Tag Archives: Rhein Radweg

Ko2Ko – Köln to Kempen

Today was my last full day of cycling in Germany (tomorrow I will be catching the train through Holland, although there will be some cycling at both ends of that journey).

Here is the map of my progress through Germany.

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And this is today’s route.

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After a good breakfast (this Hotel was such incredibly good value!) I fetched Alfie from the luggage storage room and got ready to set off. I took my time this morning as I thought I had about 40 miles to do and I wouldn’t be able to get i nto the Ferienwohnung until 4pm, so it was 9:30am when I headed out from the hotel.

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I decided to ride to the centre of Köln again, the Cathedral, and pick up the cycle path to Düsseldorf from there. The plan was to ride to Neuss (the other sidfe of the river from Düsseldorf) following the official cycle route and then head off cross-country to Kempen.

I passed this recharging station for electric vehicles.

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And this giant ice cream cone on a building!

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Heading for the Dom and my first view of the Rhein this morning.

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There is the cathedral again!

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I initially thought the riverside cycle path was closed but this was just some kind of water pumping thingie and I just managed to squeeze past on the left of the bollard.

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I decided it was time for another photo of me in front of the Cathedral and saw a lady sittitng on the wall looking at the river so I stopped and asked her if she’d take a photo. She said that was fine and I started discussing how to use the phone when she said that her German wasn’t very good and did I speak English. Turned out she was from Yorkshire (now living in Norfolk)! So we switched to English and it was much easier all round.

Josette was waiting for the sculpture museum to open – she was on a boat tour and they had a few hours in Köln. She was happy to take some photos of me.

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And was happy for me to take a couple of her too!

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I had a nice 20 minute chat with Josette and then set off underway again, along a rather bumpy path.

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The path crosses one of the dock areas.

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A nice bridge for bikes and pedestrians!

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I was now in Merkenich, the huge Ford plant. It took about ten minutes to cycle past it all.

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I texted my brother-in-law who works for Ford and regularly flies to Köln for the day but he was in England today so no chance of popping in to say hi.

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The route wasn’t touring-cycle friendly the whole time – this was a tricky set of barriers to navigate!

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Once past Merkenich (which did seem to go on forever!) I headded out into more rural bits of the riverside. This was a lovely long, straight path which was smooth and fast.

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The plan was to stop for cake in Dormagen, after 17 miles, so I detoured off the route to go intto Dormagen town centre. And I succeded in finding a cake!

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From Dormagen I pretty much stuck with the official route until I got to Zons where I took the short cut along the B9. Here is the view of a bridge across the river to Düsseldorf – when I spent my month in Düsseldorf this bridge was just a mile or two away and I regularly went over it. It was a good sign I was getting to the end of my Rhein Radweg tour which had started in Düsseldorf (from where I caught the train to Konstanz).

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I arrived in Neuss and then decided to set my Garmin to head for Kempen. I checked the route it had chosen – through Willich and St Tönis – which is what I wanted so I set off following the little purple line.

It recalculated a couple of times when I went wrong because of roadworks around Neuss harbour but in the end I found myself riding along a fairly busy road. After a couple of miles I began to be a bit concerned at the signs on the road – they weren’t for Willich but seemed more to the east. A check of my Garmin and it was clear it had recalculated my route to go through Krefeld, which is technically shorter but would be full of traffic lights, tram tracks and traffic.

So I put a waypoint in for Willich which forced it to route me that way (I should have done this at the beginning) and I headed off to the west (you can see the slight detour on the day’s map above).

This was riding along main roads but mostly on cycle paths and it was fast and enjoyable. The day had become a bit overcast but I was making very good time. I texted Gudula (who owns the Ferienwohnung) to say I expected to arrive at 16:00.

When I got to Willich at 2:30pm I thought it was time for some food so I found a café and had a roll filled with a turkey slice.

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I’ve ridden from Kempen to Willich twice so was familiar with the route back – a whizz along some main roads to St Tönis and then out the other side to Sankt Hubert.

I passed these impressive windmills again.

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The miles were counting down and I was nicely on schedule. It was good to revisit roads I had ridden three months ago in the snow – now the fields had barley and potatoes and asparagus all looking much greener!

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I arrived at Ferienwohnung Bienenstock having ridden rather further than I initially expected.

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Or for those metric types out there!

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Gudula’s husband Frank was also there when he arrived and he pointed out I was two minutes early. I like to be punctual and thought that was pretty good going!

After my shower I had a cup of tea and chat downstairs with Gudula. She showed me something she thought would make a good present for James when he visits here next year – it’s a Gift Card for a local bakery which has the option of All You Can Eat Cakes!!!!!!!!

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In the evening I cycled the 1.25 miles into Sankt Hubert and went to a pizzeria recommended by Gudula’s daughter Lara – Pizza Mama. The pizza was huuuuuuge!!!

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I then went to the choir practice that I had attended when in Kempen in March. The singing seemed a bit harder this tiime, not quite sure why.

When I came out of the church (where the choir practises) it had started raining so I sped home at full speed, pretty much keeping up with a Smart Car that was taking Gudula home.

So that’s another 3ish miles to add to my total for today, which makes the whole ride total about 720 at the moment.

I have booked my ferry ticket for tomorrow night’s crossing and will probably meet chum Vince/Wunja for pancakes/poffertjes in Scheveningen in the evening before I head for the Hoek van Holland. It’s him that I saw at Hoek van Holland on my way to start this tour so it would wrap it up nicely to spend some time with him again.

I’ve really enjoyed my time in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, despite some of the weather. I’m also delighted that Alfie the trike has coped admirably with floods, mud and bumpy tracks and hasn’t needed any mechanical attention at all. Same goes for me I suppose, except for liberal application of cakes and pastries!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Koblenz to Köln

Here is the map of where I have got to so far on the whole tour:

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Quite a long way really!

And here’s today’s ride, also a long way.

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Once again I had a hotel room without breakfast (which was 8,50€ extra so I didn’t bother), so I was out of the door at 8am ready to head off on my rather long journey. This was the longest planned day of my tour and I wanted to make sure I was underway without too much faffage.

I didn’t choose the most direct route to the bridge over the Mosel as I wanted to see Deutsches Eck again, so I pootled along the pedestrian/cyclist bit beside the Rhein.

I wouldn’t fancy this job – there are chaps on that contraption right under the bridge!

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I also caught sight of another recumbent, a Challenge Wizard.

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I arrived at Deutsches Eck and Alfie had a look at the Mosel (left) and Rhein (right) in the misty morning.

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After Deutsches Eck it was time to head over the Balduinbrücke. I’ve done this loads of times so have finally got to grips with where to go by bike to avoid steps and stairs etc; however, when I got there the bridge was being resurfaced and there was one-way traffic only, although fortunately bikes could still go over in the north direction.

I was now the other side of the Mosel and was on familiar ground – we had a week’s holiday here in Neuendorf last September. On that holiday we had watched them building an enormous flood barrier – I thought this was an ideal time to check if it worked. It did!

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The cycle path had some diversions because of the flood barrier building and so I followed those signs which took us along the quiet roads from Neuendorf to Kesselheim.

In Kesselheim there’s a short bit through a woodland which was rather pretty.

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However, at the bottom, where the cycle path starts following the river, there were two chaps working on clearing up after the flooding and their van was completely blocking the cycle path. They were very friendly and offered to help me lift it round their van but they warned me that other chaps from their work detail were further up the path and I might do better on the road. I’d stopped next to a flight of steps to the road and so they lifted Alfie up for me, including heaving him over a barrier. The young, talkative chap had very oily hands after this (he’d gripped a bit of the chain) and I apologised but he said it was no problem, he was at work and was meant to get his hands dirty!

So now I was cycling along the road towards St Sebastian and Kaltenengers. This road was nice and quiet and led easily to Urmitz, at which point I took a short cut (the main road does two sides of a triangle). After Urmitz there’s a long stretch of road with nothing to see except for this rather unattractive chimney.

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Although I saw the cycle path again at Weißenthurm I decided to stay on the road to be safe and whizzed along all the way to Andernach.

I’ve cycled through Andernach several times but always on the cycle path. it turns out there’s a fairly large town lurking behind the path including a lovely pedestrian precinct crammed with shops and some old buildings and an old arch and tower (Runder Turm).

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I’d spent a lot more time today looking at the map (after yesterday’s missed opportunities) and realised that after Andernach the cycle path goes the other side of the railway to the river so is therefore away from the flooding zone. So at Andernach I rejoined the path

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Which does some complicated manoeuvring to end up under the road (the B9 again).

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I’d thought vaguely about stopping for breakfast in Namedy but it didn’t seem to have any shops so I continued on.

After Namedy there was a nice bit of country route with fields all round. I had forgotten how attractive this section of the Rhein route can be!

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I was getting close to Bad Breisig which has lots of restaurants/cafés so decided to stop there for breakfast. I rode through Brohl-Lützing and then had to do the fiddly under-the-railway-line underpass which has some rather sharp bends!

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I’ve photographed this marker several times as I can never work out what the scale is. At this point I was about 40 miles from Köln and 23 from Koblenz so it just doesn’t add up!

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Edit: John Cave who I meet below has contacted me subsequent to his tour to say that this is the distance in Prussian Miles (i.e. 7.5km). Thanks John!

I arrived at Bad Breisig and noticed a Thorn Tandem parked up. I commented to the chap that you don’t see many of those in Germany and he replied that he didn’t speak German – another Englishman. We had a nice chat; he and his group of four in total had ridden from Andermatt (the beginning of the Rhein) and had taken several days in Frankfurt to let the flood waters get out of the way. They were hoping the worst was now over as they had originally planned to camp but had been staying in hotels due to washed-out campsites. Their bikes were as muddy as Alfie!

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I have had a mention in their blog too: http://rhine-sourcetosea.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/andernach-to-koln-warm-and-flat.html?m=1

They headed off and I settled down to breakfast – Sachertorte!

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The waiter was very chatty and was telling me about Sachertorte (I think he said he was from Austria) and also about the flood waters which a week ago had been up to the bottom of the steps of his restaurant. Everything looked perfectly normal and he said they’d all worked really hard to clean up.

When I headed off I could see the evidence of the clean up – presumably a road sweeper or something has been along and piled the mud up on the right hand side.

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There was an unexpected bonus in that this surface is usually pretty bumpy with the gaps between the bricks but as they had all been filled with silt it was all a bit smoother!

After a couple of miles I met this chap who was from Japan (I think) and riding to Budapest. He was asking me about campsites further down the Rhein but unfortunately I couldn’t help him with much info apart from what JenM had told me about flooded campsites.

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He said there were problems with the path about 3km further on so I bore that in mind.

I remember this little bridge just after Sinzig.

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But round the corner was some rather deep water on the path.

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I supposed this was what the Japanese chap had warned me about but I’d have a fair detour to go back and avoid it.

While I was faffing an elderly gentleman arrived behind me on a rickety old bike and set off into the water. If he can do it then so can I, I thought.

I’m writing this so I clearly survived but it turned out to be deeper than I expected and deeper than the water on the way in to Worms. The hubs of my front wheels were underwater and I was once again holding the banana bags up out of the water as much as I could, although they both dragged through the water a bit when I had to steer. I had wet feet and Alfie’s mudguard flaps got a good clean!

There was about 100 metres of water so I was most relieved when I got to the end – where there was a group of four cyclists contemplating going through. I recommended they went on the road at this point (Interestingly, when I got to my hotel this evening everything in the bags was dry – clearly the insulating tape over the holes in the bottom did the trick!)

