After sleeping for about 2 hours I got up at 2:30 am. I would have liked to get up later and normally even would
have had the time to do so, but my brother-in-law had to be back home in Rastatt at 7:00 am. After taking a shower and
having breakfast we left home at about 3:30 am and drove to Frankfurt airport where we arrived at 5:15. As the check-in
desk only opened at 6:00 am there was time enough to spend. I only wondered what's so funny about somebody with a packed
up bicycle waiting for his plane because lots of people looked at me as if they'd never seen a bike before.
After checking in I had to wait for another 1.5 hours at the gate until I boarded the plane to London. The flight
wasn't very long, just a little over 1 hour, and after my first up in the air breakfast of the day I arrived in London.
The weather was beautiful that day and we had a wonderful sight when touching down.
Alas I had no time to spend in the airport because my connection flight was already waiting. So I just passed
through customs and on to the second flight. I'd rather say I'd wanted to pass through customs because the customs
officer got me to unpack one of my front panniers which contained all the metal parts like pots, cooker and tools. So I
just managed to catch the next plane in time. After another hour and a second breakfast I arrived in Glasgow at 10:15am.
The weather wasn't bad, a nice mixture of clouds and sun and rain.
Then came the first surprise of the tour: I was standing at the baggage claim and waiting for my bicycle, the
rear panniers and the tent. And that was it. It's a wonderful feeling when all the suitcases and bags are gone and
you're still standing there and waiting. Then a lady in a British Midland uniform came over to me and asked "Excuse me,
are you Mr. Meisch?" (It must be hard to pronounce this name). After making sure she got the right victim she told me
that my baggage would arrive with the next plane at 12:30 pm. (and that British Midland are so sorry about it and bla
bla ...). Well, she really tried to help me, but when she asked me if I could give her an address where to send the
baggage I told her what I was waiting for. So there was really nothing else to do but wait.
Anyway, that gave me a chance for a coffee and cigarette break (yes, I do smoke, even on a bicycle tour). After I
finally got my bicycle and the rest I refilled the tires, mounted the panniers and started the tour. That day I was
heading for Balloch at the south end of Loch Lomond. There was no obvious reason to go to Balloch (I never really
planned to go somewhere except for the three last days when I had to get back to Glasgow) but I needed to buy these gas
cartridges for my cooker (they don't allow you to carry them on a plane) and Balloch was marked with a camping site
symbol on my map so I hoped to get them there.
I cycled into Glasgow as far as the Clyde tunnel, lost about 15 minutes finding the tunnel to be used by pedestrians and
bicycles (they had nice road signs for that, but unfortunately I never found the tunnel in the direction they pointed
to) and then headed back to the west through Dumbarton and then towards Loch Lomond. The weather was warm and sunny and
it was a nice ride --- if you forget about the bad Glaswegian roads. It seems to me that the roads of Glasgow are made
of holes and broken glass.
After a ride of 26.5 miles I arrived in Balloch. After putting up the tent I had a short talk with some people
from Glasgow who spent the weekend on the camping site in Balloch, cooked some dinner and then checked the bicycle. The
back wheel needed some spoke adjustment after the flight. Another surprise awaited me when I unpacked my gas lantern:
the glass was shattered to pieces. This had probably happened while loading or unloading the back panniers into the
plane but it could have also been the ride from the airport to Balloch. After taking a short walk towards Loch Lomond I
went to bed quite early. Or should I say to the sleeping bag?