The Upper Middle Rhine Valley

May 16, 2015

First off, I must apologize to the town of Bingen for unfairly calling it a dump.  While it’s not going to win the Rhine’s most charming town award, it’s a perfectly fine town.  Our problem is that we missed most of it!  Yup; we discovered it as we were heading out.  Sometimes, you just don’t venture very far when you’re tired, cold, hungry and on a bike.

An idyllic view of the Rhine
An idyllic view of the Rhine

Today was spent riding through the Rhine gorge.  Above the river are impossibly steep vineyards, and alongside the river, on both sides, are very active train tracks.  And I mean active; we saw dozens of trains, both passenger and freight.  The river, too, is transporting oodles of people and freight — barges, cruise ships, day cruises.  It’s a busy place, yet picturesque; a working river that has maintained its charm.

Another castle
Another castle

Then there are the castles.  Every time we rounded a bend, there was another one perched on the top of a hill.  Some are crumbling, most are well preserved, and some are active tourist attractions with cafes and umbrellas.  There was no amount of charm that could entice us to even consider climbing up to one of them.  It’s the flat lands for us.

The tiredness is starting to set in.  Jeff is still only a few days post chemo, and I, of course, am not trained.  The repeated days on the bike, and hours spent outside, all day take a toll.  We’ll be cruising in a few weeks, but for now, we ache all over.

We spent the night in Boppard, another lovely town on the Romantic Rhine. After the previous night’s hotel debacle, I opted for a very civilized river front hotel.  I don’t know how Jeff goes bike camping.  I crave comfort after a day of cycling.  A shower, dinner, wine, clean sheets.  Ahhhhhh.

Tomorrow should be an easy one. We’ll ride a short 20KM to Koblenz, then take a train to Saarbrücken, which is on the Saar River, right by the French border.  The current plan, always subject to change, is to cycle along the Saar and Mosel rivers, back to Koblenz, then continue north on the Rhine until it becomes too industrialized for our tastes.  I’ve got a hankering to make it to the Netherlands this trip; we’ll see.

May 17th, 2015

The cycling today was short, but delightful — sunny, quieter than yesterday, and equally as lovely.  Before we knew it, we were in Koblenz, where things got more complicated.

Caught in a marathon
Caught in a marathon
In Germany, even nuns bike tour!
In Germany, even nuns bike tour!

I’m just going to say it now:  Our tandem and trailer combination is a beast in cities.  It’s fine riding around the countryside, but trying to navigate it in traffic, crowds or on public transportation is not for the faint of heart.  It’s enormous, heavy, unwieldy, and wants to fall over, or jack-knife at the slightest provocation.  Today we had to jump through hoops and resort to stairs when the tandem was too big to fit into bike specific elevators. And then there’s the crazy dash onto the train, with the tandem and trailer separated, dodging throngs of people as we search for the bike car.  Jeff got a good laugh out of my blood curdling scream “NOOOOOOOOO!” when I thought the train doors were closing on us before we could make it in.

The beast on the train platform
The beast on the train platform

But all’s well that ends well.  We made it to  Saarbrücken and even had dinner in a Mexican restaurant.  European Mexican restaurants are always a crap shoot, well actually, worse than a crap shoot.  As usual, this one wasn’t very authentic, but it tasted good and had lots of vegetables.  No complaints here.  We’re ready to get on the road.  Saarbrücken is way too big and crowded for us.

They call this a margarita? I swear, I wasn't even tipsy when this was taken.
They call this a margarita? I swear, I wasn’t even tipsy when this was taken.

6 thoughts on “The Upper Middle Rhine Valley”

  1. Lovely to participate, vicariously – from an armchair- in your adventure ! You’re quite a writer Lissa ! You should try where I live, I swear there’s not a foot of flat ground. Even the old ladies have thighs like tree trunks
    Enjoy xxx anne

    Like

  2. You should be a travel writer, Lissa! Well, actually, you ARE one! Very entertaining commentary. So fun to live your adventures vicariously. Sounds exhausting, though. Yea for margaritas!

    Like

  3. So look forward to reading about your adventures! I agree with the other folks…you are quite the writer!!! I can’t imagine doing what y’all are doing, but it is so much fun to hear about it through your eyes! Be safe!

    Like

  4. Lissa and Jeff — it’s so wonderful to partake vicariously of your adventures. Much more strenuous and exciting than the Wissahickon, yet we miss you and the doggies here!!!! Hope you continue to have a wonderful trip! Hugs and Kisses, Debbie

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s