A Travellerspoint blog

July 2015

2015 MALTA HERE I COME!

Train from Koblenz to Frankfurt airport then fly to Malta.

Wednesday 22nd July 2015 (day seventy-seven)

Koblenz to Frankfurt by train then fly to Malta

Had an easy morning, actually slept late so must have needed it after my long ride yesterday and the brief illness last night. Had a wonderful filling breakfast provided by my hosts.

So my bike is stored and my bag is packed for my excursion to Malta. I have just taken all my clothes as I don’t have many anyway and they all fit into the one wet bag I had.

Ang drove to the train station at 2.35 for my 3.05 train. I bought a quick sandwich at the station to eat en-route but need not have hurried because the train was delayed for 30 minutes. Actually the train was completely taken out of action and we were ushered onto another one that departed Koblenz at 3.35. Luckily I had plenty of time as my flight was not until 19.55 and the train journey should only take approximately 1 ½ hours.
Again I travelled the same route along the Rhine River. I am really getting to know this stretch of the river well. It was funny to travel through the familiar towns and stretches along the river that took me days to ride yet minutes to pass on the train. It was a nice ride and I made it to the airport in heaps of time, still even too early to check in.

Frankfurt airport is big, and it did not seem to be over crowded as all the check in gates are so spread out. There were lots (about 100) of counters offering last minute flights and holiday deals. This is good to know perhaps for another time when stranded and looking for somewhere to go, just rock up to the airport with a budget and get on the next flight to random destination.

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I’m flying to Malta with Air Malta, and although my bag is only 6kg I checked it in as I had shampoo and sunscreen that was more than the allowed 100ml carry on size. And what the hell, check in bag was free so why not take advantage. As I was travelling to another EU country there was no immigration check, but we did have to go through security check where everyone had a full body scan. I had taken off my watch and bangles but still managed to register on the screen due to a tiny metallic bell on my anklet. So the machine were turned up to fairly sensitive, good to know.

From the gate we were bused out to the air craft and loaded without problems, departing on time at 19.55. It was a 3 hour non-event flight and shortly after take-off we were high above the clouds and although I had a window seat could see nothing. Starting to land 3 hours later is was dark down below and all I could see were a few of the light of Malta. The captain advised us it was just after 10pm and 27 degrees. I smiled.

I had booked an AirBnB room to spend my first night due to my late arrival and for an extra 10 euro I requested an airport pickup. So happy I did this as would not have liked to be looking for somewhere to stay at this time.

Miriam was at the arrivals gate with my name written in pink on a piece of paper, an elderly woman, she kissed me on greeting and I liked her instantly. She led me outside to where her husband Emanual, was waiting in the car for us. We drove to their house in Saint Verene, about 25 minutes from the airport. I could not have felt more welcomed. Malta’s second language is English so there was no communication problems whatsoever. This couple were just wonderful, I could not have wished for nicer people to introduce me to a new country.

They then took the time at this late hour to advise me on all the sights to be seen around Malta. I sat at the table and wished I was spending my entire holiday here with them. There was nothing they did not know about the history and sights of Malta and avid walkers knew how to get to every nook and cranny of this island by foot and by bus. It was very informative, and way too much information to take in. I hope I remember some of it so I can discover some of the places they suggested.

I had a shower (a cold one, by choice as it was still so hot) and slept in a very comfy bed.

Thursday 22nd July 2015 (day seventy-eight)

Saint Verene to Valletta to Xaghara

Miraculously, I woke early and was at the breakfast table by the advised time of 8.30, after having another cool shower, it had been a hot night. Breakfast was abundant. Coffee, juice, Maltese bread, local cheese for me to try and a boiled egg. Man, it was nice being so spoilt

I sat around until almost 12 chatting with Emanual who told me all about his 2 daughters. It was a lovely stay and if I ever come back to Malta would love to spend time with this lovely couple again.

Emanual walked me to the bus stop where I could get a bus into the capital Valletta. I had decided it would be best if I get an unlimited bus pass that works all over Malta so that I could just travel around at ease. The bus was there within minutes and I hopped on paying the 2 euro fee (which is valid for 2 hours) to go to Valletta.

Once in the capital I had to find where to buy the pass, the tourist office advised a book shop and I made my way there after I deposited my bag at nearby hotel that was happy to store it for me while I look around.

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I instantly loved the city. Usually all cities are alike but this one was beautiful. All the sandstone buildings. I know nothing about architecture but I loved it here. Every building had lots of ornate balconies. The whole place had a relaxed, I guess holiday, feel to it. I walked around for about 3 hours.

Finally retrieved my bag and headed back to the bus station to get a bus to the ferry as I am spending a few days on the other island Gozo. Bus arrived within minutes, however took over an hour to get to the ferry terminal. Understandably, as it was on the other side of the island to Valletta.
I short wait for the ferry and then a 25 minute smooth crossing. It was a big ferry that carried cars as well as just passengers.

Back on another bus to head to Xaghara where I have 2 nights with a Couch Surfer. I asked the bus driver to advise when I got to my stop which he kindly did and I just had a short walk to my home for the next 2 nights.

And wow, what an interesting place where I am staying. The owner of this typical Maltese house is a local who has more or less opened his home to all and sundry. Couch surfers and travelling strays are all welcome here. It’s hard to explain but I guess it’s like what an open hippy house would have been like in the 60’s. Not that I have any experience with a hippy house but my guess is it would be like this:
Pretty messy, actually dirty. One person working (Mario the Maltese guy) and a house full of free loaders. Which I suppose I have become one of. When I arrived Mario was in the ‘kitchen’ preparing the evening meal which he advised me there would the 7 diners tonight. I am of course the oldest ‘guest’ as perhaps he likes to surround himself with younger people or perhaps persons of my age would not be comfortable in this situation. At first I wasn’t but told myself to chill out and ended up having a lovely evening.

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There was quite a few different nationalities, guys from Holland, Poland, France, Somalia and a girl from Switzerland. All in their 20’s, all students who are studying abstract things like anthropology, linguistics and mathematics.

I guess they are not really like hippies cause there was no alcohol or drugs included in the evening, I think more alternates?! Anyway quite a different sort of atmosphere, interesting listening to these young people so caught up in there unusual pursuits. Guess they must have thought I was a bit of a square, but I did not feel too detached from the whole thing and not uncomfortable. Although I did not sleep between the sheets that were provided on my bed because I would say there have been a few sweaty bodies in there since the last time they were washed.

The meal was great, we had bbq pork chops and steak with a couple of salads that Mario had prepared.

I guess I was a little out of my comfort zone, so it was a nice challenge and an interesting evening.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 05:03 Archived in Malta Comments (0)

2015 JULY GERMANY - BACK ON THE BIKE TO AHR!

Ride north down the Rhine to explore the Ahr Valley.

Thursday 16th July 2105 (day seventy-three)

Koblenz to Ahrweiler

Back in the saddle, I was almost looking forward to it. This is my first trip out alone. I was on the road before 10am.

I noted it took all but 2 minutes for me to start talking to myself, but thankfully a fully three minutes before I answered myself, so all’s well. Half an hour in I realized I left my gloves behind – not good.

My destination is the Ahr Valley.

I rode north of Koblenz, continuing downstream along the Rhine and I must say that the first 24km were the ugliest part of the Rhine I have seen. Not much of the bike path was along the river as this part of the river is lined on both sides with heavy and light industrial businesses. This must be the part of the Rhine where the cruise boats cruise during the night, cause there is not much to see here, and what there is to see is not nice – including a nuclear power station.

The bike path has also been neglected, I guess it’s not a very nice ride so a lot must train this part, although I did still pass a quite a few cyclist traveling in both directions. Not only is the bike path inferior to other parts we have been on, but the signs leave a lot to be desired – the desire that they were there to start with. I’m surprised I found my way at all, weaving in and out of industrial streets.

And it was hot today – very hot. The weather forecast was for mid-30’s and I would not be surprised if it reached closer to 40, or maybe I just felt it more pushing an overweight bicycle.

Anyway the ugliness got a little less and by 12 o’clock I thought it was a good time to stop for a cold Radler in the town of Anderach. I am over the sigma of drinking alone – hey if I can have a decent conversation with myself, I can certainly share a beer with myself. Oh dear, have I lost it so early in my solo trip already?

Riding on, I stopped again at 2pm to have the sandwich that I had made at breakfast back at Ang’s. I stopped at a lovely little spot by the side of the Rhine and watched the passing pedestrian, cyclist and boat traffic go by.

