B2B Day 4 – Lichtenfels to Eltmann
James didn’t sleep so well last night as his bed wasn’t too comfy but I felt very refreshed when I woke up. The Hotel, despite being fairly new, has a rather 1980s fake bamboo look to the furnishings which didn’t make for a comfortable headboard to lean against.
After a hearty breakfast and a look at the weather (thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon) we were ready to set off. This was later than yesterday, 10am, but as we’re only doing 40 miles today that shouldn’t matter.
We fetched the bikes from the storage room and set off pedalling. James had dropped his cycle computer yesterday and it had started malfunctioning; he wasn’t sure if it was going to work properly today but it seemed to settle down, fortunately.
The beginning of the route today was the same route I had taken to Vierzehnheiligen yesterday, although we didn’t do the last half (uphill) mile. It gave us a good view down over Lichtenfels and the Main valley.
We cycled through Reundorf, Schönbrunn (which had a very impressive castle up on the hill behind it), and then found that there was a cycle route diversion at Bad Staffelstein. This was rather annoying as we weren’t sure how much extra the diversion would cause – as it happened, it was only an extra half mile overall, but it did involve cycling on some of the annoying holey cobbles like we had yesterday, although fortunately not for very long. We passed several fields of Pick Your Own Strawberries and they smelled wonderful!
We rejoined the route again and then made our way through Unterzettlitz and, finally, at Wiesen we caught sight of the Main river, having done 7.5 miles without really seeing it.
We went through Niederau and then came to Ebensfeld. On reading the German guide book last night it suggested that if you want to avoid a slightly dodgy off-road section there’s an alternative route between Ebensfeld and Ebing. As I dislike off-road this seemed like a good idea so I had marked a waypoint on my Garmin at the point where we should do the alternative route so that we didn’t miss it. As it turned out, the alternative route wasn’t signposted so it was handy to have the guide book and Garmin.
This route moved away from the river (whereas the signposted route follows some meanders) so we did 2km less, especially as we carried on along the main road rather than rejoining the cycle route at the first opportunity, missing out the village of Ebing and instead rejoining the route a bit further along at Rattelsdorf.
After Rattlesdorf the path made its way beside the main road and we worked our way towards Breitengüßbach, looking rather warily at some of the dark rainclouds. Appallingly, at this point we were overtaken by a woman in her fifties on a manky old bike with a wire basket containing a rucksack on the back, and some panniers. She sped past us and we couldn’t catch her. She was the first person to pass us (apart from the young lads yesterday who don’t count as they didn’t have any luggage).
The path wended its way around the town and then under the A733 motorway. After a brief stop for a walk around to stretch our legs we continued on, deciding we could make it to Bamberg for our main stop (Bamberg was at about 28 miles on our 40 mile journey today).
We went through Kemmern and then arrived at Hallstadt which is the start of the Bamberg suburbs. We’ve both visited Bamberg before and it’s a touristy place full of eateries but the Radweg route seemed to be missing most of that out. We wanted something to eat so decided to head off route and go along the river, which we did, but realised fairly soon we were on an island between two bits of river so made our way back towards the Radweg. I saw a bakery so we stopped there; unfortunately they didn’t have any filled rolls and couldn’t make us tea but James had a pastry filled with quark and I had a piece of strawberry gateau for lunch. Yum!
There wasn’t much ambience so we continued on out of Bamberg, presumably now on routes that I cycled with Pippa in September 2009 although none of it seemed familiar.
We passed the first of many, many locks on the Main river (I think there are 33)
We found ourselves in an out of town shopping area that had a Netto so we decided to stop to buy some bananas and biscuits. James also found a selection of mixed fruit and nuts which was amusingly-named “Studenten futter” (futter is the German word for animal feed). I bought some chocolate too!
The cycle path from Bamberg onwards seemed wider. My memory of the overall Main river ride with Pippa was that the paths were generally very good, but I have found the stretch from Bayreuth to Bamberg has been less so – I suppose they put more attention into the stretch from Bamberg as that’s probably where most people start off from – it’s the start of the navigable portion of the River Main and it’s where the Main/Donau (Danube) canal starts too.
