I was up early and eager to get going. A new day, a new route and the excitement of not knowing what is ahead of me and where I will end up in the evening got me out of bed and packing my bag faster than my brain could keep up.
After a shower I wandered downstairs for coffee and breakfast only to find the place eerily quiet and noone around, the coffee machine wasn’t on and there was no breakfast. I shouted ‘hello’ a couple of times. Nothing. I knocked on the office door. Nothing. Then I phoned the number that was written on the front door and woke up my Turkish friend and asked for some coffee. It was 8.00 am…
He started up the coffee machine and said breakfast will be in 5 minutes. I sat down for a while but got bored and went back to the room to finish my packing. I was getting annoyed because I wanted to set off and he was delaying me. I heard him call me and I walked into the dining room with a table laid out for two, a sausage and egg omelette on the table with some bread rolls and fresh orange juice.
I sat down and he sat opposite me saying I’m the only guest and he hasn’t eaten yet. Ok… Somewhat unusual experience for a typical b&b but I wasn’t going to complain.
Eventually I checked out and set off towards Mayschoß. It was recommended by a kind twitter follower and having had a quick look on the map, it made sense for two reasons. The road looked fun and it’s a wine region. What’s not to like!
Having arrived at Mayschoß at 10 am, though, I wasn’t on the market for wine and it appears you can’t even get a cup of coffee until 11 am! I rode around for a bit, admired the vineyards that were situated on incredible steep hillsides thinking it must be a bloody hard work harvesting those grapes. I remember having to help every autumn at my relatives vineyard back in Slovenia and they were on a hillside but nowhere near as steep as these. Cue – stop for photos!
Mayschoß is the cradle of wine-growers’ cooperatives. It was here that 18 vintners made wine history when they founded the world’s first wine-growers’ cooperative on 20 December 1868.
You can read more about the history of the winemakers on this page.
I was in need of a coffee so I rode on and stopped at Bad Neuenahr – Ahrweiler. I’ve parked the bike outside the walls and walked in looking for a cafe bar. I left the bike on a small car park on a side, didn’t but a ticket and I’ve left all my bags on the bike, except for the tank bag, so I wasn’t going to hang around for too long.
Of course I still snapped a few pics and the coffee was worth waiting for!
“The hub of the Ahr Valley, Bad Neuenahr and Ahrweiler are a bit of an odd couple: two small towns joined together by government edict. The spouse listed second, Ahrweiler, should come first in terms of appeal. It’s an attractive medieval town encircled by a wall and criss-crossed by pedestrianised lanes lined with half-timbered houses.” This is where I’ve stopped for my break.
“Bad Neuenahr, by contrast, is a spa town. Although its healing waters have been sought out by the moneyed and the famous (including Karl Marx and Johannes Brahms) for a century and a half, it’s rather on the bland side.” And when I was riding through it I did wonder if it’s worth stopping at.
I carried on and this time straight to the motorway. As you can see from the photos the weather was overcast, the winds were quite high and I was cold. Sitting on the motorway where you can go as fast as you want isn’t exactly fun when a motorbike is being blown sideways…
I like the German motorways for several reasons. They have rest stops all along the way, every few kilometres and most of them have a seating area and a toilet. It means you can stop without spending money on overpriced drinks and sugary snacks, works for me. Obviously the relaxed attitude towards the speed restrictions helps as you can ride freely without having to check your speed but you need to make sure you pay attention to the (faster) traffic behind you and get the fuck out of the way as quick as you can! What I’ve also noticed is, the slower traffic in front of you moves over as quick as you get near them and no-one just ‘jumps in’ in front of a bike either. Or ‘don’t see a bike’.
Despite all this, the ride was boring and hard work. I have already put on all the layers I had with me and as you know, I didn’t carry much, so I stopped regularly to warm up and keep my mind alert. I was hoping to have made it to somewhere near Munich but as the day was getting on and I was starting to get very bored I stopped at the next services and looked for accommodation nearby.
Easy peasy, found a lovely guest house in the middle of some woodland not too far out of the way and set off for the last leg of the journey.
I was rewarded. As soon as I was off the motorway the roads have quietened down, I started smelling the trees, the grass, the damp undergrowth of the woodland and the road started twisting and turning and the sun came out! And with that, so did my grin. I found the village and the guesthouse. Another picture perfect village with no people around. Even the guesthouse seemed deserted and there was a key with my name on it waiting in the hallway. The modern day check-in with no human contact. At least I didn’t have to deal with a machine to check in. I think that would have made me rather annoyed. I found my room and carried my bags to the top floor. It was a large room with own internal corridor with a large bathroom and a balcony overlooking the village.
Brilliant. A quick shower and out I went looking for a pub. Except there were none. No pubs, no restaurants and the one shop in the village was already closed. I managed to find a person in the village but had to almost chase them down to ask where to go for food. They didn’t seem very keen on speaking to a stranger. I managed to decipher that the closest eating place is in the village 2 km away. Trust me to find accommodation in the only village with no pub.
I wanted a beer. And I am stubborn. I wasn’t going to ride and drink so I walked. In flip-flops. 2 km isn’t that far… I chose to walk on the main road but soon realised that wasn’t my best call. No pavement, cars speeding past and not great visibility around the corners.
Google maps showed a shortcut, a little lane. But that lane was a field with grass up to my knees. Over I went. In flip flops. Half way through the field I started to think stupid thoughts. What if there are snakes in the grass? What if there is cattle I haven’t seen and they’ll come running after me? What if… By that point I was over half way so figured I’m better off just carrying on. I felt stupid enough already. But it got worse. At the end of the field was a stream that I had to get over to join the path to the village. It wasn’t quite a river but a bit more than a stream. Bigger than just a big step over. No bridges, oh no. However, there was a plank across one section that was leading to someone’s front garden. I wasn’t going to walk back so already seeing me head first in the water I sighed my usual ‘fuck it’ resolution and walked across the very narrow and very wobbly plank. But I’ve made it and I was so happy I literally jumped up and down with joy.
The restaurant of my first choice told me the kitchen is closing in half an hour and even if I know what I want they won’t make it so they’ve sent me to another one. This one was more traditional or old fashioned, not somewhere I would have chosen usually but I had no options. I don’t remember what I’ve eaten but I did get a large beer and frankly, by then, that was all I wanted.
I had finished my dinner and was enjoying another beer watching the sky turn red I suddenly realised I’ll be walking back in the dark. 2 km on a main road with no pavement and no street lights. Luckily there was a path that followed the stream/river for cyclists and walkers I chose to ignore on the way in but it did follow the edge of the woodland and there was no-one around to hear me scream. Haha. I wasn’t really scared, I’m not that kind of girl although I did feel a teeny tiny bit irresponsible for not just calling a taxi.
All in all, a good day. I didn’t get robbed for my flip flops, the moonlight was beautiful and the bed was comfortable.
Day 4 route wasn’t very exciting for majority of the way but have found some lovely bits of the road off the motorway and clocked up a total of 271.16 miles.