. There are no campsites near Esterwegen, I had the choice between one 11 km past the town, or another one 10 km to the north. I chose the second option.


Again, some of the cycling routes I passed where no longer in a very good shape…. And of course the headwind was was there as well.


#ReachoutforBubaque #returnfromNorthCape#Bubaquestudentproject#fundraising



Saturday 25/8 : Elisabethfehn – Gedenkstätte Esterwegen – Surwold  (45 km – 149m D+)

It rained all night long on Saturday. Around 9 o’clock Sunday morning, I was granted 30 dry minutes to eat my breakfast outside, and then it began to rain again. So as to have a dry tent the coming night, I unhooked the inner tent from the soaking wet outer shell and packed them separately.



Around eleven the rain stopped and I set off for the Esterwegen Concentration Camp Memorial. When I had another 3 km to go, a threatening black cloud came into my direction. I pedalled a bit harder and, forturnately, I reached the memorial 1 minute before a hail storm broke out. No rainwear whatsoever had been good enough to withstand such a shower.


The Esterwegen Memorial is a touching exhibition. By means of photos, texts and utensils or personal objects of detainees, it tells the story of the 15 concentration camps that the Nazis built in the Emsland region, close to the Dutch border. Initially, Esterwegen was a concentration camp where political opponents were held in ‘protective custody’ for an indefinite time and without any trial. They had to carry out forced labour in the surrounding moors under very harsh conditions and thousands of them lost their lives. The very well-known song of the ‘Swamp Soldiers’ was composed at Esterwegen. During the war, the camp was turned into a prison camp.



Imagining what these swamp soldiers must have gone through, it was fairly easy for me to put my whining about the bad German cycling paths, the flat monotonous landscapes and the headwind into perspective…

As a matter of fact, the whimsical sun-shower weather produced beautiful skyscapes with every now and then a rainbow. When a dark cloud came into your direction, however, you had better hide under a shed…



#Nomorewar #ReachoutforBubaque #returnfromNorthCape #lovelypeople #Bubaquestudentproject #fundraising

Sunday 25/8 : Surwold – Erica (NL)  (67,5 km – 156m D+)

After a soaking wet day and night on Saturday, Sunday remained dry. It took quite some time, however, before my tent was dry. Since it had been cold overnight, there was much condensation moist at the inner side of the canvas.


Short after my departure, I overtook a special transport that was too high for traffic lights hanging over the street. They had to be pulled aside.


I did not see any border sign on the rural roads I was following, but when a single track cycling path was called ‘smokkelpad’ (smugglers’ route), I knew I was back in Holland.


Els and Bik had come into my direction, so I will sleep in the camper tonight. No messing around with a moist tent tomorrow morning.


#ReachoutforBubaqu #returnfromNorthCape #Bubaquestudentproject #fundraising

Monday 26/8 : Erica (NL) 

No cycling today. I took a day of rest because a severe storm had passed overnight and wind gusts continued until late in the afternoon. My speed would not have been higher than 10km/hr or so.

We went for a walk in the fields and along the little canals, which resulted in a water-mirroring picture.



Tomorrow I will continue my Belgium-bound journey since less wind has been forecast.