Mosel 2009 – Traben-Trarbach to Trier

Day 6 – Friday 29th May

Distance: 60.58 miles; time: 5:03:53; Average speed: 12.0 mph; Max speed: 25.0 mph; Calories (according to Garmin): 3894

So… this morning I realised I didn’t know what time breakfast was, so decided to aim for 7:30am which would give me plenty of time to get on the road for my longest distance day in the current plans (100km, not including my diversions for getting lost). I woke up early again so listened to, and finished, my talking book. Started the next one, Lindsay Davis’s “The Course of Honour” which is a historical novel about the emperor Vespasian (I have heard it before). Rather suitable for today’s trip to Trier which is the Colchester of Germany (i.e. Roman place, not because it has Essex Girls in, or at least not that many I hope).

I was so early for breakfast that they hadn’t yet got the fresh rolls in (I had standard brown bread) and the boiled eggs weren’t ready either. I think a day without eggs might well be a good thing, however.

My trike came out of the shop OK although the mirror had a bit of a thwack in the doorway. I then had a little chat with the landlady about where I was going and she warned me that hotel rooms would be VERY hard to come by in Bernkastel-Kues on Saturday night as it’s Pfingsten, the German Whitsun, which is a big public holiday. I took her comments on board and decided to call in at Bernkastel on my way to see if I could book a decent room – and to avoid any desperate room searches like the first day in Köln.

So off I pootled, crossing the bridge at Traben-Trarbach and trying to find the cycle route. Eventually I found that it wanted me to go back over the bridge again and after 10 minutes I was cycling past my hotel again. All systems normal then. Although my plan was to cycle on the north side of the river all the signage was for the south side and in the end I gave up and went with the flow – with such a long day I didn’t want too many hopeless detours.

Today seemed to have more people out and about (no doubt taking a long Pfingsten weekend), including two occasions where I saw a man and woman cycling together with a small dog in the basket of the man’s bike.

I stopped at the Tourist Information centre at Bernkastel-Kues and the nice chappie found me a room in a very nice looking hotel for 40€ (although the small print suggests they may charge 5€ for my bike, which seems a bit steep). But I am relieved to know I’ve got somewhere organised for the busy Pfingsten holiday, and in such an attractive town.

I got lost at Mülheim which was a bit rubbish as two different routes crossed and I got a bit mixed up as to where I was. My GPS track will look quite amusing for that part of the journey – like a demented bee!

I stopped at Piesport for tea and waffles and realised it was warming up. Prior to this I had been wearing my armwarmers and a sleeved shirt over my vest top. At Piesport the armwarmers came off – it was a very bright sunny day with totally blue sky and even the Mosel looked blue.

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After I left Piesport I noticed my mirror on the left hand side was rather droopy. Close examination showed that the plastic arm had cracked (this had happened to a previous mirror too), which presumably happened when it came out of the shop this morning. I tightened it up with my allen key (first use of any of the large selection of heavy tools I’ve been carting around with me) but I know it’ll keep working loose until it gives up altogether.

I was now cycling along a beautiful stretch of fast Radweg through vineyards and onwards towards Trier. I got some cyclists to photograph me on the trike (to make a change from photos of the trike with no pilot) and had a 10 minute chat with them about cycling in Germany. My German was ‘really good’, apparently. The Germans are so polite!

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There was a very strange steps/slope thing that I had to negotiate which required me to pull myself up the steep slope with my right arm whilst pedalling as well. The slope was just wide enough for the trike but it was a close thing. If I had James’s trike, the Narrow Track version, I would have had far fewer problems with doorways and stuff – but then my trike is much nicer and has suspension so I still like it best!

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Funnily enough, I noticed many slopes that I was riding up that other cyclists were all pushing their bikes. Lazy cyclists! Nothing to do with the fact that my bike has some very low gears, of course.

Lunch stop was Detzem and another quaint little food establishment where I just had some tomato soup (didn’t feel like much) and a cup of tea as – horror of horrors – they had no Orangensaft. Working my way through my teabags today!