We cycled through Bischberg and Trosdorf, feeling a bit more relaxed about the weather as the rain clouds weren’t getting any closer.
Some very clever marketing by an Ice Cream café in Viereth worked its magic on us so as we passed several signs we began to think an ice cream was just the thing. James had a strawberry ice cream & strawberries knickerbocker glory, I had a banana split. Yummy!
I went to use the loo in the Eiscafé and, rather fantastically, it was a toilet bowl with a shelf like one always used to find in Germany but are now getting quite rare. It also had a rather unusual design in that the loo was squeezed in a small space and a corner of another room projected into this room in a rather inconvenient manner – you had to put your leg past the corner of the wall before sitting down, and when sitting down your nose was almost touching this sharp bit of wall. Quite odd really.
While we were sitting at the Eiscafé a recumbent bicycle went past on the other side of the road. He didn’t see us, he was in his own little world. I’m not sure what it was but it looked a bit like an HP Velotechnik Grasshopper – it had a front fairing which seemed very high up!
The Radweg now went along the road and was well surfaced so we whizzed through Trunstadt and Rossstadt (yes, it really does have the letter s three times, it presumably used to be Roßstadt). At this point it began to spit with rain but as we knew it was only three or four miles to Eltmann, our final stop, it didn’t seem necessary to put on waterproofs. The rain came down a bit more heavily as we went through Dippach and the roads seemed wet but we pushed on, arriving at Eltmann at 3:15ish.
We detoured through the town to check out restaurants (I wasn’t sure if the hotel had one) and thought we would be able to find something when the time came. Our hotel seemed quite a long way from the main town centre – there’s a short cut pedestrian pathway past a large open-air swimming pool and sports centre but the barriers would have been a pain for my bike so we took the road to get to the hotel.
Total distance today was 38.38 miles done in exactly four hours (moving time) with a max speed of 24.7mph (moving average was 9.6 which is pretty good for cycle paths).
All the doors were locked when we arrived but I rang on the doorbell and a lady appeared, handing us a room key and telling us where to put the bikes (a garage).
The room in the Hotel Wallburg is one of the more old-fashioned ones with fairly basic furniture and facilities. However, the shower was good and warm and it’s the first hotel that’s had functioning WiFi in the room, although my plan to listen to BBC iPlayer didn’t work out as it’s not available outside the UK (which I did know, but had forgotten). I can listen to Radio 4 through the TuneInRadio app, though, so all is not lost!
We both washed our clothes and hung them up, eating some of our goodies from Netto and generally winding down. Tomorrow we have a slightly longer ride, 43 miles, and it’s the hotel’s closed day so we have to pick up the room keys from the music shop next door – but before 6pm. Shouldn’t be a problem but any deadline does make one a little concerned.
At 6pm James had woken up from his nap and the sun was shining (where was the electrical storm we had been zooming along to avoid?) so we decided to walk into Eltmann to see what was there. Not too much that was open, but it seemed a nice little town if rather busy with traffic (unusual for the quieter towns round here). There was a very nice catholic church which clearly had interesting stained glass windows but appeared to be shut so we couldn’t see them from inside.
When we got back to the hotel we went straight into dinner, and what an excellent meal it was! A huge plate of salad was our starter (free of charge).
Then we had variations on pork (I had a bauernschnitzel which is pork schnitzel with cheese and ham and other goodies) with chips and James had pork medallions with Spätzle (a kind of pasta) and a mushroom sauce which was very nice. He enjoyed two beers, 0.4 litre each, and that cost 2 euros per beer. Which is pretty cheap for nearly a pint.
We were too stuffed to have dessert!
Although the hotel room is a bit basic we think this might be our favourite hotel at the moment as it has wifi in the room, a very hot shower and absolutely brilliant food at a bargain price. Our evening meals were less than 9 Euros each which is most bargainous, and they didn’t even charge me for the cup of tea I had after the meal.
It’s 8pm and the sun is still shining. Here’s hoping for great weather tomorrow as well.
Statistics for today:
Distance: 38.33 miles
Moving time: 3 hours 59 minutes
Moving average: 9.6 mph
Maximum speed: 24.93 mph
Max heart rate: 156
Average heart rate: 109