Germany, Iceland, France (& that Bike Race) & England

July, 2005

Germany: Day 2 - First ride

Cloudy, warm and humid. Breakfast was just bread and jam which we had bought yesterday.

Despite having slept well we decided on an easier ride today just to get our legs working again. From our ferienwohnung we can see the town, and from there it is a 4.8 km climb to a really high point overlooking the valleys. Of course its only after the climb that one knows this! It was hard work as the first hill of the day, indeed of the european campaign.

The road surface was superb, traffic minimal, and despite us starting late at about 09:15, everyone else hadn't yet started. Curiously we saw many cars driving back the other way to St. Goar, with bikes in racks, on the roof, and in the cars. We reasoned that something was on, but we knew not what.

After the climb we settled in for a while and arrived in Emmelshausen, then on to Gondershausen, and Mermuth, all cute and small and as picturesque as each other and every other town in the district. After eating our bananas we returned as far as Emmelshausen where we decided to take the Radweg. This turned out to be a major route from the Rhein to the Mosel! We did a significant distance along this well made, heavily used, well maintained facility. At one point, Pfalzfeld, the Biergarten of the Gasthaus is right alongside the Radweg - perfect. We passed many many cyclists of all ages and abilities on almost every type of bike, though most were tourers or MTBs. Most of the time we were able to travel at about 30 and at some places 40 or even faster.

Finally we knew we would have to descend the 4.8km back to Holzfeld, and this was a blast!! Now we know why it hurt so much this morning - its not only long but very steep. Cornering, esp hairpins, is really strange on the wrong side of the road.

Back at home we showered and then jumped in the car to go shopping. Fran's first driving attempt was much better than mine, though I was still very scared in the passenger seat, esp in the narrow town streets.

At Emmelshausen we bought lunch at one of the few shops open. We could find not find any supplies however so it was beginning to look as if we would have to brave the crowds in St Goar. We did, but the road along the Rhein was closed to cars!!!!! Bicycles only all the way from Koblenz to Bingen !!! We discovered from a wine shop keeper that this happens only this one day every year. The bikes were again of almost every type (no recumbents) though we saw few brands we knew. Gears were shimano and we spotted the odd roadie running Campagnolo.

Photos are:
views form the front of our house
a forest and a church along our cycle route

No supplies here either (everything is shut on Sunday!) but the fruit shop was open and they had some deli goods as well. Pasta! We were set - 15 euro later we had tomatoes, olives, fetta, onion and garlic, biscuits, bread, eggs and so forth. All this in the backpack along with 2 bottles of local wine and back we walked to the car (a long way up the hill).

Now it was time out to read and so forth was followed by a visit to the pub for Bier... it was now after 18:30. We asked for a dark bier, which was very good indeed. Sitting outside was very pleasant at this time of evening. There were several family groups having dinner and a bier or schnapps.

After our bier we returned to cook dinner for ourselves - pasta with eggplant, tomato, olives...washed down with local Rose (dry, light, and very pleasant) and followed by some yummy dessert things we had bought at lunch time in Emmelshausen.

By 20:00 we were ready to call it a day (yes, wimps!), despite the sun still being with us.