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2015 JULY GERMANY - UP THE RHINE WE GO!

Travelling against the flow as the days heat up!

Wednesday 1st July 2015 (day fifty-eight)

Lahnstein to Boppard

Finally we depart Lahnstein. It has been nice to stop and be a little normal for 5 nights, but it was time to move on.

Still having not organized a new owner for Sarah’s bike I quickly rode it down to a local bike hire place, hoping they might be interested in purchasing it. Of course in usual fashion, they were not open, there was no one there to help me out. Ended up asking Uta our landlord if I could leave the bike for a couple of weeks and would sort it out when I got back (I’ll be back up this way in a few weeks re new plans). She said that was fine. Thank goodness for the kindness of other people along the way.

Took a little longer than usual to load the bikes up, at least I did anyway. Not having done it for 5 days the knack was lost. Also I am now have the panniers Sarah was using as mine were starting to fall off – hooks are not so good. I did have a micro panic that all my crap would not fit into the new panniers but it all seemed to go in and then on the bike and we were on the road at 10.30am. Quick stop at the supermarket to buy meat in a roll for lunch and at 11am we said good bye to Lahnstein and headed up the same bike path we had used on Monday. This was now my third trip towards Boppard.

Today was hot! In case you have not heard Europe is having a heat wave and although not as hot as Spain is suffering right now, the days here are still getting over 30 degrees. No breeze, no wind, sun beating down, full bikes, its hot! The river looked awfully tempting for a dip when we stopped for lunch, was it not for the steep incline to the water and the very strong current we would have happily jumped in.

Today being the first of July, it is like the tourist season suddenly opened. The river was choked with excursion boats, cruise ships and also lots of long freight boats carrying various things up and down the river. The current is incredibly strong as it shows on the boats struggling to fight it travelling up stream and the downstream ones are cruising at a greater speed and easy.

The trip to Boppard look longer this time, due to lunch stop and loaded bikes, but we were happy when we reached the ferry to cross the river and could see our hotel. Within 10 minutes we were all checked in and within 15 minutes we had beers in our hands purchased from the little kiosk on the water front. These were being enjoyed on the balcony of the Lemons room.

A second beer was enjoyed before we headed off towards the train station. The ride from Boppard to Buchholz only took 15 minutes (2.90euro one way) up a pretty steep mountain railway track. This is the walk I had read about on the internet and wanted to do. It was just 8km back through the forest to Boppard. Lemons opted to take the train back again.

The track I walked was pretty steep in places and narrow also. Beautiful views and it was hot. The walk took me 2 hours and I strolled back into town just on 6pm.

Dinner tonight was pizza and doner at a local Turkish place. It was bloody hot, both the pizza and the weather. The pizza because they put chilly in the base sauce and the weather cause at 7.20 pm the sun was still really strong.

After dinner we strolled around the pedestrian streets and I had 2 ice cream cones. Correction: I had one sorbet cone and one gelato cone!
Nice little village, glad we opted to stay a night here as I enjoyed the walk through the forest and now flash having a room overlooking the river for 33 euro. Although, most camping grounds are river front and we will be experiencing them again tomorrow as we continue up the Rhine.

Thursday 2nd July 2015 (day fifty-nine)

Boppard to St Goar

We were up and at breakfast by 8.30 this morning. Wanted to get our money’s worth at the buffet. I think I definitely did by having about 9 cups of coffee alone. The rest of the food was a bonus as the coffee covered the cost of my 30 euro room.

We are cycling just a short distance today, only about 15km to St Goar so there was no great hurry to get going. The sun was shining brightly already and the clear sky was promising another lovely day. Check out was at 12 noon so we had a wander around the shops before heading off. Lemons are in the market for a new camera as theirs is playing up and now has a mind of its own. Turning on and off at will and snapping photos without being touched, like it’s possessed. They found a camera they were happy to replace it with but the camera shop did not take credit card. Do you believe that? How stupid, the same shop was selling 1000 euro cameras and did not take any cards, did they think people walk around with wads of cash? Anyway their loss as they did not make a sale from us. Will try at another town.

A little more shopping (like we have room for anything NOT) and we were on the waterfront at 11 am for a farewell to Boppard Radler beer! How very German Aussie of us!

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Checked out of our rooms, loaded bikes and need not have worried about any influence that little beer had on us as it was sweated out within 5 minutes of riding. Bloody hot already. And I mean bloody hot.

