The weather held nicely for another day, although it was 11 degrees in the morning. But more importantly, the sky was clear – that means another wonderful day of riding. After one of Eva’s great breakfasts — smoked fish and baguette, I was ready to hit the road. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my trip than these few days of staying with a German family in a charming little German house eating real German food and generally enjoying warm German hospitality.
Eva, Aljoscha and Mavin – you guys are the best 🙂
Today, I would be riding the 70 kms to Koblenze, and all the guide books pointed out that this was the best part of the Rhine – burgs (castles), vineyards, beautiful German houses and of course, beautiful German people along the way. I was not disappointed.
Although I didn’t see many fully-loaded tourers, there were plenty of cyclists along the Rhine cycle route – and they came in all shapes, sizes and colours. Pretty amazing too, to come across elderly aunties and uncles happily riding along, nicely dressed in their summer best and very fit-looking as well.
All along the riverside where patches of open ground were to be found, people were taking advantage of the warm weather – sunning, fishing, BBQing, frolicking with their dogs, and generally chilling out. Even geriatrics in wheelchairs were out in full force.
I arrived at Koblenze at about 3.30 in the afternoon and headed straight for the campground, located at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rivers. Here too was another famous landmark – the Deutches Eck, another one of many monuments erected to honour Emperor Willhem Kaiser, as well as the colonization of the region by the Order of German Knights.
The campsite was on the other side of the river-mouth and the tents section commanded a wonderful view of Deutches Eck. It was still a bit early as I rode in in to the campsite. The sun was still quite high and hot so I decided to treat myself to a cold beer while I waited for things to cool down. When the shadows became longer , I pitched up tent and then got ready to cook dinner. Dinner was wholemeal buns, Maggi’s porridge with Abalone (yes, I brought some all the way from home), some really sweet grapes from the nearby discount supermarket and another beer. I also found out that in Germany, they don’t seem to give out plastic bags anymore, you have to provide your own bag. Very cool, I must say.
My neighbours were a couple of cycle-tourers as well and another 2 guys on big bikes heading south. They were all very friendly and my immediate neighbour, John (an Aussie now living in US) was particularly friendly, chatting me up until I had to excuse myself.
However, I noticed one thing in particular about John. He was one of those tourers who believed that as long as the equipment works, why bother with fancy stuff. His bike, as was his racks, had seen better days. His racks were also broken where they bolted into the frame and it was held up by small clamps.
‘You’re very lucky to find just the right-sized clamps you need’ I remarked.
‘Oh no, I brought them with me cos they looked like they couldn’t make it’ he replied.
Talk about cheapskates.
Tomorrow, I head for Bonn, the former capital of Germany, and where Beethoven was born, lived and held court for a while.
Distance today :: 75km
Distance to date:: 158km