A Travellerspoint blog

2019 AUGUST 11 to 23 - GOZO

The smaller paradise of the Maltese Islands!

sunny 30 °C
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12 days in Gozo

Gozo is the middle sized island from the Maltese group, and a lot less populated than the main island of Malta. We spend equal time on both islands cause we love them both.

Quick Facts on Gozo

37,000 Inhabitants

Small island covering just 67 km2 (26 square miles)

Second largest of the three inhabited Maltese islands

Known for a few popular sites like the Dwejra inland sea, the Citadel in Victoria (a small bastion city built atop one of the hills in Gozo with a rich historical background) and the Ġgantija Megalithic temples.

A number of big budget film productions were shot in Malta and Gozo. In the first series of Game of Thrones, the Azure Window (natural rock formation which unfortunately collapsed recently) featured in the backdrop of some of the more memorable scenes.

Said to have been the home of the mythological Calypso, the nymph from Homer’s Odyssey.

Here are some random photos of this year in Gozo!

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 14:15 Archived in Malta Comments (2)

2019 JULY 28 to AUGUST 11 MALTA

A holiday in the middle of our travels.

sunny 30 °C
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2 Weeks in Malta

I don't usually do a blog for my time spent in Malta, mainly because my time here is spent relaxing, a lot of relaxing and doing not a great deal at all. And although I am still not writing a blog, I thought I might share some photos with you.

First, here's a bit about Malta for your information.

Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km². The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.

The size of Malta is about 27 km/ 16.8miles long by 14.5 km/ 9.00miles width, Area - 122 square miles-316 square km (Malta 246 sq km, Gozo 67 sq km, Comino 2.7 sq km). Coastline - 196.8km (not including 56.01 km for the island of Gozo).

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History:
Malta has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC. Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British. Most of these foreign influences have left some sort of mark on the country's ancient culture.

Malta became a British colony in 1815, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. It played an important role in the Allied war effort during the Second World War, and was subsequently awarded the George Cross for its bravery in the face of an Axis siege, The British Parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen. The country became a republic in 1974. It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, and joined the European Union in 2004; it became part of the eurozone monetary union in 2008.

The Maltese archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, as well as countless megaliths, medieval dungeons and atmospheric towns and villages. Meandering streets contain Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces. Malta is the largest island; rural Gozo is next in size.

Here are some random photos of this year in Malta!

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:17 Archived in Malta Comments (2)

2019 JUNE 30 to JULY 28 GERMANY BIKE RIDE EXPENSES

This is how much it cost us for our 29 day bike ride in Germany.


View 2019 3 rivers bike ride & 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

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Hi Everyone,

This post is for mainly for my own information, but I thought maybe some of you might be interested in what our 29 day bike ride in Germany cost us.

We have always kept a record of expenses for every trip just out of interest for ourselves. I used to create an excel spreadsheet from the manual records of daily expenses we would to write in a little note pad.

Now due to wonderful technology, I have this great APP that I have downloaded into my phone and each time we pay for something I enter it into this APP and it keeps a tally for me, easy.

There are many APPs available, however the one I chose is called TravelSpend and I highly recommend it. It's a free APP, however, I paid the extra couple of dollars (about Aud$6) for the upgrade so I could add my own categories etc.

All the amounts listed are for 2 people, as my travel companion, my sister Lyn, had exactly the same expenses as me on this trip. We came in under budget, which is good, means more money to spend on the next leg of the trip. The APP allows me to work in what every currency I like. For this one, I was able to enter our expenses in Euros and it converted to Australia Dollars for my convenience.

So the entire 29 days in Germany costs us a total of AUD$3390.03 (or AUD$1695.02 each), which is an average of AUD$116.90 per day (or AUD$58.45 each per day).

Below are screen dumps direct from the APP which show the break up of our expenses.

Accommodation and transport are always the highest cost of any trip.

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We spent;

$924.27 on 9 nights in hotels or apartments

$577.26 on purchasing 2 bicycles with pannier racks, handlebar baskets, spare tubes, a pump and a few misc tools

$524.01 on 17 nights camping fees

$275.06 on food we purchased from supermarkets

$273.01 on public transport, which included $113.34 for the train from Frankfurt to Saarbrucken where we started the bike ride

$200.33 on beer in total from both supermarket and bars

$133.51 on activities which includes luges and chairlifts

$131.28 on 7 restaurant / café meals

$112.79 on postcards and postage, which included $101.40 for parcel of camping gear we sent home

$45.38 on wine in total from both supermarket and bars

$44.44 on clothing, towels and leggings purchased from Decathlon

$40.54 on sim card to make calls and data in Germany

$32.89 on coffee and cake x 3 times in café

$30.70 on ice cream cones

$27.98 on camping gas used for cooking

$9.15 on souvenirs

$7.22 on coin washing machines

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So, there we have it. Not a bad trip for the price.

Departing Frankfurt:
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everywhere in between:
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arriving back in Frankfurt.
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Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:32 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

2019 JULY 24 to 28 - GERMANY - RHINE RIVER

last days on the bike and on the Rhine!

sunny
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WEDNESDAY 24TH JULY 2019 (DAY 33)

BIKE DAY 23 (RUDESHEIM TO MAARUA)

Today was hot! Today was REAL HOT!

We woke up at around 8am again and had breakfast. I cooked bacon again, a real treat for us! We were packed up and I went and paid the bill and we were rolling out at just on 10am. The guy in the reception said to me that it was going to be hotter today then it was yesterday, and tomorrow it going to be hotter than today.

As per usual Rhine bike track – it was flat and easy riding. We had to make a few more water stops than usual because of the heat. By 12 noon we had ridden 17km and it was time for a radler stop. We had passed a few kiosk bars that were for some stupid reason closed, but I remembered a kiosk that was sure to be open, and it was! We stopped and had a well deserved and very cold radler beer. As there was a table and chair right where we stopped, we decided it would be a good place to stop for lunch and that meant we could have another radler. Which we did!

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The campground we looked up yesterday was just 5km further on and when we arrived there before 2pm we thought we might continue riding for a little longer. However, after asking where the next campsite was and being told it was 50 km up the Main River, it was decided it was best we stop here after all.

There were already quite a few cyclists’ tents set up, these poor Europeans are feeling the heat even more than us. We found a spot to set up the tent, but just got out our chairs and chilled out for a little while first.

The tent up and everything put inside we went out looking for a supermarket that would hopefully supply us with cold beer. Google maps advised there was a shop just 1.3km away so not too far. We found 3 supermarkets, Netto, REWE and Aldi Sud but none of them had any beers in the fridges! OMG what are these people thinking? We bought some dinner supplies (smoked fish and potato salad) which we stowed in our cooler bag, hoping they would still be ok in a couple of hours for dinner.

Back at the campsite we sat in the shade until the camp bar open. Regardless of the price a cold drink was needed. Turns out this is the cheapest drinking hole around, and they were selling 500ml Radlers for just 2 euros. So, we sat in the bar terrace, watch the river traffic pass, for the next 2 hours drinking 2 euro very cold radlers.

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By 6pm our tent was in the shade and we returned to eat dinner (which was fine from the cooler).

A few more bikes rolled in during this time and now there must be about 15 set up for the night.

I had a shower after dinner and now sit here at 9.35pm in the twilight writing this as Lyn has her shower. I think this is going to be the warmest (hottest) night for us in the tent tonight.

This is also our last night of camping for this trip. Tomorrow we ride the 40 odd km up the Main River to Frankfurt where we have booked a hotel for 3 nights. No idea what the track is like or if there is a bike track up the river, if not we will be getting on a train for the last leg into Frankfurt. We booked a few days there because we need to organize posting home our camping gear and sort out the bikes.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 27.56km

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CAMPINGPLATZ MAARUA 18 euros – toilets with paper, hot showers (don’t need hot), CHEAP AND COLD RADLERS!

THURSDAY 25TH JULY 2019 (DAY 34)

BIKE DAY 24 (MAARUA TO FRANKFURT)

The tent was in the shade when we woke up, thank goodness, because it looks like it’s gunna be very hot today. There was lots of noise earlier from other campers, obviously trying to get away before the heat.

This is our last day riding today, we ride into Frankfurt, so as usual there was no great hurry to get away. Also, we wanted to make sure the tent was completely dry when packing it away as it would be the last time it would be packed before we sent it home.

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We are riding up the River Main today, which will take us directly into Frankfurt city where we have booked a hotel for the next 3 nights. It’s about 40km today, so a big ride to finish our bike tour.

Saw some graffiti along the way under a bridge.
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We start riding just after 10am, and the day is already warm. And as we ride the day gets hotter and hotter. We later find out it was one of the hottest days ever recorded in Europe with Germany, Belgium, Holland and Paris all getting special mentions on the news regarding extreme temperatures.

Following a good path alongside the river we realized early on that we are really not carrying enough water for today. I stop at a tap on the outside of someone’s house and douse myself with water. Back on the bike, it took about 2 minutes for me to be bone dry again. Yep, definitely a hot day.

At about the 20km mark, we stop for a drink and some fruit. It’s too hot to eat a sandwich for lunch. Lyn goes over to the river to wet our hats and facecloth to cool down a little. All too enticing, we decide to go for a swim, fully clothed, and it turns out to be a brilliant idea. The river water here is very clean and clear and we enjoy the coolness of the water as we completely submerge ourselves in it.

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Turns out later that this was very good choice of spots to stop for a swim because we were soon riding around industrial areas that took us directly away from the river. Riding along in 40-degree heat, along a long flat bitumen road was not pleasant at all.

The last 8km into Frankfurt was back next to the river, so a nice way to end a very hot and hard day.
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We had little trouble finding our booked hotel because it was opposite the train station and we knew where to find that. We checked in a were given a tiny room with 2 single beds and 1 pedestal fan! Silly me, did not even think about looking to see if the hotel was air con’d or not, I just presume all hotels are air con’d. Well, obviously not all hotels in Europe are air con’d, guess they have more priority in trying to keep customers warm from the cold, rather than cool from the unusual heat.

At the beginning of our trip we had left our bags with Marcus (Lyn’s friend) and as our hotel was just minutes from his work, he had kindly brought them in and delivered them to us at the hotel. We then went out for ice cream, with sounds a little creepy, but was the best idea in this heat.
We spent the rest of the day lazing in our hot room, with very little reprieve from the heat.

Dinner was a knuckle purchased from one of the food places at the train station.
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So that is the end of our bike adventure! All went well, we were very happy with the bikes we purchased. I will have some price statistics of the whole trip if anyone is interested. We come in under budget so very happy with that.

The next few days we need to get to a post office and send out camping gear home. And also, we need to take bikes to be stored for next year – (yes there is going to be another (short) ride next year). Marcus has very kindly given us a bit of space in his cellar to store the bikes.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 36.34km
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HOTEL EXCELSIOR FRANKFURT 67.50 euros, NO AIR CON, good breakfast

FRIDAY 26TH JULY 2019 (DAY 35)

FRANKFURT

Breakfast at the hotel was very good. Better than what we expected.

We found a post office and sent home just over 8kg of camping gear (tent, sleeping bags/sheet). Don’t want or need to be carrying this stuff around with us for the next couple of months as the camping segment of the trip is over!
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The rest of the day we did nothing, just tried to keep cool in our very hot little room. The foyer of the hotel has free tea, coffee and cake all day so we ventured there a couple of times. But the foyer was not air conditioned either so there was no escaping the heat.

HOTEL EXCELSIOR FRANKFURT 67.50 euros, NO AIR CON, good breakfast

SATURDAY 27TH JULY 2019 (DAY 36)

FRANKFURT

After a good breakfast at the hotel we took our bikes on the train to where they are going to be stored for us till next year. Lyn's friend, Markus has very kindly agreed to keep the bikes for us so we can use them again next year. Which means that yes we will do another bike ride in next years trip. This was very generous of him to allow this and we are most grateful. Especially because this is the weekend Markus is moving house, so the last thing he needed was us hanging around wanting storage space for our bikes.

It was too hot to ride the 10km so we took the bikes on the train and just rode the 1km from train station to the flat. Of course as soon as we left the train, it started to rain. The last few days being so very hot, it was inevitable that rain would come.

Really, we were a big intrusion on the moving activities, but Markus and his family and friends who were all helping with the move, were very hospitable to us. And lucky for them the rain did ease.

We returned to our hotel and set to the task of packing what we had left. There still seemed to be a lot. Tomorrow we depart Germany for the next leg of our journey.

HOTEL EXCELSIOR FRANKFURT 67.50 euros, NO AIR CON, good breakfast

SUNDAY 28TH JULY 2019 (DAY 36)

FRANKFURT

We did very little today, it's so hot outside. However the hotel room is almost just as hot without any aircon. This is definitely something to take note of next time I book a hotel in Europe.

I managed to get a late checkout time of 1pm, but our flight is not until early evening so we still had the whole day to kill. We packed up our bags and put them in the luggage storage room and went out for a walk around town. It's pretty quiet, being Sunday all the shops are closed, and it's really too hot for people to be just wandering around. We did a loop to the river and back, just to kill time and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the hotel foyer with free tea, coffee and cake. Even the hotel entrance is not air conditioned so it was not the most comfortable.
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We decided to leave for the airport early. At least the airport terminal would be cooler to sit around in. Not sure how we managed it but our bags still seem to be full and heavy. Considering we have posted stuff back and also left stuff with the bikes, our bags still seem to be loaded.

The train takes less than a hour to carry us to the airport, and we have the last German Radler to toast our bike leg of this trip.

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Malta, sun and relaxation, here we come.

HOTEL EXCELSIOR FRANKFURT 67.50 euros, NO AIR CON, good breakfast

Posted by Cindy Bruin 04:58 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

2019 July 23 - GERMANY - Rhine River

a day out in Rudeshiem

sunny
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TUESDAY 23RD JULY 2019 (DAY 32)

BIKE DAY 22 (RUDESHEIM)

What a brilliant day we had today! The alarm went off at 8am, but we did not get up until 8.30am. Before we even opened the tent, I knew it was a perfect day outside as I could feel the sun beating down on the tent. Brilliant blue sky and warm.

I cooked bacon and toast on our small hot plate to start the day off. We sat looking at the river enjoying our breakfast, we did not have to hurry away we had the day in Rudesheim today. Well, not actually Rudesheim, but that’s where it will start.

We rode out of the campsite just on 10, stopping at the shops for some supplies bread rolls for our lunch today. We rode into town and locked the bikes up in a little side street off the main drag. Our next mode of transport was a gondola that carried us across the vineyards up into the N…… Forrest. The view over the towns on both sides of the Rhine River were great from our seats in the little bucket gondola. We could see the busy river up and down stream even though in the distance it was a little hazy. The vineyards are all green and starting to fruit, so they were a beautiful sight also.

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Once at the top it was a short walk to the Germania monument where we again stopped for photos of the amazing view below.

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Next we did a short walk (I think less than 2 km through the forest). Didn’t manage to spot any bears or wolves even though we were keeping a keen eye out for either. The walk was pleasant and mostly shaded, which was good as the day was by not hot.

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At the edge of the forest we sat on a chairlift that continue through the forest for a bit then did a steep incline down to the red wine town of Assmanshausen (or as Lyn fondly renamed Ass Mans House). This town / village is quite small, not much there except a few restaurants and assorted accommodation.