The people waiting at the flooded bit told me all was fine towards Bonn except a bit muddy so I headed off, enjoying the fact the sun had come out and it was a beautiful day.

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This is the apporoach to Remagen – a weird dark stone thing on the far riverbank.

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Oh look, there’s one on my side too!

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Clearly it used to be a bridge. Wikipedia tells me that the capture of this bridge by American troops was a very important part of World War 2 as it was the only significent bridge still standing over the Rhine from the West into the heartland of Nazi Germany. It collapsed into the Rhine ten days after its capture but by then it had been used to move lots of heavy artillery etc.

I continued on, really enjoying the day and the chance for speed on tthe smooth Radweg. This is the Apollinariskirche,

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And across the river from Remagen is Erpel.

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Auntie Helen was pleased to see somewhere named Unkel!

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More blue skies!

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I saw this and thought of my cycling friend Tomsk who runs an Audax (a long-distance cycling event) called the “Asparagus and Strawberries”. It’s not 100 metres though, but 300km. Or is it 400…

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I liked this random arch on this building somewhere near Oberwinter.

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And a view of a pair of castles across the river – these were at Bad Honnef.

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More cycle path.

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The castles again.

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And again, from a different angle. The lower-down one looked fabulous!

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And here is Bad Honnef with tour boat disguised as Moby Dick.

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On the approach to Bonn I discovered evidence of German efficiency in the clean-up efforts.

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There was still a fair bit of muck by the side of the path though. Sometimes I had to put my right-hand wheel through this if passing some other cyclists so I felt like I was still getting a bit mucky.

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I arrived in Bonn having ridden 40 miles and with 25ish to do. It was time for lunch (1:30pm) and so I stopped at a rather posh café as my attention was drawn to its sign for waffles.

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I looked out over the river as I had my waffle and cuppa.

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It was time to set off again, I wanted to get to Köln before it was too late to give me time to have my customary wander around before dinner.

At Bonn the official cycle route crosses the river to the other side but I wanted to stay on this side (it was a shorter distance, plus I was going to do a short-cut across a meander) but I found the signage rather lacking once the main Rhein route had gone.

I also found a rather dramatic gate blocking the way, even though this was cycle path.

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I squeezed by on the right hand side, following in the wheeltracks of hundreds of bikes.

Unfortunately, two miles later I met this obstacle I couldn’t safely negotiate.

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This was at Graurheindorf and there were plenty of decent roads so I gave up with the Radweg and became a motorist for a bit!

At Uedorf I rejoined the Radweg although it was quite mucky.

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And then at Urfeld I was a bit unsure of where the route was and was concerned about getting stuck somewhere. I decided to take the safe option and use the roads again, which would probably be slightly further but a bit more predictable. I ended up going round the other side of this monstrosity.

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I rejoined my old friend the B9 (the road that went to Mainz from Worms), although this time it had a cycle path beside this. A brief look at the map showed me I could follow this road all the way to Köln, missing out the meander at Sürth and Weiß, so I decided to do that.

I liked this unfortunate name in Wesseling – it works in German but sadly not in English!

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And I really liked this huge flowerbed outside a rather boring-looking industrial unit in Godorf.

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My Garmin was now set to head to my hotel and I only had seven miles to go, hurrah! I sped along the cycle path on the B9, being a bit careful when setting off from stationary as my right knee was slightly complaining if I put a lot of pressure on it. I’m being careful with it this evening and expect it to be back to normal tomorrow.

The last few miles went very quickly and I passed the bridge for the A4 Autobahn.

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And look what I could see in the distance – the twin spires of Köln Cathedral!

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The route in on the left bank is fully of new, shiny, glass-fronted buildings and posh cafés. There are a few old things though, like this crane with a sign hinting at my weight after eating all those cakes!

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I followed the path, knowing where I was going and looking forward to seeing the cathedral up close again. I had decided against going straight to my hotel – I wanted to arrive at the central point in Köln, having left the central point in Koblenz that morning.

This is some of the back of the cathedral.

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The front door.

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I went up a side street to try to get more of a view!

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My hotel was a mile away although there were lots of one-way streets which my Garmin insisted I took the right way (it didn’t realise there were cycle paths both sides) so I probably did a bit extra.

I arrived at the hotel Leonet Novum, having done my longest day of the tour.

Imperial:

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Metric:

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My total tour distance is (roughly) 672 miles/1,081 kilometres.

The very helpful receptionist chappie unlocked the luggage storage room and helped me to lift Alfie in (he had to be tipped on his side as the door was too narrow) (Alfie, not the receptionist).

I had been slightly concerned about this hotel as it was ridiculously cheap (33,50€ including breakfast) but it was absolutely fine! The wifi works well, I have my own bathroom and my room is larger than I expected. My window is very high so you can’t really see out of it which probably partly accounts for the price but it doesn’t bother me at all.

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I had my shower and washed my clothes. I noticed that the seam on the backside of my favourite lycra shorts seems to be coming apart – oh dear! Too many cakes! Or too much sitting down, perhaps.

I am displaying very effectively the disadvantages of recumbent cycle touring with regard to an even suntan.

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I was pretty hungry so headed out early for dinner. I found myself at Rudolfplatz which was clearly a very cool bit of Köln as it was heaving with young people and very vibrant and exciting.

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I had a pizza which was very good value too.

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I had a little walk around afterwards to get the feel of the place. I’ve always found Köln a bit disappointing, and too full of English people/Americans, but this bit of it was much more appealing (although too noisy and towny for me).

I bought myself a banana from Rewe and couldn’t resist a pastry too for my dessert!

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Tomorrow I am finishing my Rhein riding by going to Kempen (which isn’t on the Rhein). What I shall probably do is ridde to Düsseldorf (or Neuss, the other side of the Rhein to Düsseldorf) to ‘join up’ my ride as I started out at Dü a couple of weeks ago. I’ll then head cross country to Kempen which should make it a shorter day at probably under 50 miles. I’ve been invited to go to the choir singing evening in Sankt Hubert again (which I did when I stayed in Kempen in March) which is rather lovely! And then it’ll be riding from Kempen to Venlo on Thursday morning and catching the train back to the Hoek van Holland. The holiday is nearly over!!!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Worms to Walluf

How far have I got? Here’s the map!
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I enjoyed my hearty breakfast at the Asgard Hotel – there was a lot more variety than usual which was good. I was all ready to check out at 8:30 and went down to the Tiefgarage under the hotel to collect Alfie.

I saw this car which made me think of Wowbagger, my cycling chum.

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I put the panniers on Alfie and then heard a strange noise – thunder! There were flashes of lightning and I could see rain out of the garage barrier. Oh dear! I decided to put off leaving and see if the storm passed.

I left Alfie in the Tiefgarage and went to sit in the hotel lobb, looking at the rain. There was a lot of it!

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After forty minutes, which felt like aaaaages, the rain had eased enough that I thought it worth setting out. It was still raining but I wanted to get underway and as the day was reasonably warm (16 degrees) the rain wouldn’t be too chilling.

This is a map of today’s ride. You will see there is a meander on the Rhein that I didn’t bother with – I was going for speed rather than authenticity!

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I headed out into the rain, wearing shorts and a windproof jacket (I didn’t want my waterproof as I thought it’d be too warm). I followed the official route out of Worms to the north along the river. This barge was going the other way – it looked almost underwater!

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The route went through a large industrial estate and then hugged the Rhein river. However there were a few post-flooding issues on the river, this pile of driftwood being a rather notable one (I had to wheel Alfie over it and got mucky feet as a result).

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More frequently there were patches of silty mud left on the tarmac from flooded paths. Here is a three wheel mud trail.

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I had decidedd last night to not follow the full Rhein cycle route because lots of it was on unmade paths and I didn’t fancy mucky surfaces in this rain. the B9 road (equivalent to a UK A-road) went pretty much directly to Mainz and I thought I might try to ride roughly parallel with that road on quieter roads. However with the rain lashing down I just went for speed and barrelled along on the B9. It wasnt the nicest of route choices but the miles were going by nice and quickly.

Then I came to a junction where there was a No Cycling sign on the continuation of the B9. In that case I’d have to detour so I headed west of the road to Guntersblum.

From there I took a narrow track towards Ludwigshöhe – and it’s only when checking with the map as I write this that I see it’s an official alternative route for this stretch of the Radweg. I was just making it up as I went along!

We were now in vine country.

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The rain was easing slightly too, which was a relief.

At Ludwigshöhe I climbed up a little bit (the name höhe gives that away!) and got a good look down on the flatlands towards the Rhein.

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Thiis was an enjoyable bit of the ride, much quieter than the B9 had been, and with the rain a bit lighter I felt more inclined to stop and take a look around now and again.

I rode through Dienheim and then approached Oppenheim which had the impressive Katharinenkirche and Ruine Landskron standing out on the skyline.

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From here I rode through Nierstein and followed the offical route (which I had now rejoined) up some squiggly back lanes and then along more vines. This was all rather nice cycling.

Eventually I got to Nackenheim where I crossed the railway and then saw one of the familiar “Hochwasser” signs barring entry to the cycle path. Never mind, I thought, I’ll just ride on the B9 again, it’s not that far to go. So I got on the B9 and found it was rather a different kettle of fish. Cars were constantly sounding their horns at me and whizzing past – clearly this was a no cycling bit of road (although I hadn’t seen a sign). There was no escape though and I had to ride on it for 2.5km until the next junction. However I was able to look down at one point on the cycle path and it was a huge pile of mud so that wasn’t a reasonable option. (Looking at the map now shows an alternative route to the west which was probably rather nice). The reason I didn’t notice these alternative routes at the time is that my Bikeline book was put away because of the rain.

Anyway, I pulled off the B9 at Bodenheim and then followed my nose until I joined up with Mainzer Straße which heads (unsurprisingly) for Mainz. I assume the B9 is a bypass for this road.

After I had left Bodenheim and was in amongst vineyards again I checked my phone and saw I had a text messaage from JenM. She said that she was crossing the bridge into Mainz and suggested meeting at Laubenheim. That happened to be the next village, just two miles away, so I texted her to say that was a great plan and we should find a café.

I arrived in Laubenheim and discovered a lack of cafés (it was Sunday so the bakery was shut). Jen had sent me a message to say she was waiting on the cycle path under a bridge but I had just been under a bridge and not seen her. I texted her to say I’d aim for the centre of the village and when I got there I checked down a few roads. Then I heard her calling my name – we had met up! Jen had ridden from the Hook of Holland and I had ridden from Bregenz and with the marvels of SMSing we had found ourselves at a crossroads in a bakery-free town.

I flagged down a passing cyclist and asked him if there was anywhere for food. .He gave me directions to a Gaststätte and I thanked him; Jen remarked how useful it is to be able to speak the lingo (she doesn’t have much German).

We followed the instructions and seemed to be going through a random housing area but suddenly there was the Gaststätte and it had some outside seating (hurrah, as I was soaking and didn’t want to sit on a real chair but only plastic).

Jen and I settled in for a spot of Gulaschsuppe and I had a cup of tea. Both were very warming!

We exchanged stories about flooding along the cycle path and Jen was telling me some of her interesting experiences in finding campsites. I definintely like the hotel option for myself!

And here we are, both looking a trifle damp from the rain!

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After we settled up and got ready to leavae and go our separate ways I shanghaied the bus driver into taking a photo of us both on our trust steeds!

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With that we were off, Jen heading to Andermatt (about 500 miles), me with just 65ish to Koblenz.

