Day 10 – Obernburg to Eltville am Rhein
Stage 1: Obernburg to Steinheim
Stage 2: Wiesbaden to Eltville
I slept really well last night, despite the fact our hotel room didn’t have any curtains or blinds, although James slept less well. After a reasonable breakfast (but with no hot food, not even an egg!) we set off at 9:15 for our last day on the Main river.
The day started off like yesterday in terms of weather – blue skies and dark clouds – but fairly quickly the blue skies disappeared and the cloud cover became thicker.
The beginning of the route was once again on excellent cycle paths towards Großwallstadt, where the route then dodged about a bit round campsites and a couple of lakes before making its way to Niedernberg. It wasn’t particularly warm today and we both had windproof jackets on; I kept wondering if I should put my waterproof on to make me a bit warmer but it’s rather boil-in-the-bag so I decided against.
We continued on, arriving in due course at Aschaffenburg which is a very impressive-looking town.
Whilst crossing the bridge over the Main we could see one of those weird boats that we had photographed earlier, a kind of flat trimaran with some kind of metalwork which raises up and down. This boat was being pushed by a river authority boat into the river bank – we hoped we’d get a closer look once we were over the bridge and back on the path but unfortunately we couldn’t see it as there was another canal between us and the boat – so we’ll never know what they do!
As we rode from Aschaffenburg to Mainaschaff it started to drizzle – not very much at all, not enough to create puddles on the road, but it ddid make my legs feel slightly damp. The path here was a bit rough in places with tree roots and some narrow sections around huge rocks…
It then became a bit worse with cobbles so James walked around for a minute or two once we got onto better surfaces to recover.
There was a diversion in place around Mainaschaff which caught us out a bit (I had to go up a high kerb and then through some barriers) and at this point we caught up with some chaps who had passed us a few minutes earlier, asking us where we were going (speaking in English, presumably because of my flag). They sped on, but when we caught up with them after the diversion (I think they had gone the wrong way) they chatted to us for a while about our tour. They said they only paid 20 Euro a night for accommodation, finding places to sleep advertised in Post Offices in the towns they visited. They sped off after a ten minute chat.
The cycle path through Kleinostheim was gravel rather than asphalt but it was well compacted so not too uncomfortable. We whizzed on from there to Dettingen, glad that yesterday’s wind had disappeared but finding we were getting a bit cold in the continuing drizzle.
We crossed the river again at Dettingen and quickly reached Kleinwelzheim and then our chosen lunch spot, Seligenstadt.
There was some kind of event being prepared for in Seligenstadt including portable loos, beer tents and more on the radweg so we cycled up into the town and stopped at a restaurant/café which did some warming soup and bread to keep us going.
The rain was really falling when we went in at midday but by the time we left at a quarter to one it had reduced to just fine drizzle again.
We only had a short stretch now of 11 miles to Steinheim, near Hanau, where we were catching a train. This bit of journey seemed really quick as we were pedalling well, now wearing waterproof jackets because the rain kept drizzling down.
We went through Klein Krotzenburg and then Hainstadt where there was supposedly a bike shop but when we went looking for it there was nothing to be seen, despite several signs on the road and it being marked on my Garmin.
We pressed on through Klein-Auheim and then found ourselves entering Steinheim, cycling along the river route until about a quarter of a mile before the S-Bahn station where we turned off, saying goodbye to the Main river for this trip.
After some confusion with the ticket machine (it seemed our tickets were 13,50 Euro each which seemed rather a lot, and I couldn’t find any bicycle tickets anywhere) we got ourselves sorted and got on the S9 train which arrived. The doors were nice and wide and the bike space was empty when we got on.
The journey was an hour and ten minutes and involved going past Frankfurt airport where lots of smartly-dressed Lufthansa people got off. We went past the Opelwerke (factory) at Rüsselsheim which was enormous and eventually ended up at Wiesbaden Ost, our stop (one before the main Wiesbaden station).
At Wiesbaden Ost we had to carry our bikes down one set of steps and up another, but I am used to that. Interestingly, though, my heart rate monitor showed I got up to 175 carrying my bike up the stairs, which is equivalent to cycling up Crockleford Hill in Colchester which is very hard work!
Wiesbaden is twinned with Tunbridge Wells in Kent, near where we used to live. However, if the good burghers of Tunbridge Wells had cycled through the bit of Wiesbaden that we did, they wouldn’t be very impressed. It was rather run-down and seedy, although I am sure it is better elsewhere.
After a mile we got our first sight of the river Rhein at km 503 so took lots of photos of the bikes there to show we had made it.
James pointed out that we could smell a brewery although we’re not sure which one it was.
We then pootled along various tracks and roads and paths through the outskirts of Wiesbaden before getting underway properly.
We went through a huge grassy park area that belonged to the local water company and we stopped to photograph a stork (they are huge!) finding loads more in the next field, including some nests.
We eventually found an information board which showed that the water company have a special Stork breeding programme, and it also looked as if there was a camera looking at one of the nests – a Storkcam? – although I can’t find a link to it. The general webpage (in German) is here: http://www.schiersteinerstörche.de/
We cycled through the village of Walluf, knowing that we were almost at our destination. Eltville soon appeared, initially a long and boring road but soon turning into a more attractive traditional German village. I chose to stay there because I had enjoyed a breakfast there in 2009 when touring with Pippa, and also because my favourite classical singer, Andreas Scholl, lives just up the road in Kiedrich, so it was as good a place as any to stop.
The hotel Alta Villa is the most expensive hotel on this tour, mainly because of the location (Rhein can be pricey, and we’re very near Rüdesheim which is very popular) but it is also a very pleasant hotel with a super-friendly receptionist. She explained to me that if I just speak a few words of German I sound Dutch, it’s only when I spoke more that she realised I’m English. So the mystery is solved!
We had a shower – what a delight to shower without having to wash all our clothes, as we only have one cycling day left! – and then went out for a wander around the town. This included a trip to Lidl to buy some chocolate and bananas and other cyclist food. We then went to a restaurant and had more schnitzel with a very generous salad beforehand.
The restaurant served Kaiserschmarren (my favourite) as a dessert but I had no room after my main meal so decided to go back later!
We returned to the restaurant at 9pm and seated ourselves before realising there were two Americans and a German couple on another table. How loudly did those Americans speak!!!! It really isn’t necessary to shout when the people with whom you are conversing are less than half a metre away, but unfortunately both Americans did so James and I know all about their company’s car policy, how to go about ordering a new office chair, the differences between European and American work ethics, the fact you should always try to upgrade, that Mondeos are better rep cars than BMWs… we heard it all. Still, the Kaiserschmarrn was very tasty, although such a heavy dessert just before bed meant James didn’t sleep too well.
Statistics for the day:
Moving time: 4 hours 2 minutes
Moving average: 9.6 mph
Maximum speed: 21.84 mph
Calories burned: 1318
Maximum heart rate: 164
Average heart rate: 110