The bike path was excellent, smooth and easy to follow next to the river but completely unshaded! And we had an annoying head wind to contend with to boot. It was only a short distance of 15km but it was a hard 15km as we baked in the sun. By the time we reached St Goar we were all cooked and frazzled. We had planned on staying in the campground on the other side of the river, which would involve a ferry crossing, but after a visit to the tourist info we were talked into staying on the camp ground on this side of the river. Seemed to me there was a bit of an ‘us’ and ‘them’ rivalry between the two towns on the opposing river banks. Easily influenced, we chose the camp on this side as we were already on this side and it was just 1 km out of town.

Couldn’t find any kiosk selling cheap beers so we bit the bullet and sat outside and had a café beer. A large cold Radler for 3.60 euro was a welcomed extravagance. A little cooled off we rode the 1km to the camp ground, checked in set up tent and had a cheap camp beer to celebrate. 1.40 euro. Now don’t judge, it’s very hot today and we need to keep hydrated.

I have inherited Sarah’s tent as it was smaller than the one I had and as I am now in a tent alone seemed like a good idea. However, this one seems tiny compared to the big one I had even though I was sharing the other one with either Lyn or Sarah. But it’s all good. Camping here costs 8.80 euro per night for one person + 1 small tent, includes hot shower and 10% discount at their restaurant. BTW Sarah, found your head torch, was in the tent!

This camp ground is right on the river like most camp grounds are, so a foot dip in the river to cool off was a brilliant suggestion by one of us. Riverside here is a pile of rocks, unfortunately no nice sandy or stone beach to take us to the water. But nevertheless we managed to scramble over the rocks and dip out feet in and it was heaven. Instant cooling. The current was like everywhere else, very swift, but we were not venturing in too far. But soon we did have bums perched on rocks cooling the bottom half of our bodies. We were still fully clothed, but didn’t care as it would all dry quick enough in this heat.

Next minute an old bald head bobs past us in the water being swept along with the current. Don’t worry it was attached to an old wrinkly body – not just a decapitation floating past. Couple of old blokes were getting in the river 100 meters up stream and swimming rapidly (as fast as Olympic swimmers with the aid of the current) and managing without too much effort to swim to the shore a little way past us, climb out and repeat. We thought if those old buggers could do it so could we! And we did. And it was glorious. What a wonderful way to cool off. We still were very careful as we had been warned by several people, including the lady in the tourist office here about swimming in the Rhine. However, today the Rhine was DEVINE! And this was our Rhine leg of the stroke in our Tour de Spoke N Stroke.

We passed quite a few fellow cyclo tourists today. Like I said before this is a very popular section of the Rhine River, one of the most scenic parts and with the weather so nice, everybody is out. Camp ground is full of camper vans and caravans but also a half dozen tents belonging to 2 wheeled travellers. Mostly Dutch, who get a bit of a shock when we say we are from Australia, and more of a shock when we say we have cycled from Rotterdam. All these Dutchies have caught a train to somewhere in Germany and are only cycling for a week or two. Not like us superfit crazy Aussies.

We are so keen on riding, we are now heading back into town for a schnitzel dinner! Which we had for 7.90 euro with a Radler beer. It was still pretty hot so after dinner we went for a short walk up the main street (only one street in town) and I bought an ice cream cone to cool down a little. That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it.

Feeling full and hot we rode the short distance back to the camp ground. There are quite a few cyclist tents surrounding us this evening, but no doubt they will be all packed and gone long before I even wake up.

Bike Stats:
Time 1.22.34
Dist 18.52 km
Ave 13.4 km/h
Max 23.5 km/h
Cal 160
C02 2.77
Odo 529

Friday 3rd July 2015 (day sixty)

St Goar to St Goarshausen to Loreley , return

My night in the tent was ok, bit different to the last time we were in them. Very hot night, did not need any covers. Feel a little cramped in the tiny tent, but it’s a better one for me to carry alone and really there is plenty of room for one person.

Our camp ground is located on a bend of the River Rhine opposite the Loreley Rock. Legendary stepp rock, 132 m high. It rises steeply above the Rhine, which is only 90m wide at this point. The siren Loreley is supposed to have lured passing sailors to their death, as described in Heinrich Heine’s well-know (?) song. When water levels fall, one can still see the hazardous reefs of the Seven Virgins. According to legend, seven hard-hearted virgins were transformed into rocks there. At the foot of Loreley Rock one can still hear a sevenfold echo.

Today we are going to the Loreley Bob, also known as a summer luge!! One of my favourite past times and since we missed one earlier in the trip along the Mosel because it was not open, we are all looking forward to this bit of fun interlude. We took the bikes back to town and were just in time for the ferry to cross the river to St Goarshausen. It would not have matter if me had missed it as the river crossing takes about 6 minutes and the ferry runs continuously back and forth all day. The return trip with our bikes (which were free) was 4.50 euros.