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We found a shady tree overlooking the river and made our selves comfortable. We had an hour and half to wait for our next leg of the day with was a ferry. This was no problem, there was a nice breeze and we had a picnic lunch to enjoy.

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We walked to the ferry dock and boarded the boat, which took off exactly on time at 2.15pm. Just a short trip down the river to drop us off at RhienStein Castle. This is a privately-owned castle that is open to visitors and has a couple of accomodation rooms, and of course an overpriced restaurant. We had 2 hours here before the boat returned to collect us. The castle is 80 metres above the river, and we had to climb up a zig zag walkway to reach the top. Again, amazing views! And with such a beautiful blue sky, it was great.

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The last boat from the castle back to Rudesheim left at 4.15pm, traveling upstream, it took almost an hour to travel the short distance. Actually, I think we rode the distance faster yesterday lol.

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The boat docked not far from where we had the bikes locked up, so we grabbed them and headed back to camp, via the supermarket of course to pick up some cold beers.

Sitting, drinking the cold beer, watching the river traffic pass we commented on what a great day we’d had. We are only a couple of more days on the bike and now that the weather is so nice we are really starting to enjoy it more. Although we heard temperatures are going to soar up there close to 40 degrees which is not really the best for bike riding, but we will see how we go.

Just before 7pm, we rode back to the supermarket, picked up some meat and salad for dinner and of course a stashed cold bottle of wine and returned to camp to cook and eat dinner.

Followed by the normal shower, washing of clothes and bed.

Tomorrow we move on again.

RUDESHIEM CAMPING – 21.40 euros, very nice toilets with paper, hot showers (no token just need to continually hold in the knob)

Posted by Cindy Bruin 04:22 Archived in Germany Comments (5)

2019 July 18 to 22 GERMANY - Rhine River

at a more relaxed pace on the Rhine


View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

THURSDAY 18TH JULY 2019 (DAY 27)

BIKE DAY 17 (BOPPARD TO ST GOAR)

Well our little holiday in the apartment has come to an end. We had a great 4 nights relaxing in comfort but it’s time to move along up the Rhine. I look outside and I smile, there is lots of blue sky and sunshine – the gods are on our side. Although, ironically, we did not have any rain at all during our indoor stay.

We had everything packed in panniers and transported down the 3 flights of stairs and loaded onto our bikes before check out time. We wheeled the bikes over to the post Bellevue Rheinhotel where we had to pay the bill for the extra 2 nights we stayed. The first 2 where charged direct by booking.com.

We bid farewell to Boppard as we rode out at 10am. Our destination today is St Goar just 15km upriver so an easy ride. The bike paths along the Rhine are very good, and although we had been off the bikes for a few days we were soon back in the saddle and travelling along fine. With the sun out it was a warm ride and the path was busy with day trippers and fellow cycle tourists. Lyn rode like the wind today and I had trouble keeping up with her.

Not surprisingly, we made it to St Goar in about an hour, riding past the town to the campground on the other side. Funny, I had been thinking during todays ride that we’ve been lucky with no flat tyres on either bike during this trip. Obviously, my mental thoughts were a jinx as 500 meters from the campsite Lyn got a flat. Bugger, I rode ahead to book us in, and Lyn pushed her bike the last little way to the office, then we unloaded and carried her bike to our site.

We had spare tubes with us, so it was not a big drama, except the idiots at the Decathlon in Frankfurt gave us the wrong size spare tube.

First up, we sat and drank the still cool bottle of beer we carried in the cooler bag from our supplies in Boppard. Then while I put up the tent, Lyn changed the back-tyre tube, luckily the spare one we had did fit it was just narrower than the one already in the tyre. One good thing about not having a geared bike, easier to change the back-tyre tube.
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We did a few other adjustments to the bikes, loaded everything into the tent and went back into town to have a quick walk around. St Goar is very small, just one main street with a few shops, restaurants and of course 3 ice cream cafes. We walked through a couple of souvenir shops, window shopping, had an ice cream then returned to the campground. I grabbed a couple of cold beers from the office which we enjoyed watching the traffic of the Rhine go by.
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I’ve stayed at this campground before and picked the same spot I stayed in last time. Under a nice big tree that offered lots of shade from the sun, and lots of protection from the rain, which unfortunately we needed. The rain was not hard, but enough to get wet had we not had the shelter from the tree. It was good, we were able to sit out under the tree and not get wet at all. We even cooked and ate dinner under the tree without getting wet.

The rain stayed light, but it stayed. How ironic as soon as we bring out the tent, out comes the rain. But there was no wind, so that meant it was not cold.
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We did the usual, had showers and went to bed. Just before we retired another cyclist rolled up and set up tent not 10 feet from ours. Why the hell he needed to be so close I don’t know, maybe trying to take shelter under the tree also?

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 15.??km

LORELEY BLICK CAMP 14.75euros, toilet with paper, great hot shower, no power

FRIDAY 19TH JULY 2019 (DAY 28)

BIKE DAY 18 (ST GOAR to Loreley Lookout/Bob)

We slept late – it was 9.45am when I woke to go to the loo. Lyn had been up earlier but returned to bed and sleep. It had rained during the night, but we remained dry and it was not too cold in the tent. The rain had just been light during the night, but the sky still looked like it was going to produce more today. We reluctantly got up out of bed and Lyn cooked mushrooms for breakfast. Parts of the sky were turning blue so there seemed hope for the day.
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It was close to midday when we finally headed out, back into town to catch the ferry to the other side of the river. We are going up to the Loreley lookout and there is a LUGE!

The car/passenger ferry travels back and forth across the river continuously so we didn’t have long to wait for it to return to our side and walk aboard. It costs 1.80euro per person one way and took about 10 minutes to cross. Once on the other side we were to catch a bus to take us up to the lookout. Of course, we had just missed the bus and had to wait 45 minutes for the next one. So, during this time we walked up to the REWE supermarket to take a look as there is not a supermarket in town on our side of the river. Having to wait for the bus gave us time to go purchase some lunch supplies that we could eat up at the lookout. We bought a smoked fish, some bread rolls and some nectarines! Lunch fit for queens and less than 4 euros!
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There is a rock concert on up at the amphitheatre on the Loreley lookout so there were lots of people waiting for the bus to take them up there also. We managed to get on the bus at the station which was before the stop where the ferry came in, meaning we got a seat before all the others cramped in the bus overloading it. Still a handful of people did not get on and would have to wait for the next hourly bus. The drive up to the lookout is not far, maybe 3 or 4km but it’s a steep climb (too steep for bike) and we did not see a walking track anywhere near the road. Up the top the overcrowded bus seemed nothing to the amount of people already up there lined up to get in and hundreds of tents and campers already set up. Must be a huge concert. The age group we noticed were 40-50, predominately male. Many wearing t-shirts from previous years concerts.
We all got off the bus, them walking to the concert gates, us walking towards the lookout. The weather was holding out nicely, with the sunshine providing some nice warmth to our day. We found a shady spot to eat our lunch after enjoying views down over the Rhine River. We could even see our little tent from way up high.
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We then had a ride on the Loreley Bob, happy that the concert goers were not interested in this attraction, otherwise we would have had to line up forever. This is our 3rd luge ride of the trip, and we finished just in time to catch the bus back into the town.
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It dropped us near the train station that was close to the supermarket for us to buy dinner supplies. Also, when we were there earlier, I had hidden a bottle of wine in the fridge to cool, for us to pick up now and take back to drink. This is the only way we can get our drinks cold. We bought our supplies, walked back to ferry, caught it back to our side of the river. Rode back to campground and promptly drank bottle of still cool wine! Good day out! And no rain.
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Loreley: steeped in legend, the slate cliff near St Goarshausen rises 193m into the air.

Rest of afternoon / evening we sat around relaxing, I started cooking dinner about 7.30pm. We ate, showered and went to bed.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 1km

LORELEY BLICK CAMP 14.75euros, toilet with paper, great hot shower, no power

SATURDAY 20TH JULY 2019 (DAY 29)

BIKE DAY 19 (ST GOAR TO BACHARACH)

It was sunny and blue sky when we woke up. There was no rush this morning as we only have a short distance to ride again. We had breakfast, then slowly packed up camp and loaded the bikes. I think we still managed to make it out of the camp just after the 10 o’clock check out time.
Weather is starting to be on our side as we rode in the sunshine. We stopped for a photo in front of the Loreley Rock, then continued along the river. A very good path here but we did struggle with a very strong head wind. It felt like we were pedalling uphill the whole way. Even the small downhill inclines we needed to pedal because of the head wind.
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At the halfway mark in Oberwesel we stopped at a supermarket as there is nothing at our stop for the next 2 nights. We rode through the town before finding the REWE at the edge of town. As it was still early in the day, no good for us to buy fresh meat as it would not be nice by the time we came to cook it later. We settled for a tin surprise meal for tonight and would treat ourselves to dinner out on Sunday when there are no shops open.
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We made it to Bacharach just on 12 o’clock so stopped at the ferry kiosk to buy a radler and eat the fleishkase bread rolls we had purchased earlier at the REWE.
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Camp was only 300 meters further and we were checked in and set up by 1.30pm. So, we headed back into town to have a bit of a walk around, and an ice cream. There is only one short street, so it did not take long to see the sights of Bacharach. There is a castle on the hill here, but we are going to leave that excursion until tomorrow.
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Back at camp a few more walking campers and family bike campers had shown up and the place was filling up. We spent the afternoon by the river watching the river traffic go by and chatting with fellow campers.

We cooked out tin dinner (spag bol) and went up for showers at about 8.30pm – quite late for us.

By 9.30pm when we were starting to ready for bed campers were still rolling in and the small strip of grass allocated to tents was just about all taken up. We had a huge tepee set up next to us that was just about pegged in out inside our tent. All very cosy.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 13.35km
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SONNENSTRAND CAMPING 15 euros – toilets with paper, hot shower 1 euro 5 minutes – we are stealing power

MONDAY 22ND JULY 2019 (DAY 31)

BIKE DAY 21 (BACHARACH TO RUDESHIEM)

We asked for warmer weather and we certainly got it and I felt it pelting down on the tent at 8am this morning. Brilliant sunshine, that promised to stay with us all day, and did.

Today we are travelling just 17km upstream to Rudeshiem, so again no great rush to get away. We had a slow breakfast and packed up at our leisure. We spoke to the young girl who seemed to be just as casual about movement as we did. She started walking in the very south of Germany and hopes to get to the North Sea in the very north of Germany in one month. She said she can walk 30 km in a good day, but it is getting very hot now and she has blistered feet. The cart she is pulling weights 35kg.
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We were packed up, bid farewell to our Dutch friends, paid the bill and rolled out of the camp at 11am, just as the church bells started to chime.
It was already hot, and I am not complaining about the sunshine, just stating a fact.

Of course, the track was good again, and we made good time again. Stopped to take a few pictures on the way. When we reached Bingen we had to wait for the car ferry to cross the river as we are camping on the other side in Rudesheim.
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The crossing took maybe 10 minutes and it was just a short ride to the other side of the town to find the campsite. It also was one that I have stayed in previously. We rode up to the reception only to be told they were fully booked. But they would find us a place to put the tent, campsites never turn away bike campers. Managed to get the exact same spot as I had last time.
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It was hot putting up the tent, but I assured Lyn I knew where we could get a cold beer as I remembered the bottle shop in the little lane behind the camp. We finished setting up the tent and put the full panniers inside ready to be sorted out later. It was time for a cold bevvy. You can imagine my horror when we rode the 3 minutes to the shop I remembered when we saw it had closed down! Lucky for us there was a REWE, Lidl, Penny and Aldi Sud for us to choose from to buy a cold drink. We did the quick rounds to check which ones had beers in the fridge and I planted a few bottles of wine hidden in the fridges behind yoghurt and cheese for us to pick up later. We bought an ice cream from Aldi which we ate just outside, joined by two other families with the same idea.
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I said to Lyn we now have 2 choices; ride into town and have a look around OR grab a few cold beers and ride back to the camp and sit in the shade and drink them. It was hot so you can imagine which choice was voted by both of us. We had a small cooler bag with us, so we grabbed 4 cans and headed back to camp. This was a great idea to sit in the shade and enjoy the beers, we can ride into town later.
Which we did a few hours later. It’s a short 10-15-minute ride, we walked around for about an hour. Very quiet considering the campground is full and there are a couple of river cruise boats moored for the night. But it was 6pm, so I guess most of them would be back on-board eating dinner.
We purchased tickets for our tour tomorrow and returned to camp via the Penny supermarket to pick up dinner supplies and a nice cold bottle of wine. Chicken kebabs, potato salad and a chilled white – very nice dinner by the river.
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Same routine, shower, wash clothes, bed.

It feels quite warm in the tent tonight, so I don’t think we need to worry about being cold anymore.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 17.??KM
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RUDESHIEM CAMPING – 21.40 euros, very nice toilets with paper, hot showers (no token just need to continually hold in the knob)

Posted by Cindy Bruin 03:28 Archived in Germany Comments (2)

2019 July 14 to 17 - GERMANY - Rhine River

and now we on the Rhine!


View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

SUNDAY 14TH JULY 2019 (DAY 23)

BIKE DAY 13 (BRAUBACH TO BOPPARD)

Woke up to another miserable looking day, this weather is getting very tiresome. It had rained most of the night, well at least every time I woke up, I heard rain falling on the tent. Luckily it was only light rain and we stayed nice and dry inside the tent.

As we only had a short distance to travel today, we were not in a great hurry to get moving. Washing was still drying on the fence as we had a slow breakfast. We packed up the tent, gathered everything onto the bikes and managed to ride out of the campground at 10.55am, just five minutes before checking out time of 11am.

The sky stayed dark all day, but no rain fell. But it’s quite cool and we had jackets on all day. The ride from Braubach to Boppard along the Rhine was easy, with good bike path. We had a bit of a head wind for some of the way, but still made good time. We were at the river crossing ferry by 11.45am, and 10 minutes later were pushing the bikes off on the other side into Boppard. I have a friend who lives in Boppard, but lucky for her she is in Tobago with work, so unfortunately, we will not be able to meet up – next time.
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Being Sunday, the tourist information office was closed, we were hoping to get some accomodation ideas from them as we are going to stop here for a few nights. We are about 4 days ahead of our cycling schedule so have the time to stop in one place for a few days, and since the weather is crap, we decided to find some accomodation indoors. I found a small apartment on booking.com that sounded perfect for us. About the same price as a hotel room, but we have a kitchen, and it said a washing machine. This was the selling factor, a washing machine, so we could give everything a good wash. Unfortunately, it turns out the washing machine is in the building next door and it costs an extra 1 euro per wash. Still cheap enough.

We could not get into the apartment until 3pm, so we locked up the bikes in the main square and walked around the small village of Boppard. All the shops are closed, because it’s Sunday, only restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops are open. Seems the bad weather has kept the tourists away today, with only a small crowd of people that come off a tour boat invading the village.
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We finally received a message we could check into the apartment and had to carry our bags up 4 flights of steps to the ‘penthouse’ apartment. It’s a nice small place, newly renovated with everything from Ikea, including all the kitchen equipment. It will be nice for the next couple of nights to be dry, warm and comfortable. We have big flat screen tv that has satellite TV with more than 500 channels – but only one channel in English BBC News. ☹

We spent the afternoon and evening sitting comfortable, skylight windows in the roof showing the same cloudy sky outside.