Whilst we were having lunch the weather had improved and the sun was now shining and the rain had stopped, hurrah! I was directly onto the cycle route from Laubenheim and it trundled me in along the riverside towards Mainz.

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The cycle path along the riverfront in Mainz was in places closed because of high water but there were loads of pedestrian promenades I could use instead. Lots of people were out and about on bikes and walking – the tradiitional German Sunday afternoon exercise.

As I approached the Theodor-Heuss-Brücke I saw this Berlin distance marker and a bit of former Wall.

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Crossing the Rhein after the Mein has flowed into it.

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Looking towards Koblenz.

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I got in a bit of a muddle trying to get down off the bridge (my GPS track was wrong here) but eventually found my way to the riverside on the east bank.

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Looking across at Mainz.

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The cycle path on this side was very good, although the Rhein was still making its presence felt at times.

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I rode along the riverfront on a decent-quality path, pootling through Schierstein and then whizzing along the road before arriving at Walluf, where I had booked a hotel, Zum Neuen Schwan.

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Here’s my statistics for today in imperial

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And metric.

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These photos are taken in my room after I’d removed the heart rate monitor. I was sitting on the bed at the time so I’m not sure how I was doing 7.9mph! Satellite weirdness, perhaps.

The hotel room is really nice – it’s a new build hotel (the original Schwan Hotel is next door, closed up and looking rather forlorn). I had plenty of room to strew all my stuff about which was handy as once again the rain had made its way inside the Banana Bags a little.

And I discovered part of the reason why:

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Some small holes in the bottom of the bags! One hole I can get my finger through on one side, two pencil-sized holes on the other. Not good news! I will repair the bags with insulating tape when they are dry but have sent an email to Radical Design to see if they have any suggestions.

It was time to have a bit of a walk around the small village of Walluf.

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I was really hungry so ate a couple of bars of chocolate back in my room but couldn’t resist this:

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I had great fun watching this dog swimming against the current to fetch a stick – he was paddling like mad and stayed pretty much in the same place!

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More views of Walluf

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I booked myself a hotel in Koblenz for tomorrow. It’s a 55 mile ride but on familiar routes (I’ve ridden most of this section at least four times) and is always really enjoyable.

I went across the road to the Rheinterrasse restaurant for a Jägerschnitzel and Pommes. It’s also with salad but they always bring the salad as an appetiser; in a way I’d prefer it at the same time as the main meal but don’t want to perturb them!

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It was wonderful eating a meal whilst looking out on this view!

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So tomorrow is the last ‘official’ day of my tour as I should reach my destination. I think I shall keep going for a couple more days though, providing the weather forecast stays reasonable. There’s a small amount of rain forecast for tomorrow but hopefully no more thunderstorms!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Speyer to Worms

So how far have I now got?

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Koblenz is just over 100 miles away, so pretty near!

And this is my map of today’s ride, detailed below.

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I had decided last night not to have breakfast in the hotel but to get something when I was underway. I ate a banana and orange in my room and then checked out at 8am. I spent a few minutes faffing with a new fixing arrangement for my banana bags – my new system worked vvery well for the whole day.

My route today was to Worms which wasn’t all that far away (about 35 miles). However it’s a place I heard of years and years ago when I read a book about Martin Luther and “the Diet of Worms” was a phrase that had fixed in my mind. Now was my chance to visit Worms and see how my diet fared there.

The route along the Rhein looked pretty good today (the Bikeline book showed it as mostly tarmac) and the sun was shining so I set off in the cooler morning air feeling very pleased to be under way.

The first few miles were along the Rhein Deich (dyke) and there were lots of lakes and pools either side of the path.

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I rode through Otterstadt which was notable for having hundreds of manky old caravans parked on the side of the road throughout the town and out the other side towards Waldsee. No idea what they were about.

I was making very good progress and was soon approaching a dock area across the river from Altrip (I think it was Bruhl’s chimneys and buildings I could see in the distance).

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At Altrip there was flooding in the gardens near the dyke.

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And if the weather had produced a sudden freeze these football pitches would make a great ice rink!

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They were trying to pump the water out back into the river but that small pipe ain’t going to overcome the might of Vaterrhein!

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The path took a short trip through some woodland. It was clear that the water had been over this path – there was mud and silt on the tarmac and the foliage either side was also muddy. When I stopped to take this photo I became a meal for several insercts, one of which bit me on my eyelid (which is now a bit swollen up, very attractive!)

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I was making good, speedy progress and decided to wait till Ludwigshafen for my first, cake, stop (about 18 miles). The route approached Ludwigshafen through Mundenheim and there were clear signs of a town – tram tracks and pink cycle patths.

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The route gave me an option to go straight into Ludwigshafen or a detour along the riverside. I went for the detour, thinking it would be more interesting. As I arrived at Luitpoldhafen I saw this rather nice clock tower thingie (telling the wrong time).

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And then I was on the riverfront – with the Rhein only 10cm below the level where I was cycling. And evidence everywhere of flooding again.

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I saw this bird stretching his wings (cormorant?)

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I enjoyed the two mile route along the front but then had to cross Luitpoldhafen – fortunately there was a bridge with a ramp this time (no stairs to climb!)

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The view from the top of Luitpoldhafen (dock).

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Once over the bridge I started cycling along the promenade which heads to the centre of Ludwigshafen. By the way, this is the second Ludwigshafen I have visited on this tour – the first was on Bodensee.

This is the Konrad-Adenauer-Brücke. That man sure gets a lot of bridges and roads named after him!

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Looking across the river at Mannheim and a church.

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A barge just squeezing under the Kurt-Schumacher-Brücke.

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After a bit of following-my-nose (which involved cycling through the car park of a posh shopping mall) I found my way to the pedestrianised centre of Ludwigshafen and stopped at a coffee bar for a cake.

I had a look at what was in their cake cabinet and found a rather unusual-looking chocolate-coloured mountain. I asked for one of those (I think she said it was called a Splitter) and a cuppa.

The cuppa came after 10 minutes but the Splitter still hadn’t arrived after 20. I went in to complain (as I had now drunk all my tea) and a chap said they’d give me a free tea and the Splitter would be out shortly. Which it was. And it was rather larger than I had thought!

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Inside was a mixture of cake and cream and chocolate.

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Despite having had only a banana and orange for breakfast, I could barely eat a third of this before I was full. So I wrapped it up in a serviette and put it in a plastic bag in my pannier, hoping it would survive a hot day’s cycle ride and maybe I could have some more later. As I write this at 7:30pm it’s sitting on the draining board on the kitchenette in my room and I still don’t think I can manage it!

I vaguely wondered how expensive this enormous cake would be (there were no prices on the display cabinet). I am still none the wiser as they told me they’d have to charge me for my original tea and the bill only came to 3,20€ so that’s cracking value for two teas and a cake the size of a house!

It was time to head off again, it was 11:30am and the sun was high overhead and very hot. Cycling along is cooling in the breeze and I needed that!

The route went past the enormous BASF factory on the north side of Ludwigshafen which seems almost as large as the town. And they’re hiring, folks (although only for mini-jobs of 450€ per month).

I liked this yellow handle fixed to a lamp post for cyclists waiting at traffic lights.

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And then at a crossing in front of me appeareed a recumbent bike. I think it might have been an HP Velotechnik Grashopper. He waved at me, then whizzed off ahead and I couldn’t catch him (two wheels faster than three). Plus he only had one pannier!

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The route eventually left the BASF works behind and headed out into open grassland, although the A6 motorway crossed on this bridge.

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This is very representative of the sort of views I have had for most of today – open farmland, grasses and some patches of flooding in fields.

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There were several reminders that the Rhein is sttill high.

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I whizzed along on the smooth tarmac past Petersau and then came to a fiddly bit at Oberel Busch where the dyke did a zigzag. The official cycle path went straighter but I decided not to use this!

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There was no problem riding on top of the dyke in the zigzag pattern. There were loads of other cyclists about as it was such a lovely day (and a Saturday).

And then I came across this.

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Oh dear!

To turn around involved a three mile detour, then a ride along the very busy B9 roach which I didn’t fancy. I wonder how deep that water is?

I could see that bikes had been through it (there were wet tyre marks coming my way) but I didn’t know whether to risk it. I sat and waited for a minute, thinking.

Then I saw someone on the other side start riding through – oh good, I could get an idea how deep it was. It was a young girl and she was going quite fast and shrieking as she made an impressive bow wave with her front tyre.

She arrived at the other side where I was waiting and I asked how deep it was. She said her feet had got wet but that might be because she was going a bit fast. She thought my luggage would be alright.

I didn’t fancy the detour, especially as I was so close to my destination for the day, so I decided to give it a go. The girl said she’d come with me and she took a couple of photos of me.

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It started getting deeeper.

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Here is my helper!

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We still had a fair way to go and it was clearly deeper up ahead.

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At this point I put my phone back in my bags (near the top) and concentrated on cycling stteadily through this flooded section. Which got deeper and deeper – my bags were now dragging through the water slightly. I held them up a bit with both arms, trusting the trike would run roughly straight on its own. Which it did, mostly – I had to steer a couple of times at which point the bag would drop its bottom back into the water. My heels were dipping into the water on every pedalstroike and I was cycling over fast numbers of drowned worms, eugh! The girl on the mountain bike was chattering away – I suppose she wouldn’t see a waterborne recumbent trike very often.

After what felt like an awfully long time the water level began to sink as I headed out the other side of this floodeed section. Here is the view looking back.

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I stopped when at dry land again and talked to the two lads who were sitting on a treestump there (I think they were with the girl). They recommended I had myself an ice cream in the centre of Worms which seemed like an excellent plan!

A little bit further on there was a split in the route where I could go directly to Worms centre or do the riverside route. I was asked by a group of cyclists whether the route to Ludwigshafen was clear (I explained about the one major issue) and then asked them if the route to Worms was clear and they said it was. So I decided to do the scenic, waterside route.

The Niebelungenbrücke had a wonderful tower!!

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The route signs showed me that I needed to use this underpass. I don’t think so!

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I carried on and soon found a way across the road to where I needed to go. This church was visible as I rode into town.

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I found the Asgard Hotel easily enough and was pleased to have got there so early (1:45).

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Here are the statistics for my ride

Imperial (sorry it’s fuzzy!)

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Metric
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My ride total is about 510 miles now.

I hadn’t eaten much today (only a third of a Splitter and a banana) so, for the first time in my life!!!, ordered room service – a pizza, excellent value att 6€.

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After a shower and clothes washing session it was time to explore Worms.

Here is the Dom St Peter, hiding behind some buildings.

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It’s a gorgeous building.

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And inside it wwas blessedly cool!

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Some altar boys were practising for some kind of event, speaking over the PA system saying their names, their ages and that they were happy to serve.

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Despite being built in the 11th/12th centuries this cathedral has an App!

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I then wandered to the main shopping street which was having a special night with shops open until midnight. There were loads of stalls being set up and some PAs and all sorts of stuff so I expect it’ll be great fun – but I shall be asleep!

I was tempted by a concert (Beethoven’s 3rd symphony) in the Dreifaltigkeitskirche but decided against it – I would be too tired!

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I found one of the usual German shopping malls but this one had several sand sculptures in progress!

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I refreshedd myself with an Amerikaner and some tea.

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I then went out walking to find the Luther Denkmal. I thought it was this statue at the end but it wasn’t (it was some kind of wartime structure).

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I found it in the end – the biggest Luther memorial in the world, apparently!

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I returned to my room to write up my blog and then went out to buy a salad from the local supermarket (a Kaufland which is roughly equivalent to Tesco, I think). I didn’t feel particularly hungry and still had that Splitter to finish, although I think that might be a task beyond me. I expect a day in the warm has not improved it either!

