Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gymBill Nye
After our first night at the banks of the Rhine, we woke up by sun, making her way up over the mountains upstream and a ferry crossing a few hundred meters to our left. Because it was already fairly warm we went for a little swim in a pool next to our sleeping spot. The water was refreshing and we felt great and ready to continue the adventure. We were a bit horrified by the coming scenery of green hills just next to the, but as it turned out we did not approach them now, because we both forgot our necklaces at the Kasbach, were we had our bonfire last evening. We definitely decided to go back, since Max’ necklace was made of a piece of eucalyptus wood from Australia, that I gave one each to my dearest friends and I forgot the power-shell copper wire necklace that Lorna gave me in New Zealand. There is a huge gap between a bought necklace or a self made one. I am very happy to wear them and even more happy that we went back for them. We were surprised how far we actually cycled last evening after a few bottles of wine. It took us around an hour and we actually really found our necklaces. We even thought that our friend from Marseille, just ran over the street, seemed like he forgot something as well, haha.
Good spirited and 10 km negative distance made we stopped in the next town. Linz am Rhein. Thanks to it’s destination next to the Rhine river and its colorful half-timbered houses, it is a hotspot for tourists. Like us, we got caught in it’s flair, locked the bikes and went for a little stroll up the town. Plastered stones surrounded by lovely painted, old half-timber (Fachwerkhaus) houses we made our way up to the top of the town-center. We bought some fruit and went back down, ended up in a typical German bakery, bought some rolls and an amazing bread and got some Leberwurst and Schinkenwurst (liversausage/pate and hamsausage) from the butcher. Equipped with these items, we saddled our bikes left past the town-hall, build in 1517 through the Rhine tower to the banks of the Rhine were we sat down and watched tourist being touristic while every much enjoying our just bought breakfast. Mhh the bread was well good! Same like the meat!
Pretty much from Bonn area you start passing old castles all along the Rhine. Some of them look well impressive, others are just ruins. In general, the Rhine is a very idyllic cycle, due to the changes of scenery all along.
After our excessive breakfast, we caught up with what we cycled back, passed our camp-spot at Bad Hoenningen and soon were making good distances. Our steel-wire horses were unstoppable and we got in contact with our first vineyards and after a few hour of cycling we stopped at the “German Corner” (‘Deutsches Eck”) in Koblenz. This is where the Mosel River joins the Rhine. After the death of Emperor William I in 1888 there was coming up an idea in the state as well as in private circles, to build the Emperor, as a thanks to the three wars for the unity of Germany, a monument. Emperor William II chose Koblenz where Mosel and Rhine confluence as the spot to build the Monument. With a Equestrian statue were only people honored that accomplished exceptional political or military performances, because the horse since long before has always been a ruler attribute.
The official “Emperor William Monument of the Rhine Province” was erected and solemnly inaugurated in the presence of the emperor on 31 August 1897. Bruno Schmitz again had drawn up the plans for a giant, over 37 metres (121 ft) high monument installed, where the Equestrian statue is 14 metres high with a weight of 63,5 tons of bronze, at the tip of the Deutsches Eck, bearing an inscription quoting a verse by the Koblenz poet Max von Schenkendorf: Nimmer wird das Reich zerstöret, wenn ihr einig seid und treu (“Never will the Empire be destroyed, so long as you are united and loyal”).
The base of the statue, which was badly damages in World War II, served as a memorial to German unity from 1953 to 1990. A replica of the sculpture was reinstalled on the pedestal in 1993 after previous controversial discussions, due to the German history.
Personally I think it is fine. It looks great and William I was not the reason for the second World War.
