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Days 69 - 73

Day 69        07/26/23

We had a great two days staying in the hostel in Worms. Sarah had set the camera on the tripod to catch the 6am  ringing of the church bells. In just a few block vicinity are five cathedrals and churches and once those bells start ringing the cacophony of sound is absolutely exhilarating. We saw rain in the forecast and decided to button up the bike with our new rain gear additions and hit the road.



Guess what, it was already raining and to our astonishement we found a McDonalds within the first mile. It was 9:00am and it was open! I know you all in the States are thinking, "What's the big deal, MacD's is open at the crack of dawn!" Not so in Europe. We pulled in and I'm thinking a couple of cheese and egg biscuits or an Egg McMuffin with hash browns! Nope, nada, non, nein...They don't serve breakfast and I'm thinking, "How un-American can you get? Oh wait, we are in Germany.

 

But not all was lost. In Europe they have a coffee shop inside of McDonalds called McCafe and you can get all your favorite coffee drinks...like a Starbucks. So we ordered a couple of Carmel Macchiato's and a blueberry muffin. It wasn't a cheese biscuit but the coffee made up the difference.


Back on the road we were riding through fields and fields of storks and herons when we came upon our second sizable animal sighting. The first one was in France; an animal called a Nutria. It  looks like a beaver with a rat like tail. But today we saw a deer standing in a field. I know it should be  no big deal because we see them in our back yard all the time but to us it was exciting to see some wildlife. I'm just reporting the facts. After that, we started wondering if we took a wrong turn. Plenty of factory sightings but no Rhine.



The landscape finally began to change and we got a few glimpses of the mighty river. We had been following it off and on for some weeks but now it was there in full view. We pulled into a Backerie and picked up a few unmentionable comfort pastries and croissants to add to our growing collection of bread items. We ended the day at a nice campsite right on the Rhine, set up our tent, took showers and immediately got hammered by rain. No problem the sky cleared and we relaxed while eating dinner in full sunshine next to the beautiful river.



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 47 miles




Day 70         07/27/23

Over dinner last night we took a look at the forecast for today and decided to book a hotel for tonight. We figured we could get going early around 5:00am, pack up while things are still dry and get on the road. It turned out that just as we packed up the rain started and we were in for a consistant ride of mild to moderate rain for most of the day. At one point, there was a short break in the rain do we stopped to pick wild blackberries that grow in abundance along the trails.



The good news: we finally reached the brochure portions of the Rhine. Castles lined the narrowing Rhine walls. Literally, they adorned the hillsides every half a mile or so. It looked like the set of Princes Bride where lords and ladies and fiefdoms abound. Because we packed up so early we didn't have time to eat breakfast. By 9:00 am we had ridden 30 miles so we stopped into a walled village for some coffee and, you guessed it, pastries. We were also hoping get out of the rain for a few minutes.



Around every turn is a gem of a photograph to be snapped. Unfortunately for us it was overcast and the lighting was not the best to enhance the beauty. We watched cruise ship after cruise ship pass by with no one on deck. We wondered if they were all in bed sipping coffee while watching us pedalling in the rain. I think we both were ready for a nice warm state room at that moment.



At noon, we arrived at our hotel and thankfully they let us check in early. It rained the rest of the day but we had our "state room" now and for the moment did not care about the weather. We ate dinner in the restaurant which offered some excellent homemade dishes. The view from our table overlooked the Rhine and all of the activity that was passing by. We spent a good amount of time chatting with our waiter, a gentlemen from Iran, and the man at the table next to us who was a lawyer from Malibu, California. All in all it was an interesting day.



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 53 miles




Day 71          07/28/23

Woke up to a buffet breakfast served at our hotel. The cost was only 5 Euros a piece so we expected it to be rather simple. We were surprised, and excited, to find a feast laid out before us.

Scrambled eggs and bacon that rivaled anything back home. That alone was like the crown jewels of the spread but there was so much more. I won't bore you with all the details but we had our fill.


While loading our bike in the storage room, Dennis (the lawyer we met yesterday) greeted me with a good morning. I returned the gesture and he asked me about my GPS maps. He was trying to navigate simply by the signage and the help of people on the Eurovelo route. I ended up downloading my maps onto his phone and gave him some quick instructions and we went on our way. I have a feeling I will be getting many texts in the next few days to offer more assistance.


