Thursday 15th June – Day 1 of Phase 5

Not a great start this morning. We had set the alarm on the iPad for 5.30am but Di had managed to turn the volume right down and hence we didn’t hear it go off. If Ali hadn’t set her alarm for 6.00am because she wanted to see us off, we would have been in a right mess. But (you are not meant to start a sentence with but) because the engineer in the family had built in three contingency plans we still had enough time to catch the next train.

Said our fond farewells to Ali and Ads and of course Bronte who was looking lovely and clean and headed to the train station. We were 100 meters down the road when Fraser realized he had left the knapsack behind that had our passports, money and iPad in it so a quick dash back to get it. So that is two mishaps and they are meant to come in threes. The day is not over just yet.

We have 499 k’s to do today in a relatively straight line but require six different trains because of the bikes. They are a little cumbersome as we have all our gear for the next two months on them. We will be jettisoning some of it in Aschaffenburg tonight as it is for the upcoming trip to South Wales and Switzerland.

 


As we are over 30 (no kidding) Eurorail make you buy a first class ticket but bikes must go Second class. In a lot of cases they have bike carriages with first class close to them. You do need to secure you bikes with locks on the trains which is a sad indictment. So we went all poonsie today – will be the only poonsiness about this whole trip so we need to make the most of it.


The fourth train from Oberhausen to Koblenz followed part way down the Rhine. On this particular train it was absolutely chockers with bikes as they were all heading down to do the same bike ride that we start on Sunday. Very pleased that our good friend Horst has organised the bike/barge trip well in advance as reckon this is a very busy and popular thing to do.


We passed through Koln (Cologne) and managed to snap a quick photo of the very famous cathedral there.

 

Also saw the Rhine River for the first time.

 

 

Just to give you a little of the geography of this region: the Mosel River flows into the Rhine River at Koblenz. The Rhine River sort of/kind of starts at Lake Constance (Bondansee). We rode around Lake Constance about five years ago and had a wonderful time. About 20 k from the lake is the famous Rhine falls. It then meanders through Germany and into the Netherlands. It splits in the Netherlands to two rivers plus lots of smaller tributaries but essentially they all empty into this delta near Rotterdam. It is such an important transport route today and has been for centuries. Observing today, the amount of river boat traffic is phenomenal. Everything from the flashy Viking boats to barges carrying scrap metal and raw products.


You cannot fault the train system in Europe as it is very efficient and reliable. It is extremely well utilized as well. There has been times where we have not been able to get seats which is why they suggest you reserve them particularly on long trips. This we have taken note of!!!!
Horst and Elfi met us at the train station which was a surprise as we were not sure what time we might get in. It is always such a happy reunion when we see each other. We last saw them on the nb Lucy last July of which they both enjoyed. Horst especially loved steering the boat – another crazy German narrowboater!!!! Hmmmm, I wonder what the other one might be……..

Great to sit in the garden and have a fun chinwag and then we went out to the fair for the evening. The fair has arrived in town for the week and there is always fireworks on the first evening. Actually, the fireworks is for our arrival?!

You know when you are getting old by the rides that you do at a fair ground. We did the huge Ferris wheel and then just watch all the other stomach churning rides. Horst and Elfi took us into the big beer tent and what a hoot. It was full of young Germans with many men dressed in their lederhose and the girls dressed in their dirndls. The dirndls have been very modernized with lots of cleavage!!!!

It was great to watch them all singing along holding their huge steins swinging to the music and they all knew the words. It was also compulsory to not only stand on the seats but to dance on the tables. It was such a lot of fun to watch them. There will be a lot of sore heads in the morning.

The evening was topped off by the fireworks which came from the grounds of the castle across the river. Sorry there are no photos but our battery died on the camera.

There will now be a delay in transmission for the next week as there will be no wifi on our Mosel River bike/barge trip that we commence on Saturday.


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