Cycling up the Rhine, or somewhere thereabouts…

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Saturday 22nd August

Miles: 44

We had decided that a laid back day of cycling was in order, so set off at the leisurely time of 9.45.

We followed the Rhine on the French side and spent the day cycling through little French villages and cycle paths surrounded by fields and forests.

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We followed these signs, which are part of a European cycle network.

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We saw a lot of these pill boxes, which I guess must have been used during the Second World War.

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The weather was pleasant and the cycling was easygoing. I found myself missing the Austrian Alps, while at the same time being very glad that we were no longer there!


Sunday 23rd August

Miles: 63

We set off early and cycled until we found a picnic table overlooking the Rhine for breakfast.

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It wasn’t too long before our route took us back to Germany. We took cycle paths through forests, farmland and alongside the Rhine. The section of the river we have seen so far has been fairly industrial, but there are still some nice views.

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As it was Sunday the cycle paths were full of people who were out for their Sunday bike ride.

We came across what looked like a local band playing in the afternoon. I stayed and listened for a few minutes until Eric (who was grumpily still sitting in the saddle) said that we had a long way to go and we should keep moving. He also pointed out that they were a terrible band. I wouldn’t have picked that word myself, but… it was kind of true.

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Every supermarket we saw was closed today, but luckily petrol stations around here seem to act as little supermarkets, selling things like fresh bread, eggs and tinned food. In the evening I cooked a basic dinner at our campsite (which was cheap but rather dismal) which we ate in the tent as it was raining.

Eric complained that I am not feeding him enough. We had a protracted debate about his nutritional requirements. My chief argument was that he is too greedy.


Monday 24th August

Miles: 50

We were up and out of the campsite early, and were soon enjoying some cereal on the curb of a delightful Lidl car park.

We took to the roads to get some miles in until we reached a town called Worms (hehe) where we then joined the cycle path network once more. This turned out to be a bad move. 12 miles into the cycle path it disappeared, forcing us onto some grass. Here’s Eric looking annoyed (always the perfect time to shove a camera in someone’s face).

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When we found the path again it turned out that the section we needed was closed, meaning that the route we had taken was a waste of time.

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We joined the roads again. The road we needed was closed. The alternative route was for cars only. We found an alternative alternative route. Eric complained that Germany was not as efficient as he had been led to believe.

We stopped at a campsite which turned out to be free, which was an unexpected treat! Two other pairs of cycle tourists joined us as well, one of which had camped next door to us yesterday too.

There had been on and off rain all day, but it really started in earnest as we arrived at the campsite. We were fairly sheltered underneath some large trees, so it wasn’t too bad (though all of our gear is now wet again). Here’s our soggy camping spot.

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I had cooked Eric an almost confrontational extra amount of food after yesterday’s discussion. I didn’t think he would eat it all, but of course he did.

After dinner the weather cleared and I took a little walk along the Rhine.

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Tuesday 25th August

Miles: 53

This morning we debated whether it was worth joining the cycle paths again, or just taking the roads. We decided to try the cycle paths. They took us through some pretty towns and vineyards.

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However, the signs were often ambiguous, or sometimes just missing! We gave up when, after following signs to Mainz, we came across another sign to Mainz which was pointing back the way we had come. Frustrated, we joined the main roads again.

They took us uphill, exposing us to a strong headwind which slowed us down. We cycled through farmland, battling the wind.

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Just before lunch we tried joining the cycle network again, but after 5 minutes saw that the path we needed was closed, and so turned back around.

We rejoined the road only to find that another cycle path we needed was closed too.

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I have never encountered a country that has so many roadworks going on at once!

Anyway, by mid afternoon we actually did find a really good cycle path along the Rhine, with some beautiful views. Finally, this was the kind of thing I had envisioned when we decided to cycle the Rhine Valley.

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It seemed that we had finally reached the touristy bit of the Rhine. There were cycle tourists (and regular tourists) everywhere, and castles popping up around every corner.

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We stopped at a good campsite overlooking the river, and dried out all of our gear in the sunshine.

Rhine, we finally found you. Considering that it’s a massive river it was surprisingly difficult!

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