Wednesday 26th August
Today’s cycling was very simple: follow that there river. So we did…
At a town called Koblenz we turned away from the Rhine and followed the Mosel river instead (a recommendation from Eric’s dad, Stephen). We spent the afternoon enjoying a long, winding river path.
In the evening Eric attracted a couple of admirers when he was doing his unique grip exercises (he is currently obsessed with hand strength). Every day for the past couple of weeks Eric has been finding himself a large rock when we have reached our campsite, and throwing it from hand to hand, catching it in a downwards facing pinch grip. Two old German guys approached while he was doing this, and for a wonderful minute I watched three men grunting over a rock. One guy tried tossing the rock while the other declared ‘Mein elbow ist kaput’. He then pointed to me and gestured that Eric could lift me instead.
Eric looked at me.
‘I could, but I don’t think she would like that,’ he said.
Thursday 27th August
In the morning the sky was looking threateningly grey, and sure enough, sheets of drizzly rain began just as we set off. For two wet and miserable hours we cycled in the heavy rain, passing a surprising amount of fellow cycle tourists who had also decided that they had nothing better to do.
We hadn’t been long at our campsite before the rain began again. The clothes I’d washed and hung up got splattered with mud. Our gear got rained on. Sigh. I cooked from inside the tent, which as always, stayed heroically dry.
There was one last personal catastrophe this evening: the man at reception charged my iPad for me, promising to give it back to me at 8, but instead he forgot and went home. I was left listening to Eric’s snores and the patter of rain on the tent, thinking how pathetically dependent my end-of-the-day happiness was on access to a fictional story.
Friday 28th August
The rain continued all night, and in the morning it was gentler but still definitely there. We both tentatively discussed taking the day off, assuring each other that the rain didn’t sound likely to stop. In fact, I think we were both just tired, as we’d had 7 days of cycling. Time for a break.
We had a day doing what we hadn’t done since being in Maribor, Slovenia: absolutely nothing. It felt great.
I requested two vouchers for 6 hours worth of internet. The man at reception said ‘You can buy a voucher for one hour if you like. This is enough for most people.’ I explained to him that we were addicted to the internet, so it was going to have to be 6 hours each. He sold me the vouchers with raised eyebrows. These older people just do not understand.
The weather did clear up, so we could have cycled, but were both glad that we didn’t. We spent the day reading, internet-ing, food buying and food eating.
Saturday 29th August
Today we were back on the road. It was a misty start to the day.
But soon the sun was shining again. We followed the cycle path along the Mosel River and admired the precipitous vineyards and the beautiful water.
‘Let’s go there!’ I said, pointing to the middle. Eric set up the tent, and we were feeling very pleased with our spot (I was already hovering about with the camera) when – splat! Something black plopped onto our tent. And – splat! It happened again. On closer inspection it looked like half digested berries. We backed off from the electricity pylon and looked up… and saw about 100 birds sitting on top of the pylon.
We quickly moved the tent and all of our equipment out of the danger zone.