Tomorrow I plan to stay in Walluf which is near Eltville-am-Rhein (where I have stayed before). It is feasible that the following day I could reach Koblenz although that would be a pretty long day’s ride and I think there may be flooding issues.

Tomorrow is also the day that my path ought to cross with that of JenM who is doing this ride the other way (uphill!) She texted me to say she is up a hill in Rüdesheim but has had a difficult day – as I will be doing her day in reverse on Monday I need to find out where I may need to do some diversions, etc.

The forecast for the next few days includes some electric storms and up to 20mm of rain as part of them. Those who live near the river will not be pleased with this news!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Kehl to Karlsruhe

I woke up at 7am and headed downstairs for breakfast within half an hour. Breakfast included some little pancakes which was nice!

I finally got round to photographing this leaflet that several hotels have been offering – it’s a moan at a few countries (Britain, Denmark etc) for not reducing VAT on overnight stays. You can tell the UK – it’s in shocking red!

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And here is a handy list of all the VAT rates.

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I went back to my room and prepared a parcel I was going to take to the post office before setting off today. I decided it would be nice to sed ICE Trikes some biscuits and chocolates to say thank you for all the help and support they’ve given me in my five years of triking, so I had picked up a few bits and bobs yesterday and parcelled it all up (I had bought some posting bags with me to send my Bikeline books home, although I decided not to do that in the end, and a few name labels for me – and one for ICE). The post office was round the corner from the hotel so I carried the parcel there and sent it off. I’m hoping the chocolate won’t melt but I put the mini ritters in the empty teabag chinese tub so if they do melt it isn’t a complete disaster.

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Then it was back to the hotel to check out. The woman on reception had the weirdest accent and we have a few miscommunications but I paid up my bill so they were happy!

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I started today with the best of intentions – to follow the official cycle route beside the Rhein, but as you’ll see from my track here that didn’t last long!

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Oh, and this is the full Konstanz to Koblenz route (Koblenz is lurking at the top)

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Anyway, after fetching Alfie from the underground garage I headed off due north past Rheinhafen Kehl. This was a nice cycle route along various harbour bits.

I saw this transformer (I think that’s what it is) pretending to be an excellent radio broadcaster from Blighty!

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I pootled along this nice bit of tarmac which took me under a couple of main roads and then, lo and behold, it turned into this.

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Have you got the impression yet that I don’t like that kind of cycle path surface?

I carried on another two miles and then there was a slope down to the road that ran alongside this flood defence, but lower (on the other side of the bund to the river, of course). I decided to do a bit on this road – which ended up with me riding on the road for about eight miles. There was hardly any traffic, it ran exactly parallel to the cycle path so my Garmin was counting down the distance (i.e. it didn’t think I’d gone off route) and it was much faster. Bonus!

Of course the view wasn’t as good but I didn’t mind too much. I did notice these yacht masts poking over the top though – I wondered who would be brave enough to sail in the busy Rhein river with its fearsome current!

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The official cycle path rejoined me near Freistett and I followed it through its squiggly route which then went through a rather attractive area of farmland.

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Unfortunately it went from tarmac to dirt again.

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It was briefly back to tarmac as I crossed over a bridge.

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Spot the duck coming to see who I was. I’d earlier seen a heron flying away.

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The view was great with the mountains of the Black Forest in the background for the whole day.

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It was nearly 11am which I thought meant time for a tea and cake break. The cycle route passed very closed to Helmlingen so I thought I’d detour there to find a bakery. However there didn’t appear to be a bakery (weird – I think, in retrospect, I probably missed the middle of the village, I don’t remember seeing a church) so I thought it best to go to the next town which was larger, Lichtenau.

So I headed off on the road to Lichtenau which was a bit bumpy!

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I couldn’t tell quite where the middle of Lichtenau is (don’t ask me why not as I see from my map that there are two churches close together so they should have been obvious!) so I just cycled along the main road which seemed to have houses rather than shops. I then saw a little square with a couple of vans – one was selling meat but one was a little bakery. Time to stop!

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I had a chat with the bakery chappie and he recommended this pretzel-shaped pastry which was very nice!

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From Lichtenau it didn’t make sense to go back to the Radweg (which was a wiggly and bumpy route at this point) so I decided to just plot a route through the villages near the cycle path and see how that went. It certainly works out much quicker if I can ride at 13mph on tarmac rather than 9mph on dirt.

The day had got pretty warm by this point and the temperature gauge on my bike computer (which had started working again) said 27 degrees. I passed several fields of strawberries and felt really tempted to grab some!

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My alternative route through Rheinmünster and past Söllingen (on the cycle path beside the B36) took me past Flughafen Karlsruhe/Baden Baden which I think is a Ryanair-type airport, i.e. very small. I saw a couple of light planes take off and that was it.

I had a hotel booked in Rastatt but was seriously considering riding further today. The hotel had a free cancellation policy (as long as I cancelled before 6pm) so I thought it worth seeing how I felt when I got to Rastatt around 12:30. I was really enjoying the ride, although it was beginning to get a bit harder now that the day had warmed up so much.

I went through Iffezheim and then directly towards Rastatt, now a couple of kilometres from the Rhein cycle path (which was a dirt track at this point, according to my Bikeline book, so I wouldn’t have enjoyed it!)

Rastatt has a large Mercedes Benz factory to the west but I didn’t see that as I came in from the south west. I headed straight to the middle of Rastatt and stopped at a handy bakery for some lunch. Two pizza-bready things felt like the right choice for today!

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Unfortunately the bakery didn’t have a loo so I’d have to cross my legs a bit longer!

I rang the hotel I had booked in Rastatt to say I wouldn’t be taking up the room. They said I had to cancel the room over the internet with Booking.com, they couldn’t do it. I had till 6pm so it shouldn’t be a problem but I thought I might grab some free wifi from a McDonald’s if I passed one!

The Rastatt Barockresidenz is very impressive!

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Rather than doing the wiggly, cycle path route to Karlsruhe I decided to follow my Garmin which was routing me along the B3. Not that attractive but would get me there in 14 miles which was preferable. So I headed off, folllowing the little bleeps of my Garmin to tell me when I was reaching a junction.

I passed this field of people picking strawberries – all their colourful tops looked very good!

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There was a point on my ride where I had to cross under a motorway and the cycle path at this point did a bit of a major detour – through some woodland.

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It was nice to have the shade but I was a bit concerned that the cycle path would force me to go the wrong way. But it eventually joined back up with the B3 and I headed into Karlsruhe itself, riding in via Bulach which was rather attractive. From there I followed my Garmin until it got itself confused at which point I could see a short cut which was riding through the station – which I did. Slowly.

I arrived at the Tourist Information Centre to ask about hotels as I hadn’t checked any Karlsruhe hotels last night (not thinking I would ride this far). They warned me there was a Messe (trade fair) on which meant there weren’t many rooms but they found me one in the A & O Hotel and Hostel right next to the station.

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My room is tiny but it has an en-suite and I don’t need a great amount of space.

The hotel had this magazine in the main area – somebody needed to proof-read the headline!

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Alfie was safely installed in the underground parking area.

Here are the statistics for today:

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Wifi is free in the public areas (not available in the rooms) and works well so I was able to cancel my booking in Rastatt without difficulty and have booked myself a hotel in Speyer for tomorrow. Direct route to Speyer would be just 30 miles but following the Radweg is about 40 so I shall do my utmost to stick to the official route which appears to be mostly tarmac, fortunately.

After my shower it was time to have a wander around Karlsruhe.

I liked this window cleaner’s vehicle!

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I don’t know if Karlsruhe is a university town or something but it is full of bikes – and lots of beautiful young people!

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I walked up a road opposite the main station and found myself straight away at the Stadtgarten.

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People were taking boat trips on the lake – but there were also empty boats going up and down. I think they area attached to some kind of track somewhere and keep going round like a cablecar does!

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It turns out you have to pay to go in as it’s an animal park and children’s play area etc. Here is something James would like – JCBs in a sandpit for children!

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I walked up Ettlingerstraße past some of the exhibition halls and rather liked their gardens and fountains.

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I then found a shopping mall and had a wander around there too. I saw a poodle walking past.

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I also looked into a perfume shop and saw a chap in there with a huge dog. Not sure if the perfume was for the dog or for his lady. It’s interesting that in Germany you are allowed your dogs in more places, although I know some friends in the UK who would not like this!

The purpose of my long walk up Ettlingerstraße was to see the Schloss that was marked on my map with an impressive array of gardens and roads spiking in a radius from it to the north. Here is the schloss.

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And here is the busy ring road. ‘Where?’, you ask. Underneath – they’ve dug it out as a tunnel so pedestrians and cyclists can walk over the top. It’s similar to what’s been done in the Düsseldorf Altstadt and works really well.

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I walked along this street which had lots of philosophy and prose on fairness and laws and justice on litttle solid flags on poles. It made for interesting reading although gave me a bit of a crick in my neck.

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I had walked a fair way and my feet were tired so I decided to hop on a tram, of which there were dozens. It’s easy to find your hotel when it’s next to the main station as most trams go there. The journey took about ten minutes and I bought a standard ticket for 2,30€. There might have been a cheaper short journey one but I couldn’t find it on the ticket machine and someone was waiting to use it after me!

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After writing up some blog it was time for an evening meal. I headed to a café restaurant opposite the station (at the gate to the Stadtgarten) and sat outside in the balmy evening air, looking across at fountains and flamingoes.

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And then my food came.

Tomatencremesuppe:

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Salat

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Schnitzel mit Spätzle

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It was all very tasty and I felt very full as I headed back to the hotel.

Yesterday and today were very sunny and I caught the sun a bit. I also have some wind burn which tends to go down overnight. I had suntan cream on for these two days but have definitely changed colour a bit. This is where my watch is!

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Tomorrow I leave Baden Württemberg for good, heading into Rheinland Pfalz. It’s a whole new Germany Land (county) on this trip!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Breisach to Kehl am Rhein (Strasbourg)

Please note that the URL of this page is incorrect (it says Weil am Rhein to Kehl am Rhein). I was having a senior moment when I started the blog post and it can’t be changed now!

Here’s the overall progress map with Koblenz right at the top. I’m currently 220 miles from Koblenz following the Rhine cycle path.

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And here’s my route for today.

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I woke up at 6am and knowing that I had a long day’s cycling I got up early, breakfasted and left the hotel by 8:30am. The weather forecast was very positive!

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Here is Alfie ready for his luggage to be fixed on.

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I rode from Hochstetten (the little hamlet) into Breisach itself. It has a large lump of rock called Münster.

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There’s also a small harbour. The Rhine looked much less fierce today.

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Today’s official cycle route was 99% on dirt paths as usual. Here I am making my way to the beginning of the route – shared with walkers. I see loads of people out nordic walking on this tour!

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A cruise ship doing its stuff. I’d heard that cruise ships had been stopped because of the high water level so perhaps things were returning to normal.

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Here is Alfie at the km marker 233. I had just stopped to talk to a lady with two Irish Wolfhounds – they were enormous!

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By now I had ridden 8 miles and the day had turned very warm. I stopped to stretch my legs near Burkheim and look at where the Grand Canal d’Alsace splits off from the Rhein again – the cruise ship had gone to the left; not surprising when I discovered the right hand fork had a large weir!

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And then I was faced with this – cycle path closed due to flooding.

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I had a good look at my map and thought a reasonable diversion would be go to into Burkheim and then ride along the main road to Jechtingen and Sasbach, at which point the Rhein cycle route passes through Sasbach so I could rejoin it.

