Day 9: Mannheim, Germany to Mainz, Germany (73 km)
The last day.
At this point, we had gotten so used to the routine of early to bed, early to rise, pack up, pack on, bike on road, and eat eat eat. We were fitter than ever. We felt as if we could ride on for a million miles.
But all good things must come to an end.
On the last day, we rode through endless small towns connected via a string of vineyards. The path was so smooth and straight, and at some moments, we were flying at over 30kph.
20km to go. We reach a sudden steep cobbled hill that merges onto a busy road full of cars. Sudden stop at the peak.
Jess slips and falls off her bike. Her exposed left knee slams onto the pavement. Hard. It won't stop bleeding. It's swelling at an alarming rate. It might be broken.
20km to go.
It was heartbreaking. Here we were, at the tail-end of our very long trip, tired and worse for the wear, but in one piece. Alive. Happy.
Then this happens.
That last bit felt like ages. Jess ended up cycling the majority of the way with her right leg powering the bike, as her left leg was clipped in and not broken, but still totally useless.
We eventually made it to our final destination. It was still a lovely night spent with the sweetest family. A shy daughter who giggled at our questions about school. A quiet son who marvelled us with his knowledge of robotics and code. And more dogs and cats than we could imagine.
In the morning, we headed for Frankfurt. Then boarded a train home to Berlin, where we popped open a bottle of champagne and toasted our success and each other. It was well deserved.
As someone wise once said, the best way to travel is on your bike. So, through 5 countries, 800 kilometers, every weather imaginable, and the generosity of many kind people, we did.
If we can do this, we can do anything. And we will. Just you watch.