We crossed the bridge and under the cable car, that is crossing over the Rhine from the Ehrenbreitenstein Fortess to Koblenz Town center. We had a little cycle around and sat us next to Koblenz-Horcheim bridge for Lunch. Tuna, sunflowerseed, wrap. We talked a bit with another cyclist that seemed a bit weird with German flags all over the bike, also he was drunk, it all seemed very confusing and left towards south were we crossed Schloss Stolzenfels. From here the scenery changed into beautiful hills to both sides of the Rhine. The cycling was easy, the roads great and we cycled into the night. It was dark, we were tired and desperate for a sleep. We finally set up our camp in Fellen, looking over the Rhine with lit cruisers and trains seemingly flying gentle through the valley, like a mystical snake. This is probably where Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibil, got some of his ideas from.
Looking out for nice camp spots at night is not ideal, so we set us a limit. From that time on we took a great camp spot if it is in the time frame after the 7 or 8 p.m. This helped decision making and eased the mind.
The next morning we packed our tarp (our roof) and saddled the bikes again. Cycling through the Lorelei is simply beautiful. There is literally one castle after another, set on hills full of vineyards. The Rhine is looking more natural and is showing some islands and old castle towns, until Bingen, where the river soreads very far to both sides. Bingen had a lovely promenade where we got us some Bratwurst with mustard and Ketchup, while watching over the river. It doesn’t really matter where you look over the Rhine, most of the time it is beautiful.
After a little cycle we passed the most phenomenal castle so far. It was so different from all the other because it seemed to stand in the middle of the stream. Burg Pfalzgrafenstein.The castle functioned as a toll-collecting station that was not to be ignored. It worked in concert with Gutenfels Castle and the fortified town of Kaub on the right side of the river. Due to a dangerous cataract on the river’s left, about a kilometer upstream, every vessel would have to use the fairway nearer to the right bank, thus floating downstream between the mighty fortress on the vessel’s left and the town and castle on its right. A river chain was drawn between those two fortifications forced ships to submit, and uncooperative traders could be kept in the dungeon until a ransom was delivered. The dungeon was a wooden float in the well.
Islands in the river grew bigger and longer. Still the barges were using the stream to transport goods over the waterway. After Bingen we started approaching Mainz. Cycling through Mainz was not to hard. We got lost a few times, but overall we didn’t got too lost. Thanks to all these lovely Eurocycle signs, sometimes fairly confusing tho. Anyway after Mainz we crossed the Rhine via a bridge. Biggest mistake we did on the whole tour. Cycling in Hessen. How could we have just done that? Pretty much till Worms, we managed not to see the Rhine to often anymore. The cycling routes were in great confition, just not along the Rhine. Somehow we managed to end up at Kornsand. Which was actually really nice. Don’t get me wrong, Hessen is probably great to cycle and loads of free areas, not packed with towns and cities. I guess we were used to the great cycling routes close to the Rhine so far. Close to the Ferry we found a lovey campspot, with a nice beach where we went for a swim, had a little fire and watched the ships as usual.
After taking place in our hammocks, mine luckily with a moskito net, we fell quick into a deep asleep until the morning sun started waking us through the leaves above us.
Next time you will read about passing our first Brezelfest area, another thing was Fisherfest. There are reasons to celebrate all around the rhine at different times. It is vey interesting and fun to experience. More about that and cycling past an atomic electricity area with literally cameras on cameras, about crossing barrier to shorten our detour, talking to other tourers, more of lovely Hessen and finally crossing to over a Bridge to Worms. Crossing the Silversee and swimming in drinking water reservoirs, Massive BASF Chemistry Parks, turkish garden areas, and our encounter with a spanish cyclist, that cycled all the way through france and is now cycling down the Rhine. With finally camping at the banks of the Otterstaedter Altrhein, exausted as always.
If you are a coffee drinker I give you a nice alternative to your usual coffee. How about you but a spoon of butter in in with some coconut milk, cinnamon and curcuma, blend it so its nice and frothy and enjoy the rich coffee. This should keep you satisfied over a few hour until lunch and you won’t have to break your fast. It also reduces your coffee to one cup, which is probably not too dangerous for your system.