Again I missed the campground I had planned on stopping for the night at. The thing is, if the campground is not directly on the bike path I have no chance of seeing it. I have never seen an advert or sign for an upcoming camp, so unless I ride through it, I miss it. Not to worry I’ll just ride on to the next one.

I also somehow missed the turn off to the Ahr Valley/River! Not my fault, no very well signed again. I think the cyclists who come to cycle in this supposedly beautiful area come in by car and start inside the valley. They don’t actually have to find the valley on a bike. Car road signs are much more frequent and descriptive.

Eventually I was in the valley, the river is nothing to speak of, especially where it flows into the Rhine. I think that is what thru me, as all the other river off shoots have been significant. Anyway it was still blistering hot, but I knew I was on the right track because it was very crowded, with day tripper bikes. Meaning no one had a loaded bike like me, so they were all drive ins.

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The first campground was 15km in and when I rode up to it there was a sign that it was completely full. F&*k! what now? Luckily this meant only full for camper vans and caravans. When I spoke with the reception lady she said there is always room for tents, and she was correct directing me to a nice shady, grassy site on the high bank next to the river, which I can hear because it is only ankle deep and flowing over rocks.

At check in at reception I noticed there was a post card from Lone Pine Brisbane Australia and when I advised the lady that is where I was from I was suddenly her best friend. She even shouted me a beer that I accepted and necked in about 2 minutes. Need to stay hydrated, need to stay hydrated!

I set up the tent and relaxed, it had been a long hot ride today. I have no idea how far as my computer is still cactus, but I know I was in the saddle for approximately 5 hours today in the beating down sun. Not that I’m complaining about the weather, much better than cold and wet when on a bike I assure you.

At 6pm it was slightly cooler so I rode the 200 meters into town. It must have been a hard ride today as this short ride on an empty bike was even a strain for me.

So I am in the town of Ahrweiler, which I discovered has an old town which is surrounded by a moated city wall. The moat is no longer full of water but it is obvious that it was a moat. The old buildings are of course beautiful and walking around this time of evening when all the shops are closed is nice as there are not many people around. But I would hazard a guess that this place is crawling with tourists during the day.

Just before this place I rode through a town called Bad Neuenahr, which I think is a thermal spa town. There seemed to be an overabundance of people in wheel chairs in that place. So not sure if this is some kind of healing place or health spa, but the people I saw all seemed to be of a very old age and most with some kind of walking aid or mobile chair.

After my stroll around town taking photos, I found a supermarket and just bought a herring salad to have for dinner. It’s way too hot to eat anything cooked.

I have booked 2 nights here so will explore more tomorrow.

Friday 17th July 2015 (day seventy-two)

Ahrweiler to Bad Neuenahr to Ahrweiler

It rained last night. Spatters on the tent woke me up, I got out and saved my towel but needn’t have worried as the rest of my washing was dry by the time I woke this morning anyway. It got a little cooler during the night as I woke up pretty hot with the sleeping bag covering me.

What to do today, it already looked and felt like it was going to be a scorcher. I was almost dreading getting on the bike in case I still had the heavy legs from yesterday. But I had obviously rested sufficiently overnight as getting on the empty bike was again like riding on air.

After breakfast I rode back the 3km to check the town I passed through yesterday. Bad Neuenahr looked a little bigger than where I am staying and I wanted to find out what the large building I passed was. Turned out to be a asylum oops I mean sanatorium. Not sure if it was one for crazies or just the rich to take the local thermal waters. I did not venture inside as it did not look very welcoming to a scabby cyclo tourist. I rode around the back and found a lovely old building which used to be the old Thermal Bathhouse. I did go in here, but it had been converted into overprice spa salons whose owners looked me up and down as if to say ‘you don’t have the money to be in here for any treatment’. So I looked around the old building without entering any of the posh salons and left.

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Not much else here to see, unlike Ahrweiler, where I am staying, has a beautiful old town. I did a bit of window shopping and strolled thought the big department stores really only sucking up their air-conditioning, which by the way needs to be turned up a little bit to attract more entrants I reckon.

Soon it was lunch time, not feeling very hungry I thought a nice cool salad would go down a treat. Of course all the overpriced places here did not cater for my craving so I rode the back streets and found a supermarket. And what made me doubly happy was it was a Lidl where a few days ago I remember seeing cycle gloves for sale. I parked and locked my bike and headed in, again thinking they need to turn up the air con. Lucky for me there were still a few pairs of gloves, which I readily purchased, in the variety section and a cool green salad in the fridge section.

I took my lunch back down to the river – and I use the term river lightly, found a bench in the shade, had lunch then a little lie down afterwards reading my book. There was nothing else to see here so a little relaxing time was the best thing I could find to occupy myself.

Later back at camp I was determined to try and figure out why my bike computer was not registering. The computer part seemed fine, so I moved it down again closer to the sensor part and then changed the battery in the sensor. Pushing the bike in a few circles still nothing! There are a couple of Germany ladies also camping here and one seeing my struggle came over to help. She adjusted the sensor slightly and bingo it worked. They do not speak any English but I did manage to work out that she said something about working with bikes. I was very happy cause after her slight adjustment it seemed to be working. Yippee.

I decided to take it for a test run, half thinking about going to supermarket to buy dinner supplies. As I did not do much I was not really feeling very hungry, but as I rode through the campground, it was about 7.30 and most people where cooking their dinner. The aroma of cooking meat suddenly gave me an appetite for some pork, so off to the supermarket I rode to get some pork.

On my return after checking the bike computer it seems to be functioning again I cooked dinner of pork steak with brown mushrooms with gravy (ah yes Lyn just for future reference, I prefer plain gravy to the onion variety that you obviously packed – just saying).

Just before I left the Lemons we swapped cooking stoves as theirs was much more compact than mine, but this was the first time I had cause to use it. You will be happy to know all went well and the meal was thoroughly enjoyed.

It is still not getting dark until about 10pm so the days are still very long. 

I am going to move on further down the ‘river’ tomorrow just for a change of scenery and at also at the tourist office today I found a brochure for a LUGE! Hopefully it will not be too far off the track or too much of a bike climb.

It’s now 10pm and it’s dark, not pitch black, but enough for a torch. I think already the days are getting shorter?

Saturday 18th July 2015 (seventy-three)

Ahrweiler to Altenahr

It was a little cooler last night, no rain but woke to a slightly cloudy sky.

I had breakfast and packed up the tent, loaded the bike and rode the short distance to Altenahr, less than 15km along a mostly good track. Some of the bike way was actually an old railway route which had me riding through tunnels dug into the hillsides. The first one was 235 meters long and must admit did not like riding through there at all, even though it was lit up. The second one was only short about 50 meters.

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The valley is looking a lot prettier now, with vineyards planted up the steep sides of the valley walls. Lots of hiking and biking around here.

However the hiking is mountain goat sort, with steep inclines to reach the high lookouts. The bikers all seem to be day trippers, who have driven in to some nice warm expensive accommodation and the oldies have gone out for a couple of hours of pedalling. Yep no youngsters anywhere in this area.

I found the Altenahr camp ground and after setting up my tent, sort of under a tree – not much cover here, I went back to reception to enquire about a supermarket close by. The German bloke told me that there was a small one in the main street of town, which would be easy to find as there is only one street in town. And there was another much bigger one but that was 2 km away and he suggested since I was on the bike I should go to the one in town as it was much closer. This guy does not realize that I have pedalled through 3 other countries to get to this one – 2 km is nothing! I thanked him and headed to the farther away shop.

It’s still pretty warm so I could not really get much in the way of fresh food, especially since tomorrow being Sunday everything will be closed. I did get some pork to cook up for dinner tonight and tomorrow I will have something out of a can.

It was a nice ride to the big supermarket and I stopped on the way back in a picnic area and had my lunch. There are lots of benches and picnic tables all around here to cater for the large amount of walkers.

I returned to camp and spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around reading.

At about 6 pm I rode into town to have a quick look around and quick it was having only one street which was made up mainly of hotels and a few restaurants. I also found the small supermarket where the prices were double and triple of the larger one, so good choice I had gone to the other.

Back at camp I cooked my dinner, had a shower and basically went to bed when it got dark, not much else to do really.

Sunday 19th July 2015 (day seventy-four)

Altenahr

It rained last night and heavier that previous nights. Or maybe it was because my tent did not have the covered protection of being under a tree that I heard it more than usual. Either way it seemed to fall harder and longer than what had woken me up other nights. Again I got up and rescued my towel that was draped over my bike drying after last night’s shower. And this time is was a good thing I did as when I woke it was still raining. Erk, rain is not a good thing to wake up to when you are camping.

