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[Part 1]

May 1 - Arrival to Winterberg

We are travelling quite extensively (mostly not MTB related) and usually like to minimise our time at the airport. However, traveling with a special package we decided to be at the Helsinki airport in good time ahead of our flight and thankfully so. There was not single parking lot available for a van at the airport area and we had to leave the van further away outside the airport. Thankfully we had time for the extra 20 minutes that it took. After the check-in and the security control we enjoyed a breakfast at the Finnair lounge while watching our bags to be loaded to an Embraer 190 just opposite the lounge. Funnily, the lady at the check-in desk had asked us to confirm with the flight crew that our bike boxes have been indeed loaded to the plane. Well, we got that visually confirmed. Our flight landed in Dusseldorf some 20 minutes behind the schedule at 9.30 am on May 1. That was fine considering that we had booked a rental car at the airport at 10 am.

Our car was a VW Caddy that was just large enough to accommodate our bike boxes and other luggege. Everything was made easier by the car being just wide enough to take our bike boxes from the side door leaving the cargo space at the back of the car for other stuff.

Picturesque villages of Sauerland
From the Dusseldorf airport it took some two hours to drive via Dortmund to Winterberg. This was the first time for us in this part of Germany and we were kind of surprised how nice the scenery was. Small villages were scattered in valleys and looked nice from a distance from the autobahn. Almost all houses were white with brown roofs and corners. We had been expecting a much more flat scenery in this part of Germany. Those better educated in geography probably know that Winterberg is located in the rural, hilly area of Sauerland and is one of the major ski resort in central Germany.

Approaching to Winterberg a smaller road took us through one or two picturesque villages confirming our earlier observations. Everything was nice and clean and houses looked like as they were taken from postcards.

In Winterberg, GPS guided us to an address near the main square where we picked up the keys to our rental apartment. While we had planned to do some riding already on May 1, we decided to spend the afternoon mounting and adjusting our bikes and equipment as a preparation the the season's first ride next morning.

Our apartment was very conveniently located just 150m away from the bike park. Strangely, while there were sheets for beds, some essential like towels, shower gel and toilet paper were missing. What’s the logic behind that?

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