2013.07.05 Friday, Oppenheim
Our first day on the Rhine. Perfect weather for cycling.
Leaving a large city by bicycle is always difficult and Mannheim was no exception. The chemical industry is the mainstay (home of BASF). It uses the riverbanks and the cycle route snakes around docks and factories. We enjoy seeing industry, industry makes some of the good things in our world possible and it is interesting to see how things are done. We managed to sort out the turns but ended up at a ferry that wasn’t running. Repairs in progress. Backtrack to a bridge.
Our first major town was Worms. A different world after Mannheim and with little charm. We have noticed the difference between large-city Germany and some smaller towns, but it is surprising to see it in such a short distance. Perhaps Worms is the Surrey of Mannheim (a Vancouver suburb comparison).
Tonight we are in Oppenheim, town with charm, after 81 km, not all the distance useful, but a good ride. The river is nestled in vineyards here.
The tourists in Oppenheim are German. In contrast, yesterday we had lunch in Heidelberg, full of tourists from every country. After crossing the river into Heidelberg we suddenly heard English, Japanese and Chinese everywhere. After lunch we crossed back and continued to Mannheim to the sound of nothing but German. Odd how quickly it changes. Foreign tourists flock to the major tourist sites and skip the rest. Cycling shows all that is on the route: lovely, ugly, famous, unknown.
2013.07.06 Saturday, Bacharach
A sunny day through vineyards along the river. We found our way through Mainz, a large city. The plan for the day was an easy ride to Bingen, but Bingen was full. A sunny weekend with a festival and every room booked. Another 15 km on a smooth path and here we are in Bacharach, a lovely old town.
This one of the most pretty parts of the Rhine: hills, vineyards, castles, small towns. The restaurants serve the local wines and the towns are full of old timbered buildings.
Tomorrow we plan a day off. We’ll take a boat to Koblenz where the Mosel flows into the Rhine. On the boat we can eat lunch, drink the local wine, watch the castles on the hills glide by and get a better view than on our bikes.
2013.07.07 Sunday, Koblenz
A perfect day for a river cruise: no clouds, hot, good to be on the cool river. As a bonus, we traveled 50 km downstream in the direction of the Netherlands. It truly feels a day off when you make progress with no effort!
Koblenz has an old town beside the Mosel. It is quiet on a Sunday, but the restaurants are still busy. Once again, little English spoken here. I could get by, but Inge’s good German makes it easy. Inge turned on the TV this evening to see if she could find an English channel but ended up watching a long-running police series in German she remembers from her youth.