Just before 9.30 it seemed to ease a bit and that was when I ventured out of the tent to collect my bread rolls from reception and to boil kettle for coffee. It’s been a while since I’d had the usual Sunday cook up so I decided to indulge today. Mushrooms, bacon on bread rolls with coffee – pretty good effort coming from a tent.

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I booked 2 nights here at this camp ground so had all day to kill today. Lucky for me at the tourist office in another town I found a brochure for a summer luge that was close to here. What better to do on a Sunday? The brochure said it was only 4km from Altenahr so not too far for me to attempt getting there on the bike. What the brochure did not say is that it was all uphill. Well of course it would be considering I am in a valley and all.

I managed to ride the first 2km up the road out of town but then it got a little hairy being a 2 lane winding hilly road, so I thought it safer for me and for motorists if I pushed the bike up the hill along the verge. Turns out the brochure was at least accurate with the distance (happy about that after pushing the bike uphill for 2 km).

It was only a small 550m luge, but luge is luge. I was going to buy a 2 x 1 ride ticket for 2.50 euros each, but was easily talked into purchasing a 4 ride ticket for 7.50 euro. Selling point was you get one ride free!! Actually I managed to get 2 rides free as the silly ticket puncher was busy not doing his job and I was waved through without my ticket being punched.

The weather had been behaving during my ride / push up the hill and during my first 2 luge rides, but then the rain fell and I waited it out for about an hour until it eased a little and did my last 3 rides. You know those things go faster when wet! Fun, fun, fun. Love a luge!

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The ride back into town was of course brilliant, the rain had stopped and it was all downhill! Not too much complaining from car drivers as the road signs advised them to go around the corners at 30 km/hour anyway and I easily was managing that speed downhill!

I stopped before reaching the one main street, locked up the bike and walked the steep path up to Are Castle ruins. Wow magnificent view from up there and the rain held off until I was just minutes from camp where I could shelter in my tent.

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Dinner from a can from my emergency stash.

Monday 20th July 2015 (day seventy-five)

Altenahr to Remegan

Arg, I woke to the sound of rain falling on the tent, it was 8am. O, I so did not want to have to pack up a wet tent. I lay thinking about it for an hour and the rain eased a little. Outside everything was soggy and the sky was a sad lingering grey colour.

I went and had a shower hoping that some bright sunrays would welcome me when I returned to the tent. Ha, what was I delirious? Today was going to be miserable no matter what I wished for. The rain however did hold off long enough for me to have breakfast and for the tent to miraculously be almost dry when I rolled it up and pushed it into its bag.

But the rain returned as I pushed the first pedal down to get me moving, arg, this was going to be a miserable day.

I rode the short distance into town in a light shower of rain and as I approached the train station I made the executive decision to get the train to Remegan instead of riding the same path I had ridden in through the Ahr Valley. It was just a 45 minute journey on the train and for 7.90 euro (bikes are free after 9am) it was worth it not to get completely soaked.

The train wound its way through the steep vineyards as I recognized town and village names I had ridden thought the last few days. It really was a beautiful area, but the weather was getting me down and I was starting to feel miserable so had no regrets catching the train. Although I almost did not get on as just my luck would have it the platform at Altenahr station was much lower than the train carriages and I had to try and lift the loaded bike up 3 steps. Well this was just impossible and was not going to happen. I tried my hardest and struggled for what seemed like many minutes (but were only seconds) before a nice man got off the train and assisted me. There was no conductor on these trains so I was pretty sure had this kind stranger not assisted me the doors would have just closed and the train would have left the station without me.

Arriving at Remegan station was not as bad as the platform was higher and only one step needed to be negotiated.

I found the camp ground just outside town and set up the tent between micro showers. Today was really going to be miserable. Tent up and my stuff safely stored inside and dry I went looking for the supermarket to buy some lunch. The sky stayed the ugly grey colour but rain free for 1 hour which was enough time for me to eat my lunch at the table provided at the camp ground.

Feeling brave during this dry spell I headed back into town for a look around, only to be greeted by a nice heavy shower that had everyone scurrying into shops to shelter from the rain.

Shortly another dry spell and I was on the bike again having a quick look around but it was not enjoyable with the threat of a down pour at any second. I was on the Rhine path when it came down heavily again and met up with an old Kiwi bloke on a bike who stopped when he saw my Australian flag displayed on my bike basket. We sheltered under a tree hiding from the rain comparing bike stories. He had cycled much of Europe over the years and later at the camp ground gave me some tips for my later venture into France.

A lull in the rain and I continued on to Kripp. This was the village where I was when I turned into the Ahr Valley. On the opposite side of the river is the town of Linz. I had contemplated catching the ferry across to explore but the weather did not really want to cooperate with any exploring today, so I had a Radler beer from the kiosk instead. Been a few days since I’d had a beer and it was thoroughly enjoyed, with the rain holding off long enough for me to sit and enjoy the view with the drink.

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Back to camp I rode in a light showering of rain. I was given one hour of free internet which I used to let the world know I am still alive via facebook.
Quick trip to the supermarket for dinner supplies and the weather held off long enough for me to cook and eat it and even stayed clear until it turned dark. But the sky was still looking sad so I won’t hold out for a dry night.

Tuesday 21st July 2015 (day seventy-six)

Remegan to Koblenz

Sunshine woke me which was a good sign. I also sat in sunshine as I ate breakfast and it continued to shine as I packed up the tent and loaded my bike. As soon as my bum hit the bike seat the sun faded and suddenly the blue up above me was replaced by grey clouds. Was this some kind of magic? I had a fairly long ride today and did not really want to be hindered by rain, regardless I took off and it was only just 9.15.

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I retraced by path back to Koblenz via the industrial lined river Rhine. The river is actually very low at the moment, the locals are praying for rain to feed their vineyards. The weather behaved itself for me and it did not rain on me at all, and the sky stayed cloudy which made for cooler riding. I made good timing and was back in Koblenz before 12 noon.

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I have a night with my friend Angelika again tonight before I fly off to Malta tomorrow. As I was in the centre I went to her house via the main train station to purchase a ticket to take me to Frankfurt airport. This way I would know what time I needed to go etc.

This time riding to Ang’s place was much simpler as I found the road I missed last time and it was a quick ride to her house. The hill to her doorstop was the one that killed me and I rang the doorbell again looking like a wreck. A quick shower and I was soon revived.

Later in the evening when it was still light Ang asked if I would like to head out and have a drink. This seemed like a wonderful idea and she took me to a really cool beach bar. An open air bar with a little man made beach on the Mosel River. It was a great place, and very relaxing, Lots of people lounging around on deck chairs and director chairs, some basking in the sun, others shaded under umbrellas. There were even some people swimming in the Mosel, which I must admit did look just a little inviting. I had a Radler and Ang had of all things a Bundaberg Ginger Beer! A bit of home for me in Germany.

Next we drove back into town and had another drink at a very swish looking restaurant which was right next to the Koblenz Cathedral. This was one of Ang’s favourite places and I could see why. It was lovely.

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One more stop was going to be at another mystery bar, however on the way I suddenly was struck with something not right in my stomach. So bad that we had to pull over for me to throw up. And after only 2 beers!!? Must have been something in the water. I was much better afterwards, but we thought it better if we head home and leave this mystery place for next time.

I went to bed early, was feeling ok but guess I needed to rest.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 02:46 Archived in Germany Comments (2)

2015 JULY GERMANY - BACK ON THE RHINE, ALL MY MYSELF :-(

I know this path by heart!

Sunday 12th July 2015 (day sixty-nine)

Bacharach

Today was overcast all day. I was going to spend the day by the river catching some rays and swimming. Instead I had to be content with sitting/laying around all day reading my trashy book.

I did get up at about 3pm and ride to the wurst kiosk for some lunch and a Radler. Funny as soon as the lady saw me on my bike she was at the fridge getting out a Radler – oops time to leave this place as getting too familiar. Lol

Looks like it might rain this afternoon or definitely tonight. I still have not decided whether I am going to ride or get the ferry to Koblenz tomorrow, may decide in the morning when I can see what the weather looks like.

The rain started at 5pm and kept up until it was dark. I had no choice but to hibernate into my tent, nowhere else to shelter. Lucky I had a book to read. The rain was not hard, only a light shower really, but it continued to fall for a few hours.

At about 9pm, I ventured out to the loo and to boil the kettle to have instant something emergency food. (Thanks Lemons, I had the noodle thing you left me).

