Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 3--Züge, Züge, Züge!

And for you non-German speaking readers, "Trains, Trains, Trains!"

Yes, there were trains going by all day long. We weren't as close to them the whole day as we were in the photo above, but we could hear and see them. Even where we are camping we can see the trains. But, back to the beginning...

I managed to sleep until 5:30 this morning! We got everything packed up, breakfast eaten, and we were on the road by 7:55. The first village we came to was pretty quiet. It is Saturday, so I'm guessing it's the same as home--people sleeping in a bit. We didn't start seeing other cyclists until about 9:00.

We stopped at a route sign. The part of the map above is the whole route. The bigger part is the area we were in. Where I am pointing is where we were.

As we were riding along, I could see a "castle" across the river. 

I asked Christian, in German, if it was a castle (Ist es ein Schloß?). First he said yes, then he said, "No, it's a Borg." It has to do with the time it was built. Anyway, I said, "Then the answer is, in German, nein, es ist kein Schloß." Woo Hoo! A whole sentence in German!

Here was a field of poppies. Every person who went by also stopped to take pictures. 

Notice how the road to the right of Christian goes up, but the path curves left and stays flat. Flat is what this whole route has been so far. Oh, there are occasional ups and downs. Some of the ups and downs are because Christian thinks it is the way to go, but then it turns out it is not--usually, those have been the steepest hills. We are still spending the bulk of the day on bike paths such as the one above. The only time the path ends is to go through the villages, or across the river. The route usually seems to take us through the old part of town. I don't mean old, as in rundown. I mean old as in historic. It is always cobblestone streets, and there is always a Rathaus (Town Hall), and one of these poles.
The tree on the top of this one looked fairly good. Most of them I've seen the tree is all dried up.

We came into the village of Gemünden. Gemünden is a great starting place for bike tours because there are two rivers that flow into the Main at Gemünden. Christian's bike group has stayed in Gemünden and done day rides up and down the rivers.

 It was a little early for lunch, so we just looked around the Marktplatz. Then we needed to find der Toiletten. It took Christian two tries asking people before we finally found them. However, this is another cool thing about Germany. They have public Toiletten in every village. And, they are sparkling clean! They are also a good source for water. Perhaps I need to have a Public Toiletten Rating Scale. This one would get a 9 ( on a scale of 1-10). The only thing against it was it's location. 

After the Toiletten adventure, we went back and rode through the rest of the old town. We thought we could just come out on this one street and pick up the route. Not quite. We ended up riding for awhile on the street. We needed to be on the other side of the train tracks. In fact, we needed to get to the other side of the river. We finally came to a bridge, and found the bike route up to it (one of the hills). After we got to the other side and returned to the Main Radweg, I said to Christian, "At least you know another way to go." He said he did not like this way. 

Back on the Main Radweg, we stopped at a hydro-electric plant on the River. As we were leaving, across the way I could see a tractor herding sheep. It was pretty funny because the farmer would periodically beep his horn at the sheep. There was a dog too, but the tractor seemed to be doing the best job.

We came into Karlstadt about 1:00. We were hungry, and also needed to get dinner for tonight and tomorrow (stores are closed on Sunday). First we stopped at a Norma supermarket. It was small, almost like a 7-Eleven, but it had produce. We got food for two nights dinners, plus bread for my lunch, and some Baby Bell cheese--all for only €8.99! Then we went to a Turkish place for lunch. I had the same thing as Christian, but I don't really know what it was--some meat in a lavosh with vegetables and some sauce. It was good, but salty.

After lunch, we got back on the route. Below is a photo of some of the vineyards. They are on steep hillsides. Sometimes, as in this photo, the vines run horizontal, other times, vertical. On the hillside across the river from our campsite, there are both horizontal and vertical rows. The farmers must build strong calf muscles trudging up and down the hillside (good off season training for bike racing!).

Veitshöchheim was the next stop. It was not actually on the route, but across the river. But, it had a cool garden that Christian wanted to show me. We met some people who were very interested in our bikes. They are the first people to ask about our tour. They started talking to me in German. I somewhat sheepishly said, "English?" They immediately switched to English! Man, I wish I could do that with German! Geez, I'd be happy if I could do that in any language! I gave them a blog card. Here's some photos from the garden.

Hey! Isn't that Canada Goose a little far from home?

By the way, the Public Toiletten in this town was very cool. It had buttons to push to open the door. When you were done, you pushed the button to leave, and it flushed the toilet! This one is definately a 10, even though the directions were in German (good thing I travel with my own German)!

On to the next village--Würzburg. Würzburg is the largest town (a city really) since Frankfurt (which we just rode through). It has a very interesting old town that many many people are interested in going to. (Really, quite a sea of humanity!) We saw big churches and the Würzburg Schloss. It is huge. We didn't pay to go in, but I just stepped in the door. I couldn't see much except a grand staircase. No photos were allowed. Here's some photos from Würzburg. The last is a panorama of the castle.
Believe it or not, we actually rode through the crowd over the bridge (well, for awhile anyway--then we got off and walked).

After we left the Würzburg Castle, we had to go back across the river to head to the Campingplatz. We made a few wrong turns before we were on the right road. Christian kept stopping to ask people where the Campingplatz was. Apparently, we just needed to keep going. Finally, we found it. It's called Kalte Quelle (Cold Source). I think it really stands for Rabbit Kingdom. There are rabbits everywhere! It's like the first night, except these are domestic rabbits--black ones, white ones, tan, and black and white. As I went to brush my teeth, near our tents, I counted 10! What is this? The German version of raccoons or squirrels? At least the rabbits don't get into the panniers!

Just in the time it has taken me to write this post, there have been 5 or 6 trains going by. I wonder if they run all night? Can you say, earplugs?

Total miles today: 64.4

Oh, I also had a lot of interest in my Da Brim again today. Two separate guys asked me about it at lunch. I would also hear people say something as we rode by them. 

Here's a final parting shot--everyone needs a big red chair (okay, maybe not this big).

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