Day 4, 8 Sep, Geisenheim to Koblenze, flowing with The Rhine up north

Waking up to a cold 11 degrees celcius this morning ... brrrr..

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 🙂

Even the tailor next door joined in my sending-off

the nifty tailor very kindly, and quickly, sewed together an elastic band that Eva provided to wrap the trouser leg bottom from getting dirty. Thanks, Herr Tailor 🙂 Obviously, you can tell that this Malaysian wasn't very good at handling the cold as compared to the locals.

To get to the other side of the Rhine, I had to take a quick 1Euro ferry. The guy with the gadget is collecting the fare.

And most importantly, the sun had begun to warm up the day, thankfully

The ferry approaching Bingen

I didn't go in to Bingen but it sure looked like a charming little German town

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.

The entire length of the Rhine is marked by distance markers. 529 is Bingen

Castle ruins in the distance, framed by fresh autumn colours

Vineyards, castles and lovely German houses dot this section of the Rhine

One of the towns I passed through

A hotel in Bacharach

The scenery continued to unfurl itself like a canvas

2 aunties commenting on my setup

At this point, 4 modes of transport side by side (from left) -- train, highway, cycle-path and river.

The scenery also blended in with the many forthcoming election billboards

They were all very tastefully done though, not overwhelming and in-your-face like ours.

Postcard perfect

One of many campsites along the Rhine

Burgs, or castles, could be seen at every turn of the river

Near the touristy town of Lorelei

...and where I treated myself to a hearty meal of sausage and fries. Love those big bangers...

'Weingut' means winery. This one looks like its been around for a while.

At times, the cycle path would wind its way in front of houses that fronted the Rhine. Pretty prime property.

Father and little kid behind in a Burley trailer

Just before I reached Koblenze, the cycle path turned inwards through a quiet forest

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.

Koblenze!

The Deutches Eck, located at the confluence of the Rhine and the Mosel

Looking down from a vantage point of the statue -- the Mosel on the left and the Rhine on the right, both meeting at this important and historic point.

I was here! The campsite can be seen opposite the river mouth.

My tent -- a Wild Country Terra Nova Duolite Tourer

John the Aussie tourer on the left and a Scottish big-bike tourer on the right

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.

John the Aussie tourer who was on the last leg of his Mosel tour

Cooking my first meal of the tour with my trusty multi-fuel stove; this one is running on unleaded fuel. A real blast to use...literally, cos it sounds like a jet engine when turned turned up on full heat.

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.

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Distance today :: 75km

Distance to date:: 158km

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