1. I find exploring Germany MUCH more fun than writing about exploring Germany.
2. I have been hooning along the Rhein and Mosel rivers and staying only in the tent in small village campsites. Internet access is hard to find!
I am now in Trier, a larger city near the border to Luxembourg. It has a uni which means it has cheap kebabs and internet! 🙂
It also has a bunch of ancient Roman ruins which I’ve been getting sunburnt checking out today..
What have I been doing before Trier?
Well, I left Heidelberg with the goal to sleep only in the tent, no hostels except for the ones in castles (which I think are cool) and the private one in Trier which belongs to the German Backpacker Network (these are generally heaps of fun!). The first castle hostel in Bacharach turned out to be <1hr away from Rudesheim, making it a fairly pointless stop. The second was in Koblenz and, at the time, I was panicking about getting home to London and trying to cover lots of ground, so I explored Koblenz but didn’t stay there. So, my “tent only” goal so far has been met.
But.. it is getting VERY cold at night here so I am not sure which I regret more – the decision to camp everywhere or the decision to post my arm/leg warmers and thermal pants back to London, wrapped around a beer stein?!
I am really getting into this camping thing so I guess it is the latter 🙂
Last night I slept really well in only t-shirt and jocks. Either it was warmer or the fact I’d done 100k and was totally stuffed helped? Note to self: Don’t skip lunch.
Although the nights are getting cold the days are fantastic! It’s shorts and t-shirt weather for sure and really good for riding (and my tan lines).
After Mainz (did I mention I went to a church service here? Okay it wasn’t a typical one.. they had synthesizers and slides! :D) I headed along the Rhein to Rudesheim (opposite Bingen). Riding along a river is so much better for my navigation skills! Drosselgasse is a famous street and full of pensioners drinking wine and singing and dancing. Scary stuff so I headed around the corner to Hajo’s where they served a vaste range of drinks other than wine! (The only bad thing about riding the Rhein and Mosel is the wine.. it’s frickin wine, wine, wine, wine.. why can’t there be a Beer River or something?). Anyway, got well hammered here and stayed until close with Sophia the bartender asking me questions from German Trivial Pursuit! Yes, they have Trivial Pursuit in the bar?!?! Tried some apfelwein and a strange drink called “Geiss-Mass” which was Asbach (a spirit, produced locally, from wine) mixed with Altbier and Coke!
I should mention my earlier nude run and hatred for “token showers”. These showers for some reason appear in the more expensive campsites and require you to insert tokens for water. Last time I used one of these it was all good and I had enough time. This time I’m lathered up and bam! no water. “FARK!”. Do you think I have another token? Nuh uh! So, I dash across the room and rinse using the basin, before dashing back to the shower. Tip: Buy EXTRA tokens for these evil showers!
Note for Plodder, before I forget, Kolsch spotted as far south as Worms (or was it Mainz?).
Spent 9euro on a ring ticket which got me a ride over the vineyards on a cable car thing up to a massive monument called Niederwald Denkmal. Great view from up here. Then hiked around the hill for a while (with more great views on the way) and took a chairlift down to Assmannshausen. I think it was the first time I’ve been on a chairlift, at least that’s the impression most people would’ve got with the size of the grin on my face!! :D:D
Assmannshausen is pretty dead. The slopes on which they can grow grapes though is friggin amazing! Mildura on its side!
The ticket also included a river ferry ride back. Money well spent. I got off at Bingen and explored this town (waiting for sunset at Klopp Castle) before catching a smaller ferry across the river to Rudesheim. Watching the ferries dock is cool. The current is pretty strong so they have to really swing the boats around towards the pontoons. There’s a constant stream of barges loaded with all manner of stuff going past too. It’s Germany’s busiest waterway I think and very interesting to sit down and watch boats struggle up stream or fly downstream.
In Bacharach (the town that wasn’t far enough away from Rudesheim to stay in the castle hostel) I explored and took a nice photo in St. Peter’s Church of snakes feeding on a woman’s breasts.. don’t ask.. just accept..
