A Travellerspoint blog

July 2019

2019 July 14 to 17 - GERMANY - Rhine River

and now we on the Rhine!


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

SUNDAY 14TH JULY 2019 (DAY 23)

BIKE DAY 13 (BRAUBACH TO BOPPARD)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONDAY 15TH JULY 2019 (DAY 24)

OFF BIKE DAY 14 (BOPPARD)

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

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

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

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

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

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 0km

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

TUESDAY 16TH JULY 2019 (DAY 25)

OFF BIKE DAY 15 (BOPPARD – train to Koblenz)

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 0km

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

WEDNESDAY 17TH JULY 2019 (DAY 26)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 July 10 to 13, Germany - Mosel River

We continue down the Mosel


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

WEDNESDAY 10TH JULY 2019 (DAY 19)

BIKE DAY 9 (BERNKASTEL-KUES TO BULLAY)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THURSDAY 11TH JULY 2019 (DAY 20)

BIKE DAY 10 (BULLAY TO COCHEM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY 12TH JULY 2019 (DAY 21)

BIKE DAY 11 (COCHEM TO MOSELKERN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SATURDAY 13TH JULY 2019 (DAY 22)

BIKE DAY 12 (MOSELKERN TO BRAUBACH)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 July 06 to 09, Germany - Mosel River

We start riding the every winding Mosel


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

SATURDAY 6TH JULY 2019 (DAY 15)

BIKE DAY 5 (SAARBURG TO TRIER)

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

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

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

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

SUNDAY 7TH JULY 2019 (DAY 16)

OFF BIKE DAY 6 (TRAIN TRIER TO LUXEMBOURG RETURN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow we continue riding up the Mosel River.

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

MONDAY 8TH JULY 2019 (DAY 17)

BIKE DAY 7 (TRIER TO RIOL)

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

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

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

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

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

TUESDAY 9TH JULY 2019 (DAY 18)

BIKE DAY 8 (RIOL TO BERNKASTEL-KUES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 July 03 to July 05 Germany Saar River

We start to ride along the Saar River


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

WEDNESDAY 3RD JULY 2019 (DAY 12)

BIKE DAY 2 (SAARBRUCKEN TO SAARLOUIS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 25.8KM

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

THURSDAY 4TH JULY 2019 (DAY 13)

BIKE DAY 3 (SAARLOUIS TO MERZIG)

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

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

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY 5TH JULY 2019 (DAY 14)

BIKE DAY 4 (MERZIG TO SAARBURG)

It was very cold in the tent again last night.

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

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

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

Tomorrow we cycle to the Mosel River!

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

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

2019 June 30 to July 03 GERMANY

We fly to Frankfurt and onwards to bike journey

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


Sunday 30th June 2019 (day 9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 1st July 2019 (day 10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 (day 11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISTANCE RODE TODAY 17.03KM

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 22nd June 2019 (day 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 23rd June 2019 (day 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 24th June 2019 (day 3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday progressing splendidly so far!

Tuesday 25th June 2019 (day 4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 26th June 2019 (day 5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 27th June 2019 (day 6)

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

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

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Friday 28th June 2019 (day 7)

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

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

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We ate dinner from food purchased in the local market.

Saturday 29th June 2019 (day 8)

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

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

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