Monday 13th July 2015 (day seventy)

Bacharach to Koblenz

Woke to an overcast and threatening sky. It did not rain all night cause the tent was dry so I took the opportunity to get it packed up and my bike loaded before anything got wet. Must have been a record as I was on the bike and pedalling at 9.30!

It was a hard slog – pedalling into the wind (always seem to be going into the wind, no matter what direction I take) and with the sky looking like it was about to open up on me at any moment, it was not an enjoyable ride. Still, I was making good time as I was keeping up with a freight boat that was travelling downstream. Unfortunately, my bike computer has given up the ghost. Not sure what is wrong with it, still works as it shows the time, but it is not registering any distance travelled etc. I asked Shawn to raise my handlebars before he left and this made the computer to far from the wheel to register (has to be within 70cm for the wireless to catch it), but I have moved the thing down from the handlebars to the fork. It worked the first day but now nothing, perhaps a new battery is needed. Will look into this later.

I decided I would ride until I reach St Goar and then get the KD ferry the rest of the way to Koblenz. Not like I would miss anything as am travelling over the same path as we followed up the river.

When I reached St Goar I stopped at the ferry ticket booth to ask the price of a ticket to Koblenz from there. I had made good timing and the ferry was not due for another 20 minutes. I was advised the price would be 25 euros, bike free, ooo this was a little steep for my pocket. I asked how much the ticket was from the next ferry stop and was advised it was only 12.50 euros. Ah this was more up my alley! The next stop down river was Boppard, 15km away and the boat was due there one hour after it left here, at St Goar.

So by this time it worked out I had just a little over an hour to ride 15km to Boppard to save half the price of the fare. No worries, I could do that, as long as the wind did not get too much stronger and it did not start raining, I was confident I would be able to ride there in time. So off I sped!

Of course I made the ride in heaps of time, enough time in fact to make a quick dash to the supermarket for a snack and to enjoy an ice cream cone before the ferry even showed up. I am legend! Lol I had the ice cream only after I found out the KD kiosk did not have any Radlers left, nor did the other little kiosk. What was this town coming to? Time to move on.

Loading the fully loaded bike onto the ferry was again a problem, however a big fat controller pushed me aside, picked up the bike complete and lifted up the 4 steps to get in into the vessel. I thanked him profusely and he mumbled back ‘bitter’ (meaning ok) to me. Then it was just a matter of finding a seat and enjoying my picnic lunch that I had picked up this morning from the famous REWE supermarket.

One hour later we were docking Koblenz and I managed to struggle with the loaded bike down the steps just in time to enjoy the skies opening up and showering down on me. Great timing Mother Nature. Only thing to do was to go get a Radler from the kiosk on the promenade and sit under a tree until the rain eased a little. Oh the things I must do!

I have been fortunate enough to be invited to spend a couple of nights with my friend Angelika who lives in Koblenz. She has also very generously offered to store my bike and gear whilst I go off the saddle for a few weeks. The generosity of strangers is a wonderful thing. I had a map and an address and amazingly found the place with ease once the rain had died down a little.

I don’t care if it rains or pours the next 2 nights as I am happily tucked up inside a lovely warm, dry home.

Tuesday 14th July 2015 (day seventy-one)

Koblenz

Angelika has very kindly offered to take me for a little tour around the Mosel area. Away from the river, where I have already cycled. We drove up into the surrounding hills.

First stop however was to try and cash in the train tickets that Lyn & I had purchased in Rotterdam weeks ago. These were our tickets Mainz to Basel which we obviously cannot use. No luck with them as they were purchased in the Netherlands they would need to be refunded there, and anyway as they were a discounted price we would get nothing back anyway. So add them to the insurance claim list.

The countryside here is so beautiful. Rolling wheat fields for as far as the eye can see. The hillsides are also dotted with the quaintest little villages – it really is a pity most tourists never see these parts of Germany.

Today is warm and although the sky is cloudy, we did not have any rain. The sun tried to break through several times.

Angelika drove to this most amazing Eltz castle, which still houses descendants from the original families that built the castle in the 1200’s. Now this is what a real castle should look like, it was amazing, just like a fairy tale castle. I was very surprised that it was free to go right up into it. You only had to pay if you wanted to do a tour or see the treasures in the museum. But, I think the outer building was spectacular enough! What a treat.

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Another treat awaited us when we arrived home to enjoy coffee and an amazing cake!

Wednesday 15th July 2015 (day seventy-two)

Koblenz

Ok, so today I was supposed to hit the road again on my bike, but I still needed to go and collect Sarah’s bike which had been left at our accommodation in Lahnstein. Angelika suggested I donate it to the local refugee camp here in Koblenz. This is a great idea as it is too difficult to try and sell it anyway. Thing is I needed to go and collect it and ride it back to Ang’s place. Not a problem as it’s a great bike, even with only one gear working, the problem is it was made for someone about 30 cm shorter than me. I must have looked a treat riding along with my knees just about hitting the handlebars.

I did, however, manage to ride it back to Koblenz (only 9km) and the lady at the Radler kiosk smiled when she saw me again asking for a beer.

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I had a walk around town, went to the tourist office to see if they had any info on the area I am cycling to tomorrow, no luck – advised I go to the book shop. Lol, none of the tourist offices we have encountered have any information on any areas that is not them directly, so I will have to try and find some info when I ride closer. Also rode to the main train station to see about a train ticket for when I do eventually move on from the Rhine area. This one I did have a win as the best price I found online was 49 euros plus whatever for my bike. I was sold a ticket for 32.50 euro with included my bike and booking fee. So happy there.

Now to find back Ang’s place. Easier said than done, and I do admit I got hopelessly lost. I think I rode every road in Koblenz on that silly little bike, it was almost 7pm by the time I rang the doorbell.

Just in time for a shower before dinner. 

Posted by Cindy Bruin 01:16 Archived in Germany Comments (2)

2015 JULY GERMANY - THE END OF THE RHINE,

Is the end of the line for some!

Thursday 9th July 2015 (day sixty-six)

Rudesheim to Wiesbaden

Dry by the morning, we packed up camp after a quick breakfast and finally rode out of Rudesheim, via the Rewe supermarket for our usual slab of meat on a roll for lunch.

It was a little cooler as I wore my jacket for the first hour of riding. Our destination today is Wiesbaden, which is on the other side of Mainz. Again an easy ride and the last ‘longish’ ride for the Lemons who will be farewelling their bikes and their cycling holiday goodbye.

The campground we were looking for was a little hard to find because it was actually a canoe club with caravan storage attached. Toni went in and managed to get the information from the owner that yes it was a campground and yes there were hot showers and toilets – we used the facilities of the club house and yes it was only 5 euro per person per night, no extra for tents. Cheapest camp site since Groede in Holland.

After we set up our tents and unloaded the bikes we headed off for a ride into Mainz. Lucky for us there was a KD kiosk on the way so we could stop and have a cheap Radler. Love these KD kiosks.

Riding over the bridge into Mainz was like the official end to our cycling trip. And a proud achievement. We had a few bumps, delays and a sad accident along the way which will scar the trip, but all in all it went pretty good. Well I think so anyway. The weather was mostly kind to us, we don’t have a lot to complain about there. Riding into Mainz we wanted to find where the railway station is as this is where the Lemons will be leaving from on Saturday. This is where Lyn and I would have been training down to Switzerland also, but plans have changed.

Train station found, we walked the rounds of the surrounding hotels deciding our last night together would be spent in a hotel as a treat.
We then did a lap of the centre of Mainz, of course there is the usual churches and cathedral that you are supposed to visit but we gave these a miss as there have been so many already.

Riding back over the bridge heading back to camp, of course there was a stop at the KD kiosk where we joined the local bums in having a cheap afternoon beer. Fitting in like locals we are!

Back at camp I was struck down with the start of a migraine and oops who is the pill carrier when we travel? Lyn of course, so I had nothing with me to take to ease the pain in my head. Toni had a couple of headache pills that I gulped down and a rub of the migraine stick (that’s April – I’m still using the one you gave me) and I was in bed before 6pm. Lemons were ready for dinner at 7.30 and I attempted to look at the menu but went back to the tent to sleep instead. Good choice for me.

Friday 10th July 2015 (day sixty-seven)

Mainz

It was cold last night, not sure if it was so because I was ill or if it was a low temp, but it was cold. I will be grateful for our hotel bed tonight, as my head is still not 100%.

We packed up camp, the Lemons for the last time.

Riding into Mainz we stopped at the KD kiosk and the shop keeper already had the fridge door open and was looking at me saying ‘drei Radler?’ Yes please, see we are locals, the shop keep already know what we want.

This was going to be our last Rhine Radler also!