Then on to Oberwesel which wasn’t nearly as “olde worlde” cutesey as Bacharach but wasn’t without charms: Schonburg castle, churches, the Rathaus (town hall) and a wine festival that was (thankfully?) not “on” yet.
For all you mountain goat, climber types (huck too!), I know it’s not much I found a 16% graded road. It’s the steepest I’ve seen thus far and I just HAD to climb it! 😀
Turns out it lead on to a viewpoint for “Zeiben Jungfrau Rocks” (or something like that) where the seven rocks in the river are said to be all that’s left of seven virgins who shunned all suitors and then perished running away from some more nice dudes.. Let that be a lesson to all women out there! 😛
Anyway, they were underwater so technically I didn’t see them..
Next stop was St. Goar. I had missed the fireworks in Oberwesel (2nd Sat in September) but wasn’t going to miss the “Rhein in Flammen” in St. Goar (3rd Sat in September). Here are some much better firework photos than mine.
It was only Thursday so I setup camp early and explored the area. The campsite was CHOCK-A-BLOCK FULL of campervans and caravans!! It took me a while to find a spot for my one-man tent!! (I have pics of my poor little tent in the midst of all these “Great White Farks”). Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had heard about the fireworks..
It’s actually a three day festival here with music and wine and stuff happening in both St. Goar and on the opposite side at St. Goarshausen.
I think it rained on the first night so I was forced to read and play Solitaire (I bought cards so I didn’t finish the book too quick) in the tent for a while. Bakeries in this town rock! I should point out that at this stage I’m almost a real cycle tourist with speeds way down and an attitude to take my sweet time about checking places out. Rhein riding rocks!
Explored the castle Rheinfels which was great. I made up a song about American tourists the other day and was singing that under my breath when I encountered a pack in the castle.. it was funny (for me). At one point I was following two chicks into a pitch black passageway, thinking “Oh, so this is why they sell the candles!” and “hahaha suckers! It’s ladies first in Germany too!” hehehe I’m such a Rimmer! 😀 Great views (this is a common theme along the Rhein and Mosel) of Grundelbach valley from the “Uhrturm” (clock tower).
I get the impression from the museum (and lots of other things) that the Germans aren’t too happy about Louis 14th blowing up all their cool stuff! “xxx castle, destroyed by troops of Louis 14th” etc.. all over the country! 🙂
I was a bit worried too when I noticed in the “Apotheke” (medicine/pharmacy) display both Strychnine and Arsenic (or that’s what the German words looked like to me)!
cfsmtb: I have acquired quite a taste for Radler so, if and when I return, you might not be the only one downing the odd shandy at Goat! 😀
“Real men drink.. whatever the fsck I want!” 😀
Town is getting swinging (well, I’d moved onto the Hefe-Weisen Dunkels by now!) with a choice of bands to watch – popular english and german songs performed by a party band, a brass band, some sadass piano accordian music and a *cough* dance party playing some well-dodge R&B shite. All are surrounded by bier stalls or wein stalls.. Germans like to drink!
I had dinner in “Lore’s Keller”. Why? Because there was a guy who used to race at Glenvale in a “Kostrizer Schwarzbier” jersey, black. I wanted it. Anyway, I saw a sign for this beer above the door for Lore’s Keller and decided I had to go there. Simple really. Had a very nice meal of “Schweinschnitzel natur mit Zweibeln, Bratkartoffeln und Salat” washed down with a Ramazotti (a disgusting spirit that I’d never heard of and wanted to try). Some Poms on a motorbike tour arrived later and I joined them. They were a laugh that’s for sure! I have a diagram in my diary which shows the width of “Brownie’s” schlong – “55 ligne”.. as measured, apparently, by a female assisstant in a printing(?) company he worked for!
Also keen to sign my diary was “Luigi” who was the Italian running the show. So, if you ever get to St. Goar, say hi to Luigi and Honorata (who cooks a fine schnitzel) and stay away from bikers! hahaha 😛
After this I ended up wandering between beer stalls and bands, getting my groove on (ish) and trying all the strange beer mixers that are so popular here. E.g. Asking for “eine shuss” will get you half Pils and half Malz beer. Ended the night at a bar run by dudes my age, talking crap to one of the “workers” (they drink more than they serve, I’m sure!). He suggested I call in again tomorrow when he would be on the drinking side of the bar.
