We start to ride along the Saar River
03.07.2019 - 05.07.2019
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
LEUKBACHTAL SAARBURG CAMPING 18 EUROS – toilets with paper, hot showers, grassy pItch