Ventured downstairs to lock up the bikes to a sign just to be sure. We bought an ice cream cone and went for a little walk along the river. Still not many people around. We returned to our penthouse apartment for dinner of a tin of surprise that we purchased yesterday knowing that nothing would be open on Sunday.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 10.65km
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DOWNTOWN STUDIOS BOPPARD 62.50EURO = penthouse studio with full kitchen and use of washing machine

MONDAY 15TH JULY 2019 (DAY 24)

OFF BIKE DAY 14 (BOPPARD)

We did very little today. Had a bit of a lie in, then a relaxed breakfast of some bread with cheese, left over supplies that we already had.
Lyn put in a load of washing in the machine in the building next door that we can use for 1 euro. We are machine washing our towels and sleep sheets.

We didn’t venture out of the apartment until it was time to find some food for lunch. We had a bit of a walk around town, there seem to be a few more tourists here today then there was yesterday. Found the REWE supermarket and bought supplies for lunch and dinner, returned to the apartment to eat. It was pretty cold outside.

After lunch we went for another walk around the village, the shops that were all closed yesterday are of course open today, so we did a little bit of window shopping. Had a 1-euro ice cream cone.

The dryer did not seem to do a great deal to dry our towels etc so now the apartment looks like a Chinese laundry and what most would expect our dwelling to look like.
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I cooked dinner tonight, chicken, potatoes and peas. We found a nice bottle of wine at the supermarket for a whopping 1.99 euro which is very nice indeed!

Weather does not seem to be changing, although I don’t think it rained today, it is cold, and the sky is a horrible colour of grey.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 0km

DOWNTOWN STUDIOS BOPPARD 62.50EURO = penthouse studio with full kitchen and use of washing machine

TUESDAY 16TH JULY 2019 (DAY 25)

OFF BIKE DAY 15 (BOPPARD – train to Koblenz)

We woke to a cloudy grey shy which turned into a bright sunny afternoon.

Today we took the train from Boppard to Koblenz using the free Guest Card that came with our accomodation. This card is great as it gives us free unlimited train and bus travel within the VRM area – which is basically from Koln to Mainz along the Rhine River and a few off shoots.

As we rode through Koblenz the other day we decided to go back for another look. Also, we needed to go to Decathlon to get some nuts and bolts that have come off my back-pannier rack, due to crappy job of installation. After breakfast we walked the short distance from the apartment to the Boppard train station, had to wait about 30 minutes for the train, which then took only about 30 minutes to get us into Koblenz. It was a little cold around town and we still wore jackets, but the sun was also out so a good sign. It has not rained since we have gone indoors of course, but the nights have still been cool.

We got what we needed from Decathlon, then walked around a little. Found a REWE to buy a meat roll for lunch. Again found the sometimes elusive spitting boy statue and then walked to the German Corner (where the Mosel & Rhine Rivers meet) to take a couple of photos in our trophy singlets.
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There were quite a few river cruise ships docked in Koblenz, which meant there were quite a few tourists around.

Just for a change of route, we decided to catch the bus back to Boppard. This took a little longer than the train but got us back within the hour.
We exited the bus before it delivered us back to the main train station as it had turned into such a nice afternoon, we decided to ride the Boppard Chairlift up to the lookout over the Rhine.

It costs 8.50 euros each for the return trip, but not a bad price as the chair took about 10 minutes to reach the top. Once there it’s a short walk to the look out where there is an overpriced café that we decided not to patron. We took some photos then rode the chairlift back down to river level.
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A slow walk back into town, stopping to have a couple of radlers down by the river.
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Nice relaxing day today.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 0km

DOWNTOWN STUDIOS BOPPARD 50EURO = penthouse studio with full kitchen and use of washing machine

WEDNESDAY 17TH JULY 2019 (DAY 26)

OFF BIKE DAY 16 (BOPPARD – train to Emmelshausen, walk Bachholz to Boppard)

Again, we woke to an overcast looking day that progressed into a bright sunny afternoon & evening. It has been nice staying in our little apartment for a few (4 in total counting tonight) nights. A bit like having a mini holiday in the middle of our bike riding, which was getting a little low with the weather etc.

Today after a busy morning thinking we needed to change apartments due to a booking mix-up, we again walked to the train station to catch a train that would take us away from the river. Again, we were able to use the Guest Cards for free transport. I did this trip last time I was in Boppard, caught the train up the hill and then walked back down to the town. Today we caught the train to the end of the line, Emmelshausen, just because we could.
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When we got off at the end of the line, we noted the next train out would be in 1 hours’ time and this turned out to be plenty of time. We walked the main street which was nothing interesting and when we decided to stop and have coffee and cake, picked the wrong café that was struggling with 30 or so elder Dutch cyclists who were trying to order lunch rolls. It seemed all too much for the waitress and when we went inside to order coffee, we were advised the waitress would come to our table outside. At this rate we would miss the next train and be stuck here for another hour, so we walked to the train station and had a muesli bar and a drink of water instead.

Back on the train we got off at the last stop before Boppard, Bachholz, this is where we walked back from. This is the walk I did last time and the sign read 8.9km back to Boppard. So, we started the walk through the forest and somewhere early in the walk we must have missed a sign or a turn and our 8.9km hike turned into a 5km hike as we walked a much shorter track. All good, we had at least done something today.
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The track led us into the back of town, close to REWE supermarket where we could purchase supplies for dinner tonight, so all very convenient. The day had turned lovely and sunny, and warmer than it has been. Tomorrow we return to life on the bikes.

We had lunch back at the apartment, then went out for an ice cream and another little walk around the village. Lots more tourists here today, the fine weather bringing them out.

We have been able to stop here in Boppard for 4 nights because it turns out were about 6 days ahead of our scheduled bike itinerary. That is ok, it was nice to be able to stop and have a relax. The rest of the journey up the Rhine is going to be very relaxed too, because we still have like 10 days before we fly out of Frankfurt so no long distances or need to rush. I just hope this fine weather continues for us as we will be back to camping for the next couple of nights.

We did a last machine wash of clothes as we will be back to handwashing on the bike. Cooked dinner in, had cold wine and beer - it's been luxury.
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DISTANCE RODE TODAY 0km, WALKED 5km
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DOWNTOWN STUDIOS BOPPARD 50EURO = penthouse studio with full kitchen and use of washing machine

Posted by Cindy Bruin 14:36 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

2019 July 10 to 13, Germany - Mosel River

We continue down the Mosel


View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

WEDNESDAY 10TH JULY 2019 (DAY 19)

BIKE DAY 9 (BERNKASTEL-KUES TO BULLAY)

We both woke before the 8.30am alarm. Nice to have had a sleep in a bed in a building! Small pleasures when your tenting it, heh. I stepped out onto our balcony to assess the weather situation. Although the air temp was a little cool still, the very blue sky looked very promising. We dressed and headed to the breakfast room where we ate a ridiculous amount of food. Bread, rolls, cheeses and cold meats, coffee and tea filled our bellies to the max. Greedily we wanted to get our moneys worth and certainly did. And (sorry Surridges) yes, we did steal some cake to have for our morning tea on the river.

After breakfast we carried our panniers downstairs, removed the bikes from the garage and loaded them up for another day. I returned upstairs to return the keys and pay our bill. 68 euros for the room and breakfast plus 1.50euros each city tax. So, a bit more expensive than our camping costs, but well worth the comfortable warm night, and with the early checkin yesterday I think we got our moneys worth from this accommodation.
It was about 10.30am when we started to ride, and it turned out to be a perfect day for riding. The sun was out, but not too warm, the temp was up but not too hot and there was no head wind. And today the path was almost completely smooth, with just a few bumps caused by tree roots. A good riding day.

I’m not sure if it was because we were well rested or because of the filling breakfast we had eaten but we seemed to be riding at a pretty good speed today. Unfortunately, my gps mapper decided not to log our ride for the first 35 minutes so our first 8km were not logged. We gained a day with yesterday ride and today it looked like we were going to do the same. The track was fairly crowded again today, with lots of day trippers and cyclo travellers like us, going in both directions. We saw some of the same riders we passed or past us yesterday. Almost all the riders are, I would guess over 50, with about 70% in the over 60’s closer to 70 years age group. Granted a lot of these older folk are on e-bikes (electric), and we are the only ones I have seen on an ungeared bike. So, I don’t feel bad when we are overtaken by someone on an electric bike. Anyway, we seem to catch them on the flat, but they then pass us when we are pushing our laden bikes up a small hill/incline. Path hoggers coming towards us on a narrow part of the path, caused me to stop suddenly and with Lyn right behind me she had to stop suddenly too. A young boy following too closely behind her did not stop and crashed straight into the back of Lyn’s bike. Lucky no one was hurt and no damage to either bikes.

We stopped a couple of times for a break and a little snack (the stolen cake) but had no need for lunch as we were still full of breakfast.
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Again, the scenery was very pretty with steep vineyards to accompany us along the way. There is more river traffic now than we have seen earlier. A few private pleasure crafts, ferries travelling from town to town, as well as big long river cruisers.

We stopped in the town of Zell at about 2pm, wanting to ask the tourist office where we might be able to buy some gas for our cooker. We are not completely out but should start looking so we are not left with empty cans. They advised best place is camping grounds or try supermarket – not really much help as I already thought of them. Since we had stopped, I decided it was a good time to have a cold beer and we sat with a 2-euro radler purchased from a riverside kiosk. I remember from my last visit along this river they are much cheaper than cafes/restaurants to buy a beer from.
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Our stop for the night was less than 6km further along the river and we were there in no time. Found the campground, which is directly on the river, we given a pitch, set up camp then rode to local supermarket for dinner supplies. As the weather is still warm, we did not want to have a hot cooked meal, instead settled for a smoked fish – which costs a ridiculous 2.10 euros, would pay triple that in OZ, straw chips and cold egg salad. Of course, we also purchased a couple of radler beers to have back at camp.
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Hungry by 6, we ate earlier than usual due to no lunch, I guess. Showered, and now in tent at 8.27pm waiting for it to get dark. Haha, that won’t be for another 1 ½ hours at least, but somehow, I don’t think we will last that long. Just hope the temperature does not drop too much as it’s cold in the tent.

Another big ride today clocking up about 48km, but an easy ride I must admit. Lyn and I were just discussing today, that it’s amazing we have not been sore at all from the bike riding. Considering we had no training for this ride, we have had no soreness or muscle fatigue. Sure, we are tired at the end of the day, its now 8.39pm and I think Lyn has already crashed here next to me in the tent, but no stiff legs at all. Not bad for a couple of old birds!

I saw a big (about 1 meter long) snake cross the bike path this afternoon. Much bigger than the 2 little one we have previously encountered.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 48KM
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BAREN CAMP – BULLARY 25 EUROS, TOILETS with paper, HOT SHOWERS, no power

THURSDAY 11TH JULY 2019 (DAY 20)

BIKE DAY 10 (BULLAY TO COCHEM)

Last night was the warmest night we have had in the tent!

Looked out the tent this morning at about 8.30am and did not like what I saw. Cloudy sky again, but this one looked like it was going to be wet. After such a glorious day yesterday, today turned out to be our worst so far.

We managed to have breakfast, pack up the tent dry and load the bikes before any moisture got to them. However, 10 minutes into our ride it started to spit lightly, then it got a little harder and then a little harder and a little more. The light spit turned into a constant drizzle, not a pour down, but definitely constant precipitation. I guess we were lucky in the fact there was no wind, so it was not too cold.
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We made the decision that we would push on to our nights stop and then get a room for the night as there was no way we would be camping in the wet. Our goal was Cochem which was about a 30km ride. We really had nowhere to wait out the rain and no point getting a room where we were as we were already on our way and semi damp. We rode a good path today and had it been sunny it would have been another fantastic ride, but one thing we can’t control is the weather.
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We made a few stops along the way when the rain got a little heavier but mostly just pedalled through the light rain.

We reached Cochem at about 1.30pm and went straight to the tourist office to get assistance with finding a room. They had a help yourself method with a big board listing available accomodation with a free phone to use to contact them, only thing was there were no prices listed. I was able to get onto the towns free internet and found us a place on booking.com which was just out of the main part of town and a good price at 65 euros including breakfast. Cochem is a touristy little place and all the accomodation in the centre were over 100 euros per night and not offering breakfast, so we were willing to ride 1km back the way we came into town for the saving.
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We had to wait as checkin was not until 3pm and the hotel was all locked up. The owners arrived at about 20 past and we were shown to our room. No view this time, obviously the cheaper rooms are not facing the river, but we didn’t care. We took off our wet rain ponchos and damp clothes and put on the white fluffy robes that were included in our room. This was luxury.

Ironically, about 30 minutes after we checked in, looking out the window we could see blue sky and the rain had stopped and the weather looked like it was clearing. Bad luck, we are in this lovely warm room now and we are here for the night.

I was happy to note that later on when we walked back into town for dinner at about 6.30pm there was a light showering of rain so it would have been shit if we were in the tent tonight. Bad news is this weather is forecast for next 3 days!

Anyway, we had a bit of a walk around town, had a pre-dinner ice cream cone, then found a place to have schnitzel for dinner. Had a 3-course meal for 14.99 euros each (bargain) and shared a ½ litre carafe of rose for 10 euros. I can tell you we needed the short walk back to the hotel; we have not eaten so much since our big breakfast the other morning in Bernkastel-Kues.
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So, hoping tomorrow is a better day than today. We won’t be leaving here early as we have breakfast included with the hotel room and our next destination is only about 20km. We need sunshine as we need to wash clothes and get them dry. Lol
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DISTANCE RODE TODAY 29.78km
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WEINHOTEL COCHEM 63.05euros – twin room, private bathroom across the hall, good buffet breakfast incl

FRIDAY 12TH JULY 2019 (DAY 21)

BIKE DAY 11 (COCHEM TO MOSELKERN)

It was nice to sleep inside, but the beds were like blocks of cement compared to our airbeds. But it was warm, and we had a nice breakfast. The manager advised us that the bike path on the other side of town was closed due to road works and that we would need to go over the bridge and catch a ferry back to the other side. Which is exactly what we did.
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It was easy riding again, track along the Mosel is very good and flat, its only the wind that we need to contend with.

We didn’t have far to go today. Our overnight stop in Moselkern is the best location for us to walk to Burg Eltz (castle), and we rode into the camping ground before midday. It looked a bit like the people from Hicksville were running the place, but they turned out to be the nicest we have come across on our trip.

As we were shown to our patch of grass, a German lady sitting in the annex of her caravan yelled out to us in German, ‘best get that tent up very fast, its about to piss down rain!’ And unfortunately, true to her word, nature opened up the skies as soon as we had the tent up. It was not very heavy rain and I was confident that our belongings stashed inside would stay dry. There was not much we could do except sit around under the cover of the café and wait for the rain to stop. Which it did, but it wasn’t finished yet.

Because we were here so early, it would be possible for us to do the walk to the castle today instead of walking there tomorrow forcing us to stay another night. The rain had eased a little, so we set off on the walk through the forest, it was only 4.4km to the castle. About 10 minutes into our walk the heavens opened, and it poured down. We already had on our trusty Ikea rain ponchos and tried to shelter under trees, but this was the heaviest rain we had encountered the whole trip. My first thought was of the tent and hoping it was keeping everything dry inside.

