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Walther with bicycle

Heinz and Walther on extended cycling tour

1949 Lübeck - Köln (Cologne) - Lübeck

and hitchhike Köln - Frankfurt - Köln


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Riding the bikes more than 1.000 km

map of cycling tour 1949

...a really great tour,
    sole the distance with bicycle above 1.000 km

→ Lübeck 1949:

Four years after World War Two, among the ruins of the cities, what can we do in our school holidays?
My friend Heinz and I decided:
We visit my relatives in the small village of Küingdorf and perhaps also those in Cologne.
We ride by bike!

Yes, at that time we had already bicycles. They were old, without gears. Our most important baggage:
puncture repair outfit, tool kit.

Life in those days was very different from nowadays.

A lot of young people made similar trips. When we met, the salute was "Servus!", loud and joyful, without any meaning. But Heinz and I knew the linguistic background of that word: "always at your service".

So we did not repeat "Servus!", but answered "Dominus!" meaning "I am the boss!".

No plans for the trip, just do it!!

From Lübeck along the road to Hamburg, continuing to Soltau, river Weser, Minden, Porta Westfalica till Küingdorf.

If possible we stayed overnight in a youth hostel.

Porta Westfalica
→ Porta Westfalica. view from
→ Emperor William Monument
above river Weser

Grandmother rejoiced at our visit


Küingdorf is a small village nearby the mountains of  → Teutoburg Forest

After the war my aunt Gertrud and her family had found accommodation at a farm of their relatives. Grandmother Martha also lived there.

We were happy to see each other again.

Walther Heinz and cousin Ursula

Walther, Heinz, cousin Ursula

Heinz prepares the further travel

Heinz prepares the further travel

Walther Start towards Osnabrück

Start towards Osnabrück, Walther


First to a friend in Osnabrück, then drive, drive, drive to uncle Werner and aunt Liesel in Cologne.

This tour really was an adventure. For example we traversed the
→ Bergisches Land, a region with very steep and hilly roads.

The street downwards the youth hostel began with a signpost:
"Do not ride on your bicycle! Wheel it! Very steep road!"

We did not care, because we trusted our coaster brakes. When we arrived at the bottom of the hill, the grease in the ball bearings of our rear wheels was boiling hot.

Suddenly we were in  → Cologne and they welcomed us.

Pfeil nach oben

Hitchhike to the South

And now? We had an idea:

We parked our bicycles in Cologne and started a hitchhike southwards. In those days hitchhiking was not so strange as in nowadays.

At that time, there existed already a highway between Cologne and Wiesbaden / Frankfurt. But there was a lot of war damages. Destroyed bridges had to be driven around, lanes were also damaged.

We had no plan for a destination, but finally arrived in Frankfurt.

destroyed bridge of the highway at Limburg

Reconstruction of the destroyed bridge of the highway across river Lahn at  → Limburg

Next destination river Rhine

We stayed overnight in Frankfurt. Someone told us, that there was a ship cruising to  → Rüdesheim.
Rüdesheim? Isn't that town at the river Rhine? We entered the boat.

We arrived at Rüdesheim and suddenly decided to walk! Marching forwards! On the road downstream the river Rhine. Passing the  → Rhine Gorge with the  → Ehrenfels Castle.

Walking along the Rhine Gorge

Walking along the Rhine Gorge

Ehrenfels Castle

Ehrenfels Castle

Overnight in  → Lorch, then further on walking, walking. I remember that we also took a bath in the Rhine. There were broken pieces of glass that hurt my foot. But no problem.

Sometime we thumbed a truck for a ride and hitchhiked back to Cologne. Cologne.

We celebrated my birthday at  → Ahr Valley, as a side trip...

...and I drank the first glass of wine in my life ...

... or two glasses? Anyway there was some trouble in the dormitory of the youth hostel.

Back to Lübeck

Another stop in Cologne at the uncle and aunt. We saddled our bicycles and treadled back to Lübeck. We did not cross the river Elbe in Hamburg but took a ferry near Winsen

Sometimes, there are some incidences you will never forget in your life.
For us is when we approached  → Wetter at river Ruhr.

Downhill! Speed! More speed! Joyful!
Pedestrians waved intensively, we waved back...

Suddenly there was a sharp turn to the left. Behind some white-coloured stones is where the abyss was, the railway track that laid down there.

We had luck. We survived. Otherwise I could not tell about this shocking story.

New construction of a bridge near Bonn

New construction of a bridge across river Rhine

Only a few photos? Low quality?
From that tour I have only three additional photos with no more information. In those days we had a so called box camera and a few films. Each film had a place for 12 photos.

Not comparable to the nowadays flood full of images.

Thanks to Pichaporn who repaired my bad English.

Pfeil nach oben
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