Looks pretty ominous, doesn't it? (R: That is the back of windmill)
Shortly after that photo, we are drenched and buffeted by a squall. The upside is that there are more puddles to ride through, washing our chains, bottom brackets, derailleurs, everything.
We make it to the outskirts of Münster and take a break on a dam to assess our situation. We already started to notice many more bicycles with casually dressed riders (as opposed to the those dressed for touring). A nice lady - early sixties, full matching rain outfit on a bicycle - puts us in the direction of a campingplatz and we are treated to a beautiful, stream-side path through the trees.
Camping Münster is crowded but, unlike other camp grounds, this one segregates the bicycle/tent campers from the caravan campers. We get a pretty good spot near a picnic bench (hurray! dinner sitting down tonight) between a grumpy couple who snore and a young couple (in their early 20s - he's an american hitching through Europe and she picked him up) that talk all night - they are in love; and we had a fantastic view of two amazing tenting families.
One came by car and set up an enormous tent. There are like six children in this brood and they run around screaming and playing. The kids were cool, but confused by my German - oh well.
The other family came by bicycle, and were pretty well set up before we got there. Two adults, three kids, and a dog. That's right, a bloody dog. And not a small dog, but some sort of big fucking english sheep dog. They were on two tandems and one of the kids rode their own bicycle. The dad pulled the dog trailer and the mom the supply trailer. Unreal. I caught a blurry photo of them as they were leaving the next day. Note the crank extension setup attached to the rear down tube that allows the kid to pedal.
That is a beer bottle in the kid's hand, in case you were wondering.
They also had an Ortlieb coffee maker.
I had a nice time talking with the dad. He said the Ortlieb coffee maker is the only thing they make that isn't waterproof. I asked him if it was always raining in Münsterland and he said, "If it is not raining, the bells are ringing." Which I took to mean, either it is raining or the bells are ringing (there is always some sort of bell ringing in Europe) and Ramona took to mean, it rains every 15 minutes, which is how often the bells ring.
The young couple beside us shared their fresh-picked blackberries with us for breakfast - the first ripe ones we've had.
I emailed a photo of my rash to Emily and Mabell for medical advice, then we left for Münster!
FYI, this is on my shaved pubic region. Ramona thought that might not be clear after I cropped my penis out of the photo.
The ride into town from the camp site is short and pleasant. It turns out Münster is a bicycle city. Unlike Freiburg, where the cyclist are jammed against the cars, pedestrians, and each other, Münster has a nice sense of space for everyone, even in the crowded centrum.
We stop first to buy Ramona a new back tire - 7 flats in a week. In the city center, we find an Apoteke where they direct me a doctor close by who can look at my rash.
Then things start falling into place. The doctor is in. She will see me right away. Ramona can use the bathroom. She diagnoses me (nothing serious, just a little infection brought on by chaffing). The visit is inexpensive. The medicine is inexpensive. We don't have cash, they are closing, no problem, we can drop the payment in the mail box. Honestly, it takes us more time to shop for groceries than this whole process. Awesome.
Then we are back on the street and off to a cafe. The waitress speaks perfect English, but manages to confuse our order - I have to eat a pineapple ham cheese sandwich. Which is only bad because I dislike pineapple and I had sworn off pork after days of riding past foul smelling pig farms. Oh well. I buy myself some tobacco to make up for it. Now we walk the bicycles over to the HUGE bookstore to buy maps. We find the right ones! Hurray!
While Ramona is inside the bookstore, I stay outside with the bicycles and watch the pedestrian traffic roll by. Oh, did I mention the centrum is foot and bike only? Cool. Cars are allowed, but they are very rare - less that 1 every couple of hours and usually for deliveries and such. The boundary between the street and the stores is super permeable. People wander in and out of stores as items catch their fancy or they remember something they needed. Several people talk to me about the bicycles.
We do a quick shop, then set out for a camping about 30 km west on the Europa R1. Thanks Münster! I wish we had had time to explore more, because we liked what we saw.