BTW it’s another stinking hot day today, clear blue sky with beating down sun. At a guess temp is again going to reach well over 30 as it has the last few days.

Straight off the ferry we locked up our bikes up against the railing and took 3 steps to the bus stop where the 10.22am bus was going to depart in 4 minutes to take us up to Loreley, to the top of the rock.

The bus driver drove rapidly and safely up the steep winding road with ease, like he had done it a million times before. And there was a good chance he had! Dropped us off and said the bus back was at 11.42am. Most people would just come up for the view off the Loreley rock, which by the way was spectacular. From this high vantage point we could see both down river from where we had come to up river to where we were going. The distance views were a little hazy due to the heat I imagine, but it was still a great view. We looked down onto our camp ground and could see our lonely little tents and my washing flapping dry in the slight breeze.

Photos of the views taken, it was time to luge. A short walk down the road and before we knew it we were sitting in our luge-mobiles being given instructions of how to start, slow down and stop. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we done this before, just let us go.

What a hoot! As usual this was a fun ride and as we had purchased a 6 pass ticket for 12 euros, so we all had 2 runs, with Shawn clocking the fastest time! There was of course the tourist action photo that we all purchased for an extra 2.50 euro each.

We met the bus as we were starting to walk back to the stop not realizing there was a stop also at the bob. Another fun bus ride back down to river level.

The one thing St Goarshausen has over it’s over the river rival St Goar, is a big supermarket. We walked around inside the cool but were really uninspired to buy many supplies. Just some stuff for lunch which we ate back at the camp ground with a cold camp beer after we had collected our bikes and retraced our steps back across the ferry and to the camp.

The rest of the day was lazy, it’s so hot and we had seen the attractions so we had a lazy afternoon, ending up riverside where we lolled in the water’s edge trying not to be swept up in the current. Shawn did a couple of long floats down the river after walking to the end of the camp ground. I had another go at this, great fun, but still a little scary as the current is very strong and there are always huge barges and tourist boats motoring up and down the river also. Don’t worry we were careful and did not swim out to far that we could not easily grab a rock and be shore safe. The afternoon was so hot and the water so cooling, we hope our next camp stop a little way further up the Rhine has the same opportunity for river swimming or at least somewhere to cool off in. Especially if this heat wave keeps up.

I’ve been washing clothes as I take them off and they have been drying almost instantly in this dry heat. Lyn you would be so proud of me, strung up a line and all! It’s a little difficult not having my buddy along as Lyn always thinks of the washing things, and where’s a good place for the line etc. Now I have to try and remember all that stuff for myself. 

We headed back out on the bikes for dinner – I know we are still not back into the whole camping routine of cooking camp dinner. I think it’s cause it’s so hot, hard to buy supplies earlier in the day to cook up later. So Toni was keen on an Asian kiosk place we passed last night, so they ate there. I was not all that hungry (haven eaten a bag of chips with our afternoon beer, lol) so just picked up a spongy chicken burger and had a few more beers with them as they ate their dinner.

It’s now 10pm and just starting to get dark. Man I love European summer time, days are long long long. I know this weather is very hot, but I am loving it, much better than a few weeks ago when we were all freezing and buying extra bedding to try and get a good night’s sleep in the tent.

Tomorrow we have another short ride of about 15km up river.

Saturday 4th July 2015 (day sixty-one)

St Goar to Bacharach

A nice warm night again last night, although at one stage I did pull the sleeping bag over me and kick it off and pull it up again. Sun was beating down on the tent when I woke at 7am. We wanted to get an early start today, even though we are not travelling very far, we wanted to get the bike riding part of the day over and done with before it got too hot.

We did really well and had bums on bikes, waving goodbye to the Loreley by 9.15am. 30 minutes later we were wandering through Lidl supermarket looking at all the things we could not buy for dinner because in the current heat nothing will keep several hours before we want to cook it. We decided on a cooked lunch and just scratch for dinner. Lemons bought some salmon to cook up and I ended up getting a cooked chicken which I ate with some crackers that Sarah had left behind, (thanks Sarah).

We rode into the camp just before 12 and decided to eat before we set up camp. Our tent possie is not next to the river but be managed to grab a spot under a tree riverside to cook and eat our lunch. River traffic was a busy as ever, but it’s nice, gives us something to look at besides the amazing scenery on the banks of the river. Such quaint little towns and villages on the river’s edge. All very narrow and spread out along the water front. Most are only 1 or 2 streets wide, wedged between the Rhine and the hillside behind them. All are dominated by a tall steeple of the town church.

