Thursday, 9 August 2012

16. July 11th The Crazy Dreamers Progress

July 11th  The Crazy Dreamers Progress

After our hearty breakfast, and confident that we had a stock of clean, dry clothing [this would become something of an obsession] we set off from Remagen and found another benefit in that the cycle route was only minutes away from the campsite.  We were on our way with the minimum of fuss and time wasted through needing to find the route.

We made good progress along the Rhine, which was becoming more attractive all the time.  We saw our first vineyards and noticed tourist boats as well as the ubiquitous barges as we cycled past Rudesheim and Koblenz.  At Koblenz we stopped to admire the mysterious statue of a chap we did not recognise at the confluence of two rivers. which I think were the Rhine and the Main. More focused research will clear up the uncertainty, and I’m sure will take place before too long.

We went through Koblenz, and regained the cycle path as soon as we could, arriving at a good place to eat – one of the few that understood what the word ‘salad’ actually means – and enjoyed a good lunch with both salad and goulash.

It was good that the lpace was so welcoming and comfortable, because we stayed there for hours.  Dave had had a puncture going through Koblenz, and Bruce fixed it, although we had to strengthen the repair.  This was after yet another heavy and prolonged shower came our way, and we sheltered under the canopy at the restaurant table.

We had another encounter with a cyclist slamming brakes on and asking if we were English.  Why were people doing this?  Our new friend turned out to be the ‘Geordie on a bike’ [] who was doing the same thing as us – cycling and camping – and had clocked up 3,000 miles in 7weeks, going through Holland and Germany and a loop that would take him back to Blighty the following week, provided he made the ferry he was booked on.  He was a good bloke, and we were beginning to notice the growing number of the  brotherhood - cyclists with panniers and a determined look, obviously working towards a target.

Eventually we continued on our way [we did 56.12 miles today, slightly below average, but the total set by the location of the next campsite] and admired the continuing views of the vineyards and the typically German towns nestling at the bank of the Rhine.  Passing the Lorelei rock was a bit of an unexpected pleasure, and we stopped for photos again.

The only frustrating part of this day was the fact that we were going down a very long slope, which should have been easy, but was in fact the very opposite because of a really strong headwind.  We stopped a couple of times, being overtaken on both occasions by a dedicated jogger who was obviously keeping up with our pace.

Nonetheless, we persevered and eventually arrived at our particular German town, Oberwesel.  It was a very attractive place with brightly coloured, well maintained buildings and a pretty pleasant campsite, even if there was no tumble dryer.

It had been a good day overall, apart from Dave’s puncture.  We were beginning to accept the fact that there would be rain at some point during the day, planned to make it coincide with our lunch stop.  We had made good progress overall, but were also realizing just how far this journey was going to be.

A really poor photo of Koblenz, complete with huge statue of unknown chap and confluence of rivers we’re almost sure we know.

Another photo of same- it's at the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle. Apparently 'confluentes' is latin for merging and this is the derivative of the name Koblenz.
The statue is of Kaiser Wilhelm and was erected in 1897 sometime after his death. The statue was destroyed in 1945 by an Allied artillery  shell but the people of Koblenz ' wanted their old Emperor back'  and raised the money to have a replacement statue in 1953.
Note the Rhine cruiser in the foreground.

German town nestling

The repair job. Note the umbrellas in closed position – this wasn’t going to last.

Note also that Bruce is doing all the work and I have assumed a supervisory role.

Vineyards and the beginning of the difficult downward slope.

                        Vineyards and the difficult downward slope with Dave and Bruce.

It should probably be recognised that Dave, Bruce, and Fred have all been on a downward slope for some considerable time.

The Lorelei Rock.  Unfortunately we were too late for the sirens to try to persuade us to go for a swim.

Two more photos of the Loreley Rock. Apparently in the old Rhine language 'loreley' meant murmuring [ with todays increased traffic this can no longer be heard], and is probably the basis of the story of the singing maiden luring vessels and men onto the rocks. It is also the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. It is on a bend and has a very strong current and underwater rocks. In 2011 a barge carrying sulphuric acid hit these rocks, blocked all traffic for days and two crew died. We were impressed watching these large cumbersome barges steering around the bend and fighting the current. The river at this point has navigation controls and these operate a one way system where barges do not cross at this point.

Oberwesel seen from the campsite

 This campsite was right on the bank of the Rhine, as was 'Bridgeview', but the location here was a little more scenic.

Setting up camp- you will note Fred just about to descend to the cellar.

Another view of the castle- this must have been built and added to over many years.
As we were going down the Rhine we surmised that there must have been a 13th or 14th Century edict that stated that every overhanging and commanding rock must have a castle, monastery, or some other impressive building erected upon it.

1 comment:

mary said...

Love the a good sense of the fun you had!!