We had intermittent rain throughout the ride but encountered some very scenic spots along the way. The weather has not been our friend and we see nothing in the forecast for the next two weeks that gives us hope. Once again we decided comfort over camping and got a room for the night. A very nice AirBnB in the town of Remagen right on the Rhine. We settled in for the night with a movie and dinner.



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 28 miles




Day 72              07/29/23

We didn't rush to get on the road because we had another short ride today. But the weather was good (not raining) and we were ready for the day.


As we were leaving town (Remagen) we were in for a treat, the Ludendorff Bridge. At the end of WWII the Germans were retreating back over the Rhine and blowing up all the bridges. But in the town of Remagen a commander chose not to blow the bridge to allow more troops to make it back to safety. The Americans saw this as an opportunity and put up a heck of a fight to capture the bridge. Three times the Germans attempted to detonate explosives on the bridge causing some damage but ultimately it remained in tact for 10 days. It was this bridge that allowed the US to cross into the heartland of Germany and speed up the end of the war. Today the foundations of the bridge still stand and it serves as a memorial and a Peace museum.



We rode through an industrial forest today. For those of you who don't get my humor it was a landscape of factory after factory finally giving way to the beautiful Rhine once again. We entered Cologne and found our hotel. Arriving two hours before check-in we waited in the lobby until our room was ready. While waiting for our room I booked a tour for tomorrow at the Cathedral. I hope it is worth it.


In the evening, we took a walk into the old city to get our first glimpse of the cathedral. The dimensions were staggering and a wonder to the eye. They say that the Cathedral draws 20,000 visitors a day and I believe it seeing all the people on the streets and eating  in the sidewalk cafe's.


We decided to eat dinner and found ourselves being entertained by an exceptional waiter. His English was not the best but his humor and charisma were fantastic! Sarah and I had chicken dishes with augratin potatoes. She could not finish her meal but I managed to clean my plate to a sparkling shine. My stomach had no room to spare.


When it came time for the bill our waiter said to Sarah, "You need to finish your meal" jokingly chastising her like a parent. She said she was full up to here as she raises her hand higher and higher. That's when he did something no waiter in the US would dare to do, he told me that I need to finish it. As I said I had already cleaned my plate. I told him I could not eat another bite. Reaching for the fork on my plate he picked it up and stabbed a piece of chicken off of Sarah's plate and placed it on mine. We were all laughing. He was smiling as I took a bite of her chicken and said, "I'm done." It was a memorable moment. As he whisked the plates away he handed Sarah a lollypop, perhaps a commentary on he small appetite. It was all done in fun and he earned every euro of the generous tip we left.



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah

Rode 28 miles




Day 73 07/30/23

We took the day to tour the Cathedral in Cologne but before we did that we strolled the Hohenzollern Bridge or otherwise called Lovelock Bridge. The bridge is covered in locks that people have affixed to the railings as a symbolic way of showing their love for one another. The tradition started in 2008 and some estimate there to be around 400,000 locks to date.



We signed up for a tour of the Cathedral while knowing little about it. It houses or is purported to house, the bones of the three Wise men. They sit at the center of the building in a golden ornate box called the Shrine of the Magi. The building itself has the second tallest spires of all the churches in Europe and it is the largest Gothic style church in all of Europe. During WWII it was hit by bombs but didn't suffer significant damage. We took a guided tour through the Cathedral which was insightful but coming from my background it offered some rather interesting twists.



After our tour through the Cathedral we did a little walking through the old city and I got a text from Dennis whom we had met a few days earlier. He had pedalled into town and was wanting to know what we were up to. We ended up connecting over dinner and catching up on his last two days. Tomorrow we are off again for more adventure.



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah

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3 Comments


So awesome. I think you may have to tell Kevin themselves to download those when we visit you.


We have actually been to that church as well on the bridge with the love locks!! We just love your adventures!!


Ride on!!!!


Monique and Kevin

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Scott Dontanville
Scott Dontanville
Jul 31, 2023
Replying to

How is your adventure going?


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Rod Potter
Rod Potter
Jul 30, 2023

Hey guys, I lived in Germany for three years. Of that time, I think there were only three days it didn’t rain. That was Easter Sunday every year. We didn’t get out and go much of anything for months bc we were waiting on the rain to break. After six months we decided to just do whatever we planned rain or shine. 😊

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