From the Main to the Lahn

I am woefully behind on my postings.  The days are so full and tiring.  I sit down at night to write and can barely keep my eyes open.   I have also just realized that we haven’t taken a single picture of either of us in days.  We’ll try to do better.

Art along the path.
Art along the path.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Main River, even with the persistent head-winds.  Not every kilometer of it was picture perfect, but the whole package was wonderful.  We went through some lovely little towns; Lohr and Wertheim, in particular, stand out.

Despite our leisurely pace and easy days, we made it back to Frankfurt, with nine days to spare before Jeff’s chemo in Essen. We need to stay close to Essen, so decided to follow the road less traveled, the Lahn River route.  And this time we’re going with the wind!   It’s tough getting the timing right when planning bike travel. Weather, terrain, mechanical failures, conditioning, illness … or just a change of mind … can throw a curve ball into any plan.

A peaceful section of path
A peaceful section of path
Old and new
Old and new

The Main cycle path took us right into Frankfurt, which was less stressful than I had been anticipating.  From Frankfurt we took a train to Marburg, our starting point for the Lahn route.  Now Marburg, that is one cute city.  They even have a Gummy store … everything gummy, from bears, to pizzas.  I kid you not.  It’s a lively college town, with a great medieval section, perched on the top of a hill.  We stayed in a hotel below the old town, right across from a public elevator that went up many, many stories before opening out into the old town. Very cool.

The bike path entering Frankfurt.
The bike path entering Frankfurt.
A gummy pizza.
A gummy pizza.
A group of canoeists entering a manually operated lock.
A group of canoeists entering a manually operated lock.

We thought the Lahn would take us four days to ride, but we’ve pretty much finished it in three.  The Lahn was interesting.  Pretty terrain, more hills (which translated into more climbing on the route), and much less touristed than the other routes we’ve done.  In fact, Marburg was the only town mentioned in our Lonely Planet guide.  We spent a night in Limburg, a pretty town with a lovely old cathedral that had been bombed in 1945 and substantially restored.  It’s becoming a familiar sight in churches and various tourist attractions:  A section with pictures showing the building pre WWII, then in rubble after being bombed.  Some of the less fortunate cities we go through have almost no medieval buildings standing.

Some half timber houses in Limburg.  It's not an optical illusion.  The house is, indeed, listing to the left.
Some half timber houses in Limburg. It’s not an optical illusion. The house is, indeed, listing to the left.

I’m in Bad Ems this morning as I write this.  It’s one of those old bath (bad) towns, with tired old grand buildings from a bygone era when its natural thermal bath healing spas were popular.  We’ve seen this kind of towns for years.  As soon as I hear Bad in a town’s name, I expect a place just like this.  I like them.

View from an Abbey on the way to Bad Ems.  The climb up had a 16% grade!
View from an Abbey on the way to Bad Ems. The climb up had a 16% grade!

While riding the bike paths, we find that we keep seeing the same cyclists over and over.  It’s a bit of a “tortoise and the hare” scenario.  We’re pretty fast, particularly on flat terrain.  Tandems are made for the flatlands.  But we stop a lot.  A whole lot.  We’ll often pass the same group half a dozen times in a day.  After a while, we almost feel like friends.  We wave at each other, and sometimes get to talking.  It’s great fun.  It’s amazing who you see on a bike here.  All ages and shapes, some on e-bikes, some carting around their dogs in baskets or trailers, little children riding amazingly long distances.  I just marvel at it.

Everybody likes to bike tour, even dogs!
Everybody likes to bike tour, even dogs!

We still have six days before we need to be in Essen.  After much deliberation, we’ve decided to continue north on the Rhine, starting in Koblenz, where we left it for the Moselle. If it’s too congested, we’ll come up with a plan B.

Cherries!  I always stop to pick ripe fruit!
Cherries! I always stop to pick ripe fruit!

These last two pictures are for a special little boy, Seth, who is convinced that Jeff is Spiderman!  We spotted them many miles apart; who knows why.

Spiderman in Marburg.
Spiderman in Marburg.
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Spiderman along the road