Day Ten: Minden to Osnabrück

Distance: 68.8km

Time: 3 hours 54 minutes

Average speed: 17.7 kph

Total distance: 784.2km

Total time: 38 hours 26 minutes

Wordle scores: Captain 3, Stoker 3

Our hotel, the Victoria, was right in the centre of Minden, on the Marktplatz. After blogging, bathing and browsing the available material on the town we stepped out into the chilly evening air for a brief tour before dinner.

Our first impressions were of mundane modernity (today is alliteration day, it would seem!) but that turned out to be unfair. The Rathaus was ugly and modern, and undergoing renovation (one would hope in order to make it less ugly!) but there were some gems to be found, particularly in the old town at the top of the Martinitreppe.

We didn’t explore for too long, given the chilly temperature, and headed instead for a Mexican restaurant with a delightfully lit bar area.

After street tacos for the Stoker and fajitas for the Captain, both very good, we headed back to the hotel. And so, as the Stoker loves to say, to bed!

Blue skies were visible from our window when we awoke this morning – a most welcome sight after yesterday’s rain. The clouds were still scudding along though, so we knew we would still have to contend with a headwind.

Leaving Minden was less pleasant than the arrival, when we left the riverside and seemingly arrived at the Marktplatz almost instantly. There was a bit more urban grot, and certainly more traffic on the departure, but it didn’t last too long. We were hugely amused when an elderly gentleman at the side of the road caught site of our tandem and said ‘Wow!’.

I’d sort of forgotten that today’s route included some hills – more than 450 metres of climbing, in fact, probably more than all of the other days so far put together. So when my leg muscles began to register the effort of ascending I was, at least initially, surprised.

The hills though, were a joy! I’m certainly not complaining that all the beautifully safe flat cycle paths we’ve used pretty much throughout our trip have been anything other than hugely enjoyable, but to get out into the hills again, with commanding views over the surrounding countryside, was more enjoyable than anything since the island of Terschelling.

Certainly there was more effort involved, and we’ll probably have sore legs later on, as the muscles used for climbing don’t seem to be exactly the same as those used for going along on the flat. I spent much of the morning, though, with a grin on my face! Especially when a woman overtook us on the climb and then apologised because she was riding an electric bike! Whatever gets you out in the fresh air is fine by me, I suspect one day (hopefully in the distant future) we’ll opt for an electric tandem.

What we were ascending was a serpentine spine of hills to the west of Minden, of an unusual geomorphology. I’ve made a mental note to look them up later, but this is how they appear on Google maps:

Later note: they are the Wiehen Hills.

The hills also sheltered us (although we only realised this much later on) from the westerly headwind. Or perhaps we were concentrating more on the climbing aspect than the ‘ploughing through the headwind’ aspect of our journey.

At the apex of the ridge, or thereabouts, we stopped for a rest and a drink. I noticed a small number of poppies, growing on the edge of a corn field.

Once over the ridge we enjoyed a pleasant pedalling-free downhill stretch, before opting for a fairly early lunch in the town of Rödinghausen. Once again the only lunchtime option seemed to be a bakery, and once again it proved to be excellent – we both particularly enjoyed the ‘beer muffins’, which to our unsophisticated palates tasted much more of chocolate than of beer. They were extremely effective at providing fuel for the first part of the afternoon.

We had two more climbs to surmount and we dispatched them efficiently before a hugely enjoyable seven kilometre descent! The road (Mindenstrasse) was becoming busy and congested, and the shelter provided by the ridge seemed to have disappeared, so the afternoon was less enjoyable than the morning had been.

The Stoker was clearly enjoying using our 360° camera!

We took advantage of the road-side cycle paths as much as possible, to avoid the road traffic, but we weren’t completely sheltered from the road, and the quality of the cycle paths was poor. Still, we were approaching Osnabrück.

We weaved our way on busy streets towards the Dom (cathedral) and found our hotel, the spectacularly-named Hotel Romantik Walhalla. Presumably one can only stay here if one has died in battle, sword in hand. For some reason they let us in anyway, and it’s very pleasant!

This is our route so far. We’ve two and a half days remaining on our trip, and tomorrow we’ll be climbing some more hills, towards Münster

🎶 What’s that coming over the hill, is it a Münster, is it a Münster? 🎶

Sorry! Here’s today’s route, and a short video.

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