I said to Lyn, you wanna keep going in the rain or turn back and sit in the rain near the tent? We were about as wet as we were going to get, which was not very wet the Ikea ponchos do a pretty good job, so we decided to carry on to the castle. Turns out this was a very good idea. 15 minutes later the rain stopped, and the sun came out. By the time we arrived at the castle it was quite sunny, and we were having regrets about not bringing our sunglasses.
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We walked around the 12th century castle, sat in the sunshine and ate our sandwich picnic lunch, even sat in the sun and had a coffee and shared a piece of cake. We started the walk back, marvelling at the change of weather and glad we had continued on.
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We reached the village of Moselkern and as it was still dry, I suggested we just go for a walk through, it was not very big.
large_DSCN8931.JPGAbout 2 minutes from the campsite the heavens opened again, and we quickly put our ponchos back on. Reaching the camp, I could see there was a dip in the top of the tent, this meant that water was pooling, and this is when water starts to leak. It was really coming down now, but I had no choice but to go and rescue the tent. It was just a matter of pulling the guide ropes a little tighter to make the fly tauter so the water flowed off and did not pool. It’s a good tent and will not leak if set up properly.

We sat and waited out the downpour, then when Lyn went to check the damage, only her sleeping bag was slightly wet. The lovely (although a bit odd) lady manager offered to put it in the dryer and dry the sleeping bag. Then some other caravan dwellers helped us to relocate the tent to a dryer patch of grass. Out came a tarp to put under the tent, a woman handed us a roll of kitchen paper towel to mop up any dampness inside the tent. And all this was done with limited common language. These people were wonderful.

When this was all sorted, we asked for a glass of wine and were served a lovely wine that came from the managers vineyard. It was very drinkable and at just 1.50 euros per glass lucky we didn’t drink ourselves to sleep.

The rain managed to stay away long enough for us to cook some dinner and have showers and crawl into the tent, which was dry inside. Moments after laying down we could hear the patter of rain on the nylon of the tent, but it did not get heavy enough for us to worry about during the night.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 18.78km
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MOSELKERN CAMPING 12euros – toilets with paper, 1 euro hot showers, no power

SATURDAY 13TH JULY 2019 (DAY 22)

BIKE DAY 12 (MOSELKERN TO BRAUBACH)

Amazingly enough, it was dry in the morning and we had camp breakfast. We packed everything up and the tent was surprisingly dry. Not quite sure where we are heading today, lol. I was wanting to find an apartment somewhere that we can stop for a few days our of the crap weather. Couldn’t seem to find anywhere so we were riding a little blind, not knowing where we were going to stop.

The weather held out at least and it did not rain. The only thing we did know about finding accommodation is that we desperately needed a washing machine. Because of the crap weather we have been having we have not been able to do our daily washing. We are now on day 4 with only 2 changes of clothes, you do the math.
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The bike path for the end of the Mosel was good as usual. It’s a lovely part of Germany and I am sorry we had the weather that did not do it justice. At least it has been easy pedalling.

We rode into Koblenz and decided to go to the tourist office to see if they could maybe help with finding accommodation. They were about as helpful as tits on a bull, gave me an accommodation book that was completely in German. Thanks. And they did not even have wifi for us to look on the internet. Advised we go over to the shopping centre as there is wifi there. So, we did and still I did not have any luck. Being a rather large town the accommodation here was out of our price range so we decided to ride out and try and sort something out later.

So, we turn right and are now riding alongside the Rhine River. This is our third and final river of this bike trip. We have been alongside the Saar River, then the Mosel River and now the Rhine River.

We ride for a bit longer and decide we will have to camp tonight. Stop at supermarket for dinner supplies we head to Braubach camping and hope they have a washing machine. It is still early enough in the day that we will be able to do a must needed wash of clothes and hang them out to dry.
We are given the only patch of dirt in the whole grassy campground and advised the washing machine costs 3.50 euro per load. Good enough, I put up the tent in the dirt as Lyn organizes the washing, this is after we both strip off the dirties, we are wearing.

Before long all our wardrobes are hanging on the fence of the camp, drying!

We cook dinner as the campground fills up and takes away our view of the castle on the hill.

Been a funny day today, but we are dry and will have clean clothes to wear tomorrow so all good.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 49.95KM
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UFERWEISE CAMP BRAUBACH 10 EURO – toilets with paper, 1 euro hot showers, no power, 3.50 euro for washing machine

Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:57 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

2019 July 06 to 09, Germany - Mosel River

We start riding the every winding Mosel


View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

SATURDAY 6TH JULY 2019 (DAY 15)

BIKE DAY 5 (SAARBURG TO TRIER)

Another cold night in the tent. We woke up to dew on the ground this morning, this is the first time we have had dew on the tent and on our washing that we left out overnight. It was not a heavy dew and as soon as the sun hit the tent it was dry, not so lucky for our clothes as they had sucked up a bit of the moisture. Never mind, we will just ride with our clothing strapped on the back of the bike, and they can dry that way.
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More blue sky and sunny weather, we rode out of the campground at 10.11am, heading first to the supermarket to take back our beer cans from yesterday (all cans and bottles in Germany are charged with a deposit and need to be returned to get your deposit back – sort of a forced recycling that works perfectly) and get some lunch supplies for on the road.

It was an easy ride today and we made it to the end of the Saar River where it flows into the Mosel River. Here we stopped to have a celebration cake that I had purchased this morning. Any reason to have a cake is a good one.
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So, we are now riding along the Mosel River and our first stop is the town of Trier. Trier is supposedly the oldest town in Germany. We found the campground, same one I have stayed in previously, set the tent up, had lunch then rode into town to have a wander around. Town was crawling with lots and lots of tourists. It was late in the afternoon and still all the shops in the centre were open, taking full advantage of the crowds. We walked around for a while then stopped to have a beer and people watch. This is the most tourists we have seen anywhere.
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On the way back to the campground we stopped at the supermarket for some dinner supplies and a few beers which we drank back beside the tent. The campground is right on the rivers edge with just the bike track, a very busy bike track, and a fence separating them. Sitting here drinking our beers watching the foot and bike traffic go past it’s a bit like we are exhibits in a zoo. Everyone looks at us, some smile, some say hello, others zoom past ignoring us. It’s funny.

We do the usual, shower then climb into the tent for bed, hoping for a warmer night’s sleep and no rain.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 23.67km
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TREVIRIS CAMPING TRIER 19.50 EUROS – toilets with paper, hot shower @ 1euro for 5mins, grassy pitch

SUNDAY 7TH JULY 2019 (DAY 16)

OFF BIKE DAY 6 (TRAIN TRIER TO LUXEMBOURG RETURN)

Last night did not seem to be as cold as previous nights have been. I, at least, felt as if I slept a little better than previous nights. Getting out of the tent the weather did not look very nice for our day today. Lots of clouds and no blue sky to be seen. By the time we were eating breakfast we had to don our rain ponchos as a light rain started to fall. It as not falling very hard, but enough that we would get wet without the covering.

Most of the other cycle campers were in different stages of packing up, but we are having an off-bike day today, so we were in no hurry to do anything. Today we are catching the train to the neighbouring country of Luxembourg, so there will be no riding in the rain for us, no matter how light it is.

Yesterday we had called into the train station and picked up a train timetable and know that trains are hourly at 37 minutes past the hour so we can catch whichever we like. After we ate breakfast, we stowed everything inside the tent, handed my laptop into reception for safe keeping and asked them to charge it for me (which they did) and we rode the couple of km’s into Trier town to the train station. Being a Sunday there was not very much traffic on the roads. Out front of the station we locked our bikes to each other and to a couple of poles and hoped that they would still be there when we returned this afternoon. Our bikes are still all dusty and dirty (now after a sprinkle of rain, muddy) so they surely would not be the first choice for bike thieves, well that’s what we were counting on anyway.

We purchased tickets from the auto ticket machine and were pleasantly surprised when we discovered the cost was only 9.60euros each return. Good value for a train ticket to another country I reckon.

We had only about 15 minutes to wait for our train and to be sure asked that it was the correct one as there were 2 trains at the same platform leaving within minutes of each other. The train ride was about an hour and when we left Trier the train retraced the path along the Mosel River that we had cycled yesterday, up to the Saar River. Then the train headed away from the rivers toward Luxembourg’s capital Luxembourg. We rode past farmland, pastures and forest - all very green.

Unfortunately for us, the weather did not look any better when we arrived in Luxembourg. We walked out of the train station and not far up the road towards the centre and we stopped to put our rain ponchos back on. Hey, we may not have looked fabulous, but we were the only tourists walking around and keeping dry. The rain was not very heavy, just a light shower really, but again enough to get you wet if walking around in it. Some people looked at us weirdly in our bright ponchos, but even more looked at us with envy as they started to get very soggy.

We walked around the pedestrian streets, being a Sunday, all the stops were closed but there were still a fair number of tourists walking around. We found a trash and treasure market in an open square, but most of the goods for sale were covered with plastic to attempt to keep their wares dry. There was nothing we saw that we could not live without so did not make any purchases. Lyn did eye off an old wooden spinning wheel that was just 7 euros, but how the hell do you carry a spinning wheel on a bike? We started to look for somewhere to have lunch and I said it would be nice to have some soup and bread. There were of course lots of restaurants and cafes open, all serving overpriced food to the soggy tourists who entered these places mainly to get out of the rain. I spotted a kebab shop that looked like they were serving Turkish kebab which we headed towards hoping they might serve soup. Yes, lentil soup and warm pita bread for just 4 euro each! What a bargain and it tasted delicious, just what we wanted.

After lunch, the rain had eased a bit, so we returned to the lookout to go up in the City Sky Liner. This was like a ride at an amusement park but travelled very slowly and gave a great view out over the city at 70 meters up in the air. Looked like a spaceship and was not a bad price @ 7 euros each for a 20-minute ride. After our birds eye view over the city, we caught the lift down into the oldtown and there seemed like a climate change down there as the sun was shining and we walked around after having stripped off our long sleeves and leg warmers. We walked back up the hill to the corniche and walked around some more.
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At around 5.30ish, we started to head back in the direction of the train station. Arriving there at around 6 and saw that our next train was at 6.33 so we had enough time for a coffee before heading to the platform. Be buggered if these Europeans can make a hot cup of coffee. It cost us 6.80 euros for 2 (half cups – they don’t know how to fill cups to the top either) and 2 tiny scroll buns – which really is on par with what we would pay in Australia – so not too bad.

The 6.33pm train arrived back in Trier at about 7.30pm and we were very happy to see both our bikes still chained up to the post where we had left them. Always a worry when we must leave them somewhere for a few hours.

We rode back to the campsite and noticed the road was dry here in Trier so if it had rained here today, it was a lot earlier and everything was now dry again. The sky was still very cloudy, but hopefully that will make for not such a cold night again.

Back at camp we relaxed and drank the 2 cans of radler beer we left in the camp fridge, also hoping they would be there on our return. And they were, so thank you fellow campers for not pinching them. We cooked dinner; a can surprise purchased from the supermarket yesterday as we thought nothing would be open on Sunday. And again, we were correct.
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Showers, and again here I am in the tent typing this as Lyn snores beside me. It’s just turned 10pm and the towns church bells are ringing. It’s just starting to get dark outside, not much light coming through the tent nylon.

Tomorrow we continue riding up the Mosel River.

TREVIRIS CAMPING TRIER 19.50 EUROS – toilets with paper, hot shower @ 1euro for 5mins, grassy pitch

MONDAY 8TH JULY 2019 (DAY 17)

BIKE DAY 7 (TRIER TO RIOL)

The sun was shining when we woke this morning, so that was a good sign. We had no supplies for breakfast and the reception did not have any spare rolls, so we just had a coffee/ tea and packed up the tent and our gear and rode up the road to the supermarket. We paid the bill on the way out, 21.50euro per night, pretty good.

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We ate a quick roll and cheese in the supermarket carpark and were soon on our way. Not too far to cycle today, only about 20km to the village of Riol where we have booked a wine barrel to sleep in. And at the campsite there is a luge too, that is the main reason for this overnight choice. We were on the bike track by 11am. The path today was easy again, after leaving Trier it took us inland a bit and we rode through a bit of industrial areas. Soon we were back by the River Mosel with steep vineyards covering the valley hills.

As we don’t have that far to go so, we took it very easy, stopping for photos and water breaks. I was not sure if there was a supermarket near our campground so we stopped at a supermarket to buy some lunch supplies and a can of something for dinner. Just as well we did as the campground is near a small village that does not even have a shop and the only food available at the camp is an onsite Italian Restaurant.
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Our lunch stop by the side of the Mosel River was very picturesque. After we’d eaten the camp was only a couple of km further, so we were there by 2pm. No problem, the weather is funny today, although the sun is out there are lots of clouds and the wind is quite fresh when we were riding in the shade of the trees. Last night was chilly in the tent again so I think both Lyn and I are looking forward to spending the night inside a warm wooden wine barrel. We checked into TrioLago Campground and were given a key for our barrel which we rode up to.
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Always the first thing to do is washing, we did not wash yesterday’s clothes last night as we knew this was going to be an early stop. So, washing done, and hung out to dry we went for a bit of a ride into the village hoping to find a small shop to buy some liquid refreshments. We didn’t know there would be a share fridge at this camp and had no supplies with us. Sadly, no shop and we did not feel like riding back to the supermarket.
Instead we rode back and had a ride on the luge. This is one that was missed 5 years ago when I rode past with Sarah and the Lemons as it was closed. But today it was open and for 4 euros each we enjoyed Rodelbahn #2 for this trip. And decided to celebrate with a beer at the Italian Restaurant! What the hell.
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The rest of the afternoon we relaxed, the sky is still full of clouds with splashes of blue and every now and then the sun shines through and its quite warm. However, out of the sun its chilly, such an odd weather day today. I’m hoping to see that clear blue sky and warmer weather again tomorrow when we ride again.

Dinner from a can is warm and hearty which we cook outside the barrel, fighting with the strong breeze that wants to blow out our gas cooker.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 22.40KM PLUS EXTRA 6KM AROUND RIOL VILLAGE AND TO THE SHOWERS AND BACK
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TRIOLAGO CAMPING 32 EURO – WINE BARREL – TOILETS 50M (with paper) SHOWERS 700M AWAY – HOT

TUESDAY 9TH JULY 2019 (DAY 18)

BIKE DAY 8 (RIOL TO BERNKASTEL-KUES)

Ok, so we can now say we have slept in a wine barrel, although I don’t think it was an actual real wine barrel that was used for storage of wine, but it was the same shame as a wine barrel so close enough. Unfortunately, the 3cm thickness of the mattress made our huge airbeds seem very luxurious. I guess it was a bit warmer inside the wood than it would have been in our thin nylon tent so that was a bonus.

We had breakfast from supplies and loaded the bikes and were back in the saddle on the Mosel Radweg (bike way) by 9.30am.

It was cold today. Cold when we started riding and we kept sleeves on most of the day. Original plan was to ride only about 20km to our nights stop, but when we had reached our destination by 11am we decided to carry on riding a little further. Not sure if we were riding faster today to try and keep warm or what but we ended up doing almost 40km and made it to tomorrow nights stop at about 2pm.

