Day 4: Tuesday 1 June – Bernkastel-Kues to Cochem (48.24 miles)
At 7:30am when I opened the shutters in my room the panorama was hidden by fog.
We could hear a helicopter which turned out to be spraying the vineyards – not organic then!
We ate a very good breakfast including bread, cheese, yoghurt, müsli, rolls and fresh fruit. I read a local newspaper for the weather but also discovered that Horst Kohler has resigned although I haven’t quite worked out why yet (something to do with Afghanistan?)
We set off at 10:10 and started off on the other side of the river to the main Radweg route. However it was a bit bumpy and we were relieved when we were able to cross over to the other side with the better route. We passed lots of campsites along the way and people were very friendly, saying hello. Dogs all looked a bit surprised as we wafted past.
We stopped at Traben-Trarbach for an excellent cake and tea stop. I had to pay for the tea this time – just 1€ – but that’s fair enough, and the cake was just fab.
The sun came out and it was warmer but then clouds would come across and it was cooler. We kept stopping to put on or remove our windproof jackets.
At Zell we stopped for ages to watch a black kite wheeling around above us. It was divebombed by a mistle thrush or fieldfare and the little bird even plucked a feather from it. It was lovely to watch, especially as the little bird chased the kite away. This part of the route is almost an ox-bow lake where the river flows only about a half a mile apart whilst we have to cycle the long way round the hill for 7 miles. It got much warmer as we got to Zell, some hints of the better weather that we are promised for later in the week.
As we left Zell we climbed a fair way up to look down on the town (very picturesque) and then had a lovely long downhill, ending up at the village of Alf opposite Bullay where we stopped for a salad lunch. There was a quadricycle outside the Italian where we had lunch, and a local kid was running around with a water pistol but had obviously been told not to shoot the customers as we remained dry. The loos were the first we’ve seen with a shelf inside the loo – I’m pleased to see they haven’t all disappeared!
After Alf the Radweg tends to be just beside the main road with a grass strip separating them. It is a fast road if not as pleasant to ride with cars going past, but we made good progress and increased our average speed for the day to 10.2mph.
We were actually overtaken by someone today – this is the only person who has overtaken us! However I lost my bet about the drop bar bike for touring as we did in fact see one. So I owe the others a drink.
We arrived at Cochem which looks lovely with a large castle dominating the town. Our hotel was the simplest yet but is still comfortable and we have a view of the river and all the passing tourist boats. We found an Internet Cafe (where I am writing this) and then had a Schnitzel evening meal, followed by apple pancakes with ice cream and cream. Yum.
Tomorrow is a slightly shorter day at 42 miles and we will be going to Spay which is a wonderful hotel in a little village. Tomorrow will be our last day on the Mosel, too, as we join up with the Rhein at Koblenz. Weather forecast is unbroken sunshine and about 20 degrees so it should be wonderful cycling weather. All going well with the bikes and with us, we’re eating very well and James and Wowbagger are consuming vast quantities of Bitburger.