A Travellerspoint blog

2019 June 30 to July 03 GERMANY

We fly to Frankfurt and onwards to bike journey

sunny 28 °C
View 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.

IMG_20190630_111919.jpg
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.

large_IMG_20190701_181418.jpg

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.

large_IMG_20190701_214502.jpglarge_IMG_20190701_211545.jpgIMG_20190701_210747.jpg
large_IMG_20190701_223153.jpglarge_IMG_20190701_223436.jpg
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.

large_IMG_20190702_103820.jpg

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.
large_DSCN8498.JPG
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.
large_DSCN8499.JPG

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.
large_IMG_20190702_190250.jpg

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

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login