15 May 2016 - The start.
Today was harder than I expected. I follow a number of people who travel around the world by bicycle. Almost all are single. Those that aren't are usually travelling with their parter. Though I am sure there are likely many, I haven't read any blogs from people on extended trips where their spouse is left at home Leaving Gudrun for three months or more was much harder for me than I had expected. I am so fortunate to have her as my wife, and I love her with all my being. Though I'm enjoying the experience of this trip, I miss my sweet Gudrun more than I can say.
One thing that helped me get through the emotions of this first day was being accompanied by my friend Daniel Barbu. We spent a lot of time talking and just enjoying the scenery together. Daniel rode with me almost all the way to Xanten, Germany where I spent my first night. As it was a holiday weekend, the campground was packed. It was packed with drunks as far as I could tell. They were all partying late into the night. It makes me look forward to the wild camping to come later in Norway, Finland and Sweden.
On the morning of my second day I was fortunate to have breakfast with a number of the refugees I learned to know while working at the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz processing center in Baesweiler, near Aachen. I hadn't seen any of them since they were moved to Xanten almost six months ago, It was really nice to sit together for a while and catch up on how everyone is doing. -- Sami Hadad, Deeb Saba, Burhan Barber, Evidence Esebamen, Mohamad Alobaide, and Salah Al Deen, Thank you guys for coming and sharing some time together with me. For those who couldn't make it, maybe we can see each other on the homeward leg of this trip.
After breakast I took off to cross the Rhein and contiunue northwards. I was lucky to find a bicycle and pedestrian ferry for the crossing. It saved me about 25 km of riding. I certainly didn't expect my first ferry crossing to come so soon.