I had to go round a bit of a hill that had an impressive ruin on the top.

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Burkheim has hills either side it and turned out that I was now on a Wine Route with vineyards each side of the road.

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The roads were pretty much empty and about half of the few vehicles that passed me were tractors. I really enjoyed seeing some different scenery (vineyards) and the slight up and down of the hills was a bit of a change. Cycling on tarmac rather than dirt meant I could go faster and I enjoyed keeping a steady 14mph pace.

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At Sasbach I decided to keep to the main roads rather than the cycle path – my book showed me it was all packed dirt track and I preferred the smooth tarmac. I set some waypoints on my Garmin and rode through Whyl and Weisweil, sometimes on the road and sometimes on a cycle track alongside.

At 11am I arrived at Rheinhausen and decided it was time to stop for a snack. I stopped at the first bakery.

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There was a pretty large choice but I plumped for this cream on biscuit thingie.

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The lady serving in the bakery came to have a chat with me about what I was doing and then happily posed for a photograph.

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Then it was back on the road – I headed off again on the quiet, smooth main road towards Rust.

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I’d seen signs for something called Europapark on the road and assumed it was some kind of parkland or green space. Oh no it wasn’t!

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There were loads of rollercoasters and other interesting-looking things, as well as some unusual hotels. This was round the back of one of the hotels – a little taste of Rome!

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And I also found a Renault Twizy which Alfie posed with.

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I cycled through Rust and Keppel, Nonnenweier and then Ottenheim-Schwanau, at which point I realised I was pretty close to the cycle route and thought I might rejoin it for the rest of the route to Kehl. It was a two mile detour to get there – back at the river and all its signage!

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Hmmm, still 20 miles to Kehl – and I was feeling quite tired!

The Rhein definitely looked more blue and less brown than previously and seemed a bit lower. I was a bit underimpressed by the cycle track though – having ridden 10 miles on smooth roads the bumpy dirt and gravel was not enjoyable.

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There were a couple of barriers which I could cycle under no problems!

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After about three miles on the cycle track I realised I was getting pretty hungry and it was lunchtime. A quick look at the map showed me I had rather miscalculated – there were no villages on this route and no indications of food establishments. Argh! I’d have to go back inland a bit.

I had to cycle on to a gravel works near Meißenheim before I could get down off the cycle track.

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Meißenheim had an impressive church…

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But no bakery! I had to ride on to Ichenheim. I was feeling a bit cheesed off as I’d probably done a five mile detour for that stretch along the Rhein that was bumpy anyway!

Fortunately at Ichenheim I located a bakery and had a ham roll and a cuppa.

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It was really hot outside now (about 26 degrees) and I was really looking forward to getting to my hotel. I was a bit appalled, when starting the Garmin, to discover it thought the hotel was 15 miles away. Really? Oh well, I’d just have to keep those pedals turning a bit more.

The scenery today has been varied but pretty much always with the backdrop of these mountains.

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I was taking the main road route from Ichenheim up through Altenheim, Neuried, past Kittersburg, through Marlen and then to Kehl. The miles slowly counted down and then I got to a roundabout where my Garmin wanted me to go right but the road signs to Kehl said straight ahead, so I took the straight ahead route, the Garmin recalculated and knocked 4 miles off the total. Probably the Open Streetmaps map has a fault which suggests you can’t do that bit of road so it has to do a detour. Anyway, that was good news.

I was hot and thirsty and very relieved to arrived in Kehl at the hotel. I was a bit flummoxed by the hotel entry system (you check in with a electronic screen – it asks for a password which is your surname but I didn’t know this so had to phone the reception chappie). Anyway, the room was fine and, rather surprisingly, had a little kitchenette built in. Sadly no kettle!

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Here are my cycling statistics for today: imperial
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Metric
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And here is Alfie in the underground parking garage.

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I went for a little walk around Kehl – the hotel is just 100 metres from the pedestrian centre – and spotted this impressive church.

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I also spotted several Eiscafés; some were a bit pricey but this Schokoladenbecher was very good value and much needed!

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In the evening I went out for a pizza.

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I felt pretty tired all evening which is probably partly from the heat and the distance cycled so I’ve booked a hotel tomorrow in Rastatt which is only just over thirty miles away. That puts me one day behind my original schedule but that’s no problem as I’ve got plenty of time and I want to enjoy the scenery! I think 50 mile days are about the maximum in this heat anyway. Possibly the following day I will go the Germersheim/Speyer and the day after that Worms and then Mainz but we’ll see…

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Weil am Rhein to Breisach (with a short detour into France)

So how far have I got in my journey from Konstanz to Koblenz?

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Koblenz is just above Wiesbaden on that map. Still a fair way to go then!

This was today’s trip, from Weil am Rhein to Breisach.

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I enjoyed a good breakfast and then fetched Alfie from the garage. I noticed there was a reasonable amount of evidence of where I’d cleaned off all three wheels yesterday after the mudbath!

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I headed off at around 9am, taking the main road from Weil towards the Rhein. I very quickly discovered the nice bit of Weil, just a quarter of a mile from my hotel!

There were some road works as I came into the outskirts of Basel which involved a bit of creative mapreading, not helped by things such as this:

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But soon enough I was back oin the Rhein cycle path.

I passed this impressive water feature!

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And saw the first of the kilometre markers.

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James and I discussed yesterday where on the Rhein it starts being used for barges. This was the first sign that maybe they went this far up (although I’m not sure of that at all).

Last night I received an email via my blog from a chap called Garry who said he had cycled the day before the route that I was taking and that there were several diversions where the river had overflowed the path. He’d made a video which I watched on YouTube – the link is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpcZZDm0kCA&lc=lwxDGx5MQv3LdTj0OUiYCrEFbxtrfdxXJsLUEvONTSc

His message was that the problem was between Rust and Lahr but my maps didn’t mention either name (it turns out they’re on tomorrow’s route). However, I’d only been riding half an hour when I came upon this sign.

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I followed the suggested diversion, mindful of Garry’s video, and was soon able to look down on the cycle path.

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I rode down a short slope for a closer look.

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In this picture the cycle path goes from left to right. The water isn’t that wide but it was travelling very fast!

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Fortunately there was a very decent alternative route up on the bund which separates the Rhein from the motorway, the A5. The diversion was several miles and all the in-between land had been flooded.

The Rhein looked pretty fierce!

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As I was riding along the diversion to Istein I had stopped to take a photo of poppies (today is my dog Poppy’s third birthday and they reminded me of her) when a cyclist stopped to talk to me. He was riding a Thorn bike and addressed me in English (the flag on my trike gave me away). He was a Brit doing a tour along the Rhein to the Hook of Holland.

We had a good chat, swapping stories of the mud yesterday at Bad Säckingen, and he took a couple of pics of me with the poppies.

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Here is the chappie with this Thorn bike with Rohloff hub gear.

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I headed off and was slightly quicker than him but kept stopping to take photos or look at things so he would overtake. Here he is in the distance as I am now going slow due to the grassy strip in the middle of the path. This is on one of the diversions again, it’s obviously not regularly used for bikes.

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Past Kleinkems this path continued, getting worse and worse. It turned away from the Rhein and headed towards the motorway. The Thorn Cyclist was ahead of me and he signalled for me to stop – he had reached a barrier and the motorway; clearly we’d taken a wrong turn.

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I looked at my Garmin and could see a point where our route passed pretty close to the official cycle route and wondered if there was a way through. I couldn’t remember any obvious point where we could have taken a different path.

The Thorn Cyclist went off ahead again as I was very slow on this track surface. He reached the corner where the cut-through is and disappeared. By the time I got there (a minute or two later) I was feeling confident that this cut-through works as he hadn’t returned. However it was awfully narrow!

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Alfie’s at the bottom of a steep downhill there. I made the mistake of pedalling a couple of pedal revolutions when I first turned into the narrow track and consequently got a sprocket and set of jockey wheels chock full of grass.

I had to get off Alfie and drag him along this path for about 30 metres, between saplings which were only just wider than Alfie’s two front wheels. At the end there was an annoying chicane which I had to drag Alfie round, his luggage making him rather unbalanced and liable to tip up on the steep slope. But I made it! There was the cycle path, smooth and not underwater. Phew!

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I headed off towards Bad Bellingen, relieved I hadn’t tried to press on to Bad Bellingen yesterday as I would have got really frustrated by the detours at the end of a 70 mile day. At the beginning of a 40 mile day they were just a bit amusing.

After ten minutes the Thorn Cyclist passed me again when I was talking to some other cyclists. I asked him if he’d stopped somewhere for a cuppa but he said no, he’d gone a long way back along the path until it joined up with the main cycle route. He hadn’t taken the cut-through at all. I told him I’d assumed that he had successfully got through there and that’s why I’d attempted it! He must have had to go back a fair way as I’d spent ages on the cut-through and was riding slowly anyway due to photography/sightseeing and he hadn’t caught me up for 10 minutes or so.

The people I was talking to were towards the beginning of a 600km tour. They were a couple with electric bikes, the man had a big trailer with their luggage and the lady had a front basket with a passenger, a little Yorkie dog.

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She said the dog liked touring but he liked to get out for a run every 20km or so.

The route didn’t actually go through Bad Bellingen, I discovered. It turns out that this bit of the Rhein is surprisingly short on towns. There are very few beside the river and in fact the motorway is between most towns and the Rhein. I saw signs to Bad Bellingen but didn’t detour as although I’d been riding for over an hour and a half I didn’t feel the need for food after my hearty breakfast.

The cycle path continued. I’d been riding on the packed dirt for twenty miles but fortunately it was a reasonable riding surface (it can be a bit variable). My speed wasn’t as good as on tarmac, I think I was averaging about 9.5mph, although this was partly also because I kept stopping.

I decided to stop for a snack at midday in Neuenburg which was just over 20 miles from my start point. My day’s route was about 36 miles so I was making reasonable progress.

Neuenburg had one of the first bridges over the Rhein for a while.

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The town itself was the other side of the A5 motorway again but there was a decent, well-signposted underpass and it was just a one mile detour to get to the town.

I was pootling along looking for a bakery when I caugh sight of a sign for waffles. I stopped and saw a nice outdoor seating area with several people drinking coffee. It looked good so I parked Alfie and went in to use their loo first to wash my hands (they were oily from removing grass from the jockey wheels and sprockets). They had a very cool loo roll holder!

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I ordered off-menu a pancake to my specification – with fruit and Puderzucker and chocolate and vanilla ice cream. It was fantastically tasty!

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I had a very relaxing break there and, whilst drinking my tea I discovered the data on my phone was now working, albeit slowly. It hadn’t worked at all around Bodensee and I assumed there was some weird fault (although it worked really well on the day I rode to Düsseldorf); I can only imagine that Vodafone doesn’t have very good coverage in the Bodensee region.

I headed off back to the Rhein and back to more dirt tracks. When I had ten miles to go to Breisach I came to another bridge and decided it might be nice to do this next section in France. I had never cycled in France before so it would be another new experience!

First of all I had to change the memory card in my Garmin Satnav; I have high-res maps of Germany, Austria and Switzerland on one data card and low-res of the whole of Europe on another card. It was time for the Europe memory card. I did the switch on my trike seat, hoping a gust of wind didn’t blow 4GB of Europe away!

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I fired up the Garmin and France appeared – phew! I now felt confident enough to ride the French bit (I hadn’t pre-loaded any of the left hand side of the Rhine tracks) with the help of my Bikeline Book.