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Today’s average speed is, as you will notice, very good. For some reason I was zooming – the Radweg was good, of course, but I still can’t entirely account for why I am so fast today. Perhaps it’s all the smarties I ate last night. It may also be because I seem to have spent most of today on the big chainring (after writing yesterday that I was using the middle chainring all the time). Anyway, for whatever reason (warmer? less wind?) it means I covered the ground more quickly than expected and rolled into Trier at 4pm.

About 20km before Trier I stopped to photograph an enormous catamaran stuck in the middle of a vineyard (you don’t see that every day)

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Whilst I was there the midges came out of nowhere. They were everywhere and I had to cycle for the next 10km with my mouth firmly shut, periodically wiping midges out of my eyes (despite my glasses). I had my buff on my head but if I had another one I would have put it around my mouth… although now I come to think of it you can arrange the buff as a kind of balaclava, so I probably could have made the one buff do both jobs. Oops. Anyway, a bit of extra protein just adds to the joys of the journey.

Although the midges provided some nourishment, I spent most of today desperate for a banana… and fortunately was able to buy some when I got to Trier (and ate two straight away). German holiday food is fairly low in fibre and after a while one rather misses it!

The landscape changed as I cycled today from very steep hills to gentle hills to very few hills. Trier seems to be on a bit of an flood plain, although with some hills around it, and it meant it was harder for me to find where I was. The expected session of getting lost happened as I came into Trier, although I knew roughly where my chosen hotel was, and at one point I was on the main road with various motorists shouting ‘Radweg!’ at me, which is par for the course.

I arrived at the hotel, went in to check in and asked how much a single room was. 78€ said the woman. WHAT? The guidebook says 30-50€. “Ah,” she said, “but it’s Pfingsten.” Right.

So I went to the other hotel choice which was conveniently just round the corner. “How much for a single room with the Bett & Bike scheme?” “That will be 68€,” came the reply from a young chap. Yikes! So I set myself to trying to charm him with a sob story of having cycled 100km (which they seem to think is a long way) and wanting a rest and the fact that the guide book said 30-50€. This partly worked as he said he’d give me the room for 60€, “even though it’s Pfingsten.” Thing is, the major Pfingsten hotel madness is tomorrow, not today, but there you go. Captive market. So I agreed to the 60 (nearly ended up paying 70 as he shortchanged me, but fortunately I spotted it and he was very apologetic), paid in advance and went for my shower etc.

I can see partly where the extra cost was, because this is the poshest hotel room yet (although I really liked the hotel in Bad Breising, for just 35€). This one even has a hairdryer, which no doubt I will wield to help dry my clothes. It has a TV which a couple of the others have had – I watched the Full Monty with German dubbing t’other day.

Once I’d showered and hung my clothes up to dry I went out for a look around Trier which I had visited briefly on our boat tour last October. It’s a really nice place and the hotel happens to be right near the centre.
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I bought some bananas and, knowing that the shops would be shut for the Pfingsten holiday until Tuesday, bought some M&Ms to replace the smarties which I have nearly finished. In fact, to be shockingly honest, I’ve bought two big bags of M&Ms – one lot of peanut ones, one lot of chocolate ones. Weirdly, despite doing a higher mileage than normal, I don’t feel that I’m eating all that much, so I think I can get away with the chocolate. The mirror in the hotel in Bad Breising was slightly convex (concave??) and made me look thinner than reality which was most gratifying – goes hand-in-hand with the comment that Ian from Trikes ‘n Stuff said, which I often quote, “the more you wear lycra, the better you think you look in it.”

So I did the window shopping thing, plus banana-M&M purchasing. It’s odd going shopping when you know that whatever you buy you’ll be lugging around for the next week or so… concentrates the mind wonderfully. My diminishing stock of cash is still lasting quite well, I think I’ve spent about 400€ so far and have another 500 in cash. I can withdraw some more from my Deutsche Bank account, which I always expected to do, but it would be great if I can manage at least another week on the 500. But with hotels at 60€ that may not be possible.

So I’ve now had my first five full days, have cycled 250.65 miles on this tour (that includes the trip to Harwich from home, 15 miles) and only one thing on the trike and one thing on my luggage has broken. I’m off for yet another pizza shortly (have spotted a very cheap and pleasant-looking restaurant) which is good cyclist food. That’s my excuse anyway!


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