Romancing on the Rhine!

Trip Start May 04, 2013
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Trip End Jul 07, 2013


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Flag of Germany  , Rhineland-Palatinate,
Saturday, May 25, 2013

21st May to 25th May – the overnight vehicular ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam was uneventful. You had to tie down your own bike as the crew wouldn't do it – don’t know why? Anyway the crossing was smooth, the food average and the cabins small. Kerrie drew the short straw and slept in the top bunk.

We arrived in Amsterdam about 9.30 am and were off loaded. We got in a line of fellow bikers and had a female customs officer who was only interested in seeing that your eyes matched those of your passport! As if she could tell!

We were soon on the motorway and it was cold, bloody cold. We layered up and pressed on. You will have to imagine this part of the trip as it was way too cold to take off the gloves to take pictures while on the bike. For some reason our Tom Tom GPS took up 30 km down the motorway and then 30 km back to the start point – don’t know why?

We headed into Germany and soon discovered that the autobahn is THE road to travel on. The Germans have it sussed when figuring out how to drive safely at high speed. We sat on 130 kph most of the way and were regularly overtaken – even by a Toyota Echo!

We found Boppard which was to be home for the next four nights. It is a beautiful small village right on the banks of the Rhine River. Our bedroom had a balcony overlooking the river – what a view!! We were amazed at the speed of the flow of the river – almost like rapids in parts. We marvelled at the amount of traffic on the river – ferries, cruise ships, small vessels but most of all the multitude of cargo ships going up and down the river past our window. Coal, containers, cars, tractors, and enclosed vessels carrying who knows what ran up and down the river in a continuous stream. One of the staff in the hotel says there are more vessels on the river than there are cars beside it.

The next day we took a ferry ride upriver from Boppard to Rudesheim, a distance of about 40 kms. The views on the way up were spectacular from every angle. Almost every cliff top had a castle in varying states of preservation – some are still used as hotels for the many tourists who flock to this area in summer. Each town has a ferry stop and people use the river as a taxi service as well as a tourist route. Many bus tour groups get on and off depending on the itinerary of their tour. When we reached Rudesheim, we disembarked and wandered around the town looking in detail in each shop – read trying to keep warm! Chris and Kerrie enjoyed a warm Rudesheim Coffee (laced with brandy) and Greg even spent a penny (50 Euro cents) at the facilities. It took 4 hours to get to Rudesheim and only 2 hours to get back due to travelling downstream on the way home with the current at our backs.

On Friday the 24th May we rode the bikes following the banks of the Rhine down to Bingen which is 40 km upstream. We stopped at Bingen for morning tea and to warm up. We then caught a vehicular ferry across the river to Rudesheim and then rode 60 km downstream to Koblenz. We stopped at the Loreley statue on the way back and then stopped again for lunch in Kamp Bornhoffen – the best Caesar salad Kerrie has ever eaten! Koblenz is at the intersection of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. This is where many of the cruise ships are berthed for the luxury Scenic Tours we see advertised at home all the time. It was then back to Boppard for dinner and bed. Hoping the weather is fine to ride the Nurburgring tomorrow!

In 2011, on our last trip, we rode from the MotoGP at Assen with Dangerous Darren and Fabulous Phil with high hopes of riding the famous Nurburgring. Fortune was not with us then - the track was closed for maintenance after a weekend of car racing - bugger! This time we had done our homework a little better and knew that the track would be open for tourist riding laps on May 25th from 8am to 7pm. It was quite foggy over the Rhine when we got up this morning so we delayed our departure until 10am - quite late for us. The decision paid off as we rode out in sunshine eventhough it was still cold. We stayed off the Autobahn and rode through Koblenz to ride along the south side of the Mosel River. Very scenic but we did not see as much river traffic or as many castles on Cliffs. The river looked as though it was in flood and several moorings were floating well away from the shore. We were to turn right at Cochem towards the Nurburgring but when we saw what a pretty place it was, we decided to stop for morning tea.  There were many bikes already parked so we figured it must be a good stopping spot. No sooner had we parked the bike than a parking officer came and asked us to move. This we did and followed his directions to a new parking spot - followed by 10 or so other bikes. A yummy morning tea and a few photos of the town and we returned to our bikes only to discover all the other bikes gone and a small gift on each of our bikes - a parking ticket! The 15 Euro fine ticket was pocketed by Chris as a memento of the trip and ours was strategically placed on our bike by Greg (so that it would blow off), never to be seen again. It worked!

We continued our ride to Nurburg, purchased our 26 Euro Ring-O Card and rode off to find the start line for our much anticipated ride around the Nurburgring Track.  It did not disappoint. Greg and Kerrie started ahead of Chris but it was not long before we were overtaken by the MV Augusta (was that Agostini on board???) as well as every other vehicle on the track. There were all makes and models of cars on the track - you can even hire a car just to ride the circuit. We were passed by everything from minis, Ferraris, VW Golfs, station wagons, the odd bike and our favourite - the Lotus! The 21km circuit was very interesting, especially the corners when cars were coming up fast from behind and we were not sure what line on the track they would take. We took the line closest to the right and did our best to stay out of their way! We think we set the record for the slowest ever lap of the Nurburgring!

After achieving our goal of riding the circuit and returning safely to the start we mingled and watched others going out on to this famous piece of tarmac to test their skills. The steady stream of traffic entering the track did not let up for the hour that we watched.

Our ride back to Boppard for our last night in this beautiful part of Germany was scenic and we even got to ride a few switchbacks - hopefully preparing us for the some of the rides over the mountain passes that we will do over the next few weeks. Off to Rothenburg tomorrow.




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Comments

Christopher on

So who is related Chris to Ago or MV Agusta to Ago?

Craig on

You don't get the perception of the cold from your pictures but it sure is beautiful. Coffee with a Tot (fantastic). Still envious

Sandra on

I am not envious of the cold but the Rhine photos are bringing back lots of memories, how many vineyards and castles can they get on those mountains!
Keep warm, hopefully you will start to get some better weather soon. Loving your autobahn story but seriously you have to get the speed up Greg, come on GO GO GO!!!!! Ride safe. S&S xoxo

parkdel on

Loving your blog - keeping notes of lots of new places for maybe our next adventure. Stay safe and keep them coming!

Jo and Mike on

Enjoying every word and photo. Have been watching Giro d'Italia. Hope the weather improves before you reach those high passes!

Rachael Gillin on

just purely jealous..and to think the daughter sold her Toyota Echo..bugger, never did get a chance to cut loose in it.
safe travels

Gregg Williams on

Awesome trip so far guys!! Stuck on counter......Keep having fun!!

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