Tuesday 21 April 2015
The weather forecast for today was fab – 20 degrees and sunny all day. This turned out to be correct so we had perfect cycling conditions, although I (along with others) had to slap on a lot of sun cream as we are not yet used to this weather!
We met downstairs at breakfast to a very good spread – here are my fellow travellers (except for Nigel who was at the campsite). None of them look like morning people!
We rode south with the Rhine to our right, enjoying the blue skies and the decent cycle route along the Deich (dyke).
The plan was to stop in Köln (Cologne)for some food. First of all we had the long and rather unscenic ride around the Ford factory – it’s a huge plant.
But eventually we saw Cologne Cathedral in the distance.
Although our track had us riding straight past we thought we really ought to head up and see the Cathedral so we negotiated the chicanes that you have to take to get up to the height of the cathedral. We stopped to peer over the side into the area where the stonemasons do their renovation – very impressive stuff!
Joyce thought she might like to look inside the cathedral so we stopped outside, providing plenty of photographic opportunities for tourists.
A service was just starting so Joyce was unable to go inside so we carried on, this time in search of cake, once again taking the chicanes down past the Philharmonie. We found the little square where I had previously had an ice cream with Anja and Lars and parked our bikes there.
The place advertised Mutti’s Apfelkuchen so we thought we’d give that a go – wow!!!
After a most tasty Kuchen and cuppa we continued on towards Bonn with the idea to stop for food at Bonn.
It doesn’t take too long to get out of Köln to the south and then we were once again on the attractive Deich cycle path with plenty of great views of the river. We also saw this rescue helicopter taking off.
The rotor wash blew my baseball cap off but fortunately Klaus, who was riding behind me, was able to scoop it up. He had earlier collected Joyce’s cap when it blew off so he’s quite adept at hat-rescuing.
The original idea was to eat at Bonn but time was marching on and some of us (i.e. me) were hungry so we stopped at Wesseling where we had some great food (albeit rather slow service).
Every kilometre along the Rhine there is a large sign with the kilometre distance from the source (as well as every tenth in between). Here are Joyce, Simon and me posing at one of them.
The route today was a long one and although we had sped up considerably after our lunch some of us felt that an ice cream was in order with 25km to go so we stopped at a Biergarten in Plittersdorf and I had this rather fine icce cream.
After the ice cream Joyce and Klaus seemed turbocharged and whizzed again with the rest of us unable to catch them until they slowed down. Time was marching on and we’d phoned the B&B we were all booked into to discover that we were the only guests and that the B&B owner would be out for dinner with friends but she had left a key for us in a key safe behind the building.
It took us a little while to find Villa zur Erholung in Bad Breisig as it had no advertising outside, it just looked like a grand house which was slightly run down. We found the key safe OK, let ourselves in but couldn’t find any note of which were our rooms.
It turned out that all the rooms were open with keys in the doors and apparently we were to choose our own.
This took quite some choosing as they were all very individual and eccentric.
There was a room with a bed in the middle of the room (you could walk all the way round it).
The room that I eventually chose (as I decided it would have been the more expensive one – I had paid extra for a river view) had the unusual feature in that you had to walk through the bathroom to get to the bedroom.
The bathroom had slightly unusual features such as the radiator high up on the wall.
Beside the shower were some deck chairs (to remind me of recumbent triking?)
There was also an enormous wardrobe with a colossal key.
Other features of this amazing B&B and its rooms were a wall hanging of various extracted teeth (a historical dental chart); a toilet that was inside what looked like a cupboard and which had an optician’s Letter chart on the wall; light switches and sockets that were above shoulder height for me; the floor of one of the showers tiled with real pebbles… and loads more. The whole place was incredibly eclectic – I was any minute expecting Colonel Mustard to turn up dead in the walk-through bathroom with the candlestick. As we were on our own we had a good look round before deciding finally on our rooms.
It was now pretty late (8:30pm) and we didn’t know the wifi password so I couldn’t write my blog. Instead we went out for pizza.
Overall it was a wonderful day if quite long. 100.3km at an average speed of 14.6km/h means we were riding for 6 hours 52 minutes. Nigel’s knees were giving him a few twinges and I have somehow pulled a muscle in my shoulder which complains if I keep it immobile for a while and then move it (and it is immobile on the trike), but when you have a sunny day and a fun adventure who cares!!!