I woke up (eventually) and then had to shift my tent so a guy could empty the dunnies I was next to. Doh! Luckily my neighbor was on hand to lend me his hammer again – the ground here is very rocky and even a superman like me can’t push the tent pegs in. I count 22 parked tour buses as I walk into town. Being Saturday, fireworks day, there’s a bunch more activity and heaps more stalls selling all kinds of stuff (mostly food or drink). The population of the town has probably tripled, or more!
I visited the tiny Shipping & Signalling Museum (it was free and open) and it might’ve been more interesting but was in German, except for the pictures, which strangely enough, seem multilingual :P.
I take the ferry across to St. Goarshausen and climb up to Burg Katz and then on to LoreleyFelsen. Then quickly down to the Loreley statue on the river. “Loreley“, by the way, is a famous mythical maiden who was said to lure boats onto the rocks here. It’s a beautiful day for a party, as evidenced by the couple taking the time to, uh, “couple” in the bushes near the Loreley statue..
Tour-bus count from LoreleyFelsen: 33.
I try some “Hackbraten” (big hamburger thing bubbling away in onion stew – nice) and “Sekt”, German champagne, which tastes just like the $5-a-bottle Great Western stuff that comes out at our family xmas’s! 🙂
The fireworks were the best I have ever seen! First, Burg Katz was lit with Bengal Fire and then fireworks were launched from it. Then, fireworks were launched from a barge on the river, quite close to our bank, then they launched from Burg Rheinfels! THEN! Back to the barge for a final, loud, beautiful barrage! Awesome display guys! No wonder so many people turned up. I read they use 12,000euro worth of fireworks? It went for aaaages, getting louder and louder! Yeah, you get the idea. I liked them. I took some photos but I was more often juggling beers..
Met the dude from the night before and we went to the place where the dance party was the night before. This time they actually had some good music and the place was packed. Some guy tried to have a go at me on the door when his missus (I guess?) bumped into me and “I” apologised. When he saw that I was going to remove his head and feast on his still-functioning internal organs he backed down. Tool. Don’t fsck with someone who’s off his head and been on the road for 4 months! ha! grr! etc.. 😛 (I didn’t actually remember this incident until days later.. I’m a nice guy, really..:P)
Yeah, so myself and that dude and the chicks that were at that bar the night before and some of his mates (all names forgotten for some reason! Burp! Actually, I have one in my phone..). Um, yeah so we had fun that night at Hermy’s and around 5am (when they closed??) we moved on to some underground place (Felsenkeller?) where they were playing stuff like Rammstein and while most people were falling down asleep we kept going for a while longer..
Oh yeah, g’day to “Claus” (love the wine cork on the hat look!) and “Nadia” who I had a boogy with earlier at the “Flying Hats” gig. It’s amazing what you will listen to when pissed! Nah, they were playing fun stuff like Twist and Blues Brothers kinda music. I think that was where I found “bar stall dude”?
Eventually, with eveyone falling off their chairs asleep I walked home through the fog. It was cold and the other side of the river was clouded in thick, white mist. Cool!
Couple of hours sleep and then, for some unknown reason, I decided I wasn’t quite ready to leave town? Wonder why? 🙂
Spent Sunday chillin’ out along the river bank and in town, where some bands still played.
Mum panicked me into getting back to London with something she said so on Monday I was packed early. Radler and CaB (coke and beer) with Nutella sandwiches for breakfast. Am I getting feral yet? Hey! I had to get rid of the bottles before I left and I wasn’t just gonna leave them!
Boppard’s museum was closed but I took the chairlift up for the famous Vierseenblick and Gedeonseck views of the “bendiest bend on the Rhein!”.
Through Koblenz I looked at anything I could that didn’t require entering places and continued, but now I was riding along the banks of the Mosel!
(and now I need a piss and you need to do something more productive and perhaps I will continue this later?)