It’s just too hot in the room under the roof, we both slept badly and wake up at 6.30 before the alarm goes off. During breakfast we check today’s route: sights, lunch options, kilometers. We pack, put on 50 spf sun screen, get the bikes out of the locked garage and set off around nine, following the green Promenade around Münster. We’re aiming for the Erbdrostenhof, the first castle on our tour. We almost miss it and have to turn around before finding it along one of the shopping streets. Pretty, but mostly closed to the public.
We turn east and follow busy bicycle paths out of Münster, it’s a student town and it seems biking is pretty popular among the students. Soon we’re out in the country, with lots of forest and quiet paths. We follow the cute Wesre river north, saw two squirells, then east along the tiny Emse and its large military domain. We see quite a few other cyclists, some even carrying luggage like us, but most with electrical bikes. We take a small break at one of the many benches by the road at 11. Average speed up until now is about 17 kmph, which is pretty fast for us and it doesn’t even seem to require a big effort, but then that’s always the case during the first hours of the first morning.
We admire Haus Lange and its old watermill, it’s a beautiful spot by the river, especially in this sunny, warm weather.
We should be in Ostbeveren soon, we estimate that’s about the halfway point and an excellent spot for lunch. There’s a few options but we select the local bakery and order ham/cheese sandwiches, a Rosinnenschnecken for dessert and Apfelstreusel to go. We’re at 33 km. On the way out of the village we stop briefly at Schloss Loburg, the source of all the young kids running around town. It’s a boarding school and apparently everybody is leaving for the weekend.
the next bit of road is a bit boring: lots of big old farms and fields full of horses, but also lots of car traffic on the narrow asphalt road. We’re happy to go back to forest tracks near Schloss Harkotten. This is in private hands, seems to house a design firm. Following the route signs is easy: the bycicle paths between villages are well indicated and the 100 Schlösser Route has its own symbol, affixed to the sign pointing in the direction you need to follow.
We notice the one design flaw in this system only a few kilometers past Schloss Harkotten, when the village we should be going to is signposted in the direction we’re coming from. Turns out we’re just at the point where the route from Münster splits into the eastern part going south and the northern part going north. We didn’t notice and chose the wrong route. After realizing, we turn back and find the culprit. In the picture above, we came from Füchtorf and should have gone to Glandorf, but the route to Halle is also marked with the correct symbol. Time for a break, Apfelstreusel on a shaded bench.
At Glandorf we’re already at more than 70 km, even though the plan only called for 60. Admittedly, these were guesstimates, based on quick measurements on Google maps to divide the 300 km loops into day-sized segments. So, oops. No harm done, we’re outside enjoying the sunny day and green landscape, it will simply take us a bit longer to arrive at the hotel. By this time I remember why I wanted to pack light. 14 kg of luggage plus 5 kg of water is not that much, but you still have to drag it into motion and keep it going against the friction of the road. It’s a question of attrition: most people can do it for a few hours without much problems, but after a whole day you’re pretty tired.
So the average speed is quite a bit lower than this morning, but even so around five we climb up to Bad Iburg. We spot the castle quickly: it’s bright and big and on top of the hill. We’re at 80 km, but we insist on going up there today. Tomorrow is supposed to be a hillier and longer track, so we want to get started bright and early.
We wash off the dust, sunscreen and sweat before going down to have a quiet dinner on the terrace of the hotel restaurant.
Km today: 82
Saddle time: 5h25
Average speed: 17 kmph