The bridge was a single lane for cars (traffic light controlled) and a nice wide cycle path.

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I had a good view of the flooding of the river. It’s looked like this for the last thirty miles!

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I crossed over to France. Immediately all the road signs were in French (obviously) and things looked different again – roads are painted differently, for example. However they had provided a nice cycle path along the road.

Once you cross the Rhein/Rhin into France you then have to cross the Grand Canal d’Alsace which is in two parts here. I headed up a slope to cross the first bit which has a huge hydro plant.

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From the top of this slope I could look across to loads of mountains in Germany – this is the Black Forest region.

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Fessenheim had a huge building relating to the hydro plant with a rather weird relief of a naked man on the outside. And lots of EDF Energy advertising.

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I consulted my map to work out the best way to join the cycle path on the French side. It went through the middle of Fessenheim so I aimed there, slightly away from the river.

I found the middle of Fessenheim but there was a dearth of cycle path signage. However there were road signs to Neuf-Brisach, which was the opposite side of the Rhein to Breisach, so I followed the road signs and worked out that I was on the route that my Bikeline book gave.

The terrain was really flat – this is clearly a Rhine flood plain – with hills visible the entire way round.

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I went through Balgau and then my map suggested the cycle path headed off the main road down a quieter road. There was no signage to suggest this on the road but the little chapel Thierhurst Chapelle was a clue that I was on the right route.

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This is looking across the plain at Nambsheim. It was amazingly windy, a very strong headwind, which was weird as I hadn’t felt the wind at all whilst in Germany!

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I noticed some very strange structures in the fields on the way to Heiteren.

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Initially I thought they might be windbreaks (which would have something draped over them when necessary) but it all seemed a bit odd. They were really long, thin frames.

Then I saw this one – it was solid, like it had planks of wood fixed to it (windbreak?)

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As I got closer I realised I was mistaken – this one was chock-ful of corn on the cob/maize!

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I passed this impressive farm roof.

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This is a notable difference between cycling in France and cycling in Germany/Austria/Switzerland/NL, as here I had to give way at junctions on the cycle path, even if it were just a route into a field for a tractor. Bikes tend to have right of way in the other countries I’ve been touring in.

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Here I am approaching Obersaasheim.

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For the last couple of miles I had been following a pair of touring cyclists. I chose to follow them as they looked like they knew where they were going and the signs for the cycle route were non-existent. My Garmin Europe map had a cycle path marked which was different to that on the Bikeline book but which felt more suitable. Anyway, I arrived at the junction at Obersaasheim and the cyclists were stopped, scratching their heads.

A conversation began where they thought I was Australian (because of the flag) and eventually we worked out we were a Brit and a Dutch couple (after trying a few languages). They were looking for the campsite in Neuf-Brisach, having started their tour this morning from Basel and having had several detours due to navigational issues (or lack of French cycle route signage more like).

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When they discovered I had both a map and a SatNav they seemed happy to follow me and I led them through Algolsheim and then to Vogelgrun, where we said our goodbyes as they turned left to Neuf-Brisach and I turned right to cross the Rhein back into Germany.

The Rhine is split into several different channels here and the first one was full of barges so might well be the start of the navigable bit.

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There’s also a huge weir.

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And the other side of the bridge, downstream, had a couple of cruise boats tied up.
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I was back in Germany but the bit of Germany I landed on was hardly attractive – McDonalds, petrol station, casino. Fortunately I was now back in the land of effective cycle route signposting and followed the route towards Breisach Stadtmitte (town centre).

The hotel that I had prebooked was in Hochstetten, a couple of kilometres outside Breisach. I decided to head straight there and found myself cycling along a residential street. Round a corner there was… a very pretty hotel with large outside seating area.

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I checked into my room (which was nice if quite small – and had the first toilet with a shelf I have seen on this holiday!) and put Alfie in the garage.

Statistics for today – imperial

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Metric for you continental types!

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My detour to Neuenburg and to France added about six miles in total to the day.

After showering and washing my clothes I went downstairs to sit in the garden area and write up my blog, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine (it had turned into a gorgeous day).

At half past six I was encouraged to order some food. I decided to go into the restaurant as it was now getting a bit chilly.

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Prices were slightly higher than some so I went for the cheap – and foolproof – option of a Wiener Schnitzel. The prices seemed much more reasonable when a succession of things arrived as appetisers, free of charge.

Bread with tomato cream cheese

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Salad

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And finally the Wiener Schnitzel – and it came with gravy!

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I did my usual studying of the Bikeline book and it looks as though I will be cycling to Kehl tomorrow. Kehl is the other side of the Rhein to Strasbourg and hotels there are very reasonably priced. It’s 80km (50ish miles) so will be a bit harder work than today, especially as I think I will be going through the flooded section that Garry’s video mentions. Here’s hoping there’s decent signage for diversions or maybe the water level will have reduced.

I”m not sure if I’ve yet mentioned my cycling chum JenM who is doing this ride in reverse (except she’s going all the way to Andermatt, the source of the Rhein). We’ve been swapping texts as we think we might meet up in St Goar or somewhere south of Koblenz for a cuppa as we pass. She’s in Köln at the moment and she says that lots of the campsites have been badly flooded. I’m hoping that with the cessation of the rain that things will improve with regard to the river level – the news footage of Passau and other places looks awful.

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Waldshut-Tiengen to Weil am Rhein

After a great night’s sleep in my luxury room it was time for breakfast.

I took time to sort out my tubs of teabags. I had brought two tubs with me, I could now fit almost all the remaining teabags into one tub. That’ll be less luggage to carry tomorrow.

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This is the map of today’s route.
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I set off at 9:30am with overcast skies. The forecast was for 16 degrees but I don’t actually think it ended up that warm – I felt a bit chilly some of the time with just my jersey on.

I retraced the last 2km of my ride yesterday back towards Koblenz and saw this very impressive field of photovoltaics!
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Proof again that I have reached Koblenz already!
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Before I reached Waldshut I had to ride through Schmittenau which is a fairly uninteresting place, except I had a slight moment of interestingness when rounding a corner.
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That looked too deep to cycle through! I turned round as I could see from my Garmin there was an alternative route along the main road. As I went back to the junction I saw a fire engine dropping off sandbags. I note the news in the UK is talking about flooding in the south Germany, in Bavaria mainly (I am in Baden Württemberg) but the river has clearly been rising rather more than it should.

I joined the main road which was rather higher than the cycle path and looked down on some flooded allotments.

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This was the cycle route I should have taken.
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I was soon able to rejoin the official cycle route when it went a bit higher and before long I was at the gates of Waldshut.

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It has a lovely little centre but there was a scary mini stream running down the middle – if you didn’t pay attention you could fall in!
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I continued on through Dogern which was very green!
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And then in Dogern I came across this really messy bit of path with bottles, sticks and general mess strewn across the path for a good 100 metres. This was actually the first litter I have seen since I’ve been on this tour and clearly it wasn’t normal litter – the Rhein had obviously flowed over the bank previously and then subsided. Anyway, I crawled along, pedalling slowly (didn’t fancy walking it) and fortunately the path was back to normal fairly quickly.

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This is more my kind of cycle path surface!

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Look at this church nestled against rock in the interestingly-named village of Albert.

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I’d been nriding alongside a main road for a while but at Luttingen the cycle path headed through some open country away from the road (but nearer the river).

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The Rhein itself looks very brown and swollen and fast – and also pretty wide in places. Here it is as I approach the town of Laufenburg.

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I had originally thought to stop at Laufenburg but in the end decided to press on. There was a rather steep climb and then I found myself crossing the railway line – and the railway was disappearing into the mountain with an interesting structure around the hole!

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I had a five minute break at this point as I fiddled about with my banana bags. I had fixed them on differently today (two straps across the rack, only one on the seat, rather than two on the seat and one on the rack) but the new arrangement meant that sometimes the right hand side bag rubbed against the chain tube which was noisy, so I switched them back.

This is looking back at Laufenburg.

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I rode through Murg and then had a long, fast stretch to Bad Säckingen where I decided it was time for a snack as it was midday.

I found a bakery and looked at their vast selection. It’s hard to choose, but then I had a thought – I’m in the Black Forest. I checked this with the serving lady and she said yes, this is the Black Forestt, so you can guess what I chose!

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That cake cost me 2,70€. And it was huge!

Suitably fortified I decided to ride for another hour before stopping for a sandwich. I had checked out hotels in Weil am Rhein but had also looked at some in Bad Bellingen which was 20 miles further on and seemed nicer (and the hotels had great reviews in Bad Bellingen). Progress had been a bit slow today, though, so I thought a 70 mile day might be pushing it. Weil am Rhein was at about 52 miles which might be plenty, but maybe after a sandwich I’d feel inspired to go further.

The route now struck off on its own alongside the river with several fields in between me and the road. The Rhein was getting ominously nearer and the path seemed rather wet.

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Unfortunately the path got worse and worse until I was faced with this.

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I tried to ride through it (what else could I do?) but my front wheel got bogged down. I had to get out and push Alfie through this muck that was an inch deep.

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Alfie now had mud on his wheels, frame etc, although fortunately the Banana Bags were high enough to be out of the way. Fortunately the path improved fairly quickly – but I ended u p with a muddy right foot!

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Still, there were benefits of taking the scenic (and mucky) route, like going through a bird reserve and seeing these cygnets.

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On I went and the official cycle route led me through Schlosss Beuggen which is some kind of church conference centre now.

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I was heading for Rheinfelden where I planned to have lunch. There was a huge hydroelectric plant across the Rhein just before Rheinfelden – I took a photo for James.

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The route from the hydroelectric plant to Rheinfelden was rather nice with this pretty bridge…

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Which then led to an absolutely evil uphill. I needed first gear for it. This chap was watching me grind up the hill.

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Here’s a view of the other side of the river from Rheinfelden (which is still called Rheinfelden, I believe, but is in Switzerland).

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I had a warm ciabatta-type roll and a cuppa which was very refreshing.

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I decided at this point that I would stop at Weil am Rhein as I was too tired to make it a 70 mile day. I kept getting directed onto untarmaced surfaces too, which were OK but I couldn’t ride as fast on them.

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As I reached the outskirts of Basel I found an Aldi and decided to pop in and buy some biscuits. It was technically still in Germany – just!

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I then headed into Basel itself. Initially it wasn’t very encouraging as I was riding through an industrial estate and various manufacturing plants. I also missed a turning on the cycle route and ended up riding on a really busy road with cars whizzing past both sides. But soon I got back on the proper route, which goes right alongside the river, and enjoyed the view of the buildings on the other sidee (which is the main bit of Basel).

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I was really keen to finish my ride now and had just four miles to get to Weil am Rhein. I followed my Garmin’s suggested route which worked mostly OK. As I entered Weil am Rhein I cycled through a rather lovely park which had lots of vehicles in it setting up some kind of staging for a big event. I was very much in ‘get to the Hotel’ mode and whizzed past everything.

I had a choice of three hotels that I had researched and aimed for the centre of Weil, at which point I found myself at Hotel Central. They had a room available – the singles were all used but there was a double for 64€ which sounded OK. The man put Alfie into a garage for me and locked the door so he’s securely stored. I have only locked him once on this entire trip which was in the hotel in Düsseldorf!

Here are the statistics for today in imperial and metric. Average speed is a bit lowwer than sometimes as I went slowly through a fair number of pedestrianised bits of towns!

