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BICYCLE TOUR: EUROTOUR 2010

FLAVIO BASSI'S ON-BOARD DIARY

DAY 13

DATE: 19:07:2010
START: PLITTERSDORF
FINISH: OTTERSTADT
LENGTH: 98 KM
AVERAGE SPPED: 15.1 KM/H
DIFFICULTY GRADE: A1
Container or house? Camping or not camping?
Today, thanks to a nice idea of Samuele, we turn on the automatic speed limiter. Cruising speed always around 15-17 km/h. In this way, cycling is a breeze, and one hundred of km pass effortlessly.

The route runs close to a huge gas-fired power plant; there are works in progress to enlarge it. On one side there is a mass of white metal containers, stacked. Looking closer, each container has an opening. Looking closer, each opening is a window. Looking closer, each container is the home of a worker.

Shortly after passing another energy plant, this time nuclear with two reactors, we meet Speyer: very strange city with a unique atmosphere. It seems to me a story, but I do not know why nor understand I if the plot is happy or sad. And yet the houses are always houses, the streets are always streets, people are always people... Boh! And yet there is something strange, unique, I am sure...

When the path passes through a garden, just outside a small town, we take a break with nap. There comes a German gentleman driving a touring trike: really cool. We ask him about the vehicle and he told us all about it and its history. The advantage is that the trike uphill keeps low speed, even 1 mph, thanks to the minimum ratios of the gear: the equilibrium is always there, unlike the 2-wheel bike. This gentleman has gone through several countries on several occasions. He spent a cure for lung cancer, from that moment he no longer recognizes his body and needed the trike to overcome the climbs. His wife is at home waiting for him. Its history excites me and I send with the thought all my greetings and best wishes. It is strong that gentleman. And I realize that the touring trike seems to be really useful for everyone: going uphill resting, without hurry, is a dream. Unfortunately the streets are not friends of trikes, especially in our part in Italy... but if we were in a theoretical perfect world I'd already bought it.

We arrive at the destination of the day. The camping area of Otterstadt. The guide marks 7 campings on the same page, which means they are all within a few kilometers... we will certainly find one for us.

Still did not know how much we were wrong. The first passes: it's an area for caravan planted there, a slum without reception nor services. Second passes: area for caravan - slum. The third passes: parking area for caravans - slum. And in so doing all but one (across a pond) pass. We meet two girls to whom we ask for information: we are told that they are at that campsite, it's a normal camping with reception and space for tents. But now it's too late to go, there's always the closed-kitchen problem, so before we have dinner in a typical German restaurant that is on the shore of the lake. Here a group - very polite - of local cyclists recommend us a farther campsite; the same another lady does. But we go neverthless beyond the lake, at this point it's dark.

The result: there is the camp, but it is the most dismal place one can imagine. I do not even go to see the services with shower, after what we have experienced in the Czech Republic I can imagine the situation. Wait for the morning holed up in tent.

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