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We found our way easily to the hotel we booked yesterday and it was after 12pm so we were able to book in. We pushed the loaded bike through the foyer into a little courtyard at the back where they would be stored for the night. The owner lady followed us and Toni asked if she wanted their bikes. The woman seemed a little confused at first but then after Toni explained they were going home and would just be leaving them at the train station the woman agreed to take them. Problem of bike disposal solved.

All the bikes were unloaded and all our gear was taken upstairs to be sorted and repacked.

We had a pretty relaxing day, lazing in our room chewing up the internet. We did venture out to get some lunch at a local kebab place and of course found a kiosk selling cheap Radler. Later in the afternoon Lemons managed to get all their gear back into the two bags they came out with, plus just a few items of mine that I wanted to get rid of.

Time flies when you’re doing nothing and before we knew it, it was 8pm and time to venture out to find dinner. A quick visit to the supermarket found me a half cooked chook and a salad to devour back at the hotel. Lemons went for a Vietnamese meal, which also hit the spot. We had a TV in our room but of course all programs were German or dubbed in German, not even CNN or BBC to catch up on what’s happening in the world.

Saturday 11th July 2015 (day sixty-eight)

Mainz to Bacharach

Breakfast was included in our room rates so we again ate like there was no tomorrow to get our money’s worth.

Check out was at 11.30 which gave me just enough time to cram all my stuff back into panniers and load my bike up. Funny doing this solo, as the other 2 bikes sat empty, no doubt adjusting to their new home and adopted country.

Lemons left their bags in the foyer and I left my loaded bike in the courtyard as we all ventured to the supermarket together for the last time to get lunch supplies. I wanted a meat roll for the days ride and Lemons picked up the same to have on their train journey today. They are heading off to the German Moto GP and then fly out of Frankfurt on Monday.

OK the time had come for the last selfie pic of the 3 of us and then it was kisses and hugs goodbye and time for me to ride off. My journey continues alone for a little while now.

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And then there was one …

My immediate plan is to head back to Koblenz where I will be storing my bike for a few weeks as I take some time off the saddle. I still have 10 days to ride before I fly out and will stay close to the Rhine. The weather is nice and the riding is easy.

It was a hot one today, my exit out of Mainz was on the opposite side of the river to the one we rode in on. Unfortunately, the path was not near the river or shaded at all. And then I missed the campground where I had planned on spending the night. Not wanting to back track I just rode on to the next one which was at Bacharach. Same campsite we spent last weekend at, so it was familiar to me, but a few more k’s than what I had planned on pedalling. Not to worry, I was putting up the tent by 3pm and swimming in the Rhine by 4pm. That was a nice cool down. By 5pm I was drinking a cold Radler from the wurst kiosk and by 5.10pm I was necking the second one. One good thing about returning to a place you have been before, you know your way around and where the cold cheap beers are. Even some of the campers who were here last week, smiled and said hello welcome back.

I managed to pick up a couple of English novels at the campground in Rudesheim a few days ago so I spent the rest of the afternoon / evening lolling around reading. Very relaxing. Come 8pm I decided to take a walk up to the castle that is here in Bacharach, didn’t manage it last time due to the storm we had when I wanted to head up. Going at this time of night is much cooler and as it’s not dark until 10pm there is still heaps of daylight left. The castle is actually a youth hostel (which is booked out months in advance). Pretty cool, and great views from the top. It only took 10 minutes to climb the 356 steps. I splashed out and had a Radler beer up there, was going to eat also but the food was finished already and was nothing exciting anyway.

Strolling back down the steps decided to shout myself an ice cream, but that shop was closed already also. Job for tomorrow.

Back at camp I had rations for dinner, left overs donated by the Lemons, cup of noodles and schlong, coffee then bed as it is now close to 11pm. (thanks so much for leaving the electric kettle with me, even if it does take 20 minutes to boil) so much easier than digging out and setting up the gas cooker.

Funny today as I was riding, I caught myself turning around a few times to check on my pedalling buddies, only to remember they are no more. So yes you guys were missed today. And you know how I had to drink alone, but this one I have managed to get over.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 12:29 Archived in Germany Comments (2)

2015 JULY GERMANY - A FEW DAYS IN RUDESHEIM!

Relaxing by the Rhine with cheap beers, hard place to leave.

Monday 6th July 2015 (day sixty-three)

Bacharach to Rudesheim

It rained last night at about midnight. When I heard it I got up out of the tent to rescue my towel, but I needn’t have bothered as it did not rain for very long, nor very hard. The other clothes I left out were dry by the morning anyway.

It was sunny and hot already by the time we got up to have breakfast at 8.30. Took our time packing up and loading the bikes as we are not in any rush anyway. And also we have only a short distance to ride again.

The bike path was smooth and easy and a lot of it shaded, which was good. Think we made our best time ever as we reached the ferry in Bingen 55 minutes after we left the camp ground. So we cycled about 15km in less than an hour, that has to be a record. Lol

I really think the Lemons are enjoying cycling now, not enough that they will ever put bums on bike seats ever again, but enough that the thought of taking the option of the train is not there. This past week we have been able to really take it easy and do short distances and 2 night stopovers.
This was how the whole trip was supposed to be like all along. I hope they will at least have some positive memories of this bike trip, it’s been quite an accomplishment!

Good timing was with us again as we were just in time for the 11am ferry to carry us over the river from Bingen to Rudesheim – our home for the next 2 nights. Ferry cost 3.70 euro one way with bike and travelled diagonally across the river.

The Rhine is quite wide here with a couple of little islands in the water that seem to be a haven for ducks/geese. Rudesheim is also a popular spot for canal boat cruises to stop for a few hours of sightseeing or some even stay here over night. We heard quite a few Aussie voices in town today from visitors off one of the several canal boats moored near our campsite.

So the ferry dropped us off very near to the tourist information where we got a map and were advised where the campground was located. Only a couple of minutes from town, but an expensive one at 6.50 euro per person + 6.50 euro per tent per night. We were shown a spot by the river, behind a fence – no swimming in the river here I’m afraid. Facilities are very clean, so that is nice.

After we set up camp we rode around to local shops, there is a Lidl, Aldi and Rewe less than 5 minutes ride away. And on the way we found a great bottle shop that was selling our beloved Radler for 1.20 euro – heaven. Yes we did stop and have a cold one, drinking it out on the foot path outside the shop. Uncouth? No, backpackers!

On to the shops where the supermarket Rewe was selling meat in a bread roll for 1 & 1.50 (same as Globus in Lahnstein) we were in heaven. Cheap lunch purchased, with a couple more cold beers we headed back to camp to picnic by the banks of the Rhine. Geeze, this is living, what are the poor people doing?

After lunch we rode into town for a nosy around. That’s when we noticed all the Aussie tourists and many other nationalities that come off the boats. They were all identifiable by their name tags pinned to their chest. Guess this is so they can be sent back to the correct boat if they get lost.
As it was still so hot, good excuse to have an ice cream, like I need an excuse.

More walking around revealed this is a town is set up to receive the tourists off the boats, full of shops that may appeal to the fly by tourist. And strangely enough, quite a number of shops selling leather, which just seemed like an odd location for them.

We headed back to camp, via the bottle shop for some more beer. Seems we are drinking a lot of beer these days?

Too lazy or hot to cook so we again went for the meat in a roll dinner. I bought a tub of potato salad to have with mine and a cool beer = total of less than 3 euro it was a bargain.

Tomorrow we will do the touristy thing.

Thinking of you today, Miss Pisa, hope your ankle is healing well.

Tuesday 7th July 2015 (day sixty-four)

Rudesheim to Assmanshausen to Rudesheim

Quite a productive day today. We woke to brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky again.  After a camp breakfast, consisting of the usual coffee/tea, bread roll with usually soft smelly cheese for me and jam or vegemite for the Lemons, we rode into town and locked up our bikes down by the ferry terminals.

Walking the short distance through the tourist streets we came to the ticket office for the cable cars. We had decided yesterday we would go the whole hog and buy a ticket for the Romantik Tour for 16 euros.

The brochure reads:
Live to see & enjoy the Rhine romantic of the UNESCO world heritage of the Middle-Rhine Valley.
Funicular trip from Rudesheim to the Neiderwald monument, with fantastic panorama
Walking tour to several viewpoints
Chairlift to Assmannshausen, better known as the red wine village
Boat trip from Assmannshausen to the castle Rheinstein
Sightseeing of castle Rheinstein – a significant cultural monument of the Rhine romantic, enjoy the impressive view 50 m above he Rhine
Boat trip to Rudesheim, passing famous vineyards, the Mouseturm, Ehrenfels castle

The funicular / cable car was fun. Only a small cabin, really only big enough for 2 adults (plus 2 kids they say) floats over the top of a magnificent sloping hillside of vineyards. Rows and rows as far as the eye can see. It was a beautiful sight and also climbing higher gave a brilliant view of the river from up above.