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Pretty good going considering we battled with a head wind all day as well as the cold.
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We rode into the pretty little town of Bernkastel-Kues. Very touristy here, with a castle high up on top of the hill above the grape vines. There are lots of boats that leave from here that can ferry you on to the next town and beyond, or boats offering 1-hour round trips a short distance on the Mosel. Also, a night stopover for river boat cruises, which are very popular with Australian tourists as we heard lots of Aussie accents from many septuagenarians walking around.

About 1 or 2 km out before we reached the town, we spied a camping ground on the other side of the river. I was kinda hoping that was not the one we wanted as it would mean we have to ride into town, cross the bridge to the other side and ride the 2km back to the campground. Our first stop was at the tourist information office, where I wanted to confirm the closest campground was the one, we saw. Of course, it was then only campground for this town. Erk. Out of curiosity I asked the nice lady at the tourist info about a price of a room for the night. Actually, she was not a very nice lady at all, as when she quoted me 120 euros for a hotel in the old town, she turned up her nose when I asked if there was anywhere a bit cheaper. Ump, a guesthouse for 68 euros with shower and breakfast she spat at me. I went back outside to confer with Lyn, and she agreed we could afford the splurge and take the room instead of riding back to the campground.

Suddenly the sun came out and the rest of the afternoon was lovely, sunny and warm. Our small room with 2 single beds and bathroom had a great balcony (that was bigger than the room) which overlooked the river. We relaxed after our long ride, then went out later in the afternoon to have a walk around town.
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Lots of very old buildings here, the very typical German half wooden houses. Very pretty place. We went over the bridge to the other side of the river to find a supermarket. Bought some beers, and a very nice bottle of local Mosel wine for just 5 euros. We enjoyed the wine with dinner (surprise can) which we very naughtily heated up in our bathroom. After splurging for the room, we couldn’t completely blow the budget by eating out.

Tonight, we sleep in a soft bed in a warm room – well worth the money. I have managed to load photos from the last few days also.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 40KM
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BON GARDEN GUESTHOUSE 68 EURO, soft beds, hot shower, breakfast included.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 04:33 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

2019 July 03 to July 05 Germany Saar River

We start to ride along the Saar River


View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

WEDNESDAY 3RD JULY 2019 (DAY 12)

BIKE DAY 2 (SAARBRUCKEN TO SAARLOUIS)

We both woke early this morning @ 7.30am, normal for Lyn, but not for me. But we got up and starting the day. Today we ride! Last night was a little cool, but not too bad sleeping in the tent. Airbeds tick.

I ride to the REWE supermarket to get some bread rolls for breakfast, while Lyn cooks the water for coffee and tea. Breakfast done, we broke camp, loaded up the bikes and were on our way.

The thing about riding alongside a river is you can never really get lost if you keep the river on your side. This we did and had a nice easy ride for our first day.
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Around 12 we came to the outskirts of Saarlouis and stopped at a shopping centre with a Decathlon and an Ikea – two of our most favourite stores in Europe. First, we went into Decathlon as we really needed to buy a bike pump that we could use. Easily done, I checked with staff that it would fit the bikes we purchased and yes 3.99euro later we were better equipped than yesterday. While in there Lyn purchase new swimmer and we both treated ourselves to a new towel. That must be about #8 Decathlon towel that I now own. Lol
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And since it was that time of day, a lunch of Swedish meatballs with mash potato was enjoyed. I flashed my Australian Ikea family card and managed to get a free coffee as well! Yes, we know Angie lots of Germany things to eat in Germany, but we are here for 4 weeks so will get ample time to eat all the German stuff. And yes, to anyone who is interested, Ikea meatballs taste the same in every country (can vouch for having eaten them in about 7 different countries now).
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We retraced our path back to the Saar river and continued on to find our campsite for the night. It was just 1 km off the river and with the help of GPS we rode up to reception at 2pm. Lucky there was someone there as the reception is closed in the middle of the day. I do vaguely remember this from other visits to Germany that they close, and you have to wait to check in. Lucky for us the lady was willing for us to pay and set up camp even though we were early. Wow, this camp is a bit more expensive than staying at the Kanu Club @ 15 euro EACH = total 30 euros, almost 3 times price of last night. But that did include power which we took full advantage of and managed to log onto some free wifi.

Looking where to set up the tent, some German lady pointed out a roofed area to us where we could also set up. This was perfect, a little more protection and there was table and chairs for our use and 2 power points which we used to the fullest.
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We set up the tent, hung up our bedding for airing and then went for a walk to the nearby Lidl supermarket for dinner supplies. Returning we relaxed with a couple of beers we had purchased at Lidl then while I caught up on some blog stuff, Lyn did some work on the bikes. Mine especially had been making a noise like something was scraping on the tyre and it felt a little like my brakes were on all the time so needed adjustment. Turns out there was a screw from the mud guide that had been scraping on the tyre, enough to make a small rut as the wheel spun around. It had not done too much damage but was definitely why it felt like I had the brakes on all the time. It was a little funny that during the day, although I was riding in front Lyn would always coast past me when we had a small downhill. I’m sure I am going to feel a distinct difference with riding loaded up tomorrow. Those guys in the Frankfurt Decathlon who assembled these bikes basically did a shit job!

Later in the afternoon we decided to take a short ride to look around the centre of Saarlouis, which was just a short 10-minute ride from the campground. Well that took about 10 minutes and we had seen it. Not a great deal to see, not really a very interesting town, so we rode back to camp. Had dinner. Walked to shower – this place is spotless, nice when it’s really, really clean.

During the afternoon 4 sets of cyclists had turned up at the camping ground but none had set up near us. And they were all Germans. Just riding today, I was surprised at how busy the bike path has been. Busy with day riders, obvious bike travellers like us and the usual lycra covered speedsters. I had no idea this Saar Bike route was so popular.

At 10 pm when it finally started to get dark, I was sitting up but started to get a little cold so went to join Lyn in the tent.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 25.8KM

SAARLOUIS CAMPING 30 EUROS – toilets with paper, hot showers, undercover pitch

THURSDAY 4TH JULY 2019 (DAY 13)

BIKE DAY 3 (SAARLOUIS TO MERZIG)

We slept in this morning, not waking up until 9.30am. It had been a pretty cold night and I don’t think either of us had a very comfortable or restful sleep. Slowly we got out of the tent and started moving.

Breakfast consisted of black tea, as we had no milk, and I toasted a couple of yesterday’s bread rolls on the super BBQ plate which we ate with liverwurst. Enough to get us going. The tent was packed up, our panniers filled and loaded onto the bikes. We rode out the campsite at 10.45am.
Still following the Saar River but we had a few off-river detours today due to road works. Detours which added distance to our pedalling, but not distance towards our destination. However, it was still easy riding, and it was very easy again once we were returned to the river side. There is not a great deal in the way of scenery and although the bike track does run directly next to the river. However, on the other side is a 4-lane highway, as the cars like to drive next to the river also. But this makes for a pretty noisy ride.
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Our planned ride today was only about 20km to Merzig and even with our late start we made good time and when we reached our destination at about 1pm the first stop was to the supermarket for some lunch supplies. These bought we found a nice park to sit and eat. I suggested we find the tourist office and ask if they know how far the next camping ground is as we were still fit enough to ride another 10 km or so today. But alas, the next nearest campground, in the direction we are travelling, is tomorrows night stop and too far for us to add onto todays tally so we agreed it would best to stop here the night as per itinerary.
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We found the Merzig Kanu Club camping ground and as it’s a basic camp the price is much less again. We are paying 12 euro tonight for unpowered site, unfortunately a good walk away from the toilet / shower. There seems to be a lot of permanent residence in this campground, so the tenting area is well away from them. But it will be fine for us.

The tent went up, Lyn did a bit of washing, we inflated our magical airbeds and decided to go for a short ride to the Wolfpark. This is a walk-through park to view assorted wolves in enclosures, which was set up by a bloke named Werner Freund who used to study these creatures and apparently made a few unknow discoveries about wolves and wrote a few books etc. Mr Freund is long gone, having died at the ripe old age of 80 years of age, but the park remains for visitors to come see a real live wolf. Must admit I was a little disappointed as they looked just like dogs to me. I was expecting a bigger more menacing looking dog like animal, but there you go. We enjoyed a lemon beer at the café next door hoping the money went towards the Wolfpark as there was no admission charge and these animals are kept alive on donations.
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We rode back into town (which was all downhill – glorious) and stopped at the supermarket for dinner supplies. Grabbed a few cold beers and high tailed it back to the campground to drink the beer while it was still cold. Worst thing about bike travel – no refrigeration, so all meals need be purchased as we are about to cook them, and cold drinks purchased need to be drunk as soon as possible.

We enjoyed the beers back at camp with cheese and crackers. We took turns of visiting the shower. Today’s clothes get washed while we shower also, remember we only have 2 sets of bike riding clothes, so these need to be washed every day. After our showers we just hang around in our pjs as cannot afford to dirty another set of clothes. Most times we have a shower just before bed, so it doesn’t matter anyway. Tonight, camp dinner was cooked in pjs but there was no one around to see or laugh at us so who cares.
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The weather so far has been fabulous, bright blue sky, warm but not too hot. We had a little head wind today, which was strong enough to keep us cool, but not enough to make us fight too much to ride into it.

Tomorrow is a big ride day of 30 km planned. That’s why we are in the tent in bed already at 9.30pm, but it’s hard to sleep when it’s still broad daylight outside and the nylon of the tent has no ability of blocking out the light.
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DISTANCE RODE TODAY 20.26KM PLUS AN EXTRA 8.46KM TO THE WOLFPARK

MERZIG KANU CLUB CAMPING 12 EUROS – toilet with paper, hot shower, grassy pitch

FRIDAY 5TH JULY 2019 (DAY 14)

BIKE DAY 4 (MERZIG TO SAARBURG)

It was very cold in the tent again last night.

We woke up earlier this morning and when I looked out the tent up at the sky I did not like what I saw. No blue, just a sky completely covered in clouds. This is not what you want to see at the start of a biking day. We were up by about 8 and packed up and rode out at 9am. Straight to the supermarket for breakfast and lunch supplies, we ate breakfast in the car park and were on the road again by 10am. Very happy to see that by then the sky had cleared, and the beautiful blue showed itself again.
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The track today was different to the last couple of days. Scenery was a little nicer, started off passing fields of crops, then when the valley became narrow the hillsides were forested. Parts of the valley we rode today were just wide enough for the river to flow through and a bike track on the side. Other parts were a little wider, where there was room for a road and a railway line. It was nice not riding alongside a busy road, and we listened to the sounds of birds rather than the sounds of cars speeding by.
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Unfortunately, the track was a little rough in places, with a great deal of it gravel or dirt. It’s tougher going and made our bikes (and us) very dusty. We did a little bit of pushing today as well, due to a few small inclines which are not easy on an ungeared bike carrying 20 kg of gear. But all in all, a good days riding.

We stopped by the river to have our lunch at about 1pm and rode into Saarburg at about 2pm. I have no idea why the campgrounds are not directly on the river along the Saar and we again had a little ride around trying to find the campgrounds. It was just out the back of town and after receiving some directions from and woman in German we found it no problems. Nice little campground full of Dutch grey nomads. We set up the tent and then I rode out to the nearby REWE supermarket to buy us a couple of cold beers. We deserved them today, we’d done the longest ride so far.

We relaxed by the tent enjoying the beers before heading out back into town at about 4pm. There is a festival on this weekend in Saarberg which has starting when we rode in earlier. Roads in the centre of the town were closed off to all traffic and we had to push the bikes through the street. There seemed to be some kind of marathon being run through the closed off streets, but we needed to get through as we wanted to get to the sesselbahn (chairlift) that would transport us up to the top of a hill where there was a sommerrodelbahn (luge). Now everyone knows I love a luge and there was no way we were going to miss out on riding this one.
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The chairlift was 5.70 euro each return and carried us up for about 10 minutes to the top of a hill that overlooked the town and parts of the Saar River. The luge was 2.50 euro each for a round and we got there just before closing so could only go around once. That was ok, good fun, see the video on FB. We decided to have a beer from the terrace café – which offered no view – before riding the chairlift back down before it stopped at 6.40pm.
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Back in town we parked the bikes and had a bit of a walk. There is a waterfall in the middle of the town, that is from a re-routed stream. It’s the town’s main attraction so we thought we should look at it. The main streets were still closed off and we stopped to watch the marathon runners as they passed by. Interesting enough we estimated average age was about 50, so not sure if we saw the old folks race or what. But the runners were doing pretty good for the age of some of them, and it was still hot.
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Time for us to head back to camp and have some dinner. Managed to find our way there no problem, stopping at REWE supermarket for an easy dinner. Both Lyn and I were starting to feel a little weary and didn’t feel like cooking anything, so we bought some yummy rye bread and a tub of herring salad – and that was dinner. We did boil the pot for a coffee and tea but that was as much effort that we could put towards dinner.
Shower, wash clothes and into bed. It’s actually late as I type this, 11pm and this must be the first night I have actually seen the darkness before falling asleep. Lyn is snoring away next to me, so I guess it’s time for me to sleep too. Hope it’s not so cold tonight, we have rugged up a bit more so hope to sleep better.

Tomorrow we cycle to the Mosel River!

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 39.04KM PLUS EXTRA 5KM TO THE CHAIRLIFT
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LEUKBACHTAL SAARBURG CAMPING 18 EUROS – toilets with paper, hot showers, grassy pItch

Posted by Cindy Bruin 09:22 Archived in Germany Comments (4)

2019 June 30 to July 03 GERMANY

We fly to Frankfurt and onwards to bike journey

sunny 28 °C
View 2019 3 rivers bike ride & 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.


Sunday 30th June 2019 (day 9)

Up early this morning, enough time to have some breakfast before checking out of the hotel and getting the free shuttle bus to the airport, which I had booked for 9.30am. I didn’t have much of an appetite this morning as I was already feeling nervous about our overweigh baggage.

The short distance to the airport, only took about 15 minutes and soon we were standing in line, hoping for a kind staff member, who would check in our luggage and not notice that we were over our 20 kg each limit. We had removed our air mattresses from our big bags as these seemed to weigh almost 2kg on their own. I curse them now but will revel in the comfort they give us later in the trip when we are camping. We were going to carry these with our overweight cabin bag. Lol, you see why I am always so nervous. And I can hear you all saying well take less, but the fact is we have packed bare minimum as it is for our biking trip. Anyway, I need not have stressed out so much, because the lovely Thai Airways lady checked both our bags, each weighing just under 22kg each, without as much as a change of facial expression. Phew!

Bangkok airport was very busy this Sunday morning, and it took us over an hour waiting in line to get through the next bag screening and immigration stamp out. Finally, on the other side, we still had time to grab an overpriced cup of coffee before heading to our departure gate. Glad we came to the airport early as there is nothing worse than adding being late to the airport stress I already feel. Funny how all this seems to wash over Lyn, she seems to go through the process not showing any emotion at all, perhaps I am worried enough for both of us.

We sat drinking our coffees (295 baht $13.80), chatting with a Kiwi guy on his way to London. Just recently divorced he was about to embark on a 6-week England and Europe adventure that was going to cost about as much as we were going to spend in the next 3 months. But good luck to him, he was a nice guy and kept congratulating us Aussies on having just beaten NZ in the cricket. We don’t follow the cricket, but he felt the need to pat us on the back anyway.

