Main/Rhein 2009 – Wertheim to Aschaffenburg

Day 6 – Thursday 3rd September – Wertheim to Aschaffenburg

Distance: 49.18 miles; time: 4 hours 41 minutes; calories: 3000ish

This morning before breakfast I spent time on the phone ringing around for accommodation in Aschaffenburg tonight, eventually finding space in the Hotel Mainperle at 55 Euro per night. I also booked tomorrow night’s accommodation in Mainz – better safe than sorry! That does commit us to a sixty mile day tomorrow, after fifty today, but we’re feeling strong and when we’re cake-fuelled these distances are easy.

After another excellent breakfast we checked out, rescued our bikes from the underground garage and had a chat with two cyclists who said that women with muscly arms (like us, as we keep pushing our bikes around) are called Powerfrauen. Nice.

As we set off on our way it started to rain. It rained some more. We crossed the Main river and it rained more. And more. And more.

After five miles we were both soaked and decided that we needed to put our waterproofs on. The rain trickling down my neck was yuck! So we found a secluded area and stripped off our tops to put fresh ones on, then our waterproofs. Pippa took her outer shorts off (cycling in just the shorts liner). Not that there was anyone around to see – we only saw about 25 cyclists in the first 22 miles. They clearly don’t like the rain.

Despite the rain and the fact that the path was occasionally loose cinder rather than the normal asphalt, we made progress, albeit more slowly than normal. I had my hood up to try to keep the driving rain off my face, Pippa had to stop to adjust her mudguard again. But after 15 miles the sun started to come out and our clothing started to dry, although the strong wind was cold so we didn’t take off our waterproof jackets. We spent all morning trying to avoid running over slugs. I think I managed it, but Pippa squished one!

Lunch stop was to be Miltenburg and after mistaking a suburb for the place, we found the proper Miltenburg, although the cycle path was buried under a huge market. I bought some Gebrannte Mandeln and Crepe, yum! We then had lunch of Spätzle and Gulasch, warming and hearty. Pippa had a beer, me a tea, all to help warm us up.

As we set off along the Main again Pippa spotted an Internet Cafe so I made use of it to write some of this up, then we trotted forth. The day got warmer so eventually we removed the waterproofs and enjoyed a bit of sunshine, although it was never particularly hot.

Our plan was to have tea and cake at 35 miles but at that point found ourselves on a surprisingly un-cake-and-cafe section of the path; it took another four miles until we found a bakery in the village of Großwallstadt. Pippa had a cherry strudel torte thingie and I a Nußecke, with a cup of tea each, for 2,55€. Bargain! After we’d refuelled I had to fiddle with my mudguard which kept coming adrift, using Pippa’s leatherman and multitool so making some decent use of tools.

The final push to Aschaffenburg was in rather strong winds. We found our pre-booked hotel which was outside the main pedestrian area in a rather typical German city, not the quaint places we are used to (although perhaps we haven’t found the proper bit of the town). The Receptionist was super-helpful and chatty and we put our bikes in a locked garage belonging to their sister hotel, Hotel Fischer. Then after showering etc we ventured out for Internet and food. We have now booked our return ferry tickets for Monday 7th September. We’ll go to Mainz tomorrow, where the Main flows into the Rhine, and then on Saturday we will cycle to Boppard (50 miles) and on Sunday to Bonn (51 miles). On Monday morning we’ll cycle to Köln and from there get the train back to Hoek van Holland and our overnight ferry crossing.

The tour is going really well, we’re finding the cycling great fun, and even the drenching we got this morning hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm. We’re both looking forward to riding our bikes without a heavy load of panniers, however!

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