Day Nine: Nienburg to Minden

Distance: 58.7km

Time: 3 hours 12 minutes

Average speed: 18.4kph

Total distance: 715.4km

Total time: 34 hours 32 minutes

Wordle scores: Captain 5, Stoker 2 (donkey hoof luck still holding)

The apartment in Nienburg was lovely, with its own sunny balcony. Nienburg was lovely. Our AirBnB hostess couldn’t have been lovelier or more helpful. It seemed a shame we weren’t going to be here longer.

When we arrived and she was escorting us to the safe tandem storage space under the apartment building our hostess asked us how we’d found the Weser Rad Weg, the cycle route along the river Weser from Bremen, and seemed disappointed for us when we said we were going next to Hannover. The next part of the cycle path to Minden was the prettiest, she said. That’s where we’d planned to go after Hannover, just not along the river-side cycle route.

After a bit of a think whilst soaking aching muscles in the bath (a bath, yay!) I decided to research the Nienburg to Minden leg of the cycle route. It looked great, just 58km, following the twists and turns of the river upstream. Hannover suddenly seemed less appealing. And after nearly fifteen hours of saddle time covering over 300km in the last three days, a rest day in this pretty town seemed very appealing indeed.

When the Captain emerged from soaking his own aching muscles, I put my proposal to him: we stay two nights in Nienburg, see the town a little, rest up a little, and then go straight to Minden along the river, missing out Hannover. He was easily persuaded, and we pinged our AirBnB hostess to ask if it was free for us to stay a second night. We were in luck! She was delighted we were going to have more time in Nienburg and ride the pretty river route.

With all that settled, we went out to the nearby riverside restaurant for dinner, feeling very spontaneous!

At the restaurant, much was being made of the new asparagus season. This area is apparently very famous for its white asparagus, very different to English asparagus, but very delicious. It looks like this:

It’s dressed very simply with melted butter or Hollandaise sauce, and is very tender despite the size of the stalks. English asparagus that size would be woody and tough, suitable only for making chair legs!

On the way back to our lodgings we passed a bronze statue celebrating the town’s place on the SpargelStra├če, the official asparagus route of Lower Saxony. It’s 750km long! That’s the next cycle tour sorted, then ­čśü

We spent a relaxing day yesterday mooching about Nienburg in the sunshine, and then resting our legs. Here are some pictures of the town:

Unfortunately this morning we awoke to rain. The Spargel washers in the square were rather wet

and before long so were we.

We were pretty cheerful, though, despite the rain and the headwind, both feeling much restored both physically and mentally after our rest day in Nienburg. We knew the band of rain would eventually pass over.

There were a lot of other cyclists on the Weser Rad Weg, many apparently touring like us, with full panniers, and all of us wearing rain jackets and rueful “what ARE we doing?!” grins

By the time the cloud started to lift we were absolutely filthy, and the poor tandem was covered in mud and grot.

We had some pretty kilometres along the river, it would have been lovely in sunshine. We were enjoying the shorter distance today, which made for a more relaxed ride, everyone ‘Moin!’-ing each other again, and we even saw a kestrel hunting in the fields.

We had lunch in a bakery, really excellent br├Âtchen, German bread is so delicious. The napkins sported a quote from Winston Churchill, of all people, and there were leaflets for a ‘British weekend’ over the Jubilee!

“one should offer the body something good so that the soul has the desire to live in it”

Our last ten kilometres after lunch were all along the river, with the sun almost making an appearance at the end.

We wheeled into Minden and found our hotel, right on the Marktplatz. The lady on reception checked our vaccination certificates, the first time on this trip we’ve been asked for them. I’d forgotten that I knew the German for ‘vaccinated’ until she asked whether we were ‘geimpft oder getestet’. Having seen our NHS COVID passes she switched to English and whilst the Captain wheeled the tandem round to the bike storage in the garage she asked me if we were electric or ‘old-school’!

It had been good to get the ‘old school” legs moving again today, although we both thought the Weser route (whisper it) not as pretty as the Loire. We’re officially in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region now, with another relatively short day in prospect to Osnabr├╝ck tomorrow. It’s really starting to fly past…

Here’s today’s route and a short video.