After lunch we set up our tents, arriving early we are the first bikers to have arrived so got the pick of the positions available (the one with the picnic table). This of course was thirsty work so back on our bikes we pedalled back along the water front to a kiosk I saw that was selling Radler for 1.50 euro. We sat trying to hide from the sun as we drank our cool beer. Yes cool, not cold, Europeans have not yet grasped the meaning of cold beer, it’s just cooled. Short discussion about indulging in another beer or going for a quick look into the town, it was decided a quick look then return for a beer before we go for a swim. Quick ride into town, I had a Riesling flavoured ice cream cone (yes very nice thanks) and then we headed back to said kiosk only to be told she had no Radler left in the fridge. Bugger! We will be back tomorrow we warned her, so stock up!
Deflated, we rode back towards the camp ground when I saw a KD kiosk. This is a kiosk riverside where they sell the Koln-Dusseldorf ferry tickets, and we have learnt that if there is a kiosk attached to the ticket office they usually sell Radler beers at a good price. As we sat down the temp gauge showed it was 33.7, by the time we left 2 beers later it was 34.8. It was time for a swim. The river is really wide at the front of the camp ground here and there is even a little sandy beach that was packed with day trippers – being Saturday and all. It’s still pretty rocky in the river so I like to wear my Keen sandals, gives them a good wash too. We are surprised how clean the river seems to be. There is very, very little rubbish floating in it, considering the amount of tourist traffic on the river. And the water is pretty clear. The beer cooled our insides and the Rhine cooled our outsides.

We were sitting in the water at about 5pm, suddenly the sun disappeared and looking skyward there were dark ugly clouds heading our way. The campervan campers must have known something we did not as they all started to baton down the hatches, so we followed suite as much as we can to prepare the tents for a down pour. There was a bit of thunder and around 7pm it did finally rain, but not all that hard as Toni & I stood under a tree and managed to stay dry. The rain fell lightly, the clouds blew over, and we saw a few more lightning strikes and then it was all over. At least it cooled the air down a bit so it will be nice to sleep.

We were cooking dinner by 8pm and I finally got to us the can of tomatoes that I have been carrying since Rotterdam! Yippee. (Sorry small things amuse me at times). After dinner we sat enjoying an after dinner beer watching the steady stream of river traffic heading up stream to Bingen, which is about 20km away. Apparently tonight is a festival ‘the Rhine in Flames’. Not sure what it is all about, but there are going to be fireworks at around midnight in Bingen, not sure if we will be able to see them from here. I overheard a camper who had internet and was googling said that the boats were 150 euro per person, not sure what this included, but way out of our price range anyway.

We have booked in here for 2 nights (cost 5.50 per person + 3 euro for a tent) and tomorrow depending on how hot it is we may climb up the million steps to the castle up on the hill. This one they have turned into a youth hostel which I tried to book months ago but was already booked well in advance.

Oooo, it’s just turned 10.30pm and I can hear the fireworks in the distance. Just had a quick look up the river and I can see tiny sparkle lights in the distance.

Bike Stats:
Time 1.17.35
Dist 17.72km
Ave 13.7 km/h
Mx 22.9 km/h
Cal 168
C02 2.65
Odo 546

Sunday 5th July 2015 (day sixty-two)

Bacharach

A very lazy day today, basically we did nothing.

Breakfast rolls were collected from reception at 8.30 and by the time we were eating all the other bikers had packed up camp and left, we seemed to be the only 2 nighters left. Already this early we could tell it was going to be another scorcher of a day.

The day consisted of watching the river traffic, having a few swims in the river to cool off and having a few beers at assorted places throughout the day. First one was with lunch at the roadside wurst stand. We had lunch here, wurst and pommes washed down with the cheapest Radler beer in town at 1.50 euro.

After lunch I went into the main street to have a wander around and an ice cream. There is the remains of an old 13th century church that I wanted to take a look at. Returning a little while later to find the Lemons hard at work. Lol Both lay sleeping in the shade.

Another swim then I went to the camp site bar to use the internet to do a little forward booking, had to buy a big Radler 3.30 euro to justify sitting inside.

Being Sunday, no shops were open so we had no supplies for dinner so we headed into town to see what looked good. Local Turkish kebab shop looked good, and after ordering a ‘small’ doner confirmed it tasted good too. This delicious dinner was washed down with a beer and cola mixer 2.00 euro – yes beer and cola in the same bottle.

It’s a bit cooler again this evening and a cloudy sky is telling us there may be a drop or two falling on us later. But we are all tucked inside shower proof tents so are not too concerned. The little breeze is making it a little more comfortable to sleep.
Tomorrow we continue up the Rhine to a new location.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 11:58 Archived in Germany

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