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Our flight with Thai Airlines was comfortable, we managed to get an aisle seat each with the middle seat free. Both Lyn and I did not sleep on the flight at all, instead making use of the inflight entertainment. In just under 12 hours we landed in Frankfurt after being fed 2 meals and 1 snack. Local time was 7pm, and we were advised outside temp 34 degrees, it was still broad daylight outside. Europe is having a bit of a hot spell and we don’t mind if it keeps it up for the next 4 weeks while we ride around countryside.

We are spending 2 nights with friends Lyn met on her Africa trip last year. After collecting our luggage, we dragged it to the airport train station, purchased a ticket from the machine 4.95 euro each. After just a short wait, we boarded a train that took us into Frankfurt’s main train station, then changed lines to board another train that took us out to Eschborn, the village just a 20-minute ride outside of middle of Frankfurt. I think we should have purchased another ticket for the 2nd leg but didn’t. Out of the train station we had to struggle with our luggage down and upstairs, and then just a short 10-minute walk to the house. Marcus was there to greet us and the first thing that came out of his mouth was ‘want a cold beer?’ - welcome to Germany.

We sat up for a few hours, a few beers and wine. Lyn and Marcus catching up on memories from the Africa trip. Just after midnight (local time) we decided to call it a night. This was now 5am Bangkok time and we had been awake for almost 22 hours, so no doubt you can imagine we crashed as soon as we had showers and our heads hit the pillow.

Monday 1st July 2019 (day 10)

Surprisingly, I was awake at 7am, and Lyn was not far behind. Considering we had not slept on the plane and stayed up until after midnight last night, this did not seem like much sleep was caught on up. Marcus had kindly suggested that he would come back home at lunch time and give us a lift to the nearest Decathlon so we could purchase our bikes today. This would be a great help as we were not sure exactly how we were going to get ourselves to the nearest store. There are a few Decathlon stores in the Greater Frankfurt area so we will get dropped at the closest one, purchase bikes and then ride them back to the place we are staying in Eschborn – sounds easy enough.

We hung around the house, sitting outside enjoying the warm morning. It was a bit cloudy, but as the day grew the sky became bluer. I was ill first thing this morning, not sure what caused my empty stomach to be so upset, but after I threw up (nothing) I started to feel a little better and managed to keep a bit of toast down. Maybe my body is not used to having those few drinks from last night?

Marcus collected us at about noon, and we set off towards Decathlon. He followed us into the store, took us to the bike section then left to return to work. We had arranged to meet up again later this evening. Luckily Lyn was able to catch him before he returned to the car as the bikes we were after were out of stock at this Decathlon, and we would have been stranded out there in the middle of nowhere. After enquiries we were advised there were 2 available in the city store, and they called the other store and put a hold on them for us.

Back in the car with Marcus he had to run a few errands, purchasing some tiles and plumbing fixtures for his house renovations. We were more than happy to tag along with him and then be dropped at the city store to collect our bikes. It was about 3pm when we arrived at the city Decathlon store and saw our new bikes. We requested a couple of back racks to be attached and this turned into a major hold up. These guys were slack and although we returned to the store several times, it took them almost 3 hours to attach 2 simple racks. Could have done it faster ourselves.

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We opted not for them to attach the front baskets as this would surely take another hour at the very least. Instead Lyn attached these in the middle of the shopping centre in about 5 minutes flat. So we now had our new transport, which we would now ride home, less than 10 km, and then get a train to meet Marcus back in the city at 7pm. Considering it was now 6.15pm, there was no way we were going to make the deadline, so we called him to advise we were going to be running a little late!

The short ride home was interesting. In case you are not aware, we never go into these long bike rides with any sort of preparation and fitness levels are at the normal low standard. Lyn forgot to bring her asthma spray not something she will ever forget again after this afternoon near death experience. Just kidding, but for sure the first couple of days we are going to be taking it really easy and ease our bodies into all this unknown exertion we are putting on them. We have a lot of time and are in no hurry, and there is a train line that runs along the full length of our bike ride if needed.

Anyway, we made it to the house and decided on a quick shower since we were running late anyway. And it was nice to refresh our hot, sweaty, stinky bodies after our first ride. By the time we took the train back into Frankfurt and met Marcus out the front of the train station is was close to 8.30pm, but still bright daylight. He suggested we buy some food and drink and have like a picnic down by the river Main. Great idea, the food hall at the train station had lots of affordable options and Marcus thought it funny when we said we wanted to have wurst (sausages) for our dinner. Hey when in Germany! He opted for fish and chips. We took our goodies purchased some drinks from a hole in the wall on the way to the river, found a grassy spot and ate our picnic of assorted wurst and apple wine from a can, watching the sunset over the city skyscrapers. It was a great evening. The temperature only dropped a little once the sun went down, just after 10pm.

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We walked back to the train station to catch the train home. It was after midnight again by the time we made it to bed for a good nights sleep as tomorrow the bike journey begins.

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 (day 11)

BIKE DAY 1 (ESCHBORN TO ESCHBORN SOUTH and SAARBRUCKEN TRAIN STATION TO CAMPSITE)

We awoke early this morning, eager to start our bike ride you ask? No, we got up early so we could have breakfast with Marcus before he had to go off to work. It’s been a great couple of days here staying with him, and the bike purchasing exercise would not have been as easy without him. So, a big thank you to Marcus!

We loaded up our panniers for what we would be taking for the next 4 weeks and left the remaining of our luggage in our big bags, which we are going to leave here with Marcus, for us to collect at the end of the trip. Loading up the bike was going smoothly, we did well with just 2 pannier bags each and only one big wet bag each that sits on top of the pannier bags on the bike. The wet bags contain our tent and sleeping equipment, so its very important that these items do stay dry in case we encounter any rain. Not that we expect any rain in this lovely European Summer, but you never know. Also keeps these items all together.

As we were attaching Lyn’s panniers, I remarked that her back tyre needed some air as it was looking a little low. Clever me then tried to pump it up further with the pump that Marcus had given us. That didn’t go so well as all I managed to do was empty the tyre of what air was inside the tube, and it was now flat as a pancake and we could not get the pump to work at all. Shit, what to do now, we had no idea where the nearest service station was to get air. Dilemma! Not the start we were hoping for. Lyn thought she would take a chance at asking the workmen on the block next door to see if they happened to have a pump, but they were not able to assist at all. A noisy woman in the house across the street advised she knew what Lyn was after, but also was not able to assist. Just then, Marcus’s father drives up to the house to drop off some potting mix for the back yard. And after the initial shock of finding these strange women in his son’s house, we drove off back to his house just 500meters away and came back with a pump that had all four of our tyres pumped and ready to go! Saved by Marcus’s dad, thank you.

The flat tyre delayed us by about an hour, but we were still running on schedule to get to Frankfurt Central Station to catch the 12.48 train to Saarbrucken. We rode out of the yard at 10.40, our bike trip has begun.

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The closest train station, Eschborn, had the problem of a flight of stairs going down then another going up to reach the platform. We took the option of cycling the short 6km to Eschborn South station where there were ramps for us to take the bikes on the platform. This short ride was a much better idea than trying to struggle with pushing the bikes up a narrow rail to get them onto the platform.
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This first train ride was only short, and we could just wheel the bikes into the train carriage fully laden and there was no cost of the bikes. Arriving at Frankfurt Central Station our first obstacle came in the form of an out of order lift. The only way for us to get the bikes to the next level was to take them up the escalator. This is a dangerous manoeuvre at the best of times, but on our first day and with loaded bikes it was a disaster waiting to happen. There is the real risk of the weighted bike wheel standing with bike and passenger landing in a twisted heap at the bottom of the metal steps trying not to get sucked into and shredded to pieces. You will be glad to hear that we managed to get both bikes and us up to the top with no damage to either. Of course, this manoeuvre had to be performed twice!

Once in the main hall we wheeled our bikes to the ticket office. Because we needed to purchase train tickets for the bikes as well, we had to go to the manual office as the automated ticket machines to not sell bike tickets. Not a problem, except for the huge line up. When entering the office, you get a number, and when your number is called you go to the numbered counter. My ticket read 11.32am # 1343 – all good until I looked up on the wall and ticket #1303 was just being called. Bugger! It was 12.20 by the time my number came up and by this time I had lost faith in catching the 12.48 train. We wanted to take a direct train as this is easier than having to change trains with the bike and all. Turns out when that the 12.48 train did not even take bikes, so it was never an option for us. Next direct train Frankfurt to Saarbrucken was at 2.25, so I purchased tickets for that train, which did take bikes. 26 euros each for us and 9 euros for each of the bikes. This was a good price as I had looked on the ticket machine and the passenger tickets for the 12.48 train were quoting 44 euros each.

Tickets in hand, we now had some time to kill so we parked up the bikes and sat with a cup of coffee and a bread roll with raw minced meat for lunch. Yep loving Germany food.
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We wheeled the bikes into the train at about 2 and tied them up in the bike compartment and found a seat. In the last 10 minutes before departure the train filled up and it left dead on time at 2.25. So, we are now on our way across country to Saarbrucken where the train is due to arrive at 5.12pm. I think it’s about 200 km? will have to verify that later.

Our first stop for the night is at a campground not far from the station, after exiting the train station we rode to the tourist information office to see if they could assist with some maps of the Saar River bike route. They were not able to help much but said just stick to the river the path is signposted very well.

We rode about 30 minutes to our camping ground for the night. Set up camp, went to the office to pay for our tent site (11 euros) and decided to have a beer in celebration of starting our bike ride. Any excuse I know! After our refreshment we rode back to a REWE supermarket just down the street to purchase some supplies for dinner.
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So, although today was just a short bike ride it was good to get a feel for the bikes. We think they need a little bit of adjustment as there are a few scraping noises that we (I say we, but Lyn is the mechanic) need to sort out.
We had our first camp dinner, showered then went to bed thankful for the comfy mattresses that we had for sleeping on tonight.

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 17.03KM

SAARBRUCKEN KANU CLUB CAMPING 11 EUROS – toilets no paper, hot shower, grass/dirt pitch

Posted by Cindy Bruin 08:46 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

2019 June 22 - 25 Australia to KL to Bangkok to Ko Samui

Flying all day to get here! Relaxing on an island! Couple of days in Bangers.

sunny 28 °C
View 2019 Adventure - Germany, Malta, Italy & Indonesia on Cindy Bruin's travel map.

Saturday 22nd June 2019 (day 1)

Well hello folks, here we are again, mid year and it's time to escape the Australian winter (mild as it is) and head to the Northern Hemisphere to enjoy the summer weather up there. It looks like I am going to write a blog, but I'm only going to do it when I have time. There are always posts on FB with photos.

This year Lyn and I are traveling together again - after heading off in different directions last year. And we are going to attempt another European bike ride - the first together since Lyn's fateful bike accident in Belgium a few years ago. Don't worry we are taking it easy and our ride along 3 beautiful rivers in Germany is not going to be too difficult. Although, yes we are camping, so lets just see how it goes.

So for those of you who are interested, a rough idea of this years itinerary:

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Fly Australia to Thailand (spending a week here as our stopover to visit Lyn's son Patrick who lives on the Thai island of Ko Samui)

Fly Thailand to Frankfurt, Germany - here we will purchase bicycles and ride for about 4 weeks along the Saar, Mosel & Rhine rivers

Fly Germany to Malta - the usual 4 weeks relaxing on the beautiful islands of Malta and Gozo - can't seem to not visit this favourite destination - here we will meet up with our travel buddy Dolly.

Fly Malta to Sicily to Naples - 10 days enjoying a small piece of Sicily, before flying to Naples for 10 days around there and a little of the Amalfi Coast
Train Naples to Rome to collect a hire car for 10 days exploring the hilltop villages just north of Rome

Fly Rome to Indonesia where we will be joined by 4 friends flying over from Australia and again Dolly for 4 weeks of Indo Adventure Island Hopping.

From Indonesia I fly on to New Zealand to have a catch up with mates over there, before retuning back to Brisbane in the first week of December.

Big thank you to Mitchell for getting us up nice and early this morning to drive us down to Coolangatta airport for our morning flight. I usually prefer to fly at night, as a whole day is lost sitting in the plane to get from Australia to Asia, but I guess at the time this was what was available when I was booking.

There are 2 things that I really hate about traveling. #1 is packing i.e. deciding what I need to pack/take for my travels. You would think after the amount of trips I have done that this would be an easy task, but alas no. I am not exactly an over packer, but I am also not a light packer. Of course it's very difficult when we are doing a bike tour as this involves taking bike paraphernalia as well as camping/cooking gear. The clothing part of this scenario is very easy, 2 sets of on bike clothes and a set of off bike clothes. But its the other gear that takes up room and weight.

Which brings me to my #2 hate: airport check-ins. This always gets my heart rate pumping because 9 out of 10 times I seem to be over the weight limit or at least very close to it. Have been lucky in the past to just scrape through with overweigh check-in luggage, but not today! The Air Asia check-in lady was not letting us get away with even 100 gram over our allowance. She was good enough to allow us to remove some heavy items from our checked luggage and said it would be ok to take on as carry on. Little did she know our carry on was already double the weight of the allowance. Nevertheless, our bags disappeared along the belt and we walked away struggling under the weight of our carry on, trying to make it look like it was light as a feather! Hard to do with a grimace on your face!

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The almost 9 hour flight from Coolangatta to Kuala Lumpur was a little more bumpy than usual. As we chose not to pay extra to pick our own seats we ended up with an aisle and a middle seat. Which wasn't too bad, I did actually sleep a good majority of the flight, hence why I am still up at 1am typing this. Our 2.5 hour stop over in Kuala Lumpur airport was just enough time to grab something to eat and head to the gate for our next flight to Bangkok. Unfortunately, during this security check the guards suddenly decided that the 2 tape measures Lyn was carrying to give to Patrick were a safety hazard and could be used as a weapon due to the sharp edge of the tape and said she could not take them any further. Unreal that they had already made it through 4 previous security checks, but not this one. No point in arguing and we had no time to go and try and check them in as our flight was boarding.

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The flight to Bangkok left late but was only 2 hours in duration. Minutes after take off Lyn was hit with sudden air sickness and spent the entire time down the back of the plane vomiting. No idea what brought that on as we had eaten the same thing in KL. Luckily our overnight hotel was just a short overpass walk from the airport and we were there in minutes. I purposely chose this close location due to our all day flying and this turned out to be an even better idea since Lyn was feeling crook. We are at the Amari Hotel, very nice and they gave us a free room upgrade - not sure why but not complaining. Lovely way to start our holiday in a flash hotel - but best not get used to it.
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Lyn jumped in the shower and went straight to bed, I walked down the street to the 711 to get some milk for a cup of tea. I tell you it's hot and humid here in Asia! 10pm at night and its like 28 degrees Celsius and about 88 percent humidity. I've been complaining about the cold at home the last few weeks and was longing for some heat, well here it is! Enjoy!

We are just one night here in our flash hotel, tomorrow we fly to Koh Samui for some beach R & R.

Sunday 23rd June 2019 (day 2)

We were awake early this morning after a good rest in our lovely hotel room. We opted not to have the expensive hotel breakfast, instead had a cup of tea and a muffin left over from some snacks I brought from home to have on the Air Asia flights.