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A short walk took us to the Neiderwald monument, which is just a war monument, but impressive by its size. The statue of ‘Germania’ was built in the years from 1877 to 1883. The 38m high monument commemorates the Franco-German war of 1870-1871 and the reestablishment of the German Empire. Also great views of the river and vineyards below.

We took the shorter walk through the forest as by now it was pretty hot and we wanted to stay in the shade and not get too strenuous.

The chairlift down through the forest and over steep vineyards delivered us into the little village of Assmannshausen. Not much was happening here and there was very little to see except for the pricey menus and drinks lists of the cafes and restaurants, which were the only buildings showing any form of life. I guess they expect most people to use this time to stop for lunch, as the next leg of our tour by boat was not due to leave for about 2 hours.

We had purchased our lunch at the supermarket earlier on the way into Rudesheim so we picked a shady spot near the fountain and ate our lunch, then killed time by playing eye spy. Yes Shawn you were the ultimate winner! Champion eye spy player. After traveling 6 weeks with just women, we finally let him win at something. Lol.

Our boat was moored early so we went and sat on it for a change of scenery from the fountain. It was hot so we kept in the shade and rejected an overpriced (probably luke warm) beer from the boat bar.

Soon it was time to make the 3 minute trip to the other side of the river and we were dropped at the base of the cliff where Castle Rheinstein towered. We have seen many castles, along this leg of the Rhine, in various forms of existance. Some lived in, some turned into museums and some very little more than just rubble, but we have actually visited none close up, so this was an ideal opportunity for us. And this castle did not disappoint. It is family owned and they have restored most of it and had a go at furnishing it as it would have been. Quite impressive, great to see inside a real castle. You could actually stay in a room here too, but at 175 euro it was a bit out of our budget.

Just after 4pm we were back on the boat and were being pleasantly cooled off by a very light shower, but the sky did not look so nice and it was threatening more than just this light sprinkling. The boat was now heading back to Rudesheim, just a short 30 minute journey. The river was quite busy with cruise liners and freighters all pushing for their space in line, struggling against the current to get up river.

Last attraction was the Mausetrum (Mouse Tower), not sure why it’s call this, but the tower was completely under scaffolds so not much to look at.
Arriving back in Rudesheim we collected out bikes from their parking position where we left them this morning and headed straight to our beer shop for a coldie. And again we were in Radler heaven as we relaxed with a beer back at camp. 10 minutes later I did the second run and they disappeared down our throats just as quickly as the first.

It was around this time that we decided we would spend another night here in Rudesheim. We have a day to spare and we know where to get food and beer here so why move on just yet?

Just before 7pm we had to head back to the Rewe supermarket as this morning Toni had placed an order for 3 pork knuckles to be collected at 7pm. Dinner!! Unfortunately, while we were in said supermarket the heavens opened up and we were a little stuck for somewhere to eat the pork. McDonalds was down the street so we rocked up there and bought drinks so it would not be so obviously us sitting there eating a non McD product, but realizing we had no utensils it was decided we would head back to camp as the rain seemed to have eased again.
So we then had a lovely dinner riverside, much to the amusement of passers-by who saw us sitting on the grass chopping on a pork knuckle. I love Germany – cheap beer and pork knuckle – this country as got it all.

Wednesday 8th July 2015 (day sixty-five)

Rudesheim to Bingen, return

It got a little chilly last night, as I am back inside the sleep sock and sleeping bag was on most of the night. Brrrr, it was quite windy also. I thought it had rained during the night but no-one else could confirm this.

We have decided to spend another night here, still time on our side, then move on to near Mainz for the last 2 nights before the Lemons head off to their Moto GP race and then home.

We had a little sleep in, getting up at about 9 and all our surrounding bike campers had already well and truly gone. Not a problem, most of the bikers we have met are just biking and nothing else. Most of them are not stopping to drink the local beer or wine or to chew on a knuckle of pork. Their holiday, their choice. We are currently doing it super slow and relaxed but that’s the holiday we want to experience.

Weather did not look very promising for today, but at least it did not rain. Although I did wear my spray jacket most of the day, being it’s the only long sleeve item of clothing I have besides by thick jacket.

We rode to the end of town to get the car ferry across from Rudesheim to Bingen, 4.50 euro return for a 7 minute trip. Bingen did not really have much to offer, but it was a chance of scenery for us. We had of course stopped by the supermarket on the way out this morning, and we sat by the Rhine having lunch looking across the river towards the town we had just spent 2 days & nights at. The sun and clouds and wind took turns in dominating the weather today, felt like a day out in Melbourne. A look up at the castle on the hill, a visit to one of the oldest stone bridges in Germany and the sights of Bingen were done.

Ferry back and a leisurely beer back at camp before I went and spent 2 hours back in Mc Donald’s stealing their internet. I had a few things I needed to book and catch up on and spoilt myself with a non-instant coffee.
7.30 pm and my allotted 2 hours of internet were exhausted so I packed up and went home, via the supermarket where I picked up a slab of meat in a bread roll to have with my instant noodles. Wow the meals have gone down since yesterday’s feasting, lol, no problem, easy camp meal tonight.

9pm now and the rain has started to spit, I’m off for a shower, still light for at least another hour even with the crap weather.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 12:10 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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 Comments (0)

2015 JULY - GERMANY - A NORMAL 5 DAYS OF REST OFF THE BIKE?

An apartment in Lahnstein for 5 nights to catch up and eat at a table.

Saturday 27th June 2015 (day fifty-four)

Lahnstein overcast

Sarah is flying home today.  I had looked up on the internet for train times to get her to Frankfurt airport on time. We walked the short distance to the Lahnstein train station wheeling my bike with her packed bag on it. The 10am train arrived on time and we had a quick goodbye before it carried her away.

And then there were 3 …..

Rest of the day was a little slow and lazy, I did my washing in the bathtub and went for a little ride around the town.
The Lemons arrived back around 9pm, totally exhausted from lots of train travel and still abuzz from the race.

Sunday 28th June 2015 (day fifty-five)

Lahnstein – hot & sunny 31

The roads on either side of the River Rhine were closed to traffic today to allow cyclists to ride on the road. Our host had told be about this when we checked in, it was part of a festival taking place this weekend. I decided to take advantage of this and go for a ride along the river without carrying any luggage.

The roads were pretty crowded with families, old and young peddlers and the serious lycra clad speedsters taking advantage of the closed roads.

It was a beautiful day and lots were out enjoying the time outside. I rode from Lahnstein to Boppard (approx. 20km) then crossed the river via ferry (me and 100’s of other cyclists), then rode back up to Lahnstein, via Koblenz on the other side of the river. The Rhine is slightly wider than the Mosel, but the scenery is just as lovely. Not as many vineyards up in this area, but lots of castles and old grand houses. Still lots of forest areas too.

Very enjoyable ride, but I missed the bridge crossing at the end and ended up almost back in the centre of Koblenz having to cross another bridge and probably adding about 5km that I really did not have to do. Still a nice ride.

Had to be back and showered by 4pm as I was meeting a lady that I had met online and who has been helping me out with a couple of travel issues. Angelika, turned out to be a lovely person and we drove up the Lahn River Valley to a small village where we had a nice beer next to the river. She is also helping me to sort out my current travel plans as I need to change a few things / directions now that I will be travelling alone after the Lemons go in a few weeks. Turned out we had quite a bit in common so it was a relaxing couple of hours and a new friend found. The Lahn river looked beautiful – just the little bit we drove up. I have put this on my list to come back and do a week canoe trip. (Lyn get that arm up and running – you might not be able to ride a bike again, but how about operating a paddle? On the list for 2017.)

Lemons had a nice day exploring Koblenz. They also did the cable car and visited the fortress. Great day for everyone!

We had a family dinner, easily cooked in our apartment kitchen and eaten at a real dining table. Funny how these normal things become a treat when you have been camping for a couple of days.


Monday 29th June 2015 (day fifty-six)

Lahnstein to Boppard return

We have splashed out and paid for another 2 nights at this apartment. It’s just nice to have a base and be able to spread out relax and not do too much.

We have a slow morning which included a visit to the massive 3 storey supermarket.