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The hotel seemed a bit tired and in need of a refurbishment but the staff were brilliant. I asked the chap if there was somewhere I could buy a cup of tea and he thought about it a bit and then went into his office and brought out a kettle which he handed to me. He then got me a mug and poured out enough milk for about four cuppas into a glass. I have enjoyed two cuppas whilst writing this blog – the first I’ve had in Germany made with water that is actually boiling!

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Also, I thought it might be a good idea to give Alfie a clean up. After my evening meal I went to the reception desk to ask for them to unlock tthe garage so I could wipe Alfie down with a sock or something. The lady disappeared and then reappeared with a bucket and a large cloth for me to use. How kind!

Here is Alfie before the cleaning.

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He looks a lot better now!

My evening meal was in the Chinese Restaurant attached to thhe hotel. When I walked in I discovered the place was full, which was a good sign.

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I enjoyed my chicken chop suey and rice!

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I spent some time looking at my route for tomorrow and it seems that Breisach is the place to stay – it’s about 40 miles away and there’s nowhere else within a reasonable distance. I pre-booked a hotel in Hochstetten, just o utside of Breisach, as it had good reviews and looked pleassant. It will be nice to have a slightly shorter day tomorrow and I want to get to a post office to post back two of my Radweg books (this trip has entailed bringing four books and they’re heavy; I have now used the Bodensee Radweg and the Rhein Radweg Part 1 books so they can be posted home – I have a plastic envelope and name labels for in readiness).

Weil am Rhein isn’t that exciting a place really – it’s relatively modern without much to recommend it – but the friendliness of the staff here has made the evening very pleasant. I look forward to more riding (and hopefully fewer floods) tomorrow!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Stein am Rhein to Waldshut-Tiengen – via Koblenz

I slept in a little this morning, not going down to breakfast until 8:30am.

On offer was the most sparse breakfast of this holiday (and in fact of any German cycle tour I can remember); just bread, cheese, two choices of cereal (both muesli), preserves, butter, orange juice and tea/coffee. One of the ‘breads’ I chose was a croissant, and on my other roll I decided to have some cheese (after all, that was the main option). It was proper Swiss cheese though – huge hunks you had to carve a slice off.

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Before heading out I checked my emails and saw one from a ICE rider’s newsgroup which said they were enjoying my blog and had put my photo on the front page of the Yahoo group. And so they had!

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I think they misunderstood my message to the group (which started ‘Grüße aus Österreich’)!

I settled up the bill for the room and the Strudel last night and then fetched Alfie from his overnight storage.

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This is today’s route:

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Off I went, enjoying the fact that it wasn’t raining! There were some mountains visible in the distance as I headed up (and ‘up’ it was!) to Hemishofen.

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As I was cycling along I heard an aeroplane engine which sounded very World War 2 to me. I tried to take a pic (not very good) but it was a twin engined plane. I saw it several times today so I think it might have been doing flying tours of the Rhine valley.

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I had taken the slightly-less-used north bank of the Rhein route for today; this route spent more time in Germany (cheaper food!) and also my planned stop in Tiengen needed me to be on the north bank. However I was in and out of Switzerland all day, crossing the border between Germany and Switzerland nine times in total. You can tell from this photo that I am in Switzerland because of the red cycle route signs; I find the red ones easier to spot than the German green-on-white cycle signage.

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After Hemishofen there was quite a long climb and I started warming up (I was wearing my windproof jacket which wasn’t 100% dry from yesterday’s rain, even though I attacked it with the hairdryer before I left). Then I reached a very sharp gradient up and the windproof had to come off!

The road surface now turned to the standard German off-road designed, crushed gravel, but a very light colour (which has made a right mess of my trike!)

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Still I quite enjoyed this bit of the ride as the woodland was full of wild garlic and the smell was heavenly!

After a couple of miles of this I came to a barrier and the path turned to a more earthy kind!

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This carried on for about a mile and then I was back on asphalt. I was glad it wasn’t raining as that would have made Alfie even more mucky.

I had a nice speedy downhill into the town of Gailingen which had the most wonderful wooden bridge.

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The bridge is actually the border between Germany (Gailingen) and Switzerland (Diessenhofen).

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I thought it would be nice to get someone to take a photo of me and so accosted a passing family to ask if they could take a pic. The young lad was game to have a go of my iPhone and so I posed.

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And this time with a church spire growing out of my head.

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I had a really nice chat with the family who were asking about my travels and then they said I could take a picture of them, so here it is.

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They were holidaying here from Kaiserslautern. When I said I couldn’t really understand the Swiss accent they saidd they couldn’t either. I gave them my blog business card and said they could have a look although they don’t really speak English so could only just look at the pictures really.

This is looking at the Rhein from the edge of the bridge.

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Having had an enjoyable 15 minute chat with the family it was time to get the pedals turning again.

The patches of blue sky were getting larger as I headed along to Büsingen.

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After about an hour and a half’s total ride time I reached Schaffhausen.

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I loved this speed limit sign for cyclists!

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Schaffhausen had a very attractive quayside with lots of punts you could hire although I reckon punting would be pretty scary with the speed of the water!

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I followed a group of other cyclists through Schaffhausen which was handy as there was an underpass to get under the main road and I think I would have missed it oon my own.

There were a few more ups and downs and then I reached Neuhausen which is the nearest town to the Rhine Falls.

As I approached Neuhausen there was some rather complicated signage which showed different ways to get the the Rhine Falls. In the end I saw that one route was preferable as it headed off to the next town I needed to go through; I think the other route would havee switched me over to the Swiss side (atlhough I crossed into Switzerland a mile later on the north bank anyway!)

The route had a very steep uphill and then an underpass below a railway line. The other side of the underpass was steps – I didn’t fancy them and found a lift that fitted Alfie in. It seemed rather random to have a lift for a cycle route, but there you go!

It was a long climb up at Neuhausen and then I had the most fantastic descent which tested my brake discs very effectively (yes, they do get very hot if you descent a 12% hill for half a mile and have to stop to avoid falling in the Rhine!!!)

And this was at the bottom of the hill:

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The view was fantastic and the noise very significant too. I’ve partially lost my hearing and white noise does terrible things to my ability to hear but the awesomeness of this made it not matter that I couldn’t hear anything else!

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There are people standing on that rock in the middle – a boat takes them to the bottom and they climb the steps. You can see the yellow boat in this photo.

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This is a view back at Neuhausen.

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I fancied a break at the Rhine Falls (and a chance to watch them for a bit longer as they were rather fascinating!) but the café had plastic-looking muffins and no exciting pastries so I went for an ice cream instead. As this was Switzerland this cost me 2,50€.

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Notice that the sun has bleached my eyebrows so they’ve virtually disappeared. Very uncool!

Here is Alfie enjoying the view. It took me a long time to get this pic as most of the time groups of Japanese tourists were standing round him looking and taking photographs.

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As I was riding along a German man ran after me, stopped me and asked if he could take a photo – which I was happy to grant. That hasn’t happened before!

Now it was time to leave Neuhausen and head off away from the river to Jestetten and Lottstetten. I had researched some hotels in these towns but the weather was good and I was making reasonable progress so decided to carry on to Waldshut-Tiengen. But first I had to climb the hill to the plain that Jestetten and Lottstetten are on.

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Leaving Jestetten there was a wonderful piece of newly-completed tarmac cycle path. It was so smooth!

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I arrived in Lottstetten and decided it was time for lunch. After Lottstetten I would be back in Switzerland for ten miles or so and wanted to make the most of the cheaper food. 5€ got me some asparagus soup (it is Spargelzeit!), a side salad and a cup of tea.

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After I ate my dinner I telephoned the hotel in Tiengen I thought was the best choice to see if he had any rooms – he had several, the cheapesst single was 64€ including breakfast and wifi. Sounded good so I said I’d turn up in three or four hours.

I cycled up another hill to reach Switzerland and went through Rafz. I liked this wood store under the stairs of this house.

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After Rafz I cycled through Wil at which point I thought there was a problem with my bike as I could hear a weird noise. My hearing loss means that certain sounds are very confusing and it seemed as though something odd was happening. When I stopped the noise continued and I realised it was ccrickets/grasshoppers in the grass beside the path!

There was a bit of on-road cycling through Wasterkingen at which point once again I changed countries and was back in Germany. I felt peckish so had the banana I’d filched from the breakfast fruit bowl.

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I now arrived at Hohentengen am Hochrhein which looked very quaint, although the official cycle route didn’t take us through the town.

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On the way out of Hohentengen I saw the obligatory cement factory; James has commented when touring with me that we always seem to see loads of ’em. Here’s a photo for James.

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I rode on, getting closer to Tiengen all the time. I climbed the hill into Lienheim and then enjoyede the downhill to Reckingen. I was making very good progress and started thinking about doing a small detour – to Koblenz.

At Rheinheim I crossed the bridge to the south side of the river. There were a lot of men in uniform from the Feuerwehr wandering around over the bridge – a look over the side and I could see that the gardens of some buildings beside the river had flooded and the Feuerwehr were trying to help. Good luck with that, the Rhein looks very full and fierce.

My plan was to cycle from this side of the river (Bad Zurzach) along to Koblenz and then cross the river to Waldshut. I had my Bikeline book which showed me the cycle path but I didn’t have a Garmin track for the route this side of the river and it proved surprisingly difficult to find the correct path. My GPS track of this bit of my day’s ride will see me going round in circles until I found one of the signposts.

We climbed out of Bad Zurzach through some new housing.

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The track followed the railway for a while, then swooped down into Koblenz. This is, of course, not the Koblenz where the Mosel and Rhein meet but a different one, a Swiss one. However I could theoretically pack up and go home now – but why on earth would I want to do that when I’m having such a good time?

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The Garmin has the track from Konstanz to Koblenz and look, it says I have 357 miles to go!

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I crossed back over at the bridge in Koblenz and headed off eastwards (back towards my starting point) to go to Tiengen. My detour added about six miles to the day’s ride but I had plenty of time so was happy to do it.

This was a very nice pedestrian and cyclist bridge on the way to Tiengen.

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I watched these chaps canoeing down one of the four rivers that makes up Tiengen (the Rhein, the Wutach, the Steina and the Schlücht).

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My hotel was in Bahnhofstraße which always makes it easy to locate – head for the railway and find the station!

The Hotel Bercher was very nice outside and in!

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I had enjoyed a good day’s ride – here are the stats from my Garmin in Imperial and then Metric.

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Alfie was stored inside a garden room which they weren’t using.

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This is my room which seemed palatial!

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It was so nice, in fact, that after my shower I went downstairs to check that it was the room I had ordered, the cheapest single room at 64€. The lady said they had put me down for an 85€ room but because I had said to the man on the phone that I wanted the cheapest room they would just charge me the 64€. Bargain!

As you can see, my cycling sandals foot tan is coming along OK!

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I had a shower and washed all my clothes as usual. It has been noticeable over the last few days (in Austria and Switzerland) that my hair is a lot nicer; there’s something about German water that makes it go lank and heavy. Now I’m back in Germany I’ll have to tie it up or put a hat on or something to hide it!

I was feeling really hungry so went out to search for food. Being Sunday lots of places were shut but I did find some Apfelstreusel. This and a cup of tea cost me 2€. Germany is SUCH better value than Switzerland!

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I then had a bit of a walk around Tiengen.

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This Christian bookshop has in the window… a bike!

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The Stork Tower.

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Saddly access to this woodwork staircase was shut off.
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After writing up some of this blog I went out for my evening meal – I had an absolutely enormous pizza!

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Followed by a crepe with banana and ice cream. They forgot to put the ice cream in it which I discovered after taking this photo so they then added it.

