Day 9: Düsseldorf to Kettler´s Haus

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To Family Kettler´s Haus

(Monday - 11th June, 2018)

Today I got off to a late start again. Ate breakfast, worked on some blog stuff, and stopped at a bicycle shop in Düsseldorf to get my brakes and shifters checked out. Shifting hasn´t been very reliable lately, but pretty sure it´s just an adjustment issue.

I went to downtown Düsseldorf to try another Altbier. Altbier is, as its name suggests, an ¨old¨ style of brewing beer: top fermented rather than bottom-fermented like many current lagered beers (even such famous American lagered beers like Miller  High Life...). It is darker, and usually more complex in flavor than pilsners. I tried Frankenheim Alt and Ueriches Alt the night before and hoped to try Füchsen (Small Fox Beer). But alas, the brewery outside seating was full and I couldn´t find a secure place to lock my bike. I don´t know if they sell bottles, but maybe I´ll ask my relatives.

Lunch was a bit heavy... I ordered ¨Oma´s Hackfleisch¨ with rough mashed potatoes thiking it was like a cooked burger patty, It was more like really thick meatloaf with a tomato sauce. It was quite good, but I would regret this choice of heavy food a bit later in the bike ride.

As I went back to my bike I noticed a well-dressed 60 or 65 year old man standing over my bike, observing it. I went up to him and said ¨Hello¨ and told him in German that it is my bike. He commented on how classic my bikre looks and asked how old it is. I replied that it was built in 1985 but I ¨renovated¨ it. It was difficult taking about the technical parts of the bike that I don't know them in German. So I told him a bit about my journey. He told me he and his wife biked from Austria to Italy over the Alps in two days! But he emphasized that was a long time ago, they don´t bike that far anymore.

He asked me where I am from and I said Seattle in the Northwestern USA. I don't think he heard of Seattle (it seems many Germans don´t). But I told him I grew up in Wisconsin, North of Chicago by Lake Michigan (Michigan See). He recognized Lake Michigan and asked, does Lake Michigan border Canada? I said, yes, in the very far north near Sault St. Marie. He got quite excited, telling me he had been there.
He was about to ask another question when his wife stopped by and reminded him they have a tour bus waiting. He waved as he left and wished me: "Ein gute reise in Deutschland!"
The rest of my ride out through Düsseldorf and to Essen was a combination of small towns with their altstadt (old city) areas, a few rural areas, and of course the large and still quite industrial city of Essen. Finding my way through town wasn´t hard. I took a photo near the City Center and Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station).
On the way I spotted a small roadside flower shop and bought some fresh flowers for the Kettler´s. Yes, I have elastic cords (bungee cords) and it wasn´t that hard to just strap the boquet across my rear panniers.It was only a few more miles to Uli and Monika Kettler´s house. I haven´t seen them in 20 years and Uli, Monika, and their eldest daughter Laura greeted me like an old friend.

I will be here for a couple days and may not update the blog until Thursday or Friday when I leave. But staty tuned... more interesting places are to come!

Gute Nacht Damen und Herren!

At the Kettler´s: Uli, myself, Monika, and Laura.

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. THis is all so beuatiful, Kirk! I’m eager to hear more about your family over there, and what it was like to see them again after so much time.

  2. The streetcar rides over the grass! That’s so cool!
    Love how that guy was curious about your 1985 frame. Think you’ll take that bike to the grave? 😉

  3. Love the pictures! Lots of laughs !! I have found the best people-stories on bike trails around the country! We just want to share & tell each other the next ‘must see’! Thank you for letting us join you… (ps—my dearest friend was from Essen!!—very old architecture & history..) —onward & enjoy!

  4. Endlich habe ich Zeit gefunden deiner Blog zu lesen. Was fur eine Abenteur Kirk!
    Schicke liebe Grüßen an die Familie Kettler von mir.

    Gute Reise Noch!!!

  5. Hello Kirk. I.see you are having a great time. Say hi to all the family. Consider the battlefield where the Germans destroyed a Roman legion. Dad

  6. Ya Vol! Great Pics. Thanks for posting. I hope the camping parts aren’t too difficult. Waking up on the ground can be rough without good padding.

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