At 3pm we got all active and took off for the 13km ride to Boppard just up river. Yes this was the same place I had ridden to yesterday, but I did not stop to explore and we wanted to ride the chairlift.

The day was sunny and warm, nice riding weather and the path was easy, especially with no luggage on the bikes. We made good time and reached the ferry to cross the river in just a tiny time over the hour. The ferry was 4.50euro for one per and bike return and took about 10 mins to get across the fast flowing Rhine River. It took a little longer if it had to wait for river traffic, of which there were a few about today. Excursion boats and flash river cruises, this part of the river is very popular.

large_boppard.jpg

We parked the bikes by the river front and went a block in away from the river to explore a little. A visit to the tourist information office gave us a little information and then we walked about 10 minutes to the edge of the town to ride the chairlift. It was now 5.15pm and the ticket seller pointed out that the chairlift stops running at 6.30pm. She advised us it was a 20 minute ride up then we would have only about 10 minutes at the lookout to be back on time to get the lift down. This was doable, so we paid the 7.50 euros each for the return ride.

It was interesting to see the view of the Rhine River, Boppard and surrounding villages from this perspective. The ride up gave us great views and once up there we had a birds eye view of what they call ‘the bendiest bend in the Rhine’. We made sure we were back at the chairlift in time to get a ride back down.

We enjoyed our short time in Boppard and as we did not have time to do a walk that I’d read about we decided to book a hotel to stay here Wednesday night after we leave Lahnstein. We found a reasonably priced hotel which was on the water front, so a real bargain, happy that we would have more time in this quaint little place.

We rode back home to our apartment in Lahnstein in less than an hour. Love this bike riding caper, especially with no weights on the bikes. I even think the Lemons enjoyed the ride, although they would never admit to it. lol

Tuesday 30th June 2015 (day fifty-seven)

Lahnstein

Well, today we did absolutely nothing!

Tell a lie, we did put bums on bike seats at about 6pm to go up to the supermarket to buy dinner ingredients.

I did actually get a lot accomplished today as needed time out to get my future travels organized.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 11:44 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

2015 JULY GERMANY - AT LAST THE MOSEL IS OURS!

And that my friends is the ride along the Mosel.

Saturday 20th June 2015 (day forty-seven)

Luxembourg to Trier

We woke to rain this morning and it had rained steadily through the night.

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Hellish ride from Luxembourg to Trier.

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Did not find the bike path, rode around the countryside until we hit the Mosel River at Remich. There was an ironman competition on, that we seemed to ride into the middle of.

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Lemons caught train from Wormeldange to Trier. Sarah and I rode on to Trier we met in campground.

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SORRY FROM HERE ON IN I AM GOING TO OMIT ADDING PHOTOS AS THEY ARE TAKING TOO LONG TO LOAD. PLEASE REFER TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE WHERE ALL PHOTOS FOR EACH DAY HAVE BEEN LOADED.

Sunday 21st June 2015 (day forty-eight)

Trier City

It rained overnight apparently, but I did not hear it. Think I pretty much zonked out after the big ride yesterday. I do remember waking a few times due to cold but it was not too bad and fell back to sleep and did not hear the rain. However, it was wet when I woke.

Sunday morning and not an Ikea in sight, so we had to go have a splurge and have breakfast at McDonalds which was just minutes from the campground. I was not all that keen at first, but since it was Sunday and there are no shops open to buy any food, there was really little choice. And I must admit it was enjoyed!

We had a tourist day in Trier today, this is the oldest town in Germany according to the tourist propaganda. The day was like a day in Melbourne – 4 seasons in one day. Jackets and rain covers were continuously off and on as the weather made us cold then wet the hot. But at least the rain was light and not enough to spoil the day.

We did a lap of the tourist sights and finished with a lunch of Trierer Bratwurst with mustard and pom frits.

We rode into town so it was not a complete day off the bikes but a leisurely ride the very short distance into town.

The campground is on the river across from the city but in a nice location, except for the carnival fare ground next door which is open until 4am with loud music and rides caring screaming teenagers to annoy us. Must admit I did not hear them last night as I crashed.

We returned to the campground around 4pm with time to do a little housekeeping i.e. washing etc. Sarah and I decided it would be nice to try a bit of local wine so we purchased a bottle from the campground shop.

So now its 8pm, still broad daylight of course, and we are about to open our 3rd bottle of wine from the region. Little needs to be said about whether we like the Mosel wine or not. Lyn I wish you were here to enjoy it with us as I know you would (sorry don’t want to put a downer on you, but want you to know we are thinking of you!) .

We had a very pleasant evening sitting around chatting with John and Margaret, an English couple also camping, who are travelling on a motor bike. They had also travelled far and wide so the night flew by as we all exchanged funny travel tales.

Bike stats:
Just a short ride into town and back so not worth a mention.

Monday 22nd June 2015 (day forty-nine)

Trier to Neumagen

It was dry when we woke this morning. The plan was to get an early start and head up the Mosel River as far as we could get. Just as we were loading the last of our gear onto our bikes it started to rain and it stayed with us all day! Not a great day for cycling!

Still with no food it was off to Macca’s again for quick breakfast and nice coffee. It was supposed to be a quick stop, but with the weather so crap none of us seemed to be in a big hurry to leave the heated environment of the fast food haven. Finally we made a start, it was 10.30ish.

The path we rode today was easy and the scenery would have been magnificent had the weather been brighter. We trudged on all day through rain drops either dripping slowly onto us or pelting us with horrible damp force. Not a great day for cycling!

We were aiming for a town called Neumagen which showed it had a campground on the map. However, by the time we were within 5km of our destination for the night it was decided there would be no camping tonight, we would be staying indoors in a warm dry place. Luckily Neumagen had a tourist office that was open at just after 4pm when we rode into its wet streets. A room in Moselberberge Pension was going to cost us 45 euro per couple and we jumped at it. After the wet day of riding we’d had, none of us was going to even contemplate attempting to put up a tent in the rain and then have to sleep in it.

The pension has a garage to house our bikes for the night so they are safe also. After taking our panniers (which managed to keep all contents dry today) we had a quick cup of soup to warm us up and then rode to the supermarket to buy some supplies. This was our first German supermarket so a quick shop took longer as we explored all the delights on offer. We are going to be naughty and cook a simple pasta meal in our room, as if we had to eat out as well as pay for a room it would really blow out all our budgets.

Unfortunately, the supermarket did not sell chilled wine, so Sarah and I could not continue our Mosel Region Wine Tasting experience. We settled for a bottle of chocolate milk that we could add to our coffees as our decadent treat. Of course obligatory chocolate chip biscuits were needed to accompany this indulgence.

The lady at the tourist office advised me that tomorrow is going to be wet as well, however, Wednesday promises to be dry and hot. Well let’s just wait and see what Mother Nature hands to us.

Bike stats:
Time cycled: 3 hours 40 mins
Distance: 51.39 km
Average speed: 13.9 km/h
Max speed: 36.5 km/h (couple of nice downhill coastings)
Calories burnt: 490 (thank god, as tonight we are chocolate overdosing)
C02 7.70
ODO 347

Tuesday 23rd June 2015 (day fifty)

Neumagen to Berkastel-Kues to Traben-Trarbach to Zell

Woke up, looked out the window at a very wet road, and cloudy ‘it’s going to rain soon’ sky. Bugger.

Mother nature was kind to us and did not let the rain actually start until we had our bums on bike seats, gee thanks. We had a quick stop at the supermarket for some lunch / dinner supplies which was just enough time for the rain to gather momentum and it pissed down on us for the next hour.

I love summer in Europe. Riding a bike through the beautiful Mosel River valley in the pissing down rain! Not a very good couple of hours I’m afraid. The bike paths are really good, all sealed surfaces and the signage is also really good, although it would be hard to get lost. Just keep the river on one side and keep pedalling.

The rain eased slightly and the sun started to poke out its head just as we reached Bernkastel so this was a good time for us to stop. We found a bench in the middle of town with a great view of the river and passing tourists and had our little picnic. The sun joined us for lunch and managed to dry us out.

While we were sitting having lunch looking at the river, Toni noticed cruise boats that were going up to our next destination. This would be another way for us all to view the vineyards and scenery from a different angle, and give sore bums a rest. A quick investigation informed us for 15 euro we could cruise up the river with our bikes, enjoy the views, have a rest and then continue on to our end of day destination.

The boat left at 2pm, so we have a little time to have a quick look around town before our cruise. The sun stayed out for all this time, bar a quick 5 minute shower, and continued to shine brightly for our 2 hour cruise to TT. It was nice to see the river and the small villages and vine yards from a totally different perspective rather than just the bike track. And of course it was nice to have the break off the pedals. Sarah & I indulged in a coffee and apple cake, as you do!