Today we are flying to Ko Samui, a touristy Thai island situated in the South of the Gulf of Thailand. Lyn's youngest son Patrick lives on Ko Samui so we are going there to catch up with him. Seemed like a perfect excuse for a stopover - not that we need one!

Last night we flew into Don Mueng Airport and today we need to fly out of the main Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport - which is about an hour away. There is a free shuttle bus between the airports which we decided to take advantage of since a taxi or GRAB (Uber) was going to cost us 640 baht (aud$30), which doesn't sound like much but every baht saved is another baht towards a meal or better still a cocktail. And since it was just a short 4 minute walk back to the airport it was fairly easy for us to move our luggage and catch the bus. We were allocated to the 9.40am bus and arrived at the airport in plenty of time about an hour later.

Again with checking in the luggage we were over weight so we took a few things out of the check in bags to carry on. Hopefully once we drop off the bag of goodies Lyn is transporting for Patrick we should be able to organize our luggage better.

A coffee from Coffee Club at the airport, 130 baht each (aud$6.06) - typical airport prices.
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It's just a short 2 hour flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui on Bangkok Airways and we were surprised that we were served quite a substantial snack, which was good enough to be called lunch in our books. Spice fish with rice which had my tongue burning for the remainder of the flight - that said, I must admit I have a very low tolerance of any chilly in food whatsoever.

Patrick and a mate were there at the airport to meet us. Weather looks a little cloudy today, but no doubt it will be better tomorrow and the next day. First up we stopped for some lunch, but since we had eaten on the flight, Lyn and I opted for our first cocktail of the trip. Not a bad pina colada (not the best) but a good start, and the orchid was a nice touch.

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After lunch, Pat drove us around his work site. He is working as a construction manager for a company building luxury condos being sold to wealthy Chinese investors. The site is on the side of a hill - although to me it resembled a side of a cliff more than a hill. He certainly has a very stressful job, kudos to him. We then took our luggage and settled into 'Chez Patrick' - Pat's place of abode and our home for the next 5 nights. Room with a view!

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Dinner was at a local pad thai shack that cost us a total of 216baht (aud$10.09). Lyn and I had seafood & Pat had chicken pad thai (noodles). Loving the price of food in Thailand.

Pretty early into bed tonight, still catching up on lost sleep and getting into holiday mode.

Monday 24th June 2019 (day 3)

A very lazy morning, Patrick went off to work and Lyn and I hung around the bungalow in our pj's until hunger got the better of us and we decided we would have go for a walk to find food. It's warm and sunny outside today, still cloudy but the heat is there. Lucky for us Pat decided to come home at lunch time to take us out, so we didn't have to brave walking the busy road in the heat.

Lunch was at a beach side restaurant on Lamai Beach. You can really tell its off season as the beach is almost deserted. We take a seat with a perfect view for the ocean and order lunch. I had noodles with porK and a delicious coconut shake, Lyn went for a bacon baguette (not very Thai lol) and a coconut shake also. Pat went all out and had a chicken sandwich, and then had to go back to work so left us as we headed to the water for a swim.

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Love the temperature of the water in Thailand, warm and inviting, we stayed in for about 30 minutes enjoying the sun that was playing hide and seek with the overhead clouds.

Time to get out and head to the main shopping street to find somewhere for a manicure and pedicure for both of us. After a quick up and down the street we chose the first place we saw and sat in the air con for our hour and a half pampering session. This wonderful service was half the price that we would pay at home, with the mani / pedi costing us 500 baht (aud$23) each. Money well spent we now have beautiful nails.

Time for a drink! We found a restaurant that had a sign offering happy hour cocktails for 70 baht each, so we took a seat and ordered off the cocktail menu. They did not have our first choice so we opted for the usual pina colada - and this was a good one. Better than the one we had yesterday so we decided on a second round.

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Just as we started on our 2nd drink, Pat showed up to collect us to go to another bar for sundowner drinks. So we downed the cocktail and headed off to a quiet little beach side bar which did not have a direct view of the sunset, but did have the hazy colours reflected on the water and rock formations. Our third pina colada for today was served up in a coconut!

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Dinner was an assortment of Thai dishes at the Pown Restaurant - another little gem Patrick has taken us to.

Holiday progressing splendidly so far!

Tuesday 25th June 2019 (day 4)

Another relaxing morning, Pat collected us and we returned to Bamboo Restaurant on Lamai Beach for another lunch with a view.

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I had pork with Thai basil (which has an aniseed flavour) with rice 100 baht ($.4.64) and a coconut shake 60 baht ($2.80).

When we returned to Chez Pat, Lyn had a bit of a nap and I sat on the balcony and watched the rain. Most of it was light, but we did get a good down pour which prevented me from waking Lyn as we were going to take Patricks bike out for a ride around this afternoon.

Instead we had happy hour on the balcony with a couple of Tiger Radlers aka lemon beer, until it was time to go out for dinner.

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Tuesday Taco Night at Tips Tacos has a special of 3 tacos + a beer for 200 baht ($9.29). Pretty good deal and the tacos were much bigger and filling than we expected.

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And so come an end to another island day for us, tomorrow we have plans to be a little more 'active'.

Wednesday 26th June 2019 (day 5)

Today Patrick took a full day off work as we are heading out on a boat to visit a couple of small islands off Koh Samui.

Breakfast stop first, at Bamboo Restaurant, for bacon and eggs and a fresh juice smoothy.

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After breakfast we drove to Captain Tom's Beach Bar on Bang Kao Beach to meet our boat which would be taking us out to Tan Island today. We climbed into the long tail and headed off out to sea. It was just a little choppy, so we travelled slowly as to not make it too rough a ride. It took about 45 minutes to reach the island, however we stopped before hitting the beach to do a little fish feeding. The warm water was very inviting and lots of small fish gathered around us in a feeding frenzy as the captain threw in little pieces of stale donut. The fish were loving it and must have thought it was xmas with a change from normal stale old bread to this tasty sweet, albeit soggy human food.

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We only stayed in the water long enough to cool off and I think the Captain ate more of the donuts than the fish were given, so maybe they were not stale at all? We were only 100 metres off the sandy beach shoreline so it didn't take long before the boat was beached and we climbed out. The beach on this side was not much, but Patrick assured us there was a nicer beach on the other side of the island. Obviously, this was too far and too hot to walk to so we hired a golf cart (500 baht) to take us to the other side.

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We did a bit of a tour along the way, stopped at another beach that unfortunately was littered with lots of plastic rubbish. All rubbish that had washed in from the ocean, so sad to see this.

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Tan Island is still very underdeveloped and it would be nice if it stayed like this forever, but I doubt it as progress will happen and I guess this island will become another overcrowded paradise like everywhere else. But today it's still lovely, with the interior thick jungle still.

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There are supposed to be wild boar on the island although the only ones we saw were cement statues at a roundabout. And we did see quite a bit of buffalo poo on the cement path. But the only wild life we did encounter were a couple of goats.

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We could not drive the buggy down to our secluded beach, we had to follow the goat track (in pic above) down to the water. It did turn out to be a beautiful beach and we went straight into the sea to cool off. The water was crystal clear and no another sole on the beach, except for the curious goat that kept an eye on us. We had bought lunch with us so we ate and enjoyed a bit of down time. Unfortunately, the buggy had a time limit on it so we had to head back up the hill and return to the beach where our boat was waiting.

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We thought we were lost trying to find our way back to the boat, which didn't matter except for the fact that the battery on the buggy was running low. Managed to guess the correct turns and we made it back without having to push the cart.

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Back in the boat we were taken to another smaller island where we stopped for a quick swim. Matsum Island is another day-tripper stop, but this late in the afternoon there was no one.

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The ride back to Samui was ok, the waves were starting to get up but we travelled slow and just sort of rode the waves in. Back at Captain Toms Beach Bar we had a dinner of bbq fish.

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Had a great day today, managed to get a bit of sun so we will sleep well tonight.

Thursday 27th June 2019 (day 6)

Another relaxing day on Koh Samui. Lyn and I went for a little ride around on Patricks motorbike.

We went for a swim at Chewang Beach. Weather was hot and sunny today. The water was beautiful.

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Friday 28th June 2019 (day 7)

We flew back to Bangkok from Koh Samui today. Not before our last meal at Bamboo Restaurant to enjoy the beach view.

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Our hotel in Bangkok is close to the airport that we fly into and that we will be flying out of in a few days time. BS Residences offer free shuttle to and from the airport, have a food market in the same street and have a very nice pool which we used during our stay. Our first stop was to the 711 down the street to fill the minibar with a few supplies for our stay.

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We ate dinner from food purchased in the local market.

Saturday 29th June 2019 (day 8)

Lazy day by the pool, food from the local market. Tomorrow we fly to Europe!

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 12:06 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

2018 NOV 11 - 15 MALAYSIAN BORNEO - Kota Kinabalu

Back to the capital for our final stay

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**********28 DAYS IN SABAH & SARAWAK**********

So, I have obviously fallen a little behind in writing this blog, so I am just going to try and fill in the gaps. Not going to bother to write up about days when we did very little (there were a few) just give you the highlights on the days we ventured out.

Sunday 11th November – day 136

Our last day in Kuching and we had a nice little sleep in, (as usual), heading out at about 11am to have ‘brunch’ in a café we had spotted earlier in the week that promised PORK bacon and eggs. Much to our disappointment after walking the 10 minutes through Chinatown to reach the café we were advised they did not open until 12 noon. Bugger! We did not have time to wait around another 45 minutes and then wait longer for our order to be taken and cooked, so we returned to Wind Meal Café, where we had stopped for a cold drink a few days ago. Any food now would be a disappointment after what we all had imagined we would have been eating this morning. Although I am sure what we read and imagined the menu to be would not be what we would have received, it would have been an Asian version of a Western menu, which my now we should know better, but the dream was there.

Our late checkout was for 1pm and I managed to stretch this out until 1.15 and then it took 10 minutes to get the lift to the ground floor. This hotel seems to be quite busy during the weekend and there is lots of toing and froing between floors by the other occupants.
Todays flight from Kuching back to Kota Kinabalu is at 3.50pm so we don’t need to leave for the nearby airport until about 2pm. We thought we could just loll around the foyer using the hotel internet, but they turned off our connection with our check out.

When the time came I just called a GRAB that took us to Kuching Airport for 20 myr. Check in, wait for flight, short flight and then land in Kota Kinabalu late afternoon. We all decided it would be a good idea to eat something at one of the airport food outlets as we really had no idea what would be available at our next accommodation which I knew was about an hours drive out of KK so we would get there later than dinner time.

After we had eaten some crappy fast food at the airport, I called a GRAB and we loaded our luggage and climbed in. The ride from airport to Borneo Treehouses was about an hour and costs just 42MYR = $14. It was dark by the time we arrived at the accommodation and there was no one there to greet us even though I had sent a text message advising of our late-ish arrival time. The taxi driver ended up going looking for someone and we were finally given a key and the way pointed to our 'tree house". Yes it definitely was a tree house as there was a tree growing up the middle of the 2 rooms of the accommodation. The rooms were one on top of the others so it was the same tree.

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Lucky we had eaten at the airport as the restaurant was long closed, if it was open at all as it looked like we were the only guests. We settled into our 2 rooms, Dolly & Robyn sharing the double bed in the main room and April & I climbing up the steep stairway to the 2 single beds upstairs. At least the place was clean, we would reassess in the morning when it was light.

Monday 12th November – day 137

Breakfast was a shambles! The 4 or 5 women who were hanging around the restaurant and kitchen spoke exactly zero words of English so it was very difficult for us to order anything to eat. Everything on the menu was rice or noodles and we soon realized this was a place that mostly / only Malaysians came to. Some guy was found who did speak a little English and we managed to get a bit of bread and some eggs to eat, but we realized that this would not be a good place for us to stay with regards to food. Actually this was the last time we even saw anyone in the restaurant, and it was decided we would cut short our 4 nights here and try to extend our stay at our next accommodation back in KK.

We spent the morning by the pool which I must admit was very nice. The sun was out and the water was lovely cooling and clean. In the afternoon we caught a GRAB to the local shopping mall which contained about 5 shops in total so not much to look at and it was raining. We had lunch and bought some snacks to have back at the tree house for dinner.

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Tuesday 13th November – day 138

I called a GRAB which took us back into KK and to the apartment I had managed to extend for a few extra days. We were better off being down here in the capital with food options and a roomy comfortable apartment to hang out in.

Relaxing day, out to eat.

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Wednesday 14th November – day 139

Weather is not very good, grey, rainy, we are not doing much.

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We went to a shopping mall today and went to the movies to see Bohemian Rhapsody - which we found out later had been cut 20 minutes short due to Malaysian laws about showing anything in movies relating to homosexuality. Wow, in this day and age do you believe that. Anyway good excuse for me to see a great movie again. Cinema tickets are really cheap here we paid 10myr = $3.33 and half of that again for drinks and popcorn each. Why they have to be so expensive in Australia I don't know, and the cinema here was as modern as the ones at home.

Thursday 15th November – day 140

Another relax day. We went out to plan a day trip for tomorrow as it will be our last full day in Borneo.

Dinner was seafood from across the street.

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Friday 16th November – day 141

Day trip to Kinabalu Park, Botanical Gardens, Canopy Walk & Hot springs.

Our first stop was at a village with a lookout to view Mt Kinabalu, but the clouds had other ideas as they provided a white hat so we could not see the top the mountain.

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After a quick bit of shopping, we moved on to the botanical gardens which are part of the protected Mt Kinabalu National Park. Our guide took us for a walk through the gardens and was pretty knowledgeable about the local flora. He showed us the smallest orchid in the world.large_DSCN1606.JPG
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Just before lunch our next stop was at a RAFFELSIA GARDEN to see the biggest flower in the world. From the smallest to the largest - Borneo has them all. These very large blooms that flower from a huge bulb on vine were so big that they almost did not look real. Of course we were not able to touch the flowers as any contact on them kills them instantly - apparently. The largest one we saw was approximately 80cm in diameter and it really did look fake to me, but apparently it was real and alive. The giant petals are very thick and waxy looking so I guess that is why my mind did not want to believe it. Anyway they were amazing and the ones that grow in the jungle on the Indonesian side of Borneo have been know to grow up to almost 20 meters in diameter.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 21:06 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kinabalu kota Comments (0)

2018 NOV 5 - 10 MALAYSIAN BORNEO - Kuching

REST IN A HIGH RISE IN KUCHING

**********28 DAYS IN SABAH & SARAWAK**********

Monday 5th November 2018 – day 130 Kuching

We woke up after a dry night, no rain at all during the night. Once we had walked up to breakfast we could see the ocean was flat also. It still didn’t look very inviting with its grey colour matching the grey sky, but it was a lot calmer than past days. Ironically, it’s starting to become swimmable on the day we are departing.

After our non-descript breakfast, they ran out of bread today and we had to attempt to toast cut up baguette sticks that have been sitting in the bread box as decoration all week, we returned to the cabin to finish packing our suitcases. The luggage is being collected at 11.30am, hopefully, after Dolly’s request to reception this morning. Our driver is due at 12 noon to drive us back into Kuching.

Luggage collected we walked to reception, I paid the bill and we loaded ourselves into our GRAB car who was a little early. He had already loaded our bags, so we sat back and enjoyed the hour-long ride to Kuching.

