Cologne…just the beginning
The year is 1096 and Pope Urban II had preached the first of what would more than 2 centuries of crusades, to keep Constantinople Christian, and win back Jerusalem. Some 40,000 excited people gathered in Cologne, before setting off on there murderous and hugely destructive journey to Byzantium.
The final kms into the city took me ‘off-piste’ until I found myself enveloped in forest
…battling along dirt tracks that hadn’t yet absorbed the recent heavy rains
….but the arrival outside the most iconic of European Cathedrals, the Dom, was sweet. But to bag a pitch at a city campsite, I had another 8kms zooming south along the Rhine, and found myself among other fellow cycle-trekkers
…one Dutch couple in particular, who are away on their bikes for months at a time. This time, they will be following the Rhine, then the Danube, all the way to the Black Sea.
So either this afternoon, or tomorrow morning, I will begin my anti-crusade to Istanbul from the steps of the Dom,
following in the footsteps (with my wheel tracks) of the 40,000 in 1096…..none of whom, it is believed, ever returned home.
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