A bit of drama getting the bikes off the boat where the boat staff were a bit narky about trying to get our overloaded bikes up the boat steps, this gave us a little laugh. And wouldn’t you know it as soon as our bums hit the bike seats the bloody sky turned grey and rain trickled down again. Only lightly this afternoon, but enough to be annoying.

We had another 20 km to cover before we reached our campground and we managed to reach this before 6 pm.

Tonight we are in the town of Zell, back to camping which we managed to set up without the interference of rain. Sarah and I purchased a couple of bottles (one white and one rose) of the local Zell Black Cat wine just to help keep the local economy afloat.

The light rain did not seem to hinder us as we cooked our camp dinner. Covered in our rain capes we downed the last of our wine with our pasta dinner.

Bike stats
Tm 3.24.37
Dis 48.94
Av 14.3
Mx 31.8
Cal 469
C02 7.34
Odo 396


Wednesday 24th June 2015 (day fifty-one)


Zell to Cochem

Still cold at night.

Woke up expecting it to be a bright sunny day, as the weather had promised. Instead we were greeted by the normal grey cloudy sky. I don’t think it rained overnight but the new day did not look so promising. We were all a little sluggish to get going today and breakfast and break of camp went slowly. The showers at this campground were very good so I indulged again this morning. Breakfast was some tasty bread rolls we have pre ordered last night and some soft cheese I purchased yesterday.

It was about 10.30 by the time we hit the road, no one seemed too enthusiastic about the whole situation. The bike path has been pretty well signed marked all along the way. And most of the pathways have been nice flat, even cement or bitumen and alongside the river so easy riding.

Today we hit a bit of a snag early into the ride between Bullay and Neef, the track went to dirt and we shopped to investigate that we had not taken the wrong turn somewhere. There were no other bikers in sight and since the track has been quite busy this concerned us. Just before we decided to backtrack a couple cycled towards us and confirmed we were on the right pathway. No sooner did they disappear when the usual traffic of both way cyclists soon appeared to again confirm we were definitely on the right track.

Midway through the ride we passed thought a little village that had cherry trees growing roadside so Sarah and I stopped and helped ourselves to the fruit from the trees. They were delish, and we spent about 20 minutes feeding our faces. It was during this time that the Lemons followed a slightly different pathway and ended up in front of us but not knowing it. We sort of figured out since they did not come past the cherry trees they took the other path, so after we’d eaten our fill continued on.

By now the sun had come out and the clouds had all disappeared. It was actually hot!! This was the weather we had been promised. It was so nice after eating the cherries I rode off in just shorts and singlet top. It was lovely, this was the weather we were wanting all along.

The afternoon ride was glorious! Just a shame we are on a time schedule and were not able to make more stops at some of the passing villages and little towns. Lots of people around at the popular spots and the bike track can get a little congested when a Dutch tour group for over 70’s in matching hi vis shirts crowd the path and stop 3 or 4 abreast. It’s bad enough trying to pass one bike with our wide loads but when they block the path and look all surprised when as I madly ring my bell to avoid t-boning them. Its all fun.

We caught up with the Lemons just on the outskirts of Cochem which was going to be our stop for the night. They had been having bike problems with both bikes so going had been slow and frustrating.

Cochem is beautiful, with a lovely big castle on the hill above the centre of town.

The campground was on the other side of the river and just a little out of town, but easy to find. Reception was not the friendliest when they heard no Germany coming from my mouth, but well, you get that here. Not really a very hospitable lot these Germans. Not unless you speak their language, so I guess we are arrogant to assume they speak our language, but everywhere else does, or at least tries.

We were given the worst camp site in the park, but at least it was grassy. We set up camp and Sarah and I rode back into town while the Lemons stayed camp side. Shawn had gone off to the supermarket to buy some cooking oil to do a repair on their bikes.

Short ride back into town was a breeze, amazing how easy it is to ride empty bikes. They almost feel like they are floating on air. Back across the bridge we parked and locked the bikes so we could explore on foot. Most of the shops were closed as it was not after 6pm. We wandered around the back streets and found ourselves on the path up the castle. It was an easy climb and even though the castle was closed, we were rewarded with beautiful views of the town and Mosel River below. Of course it was still broad daylight, still not getting dark until now after 10pm.

We strolled back down to riverside and found a restaurant to have dinner. Food turned out to be nothing special but we did try and cola beer (yes it is beer mixed with coca cola) and it was ok.

Rode back to campsite, had a shower and crawled into the tent. Another day of riding for us tomorrow, let’s hope we wake up to a repeat of today’s warm sunshine.


Thursday 25th June 2015 (day fifty-two)

Cochem to Koblenz

Today the weather was perfect and it was a nice way to farewell Sarah as this would be her last long day riding.

The path was again excellent as were the views of the river and few castles on the hillsides. As it was Sarahs last day we decided not to rush it and made an effort to stop and smell the flowers so to speak.

More like stop and drink the coffee and scoff yummy cake and then stop again and have a few beers and some fritz!

Somewhere along the line the Lemons managed to pass us again as we sat drinking beer waiting for them. They obviously took a different path and we missed each other. So that is our excuse for the extra beer, we were expecting them to ride past at any moment.

In our enthusiasm Sarah and I actually passed the camp ground and had to back pedal to find the Lemons arrived and almost already set up.
As this was our last camp night together, we had dinner and few bevvies at the camp ground restaurant.

The time had gone so quick and we are about to lose another member of the peloton.

Friday 26th June 2015 (day fifty-three)

Koblenz to Lahnstein

Short ride up the last piece of the Mosel River. The sun beat down on us as we met the Rhine River. Lots of crowds setting up for fun run. Stopped and had a beer to congratulate ourselves.

Rode 7km out of Koblenz down the Rhine to Lahnstein to our apartment we have booked for the next 3 nights.

Lemons packed a bag and left for the train station after bidding farewell to Sarah. Lemons are off to Assen in Holland for the Motor GP race on tomorrow. They have a nice 6 hour train ride to get them there.

Sarah and I rode to the local supermarket which ended up being one of the biggest food supermarket I have ever seen. 3 floors of groceries was all a bit overwhelming. We picked up a few supplies, including beers and wine from the giant liquor barn across the road and dropped them back at our temp home.

We then headed back into Koblenz via a local bus to have a look around. When we arrived the fun run was well and truly in progress and there were crowds of people everywhere. This was a good thing for us as we had read in a pamphlet that the cable car finishes at 6.30pm, which it was now after. However, due to the centre activities it was still running and we managed to get special evening tickets for 6.50 euros return. But we were advised that the fortress that the cable car will take us to was closed. Not to worry, we were really only just interested in the ride and the view from the top.

When we did reach the top we discovered that even though the museum and shops etc were closed, there were still a couple of little café type establishments that were serving food and beverages. The view was amazing, looking down on where the Mosel and the Rhine rivers meet so we sat to enjoy the view and indulge in last drinks for Sarah. It was such a nice position that we splashed out and had dinner there too. The food was nothing amazing, but it was ok priced and the view / atmosphere was worth it.

Waiting forever for the sun to set, we headed down the cable car still before it had reached the horizon. It was close to 10pm, but the sun never goes to sleep before then at the time of year.

As we walked around the old town, noticing lots of ice cream shops that were still open, we indulged in a one euro cone. This delicious Italian gelato is much cheaper than in Italy, how is that possible?

Just needed to find one thing before we could head back to the bus stop and try to find our way back to Lahnstein. The mascot for Koblenz is a spitting boy fountain, and I was determined to find it before we left. An image of the spitting boy is embossed on all the manhole covers, but several of the locals we asked had no idea what it was or where the fountain was. Finally, someone struck a light bulb moment and gave us directions which surprisingly lead straight to the fountain which is located outside the Rathaus (town hall). By now it was almost 11 pm and well and truly dark, but I still managed to get some pictures before we walked towards where we thought we had stepped off the bus earlier in the evening.

Being late, the buses only ran every hour so we had quite a wait and of course did not get the same number that we came into town on. But this one was heading to Lahnstein so close enough. A little panicked we tried to remember landmarks that were close to our apartment so we could get off at the right place. But this bus took a slightly different route and when we saw the supermarket we had visited earlier in the day, I pressed the buzzer to get out and we walked the 10 minutes back to our home.

It was just 10 minutes before midnight when we were safely inside and I noticed seconds after closing the door it started to rain outside. Great timing on our behalf!

Posted by Cindy Bruin 11:36 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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