I woke up and just stayed in bed, listening to… absolutely nothing. The daylight was out but no sound from anywhere. This made me jump out of bed and open the balcony door. WOW! I was looking at a lake surrounded by woodland everywhere, in a small village where everyone was still fast asleep, by the sound of things. It was Sunday morning and all I could hear were the birds singing. Bliss.
It was a budget accommodation which meant I had to get showered and dressed to walk downstairs for coffee, no coffee machine in the room. After a quick breakfast I took the bike out and set off exploring the roads. It wasn’t going to be a big day in mileage but I was told it would be fun.
First stop was to take this photo, of course! The start of the Eifel National Park.
Eifel National Park is a 110 sq km conservation area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, bordering Belgium and Rur Lake reservoir. Its beech forests are home to wildcats, red deer, eagle owls and other wildlife. A Wilderness Trail and cycling paths run past rivers and valleys filled with wildflowers in the spring. The park surrounds a World War II military training ground that now offers guided tours.
The Eifel National Park is home to over 7,100 animal and plant species of which 1,800 are classified as endangered on the red list of North Rhine-Westphalia.
But more importantly, it has the most incredible roads, wide, smooth surface and bend after bend after bend that made Ducati sing all day long.
Before the trip I had new tyres fitted and up to this point I have been mostly on motorways so the chicken strips weren’t so much a chicken but more of a big fat turkey! This was my chance to scrub the sides in, as well. As much as I’ll ever get to do it, of course. I am no track racer.
The route I plotted, in general, was a circular one as I am not keen on returning on the same road I used to go out on if I can help it.
I stopped at the first larger village for a coffee and a walk. The lake around which the Eifel park spreads is huge! There was a camping site on the shores and a random ‘sell your shit’ stall outside a couple of houses which seemed a bit odd but they seemed to have interest from the punters so who am I to judge!
I did like the look of the old Honda that was also for sale.
I stopped by the lake just for a sit down and to look at the sail boats and the woodland around me, smell the fresh air and enjoy the peace.
Soon I set off in search for a petrol station. I panicked a bit because I haven’t even thought about it. The fact that it was Sunday and I was in Germany made me worried as I wasn’t sure how many places would be open. I consulted good old Google and found a few nearby but only one that was open. So that’s where I’ve headed to.
The roads were like a dream, I was loving the corners, the bike was happy with no luggage and it felt we were gliding like hot knife through butter.
After I refuelled I turned into a side road that took me up a mountain with some amazing views and a couple of villages that looked like a picture painting. But no people. It was a strange feeling that followed me throughout Germany – you never see any people in the villages. The houses and streets are absolutely pristine, their front gardens tended to, the woodwork on the houses freshly painted, no rubbish anywhere. Almost too good to be real.
So here are some photos of the bike, just because. Taken in one of the sleepy villages, outside a church and the others on a bend just outside the village.
My next stop was in a place called Einruhr where I had an ice cream. The kind gentleman in the bar suggested I move my bike I have parked on the side of a public car park, to a space outside his cafe where I wouldn’t get a ticket. I sat at the table for a while with a German family opposite me and a girl, of about 7 years old, came to tell me her daddy is a biker and has the same boots as me. Very sweet and I’m glad her parents offered to translate most of it because my German is very basic.
I took the ice cream to eat by the lake then walked under a bridge for a stroll where I came across a swan family with one signet. They came incredibly close to me, no hissing although I was a bit wary of them being this close to me.
The man selling the ice cream spoke good English and proceeded to tell me how many motorbike accidents they have every year. Cheers for that! He said it is mostly caused by male tourists with too much testosterone. Then he reassured me I’ll be ok because I’m a woman. Ok, go figure that one out! But hey, he said I’ll be ok so nothing to worry about.
Here is a rough outline of my route for the day. Not a long day, only 80 miles in total but some miles they were!
My favourite place of the day was a town called Nideggen. Like all the others, I stumbled upon it by complete accident. I didn’t know that at the time but it is known for its (now partly restored) ruined castle and the sandstone rocks. I parked the bike in the middle of the square and walked to the castle. They were just packing up the stage following an event which meant I didn’t get to see it in its full glory but still worth the trip.
I decided to stay in Nideggen for a while longer to soak up the atmosphere and had something to eat. Of course I chose the one restaurant that didn’t have an English menu. Use Google translate, said the waiter. Smart arse!
I did use Google translate, actually. I was ordering pastry filled with caramelised onions and ricotta cheese. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive, I was starving!
What I was actually presented with was the thinnest flat bread I have ever seen, topped with bits of cheese and onions. I felt properly cheated but ate it anyway.
One thing I’ve noticed very soon that I have forgotten about is the smokers. They are everywhere and they smoke right under your nose when you are sitting outside enjoying the ‘fresh’ air and eating your dinner. This is not a rant, just an observation and realisation that I am obviously quote spoilt at home (in the UK) where I don’t seem to notice that as much.
But on that particular evening everyone outside was smoking and I decided that the see-through flat bread was a nutritious enough a dinner for me to leave and not bother ordering another meal of the google roulette.
It was getting late in the evening so I headed back to the B&B where I was greeted by my Turkish friend, the owner, handing me a cold beer. What a man! He then suggested we should go out for something to eat but I’ve told him I’ve had dinner and was stuffed. Hmmm. Think I’ll take the beer to my room, thank you.