We drove up to Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites, our home for the next 6 nights. I had managed to book an extra night since we left the jungle a day earlier. First impressions were good, the foyer of this hotel is huge and impressive. But I have been fooled before by showy foyers, usually the rooms behind them are a lot different to what the façade displays. However, this time the room, or I should say rooms, did not disappoint. We are in a 2-bedroom suite, with a lounge room and a dining room and a mini kitchenette with absolutely nothing inside except a hot water jug and a microwave oven. Not a plate or a bowl or a fork to use in the kitchen. Little matter, we have no intention on cooking anyway.

We are on the 16th floor, with a corner suite and a great view overlooking downtown Kuching and its waterfront. The view would be even better if they had washed the outside of the windows in the last 20 years, but that’s just my opinion. This is a great location and confirmed it was a good decision when I changed our Kuching hotel booking last week.

We settled into and relaxed in our spacious surroundings before heading out to the Plaza Merdeka to find some food for a late lunch. The big flash shopping mall was just 5 minutes’ walk across the park and we found the food court to have lunch in. After we ate we walked around having a look at the shops.

A TV channel showing crappy shows, but in English, caught our attention for the afternoon and evening until we headed out for dinner after 8.30pm. Pizza Hut in the mall was handy so that’s where we headed.

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Tuesday 6th November 2018 – day 131 day out from Kuching

We organized a day trip with our GRAB driver from yesterday. This is the easiest way for us to organize transport rather than pay for seats on a tour. This way we have the time to ourselves and can come and go as we please. And it works out a hell of a lot cheaper.

Our excursion today was to the SEMONGGOH NATURE RESERVE, where we were again able to see the magnificent orangutans. We were pretty lucky with our sightings here as they are a lot more wild and don't always show themselves for food, preferring to forage in the jungle for themselves. At the start there was just one young male hanging around, but by the end of the 2 hours we had seen a couple more and a great finale by the giant alfa male who came very close and posed while we all took photos. It's just amazing to see these animals so close up - a real privilege.

SEMONGGOH NATURE RESERVE
For over 20 years, the wardens at Semenggoh Nature Reserve have been training young orangutans, who had been orphaned or rescued from captivity, how to survive in the wild. The success of this programme has left the surrounding forest reserve with a thriving population of healthy adolescent and young adult orangutans, who are now breeding in the wild. The programme has since been transferred to Matang Wildlife Centre, but Semenggoh Nature Reserve is still home to its successful graduates, semi-wild orangutans and their babies. They spend most of their time roaming the forest but frequently come back to the Centre for a free meal. If it is the fruiting season in the forest, some or even all of them may not come to feed. This in itself is a good sign and another step on the way to full rehabilitation.

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Next stop after about an hours drive through the jungle was the ANNAH RAIS LONGHOUSE. It was good to actually see just jungle and not any palm plantations like we had seen in Sabah. I'm not saying they don't have palm plantations down here in Sarawak, but they do have a lot more visible jungle.
There are not many long houses left anymore, and the few that remain seem to have been turned into tourists attractions I guess to create income for the villages. A long house is basically houses which are all joined together with a common veranda where families or tribes lived together.
We were lucky enough to see some tribal women who had come in from a more remote village dressed in traditional dress. They were happy enough to smile with their betel nut stained teeth and have photos taken of their colourful costumes.

Annah Rais Longhouse is a Bidayuh settlement about 100km south of Kuching, at the foothill of Borneo Highlands near the mountains marking the border to Kalimantan. Kampung Annah Rais is a large Bidayuh village centred around a centuries-old bamboo longhouse, one of the finest still in existence. The Bidayuh make up about 8% of Sarawak’s population and were formerly known as Land Dayaks. They are gracious hosts and village is the perfect place to discover Bidayuh culture and learn about their fascinating way of life.

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Our final 2 stops were at FAIRY CAVE and WIND CAVE. The fairy cave was massive inside, after we walked up 4 flights of steps to the entrance, then scrambled in the semi darkness up a ladder to get to the main chamber. You can see by the pic's below the sheer size by the staircases that led to the top in several places. The last photo shows 2 small people (April & Dolly) standing at the base of chamber, I took the photo from a great height.

Wind cave was less impressive as it was dark, dank and stank of bat shit, which was not surprising considering the cave was inhabited by hundreds of bats which we could see when I shone the torch up high. We got out of there as quickly as possible and our driver was surprised to see us back so soon.

Fairy Cave (also known as Gua Pari) is an impressive show cave near the former gold mining settlement of Bau and about 40km from Kuching, Sarawak. It is just a few minutes drive from another show cave, Wind Cave, and most tourists would combine both on a half-day trip from Kuching.

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We were dropped back at the Merdeka after a great day out. Dinner over at the food court.

Wednesday 7th November 2018 – day 133 Kuching / Thursday 8th November - day 133 / Friday 9th November – day 134

The next few days we just spent around Kuching town. We walked around exploring or just relaxing at the hotel. There was a bit of rain during the days so we did not venture too far.
We saw the street art on the walls in China Town and visited the Cat Museum - apt considering Kuching means cat in Malay language.

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Made it down to the waterfront to watch the bridge light up and the fountain water show that they put on two times at night.

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Saturday 10th November – day 135

Weather does not look better today at all, but its today or never so we are going to Bako National Park regardless. Robyn has decided to sit today out, so it was just the 3 of us: Dolly, April & I who met Mr Yeo outside the hotel at 8am. He had quoted us 54 myr = $18 each way for the ride to the ferry dock. The only way to get to Bako NP is by water, there are no roads that lead up to the park.

The drive was much shorter than the drive up to Permai, taking about 35 minutes. Arriving in the car park just before 9am. Not sure if it was because it was Saturday, or every day is like this, but the car park was already crowded.

We were directed to a ticket counter where we had to purchase boat tickets 40 myr = $13.50 each return and a guy hung around hassling us for a guide. We had no idea whether we needed a guide or not so shunned him away and hoped we could decide on arrival. Next, we were directed to the National Park entry counter where we had to pay 20 myr = $6.70 each.

We shared the small wooden motor boat with just 2 other tourists and their guide (oops) and of course the boat captain, so luckily it was not overcrowded. And it was compulsory to put on the sticky, stained and tatty life jackets, which I would be very surprised if they would save a life in the condition they were in. But we donned them anyway and were soon motoring up the small river out into the sea and around to the beach where the NP office was.
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We had to scramble out of the boat into knee deep water and walk up the beach about 200m to the park buildings. No jetty here and due to the tide times we would not be able to leave until after 2pm when there is enough water for the boats to get across the sea back to the river mouth to take us back. I'm sure we would be able to kill a few hours here.

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First stop was the one and only restaurant to have some breakfast that we did not have time to have before our pick up this morning. The food is not worth mentioning so I will just advise about our breakfast companions - a couple of bearded pigs. Yes there is such an animal and here are some pictures to prove it.
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After we had eaten we decided to attempt at least a short jungle trek. This seemed to be the most popular option even for the other people we saw who had guides. So we took off on the marked path coming to a boardwalk which lead us over the mangroves. Looking down to the mud there were lots of tiny crabs with one huge claw and also lots of mud skippers. And we were lucky enough to see the resident proboscis monkey. A fine looking specimen, a male who had a noticeably short tail. I overheard a guide advise that this had been amputated as the monkey had been injured and the tail was damaged beyond repair. At the same spot there was also a green viper snake basking in the sun on a tree branch- only snake we had seen in Borneo.

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The boardwalk led us into the jungle track where we walked for about an hour and led us out onto the beach. The jungle track was in parts quite difficult to transverse and there was a bit of climbing and struggling over tree roots and rocks. Not helping was the fact that it was so hot and the humidity under the tree cover was just making us all walking waterfalls of sweat. It was a relief when the track opened out to the beach where we saw monkeys and some more bearded pigs roaming around on the beach. We were even more relieved when we were told by someone else's guide that we did not have to walk back through the jungle track but could pay a few dollars to be transported back by boat. And there were a couple of boats waiting just off shore for this very reason. Of course we took up this offer which also included a quick ride around to some rock formations before returning us to the NP office beach. Unfortunately our boat captain managed to get the motor caught up in a fishing net and we had to bob around in the water for about 30 minutes as he cut the entangled net away from the prop of the motor.

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The boat returned us to the NP beach where we walked up and had some lunch while we waited for the tide to be right for our return up the river to the start jetty. Mr Yeo was waiting for us to take us back to Kuching. Another great day out.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 00:26 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuching bako Comments (3)

2018 OCT 29 - 31 - MALAYSIAN BORNEO - Sandakan

OUT OF THE JUNGLE, INTO THE TOWN.

semi-overcast

**********28 DAYS IN SABAH & SARAWAK**********

Monday 29th October 2018 – day 123 River Kinabatangan to Sandakan

We had breakfast and then our luggage was loaded for the trip back to Sepilok. We did have a stop on the way back in a jungle area where there are supposed to be orangutans for a last-ditch effort to see them in the wild. This was an easy walk as it was along the road that leads to the big caves where all the swiftlets making bird nests are. We did see evidence of orangutan presence in the way of old used sleeping nests high up in the trees. But none of these were fresh and we saw exactly zip again. The most exciting part of the walk was when Robyn was attacked by a wild animal in the way of a bee or wasp that bit her on the face. This was the closest any of us came to seeing any animal. Although on the way out at the entrance gate we saw a Borneo Baboon and another monkey with a cute little baby.

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Mr Aji had to so to the airport to pick up the next load of clients and he offered the services of his son to drop us at our accommodation in Sandakan rather that dropping us back in Sepilok. This was good for us as we would have to find maybe 2 separate GRAB cars to get us and luggage into the town. He dropped us at the door and we paid him 20myr = $6.60 which was the same as we would have paid a GRAB.

I phoned the agent for the apartment and was advised our check-in was not until 3pm, it was now 12. We opted to pay the 30myr = $10 for early check-in rather than waiting outside for 3 hours. The agent showed up 15 minutes later and showed us to the 15th floor 3-bedroom apartment, which is home for the next 3 nights. The apartment block seemed a little out of town and when I asked about the closest supermarket he advised not far and next thing we know he had wangled a lift with him if we could leave now.

Turns out the supermarket was not that far away, and we would be able to walk home with the small amount of groceries we had purchased mainly for breakfasts at the apartment. Lunch was at KFC – bad choice really, but that was all there was at the mall beside pizza hut.

On our return, we decided a swim in the enormous pool was in order, all except Robyn who opted to stay inside. The pool was lovely and for half an hour we were the only ones using it. We decided we’d had enough when a group of kids came down and broke our peace.

None of us could be bothered heading out anywhere for dinner, so we made do with a few of the breakfast supplies to throw together a bit of a meal.

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Tuesday 30th October 2018 – day 124 Sandakan

Dolly & Robyn shared the main bedroom with ensuite and April and I each had a single room each. The aircon in my room kept turning itself off so I was constantly waking up during the night and turning it back on. It was obviously hot enough that I was waking up.

Robyn was not feeling the best this morning, so she stayed in while the rest of us caught a GRAB into town. I was surprised at the distance we were from the centre and made note to check distances next time before booking accommodation. The GRAB was only 10 myr - $3.30, which is so cheap to get around making the distance out not too bad. We were dropped off at Agnes Keith House, which is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Sandakan besides the animal sanctuaries which we had already visited. Agnes Keith was an American woman who was living in Borneo before World War 2 and wrote books about her life there. She was married to an English man, Harry, who was sent to Sandakan with his work. Agnes, Harry and their young son George were taken prisoner by the Japanese during the war and she wrote books about their experiences during this time as well. She is obviously the most famous white woman to have lived in Sandakan, so they have restored her home and turned it into an attraction. We visited the house and it was actually very interesting. Next door there is an ‘English Tea House’ that we visited next to sample the high tea. There was a nice view from where we sat under the pergola in the garden and considering where we were the high tea was ok. We sat there relaxed for awhile then took the 100 stair steps down into the centre of town. This was all part of a Heritage Trail they have set up in the town. We did walk the whole trail as the other sites were not that interesting. At the bottom of the hill was the museum, which we did enter. It was just a couple of rooms, but had some great old photos of what the town looked like before and after the war.

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We walked a bit around the town, it’s nothing spectacular. The seafront is nothing. We sat in a waterfront restaurant to have a cool drink before looking for a supermarket to buy water and something for dinner to take back to the apartment as I knew no one would want to venture out again.
Dolly was keen to cook some potatoes on our one burner supplied in the kitchen and I suggest a roast chicken would be easy if we could find one. As luck would have it we found a mall that had a Kenny Rogers Roasters Restaurant and we were able to purchase a whole cooked chicken. We found some ladies selling vegetables on the footpath, so we managed to procure some potatoes to go with the chicken.

With dinner sorted I googled for a GRAB to take us back to the apartment. We had stopped right next to a taxi rank and the taxi driver came over to try and steal the ride, but they were not going to do the trip for the same price as the GRAB, so happily stepped aside.

I think Robyn was happy to see us back with some food for dinner. She asked if we got caught in the rain while we were out as it had come down here at the apartment. We did not have any rain in town at all. We ate in the apartment, could not find anything in English to watch on the telly.

Wednesday 31st October 2018 – day 125 Sandakan

Sleep in day today, it was looking a little grey outside and it was raining when we finally decided it was time to head out. I called a GRAB and we were taken to Agnes Keith House again so that Robyn could have a visit. Of course, Dolly, April & I headed straight for the tea house which we noticed yesterday was serving cocktails. It was well after 12 noon so we thought a cocktail would be nice. All excited we ordered and where shortly after told there was no coconut ingredient available so the house cocktail and the pina coladas were off. Not happy, we opted for tea instead, not a very good substitute, but I had already ordered a scone and needed something to wash it down with.

Sitting disappointed, we were soon joined by Robyn who had finished her visit of Keith house and also ordered tea and scone.

We sat for about 2 hours enjoying the peace full atmosphere of the gardens, it had not rained here so it was pleasant to sit outside under a different pergola to yesterday. The English owner came over to greet us and we complained about the lack of coconut ingredients for cocktails and he apologized but still did nothing about it. A little later we saw him drive off and thought he might be out to buy coconuts, but no such luck. He came back empty handed. Still, we remained until it was dark, we had planned on heading to a rooftop bar to watch the sunset, but time got away from us and it was lucky that the 100 steps were lit up so we could walk down to the town.

We found the roof top bar at the top of the Naka Hotel. It probably would have been a nice stop to watch the sunset, if there was any kind of sunset with the clouds and all.

The bar and staff were all decorated for Halloween, can’t believe this American holiday get celebrated here in the far reaches of Borneo, but there you go. We ordered overpriced cocktails, these were the most expensive I have had in Asia. 25 myr = $8.50 – I had an Expressotini – which was also the most yucky cocktail I have ever had. The other ladies ordered White Russian which they said were not too bad, but too expensive I say. Take me back to Kampot, Cambodia!!

After just one drink we headed back to the waterfront restaurants, near where we had stopped for drink yesterday, to have something to eat. There were a few locals out and about, but this is definitely not a tourist town. I guess the tourists stay out in Sepilok near where the animals can be seen. If there are any in town, they are definitely not out and about in this area.

I called a GRAB and soon we were back in the lift going up the 15 stories to our apartment.

Bags needed to be packed as we are flying to Sarawak tomorrow.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 01:26 Archived in Malaysia Tagged borneo sandakan Comments (1)

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