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It was then time to finish writing up this blog and check out some hotels for tomorrow. I plan to cycle to Basle but not actually stay there but find somewhere either before Basel (but in Germany) or after Basel (but in Germany). The forecast is overcast and 16 degrees but seeing as today’s forecast was for 4mm of rain and I didn’t feel a drop I’m hoping for blue skies and sunshine!

By the way, if you’re wondering why there are quite a few double letters sprinkled about the text, and sometimes double spaces, it’s because I’m typing this on a keyboard built into the case for the iPad. It’s not quite full size and it has a tendency to duplicate letters. I don’t want you all to think I can’t spell!

I hope you’re enjoying these reports – please leave a comment below if you feel so inclined!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Höchst to Stein Am Rhein (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Switzerland)

Saturday 1 June – Breakfast in Austria, Lunch in Germany, Dinner in Switzerland.

or

Konstanz Kraving (with apologies to K D Lang)

(this title was suggested by Deano from YACF)

The forecast today was rain – loads of it!

However, when I went down to breakfast it wasn’t raining, nor was it raining whilst I repacked my bags. It seemed like an exceptionally good idea for me to get underway before the heavens dropped their forecasted 29mm of rain.

So I settled up the bill at the hotel, fetched Alfie from the garage and was on the road by 8:15am. That’s early!
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Here’s my route for today, starting at the bottom right.

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I decided today to wear a different arrangement of cycle clothing, knowing that rain was forecasted but that it was also going to be reasonably warm. I don’t like riding in waterproofs (boil in the bag) and if it’s warm you’re better off just getting wet and drying naturally. So I had shorts with legwarmers, two jerseys and armwarmers, and this was a very good temperature for the earlyt morning’s riding.

I rode for more than an hour before I felt any rain. However, I could see lots of evidence of water in the skies – there were some lovely views!

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Höchst is the penultimate town in Austria; I rode through Gaißau and then arrived at this bridge.
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It happens to be the border between Austria and Switzerland (at least the bike/walking route border, there was a car border 100 metres down the road that looked rather more significant). Here is Alfie with rear wheel in Austria and front wheels in Switzerland (nominally, anyway!)
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It’s the Rhein that he’s hovering over. Readers of yesterday’s blog will know that I had already crossed the Rhein – turns out it splits into two at one point, like a mini delta, and I was now crossing the Alter Rhein.

On the other side of the bridge was a whole new set of cycle route signs to familiarise myself with.

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My destination for the day was Romanshorn (I’d looked up a few hotels there) but I did wonder, with the improved weather, whether I might get a bit further.

Once I’d crossed the bridge I was on a non-tarmacked surface. It was OK but I kept hearing grinding noises as stones were flicked up into my rear mudguard.

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I rode through Rheineck, Altenrhein and Staad, really enjoying some of the views of clouds hovering over hillsides.

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And clouds over Bodensee as well, of course!

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I chatted to a few people with dogs as I passed by – and discovered that it’s very difficult to understand the Swiss accent!

As I approached Rorschach there were clouds of little flies hovering over the track and I had to periodically shut my eyes and mouth as I went through these clouds.

I rode through Rorschach and there was a huge Würth Group building on the lakefront – you can just about see two of me in the windows

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This was looking across to Horn from Rorschach. The first spots of rain were falling.
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Very quickly the rain turned to proper rain, the sort that will drench you within a minute. I took refuge under an overhang from a café.

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After about ten minutes the rain had eased off a bit from ‘pouring’ to ‘raining’ and I headed off again.

I took this picture looking across at Steinach – those clouds are looking more ominous!

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I approached Arbon, riding past this church that started ringing its bells for 10am. I had covered about fifteen miles by this point.

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I passed several fields of sheep where the sheep were wearing cowbells (sheepbells?) Not something I’ve noticed in Germany or Austria!

I rolled into Romanshorn at about half past ten. This was originally my planned overnight stop but clearly I had to recalculate a bit. Although it was raining and I was wet, I wasn’t uncomfortable with the clothing I was wearing so pressed on.

Here’s a reminder what country I was in.

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After Rorschach the rain fell much harder. I saw a lot of people wearing huge macs that flapped about – this chap on the left was pushing his son along.

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My plan B was to have lunch in Konstanz (at 32 miles) and see what I wanted to do after that. I thought it was now feasible to stick to my original schedule and ridde to Stein am Rhein and the friendly B&B, but I’d see how I felt when I stopped.

The final miles to Konstanz were a bit drier with just a faint drizzle. I was turning the pedals steadily and it was midday when I reached this point – the border into Germany!

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The route took me in past cars queuing for the customs area, and then along the harbour which is the other side of the railway line to where the hotel was I stayed at on Wednesday night.

Here are some boats for James.

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Here is Alfie, parked up as I wanted to check out a café. I didn’t fancy the offerings though so headed off.

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I rode round to the pedestrian area and parked Alfie outside an Italian restaurant. I went in and ordered some soup and a tea. The man said that he would have to charge me for the hot water – 3 Euros. I thought this was ridiculously steep for tea/water so said I’d have a glass of tap water then. He said they didn’t supply tap water, only mineral water, and could I move my trike away from the seating area outside. I said I wanted to be able to see it from the window (which I could, just) as it is expensive. I told him to cancel my order and I went outside to find somewhere else – didn’t find them a very friendly café!

Soon enough I found another Italian and they didn’t mind that Alfie was parked outside.

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I dfidn’t want a full meal and they didn’t do soup (surprisingly) so I ordered a half Pizza Bread.
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I headed off from Konstanz again with just 18 miles to go to Stein am Rhein. And now the rain came, properly set in and a bit colder.

I passed this building in Triboltingen that looked like one of the WW2 hides you see all over England, but a bit larger. Something to do wtih Switzerland protecting itself from Germany in the war??

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Bodensee squeezes itself through a narrow gap at Konstanz and then spreads out again into Untersee, which I was now cycling alongside.

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This beautifully-painted house was on the main road in Tribolltingen.

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Veg growing an scary clouds which continued to drop rain on me.

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This is the view of Untersee from what my iPhone’s map wants to call Näächsthorn but I think that’s got to have an extra ä in it!

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A very smart church I passed in Mammern.
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In Mammern I had to watch carefully as I cycled along the track because there were hundreds of snails wandering around. As far as I am aware I missed them all!

As the route neared Stein am Rhein it rather inconveniently started to climb. At Eschenz there was a particularly steep climb which was made harder by the wet tarmac with lots of leaves on it (not good for trike traction). I was also getting close to a group of three cyclists who were slower than me so I stopped a couple of times to take photos of the view to give them a chance to get ahead where the path was narrow.

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This photo is looking down on Stein am Rhein which is a very narrow pinch point on the Rhein (and I suppose could be considered the end of the Untersee and thus Bodensee itself). I said goodbye to Bodensee and its rain and looked forward to the improving weather forecast for next week.

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An uphill usually means there is a downhill and there was – a long, swoopy one. I was getting pretty cold now and was rather relieved that there were just two miles to go. I overhauled the three cyclists I had been trailing and then noticed a couple of warning signs in the middle of the path. Why were they there?

I soon discovered they were marking a flood across the path. There was no alterntiave route so I had to go through. The level was above the bottom of my Banana Bags so I tried to hold them up out of the water with minimal success. The three cyclists were following me and talking very excitedly about the water although I doubt they got their feet wet (I didn’t).

I arrived in Stein am Rhein, crossing the bridge with the rain beating down.

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The B&B I had booked was about three quarters of a mile outside the town and turned out to be, rather disappointingly, up a whacking great hill. The sort of hill that I had to tackle in first gear (out of 33), at about 2mph. Not what you need after 50+ miles of riding.

It took me a while to find the B&B that was nestled in a cluster of houses but eventually I located it, and the front door, and the doorbell – but there was no response! I tried several times, peered through the door, no luck. I noticed a business card pinned to the door with the mobile number of the B&B so rang it – and after ringing four times it went to voicemail. I left a message to say I was sitting outside, really cold, and wanted someone to let me in!

After five minutes I tried again, still voicemail. This was not good as I was getting really chilly now. I got out my Bodensee Radweg book and looked up Stein am Rhein accommodation. There were eiight or so hotels listed so I checked where they were situated (I realised I wanted to be near the centre, not up a hill a mile away!) and phoned a couple. The first one I rang had a single room for 70 Francs including wifi and breakfast. That’ll do nicely!

I left a message with the B&B to say that I had had to go elsewhere due to being really cold and headed down that steep hill (fun!) and back into the centre of Stein am Rhein. I found the Hotel Rheingerbe easily enough and the lady was very friendly. She showed my to my room which hadn’t been renovated in a while but was clean and looked comfortable enough.

It took a while to get the wifi working which caused some panic on my behalf, not helped by me dscovering the Swiss use different sockets! Yikes, my iPhone charger didn’t fit in!

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I tried again later and it worked so panic number 2 was also now over.

Here is the readout from my Garmin with today’s statistics – in imperial and then metric.

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I noticed as I parked the trike in their storage room that the Union Jack flag on my rear mudflap has completely disappeared today and the German flag sticker is hanging off. I will need to have a plan B for these in future (painting the flags on?)

I had a hot shower which was very welcome although I had a lot of stuff to dry and it didn’t all fit draped onto the radiator. I suspect I may have a bag of damp clothing in my panniers tomorrow.

Talking of panniers, considering my banana bags were partially submerged in a flood they hadn’t let in much water at all, probably less than yesterday. Clearly driving rain for 10 miles is more of an issue than medium rain for 30 miles.

After my shower it was time to have a bit of a walk around Stein am Rhein. The hotel lent me an umbrella and I had a bit of a look around the pedestrian precinct which was just behind the hotel.

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I was feeling peckish – not surprising after cycling for 52 miles and only having pizza bread for lunch – so I sstopped for a piece of black forest gateau!

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This was the choice I was initially faced with!

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Walking around the town there was a surprising number of shops selling Swiss Army knives! There was also a shop selling chocolate, including this 4.2kg bar of Toblerone (for 115 Swiss Francs, which is about £90)

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After writing up some of this blog it was time for dinner and I was very hungry!

A local Stübl did an offer of salad and lasagne for 18 Francs. This seems remarkably expensive in gerneral but was cheap for Switzerland (I’d checked out lots of restaurants earlier).

My salad
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My Lasagne
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It was good food and the serving lady was friendly although the room was rather smoky as clearly smoking is allowed. It’s hard to remember what it was like in the UK before the ban but it seems so unpleasant now when people are smoking as you are eating.

I could hear the people on the next table talking in English and talking about doing a cycle tour so when I’d finished I said hello and we got chatting. They were doing their first tour and a company was taking their luggage to the hotel each night so they weren’t touring with all their stuff. It sounds like they’re enjoying itr but they keep getting lost (no Garmin!) Tomorrow they are going to the Rhein Falls, as am I, so we might bump into each other. They say they saw a couple on recumbent trikes today.

I walked back to the hotel and went up to my room but I still felt hungry so went downstairs to the restaurant and had an Apfelstrudel and tea.

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The Apfelstrudel was the cheapest thing on the menu at 8,50 Francs. A scoop of ice cream is 3 Francs (that’s £2), no wonder people say Switzerland is expensive. I will definitely try to overnight in Germany if possible. For example, my orange juice today was 6 Francs (that’s about £4) whereas one I had in Germany a couple of days ago was 2,40€.

Still it’s been very cool to breakfast in Austria, cycle non-stop through Switzerland to have lunch in Germany and then have dinner in Switzerland. The awful weather is about finished now too so hopefully it will be sunshine from now on!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz