Day 11: Rothenburg to Mainz
Lunch stop at Amorbach.
The last riding day. Again perfect weather and great roads without traffic. Heading west towards the Odenwald and the Rhine, we stopped at Creglingen to marvel at the woodcarving skills of arists of the 16th century before taking in more curves and scenery. The view from Frankenstein castle, a short visit at a local airshow and a final ferry ride across the Rhine before we all arrived back to Mainz. Tired but happy!
Day 10: Ehingen to Rothenburg
Rothenburg at dusk. Time for the Nightwatchman to come out...
After another evening with great food and - of course - good beer, we headed north across the "Schwäbische Alb" to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a "must see" for any visitor to Germany. Morning mists from the night's rain soon gave way to bright sunshine. After visiting the birthplace of the Teddy-bear, lunch in a shady beer-graden the winding roads along the Kocher river took us to our destination.
The mill at the "Blautopf" (Blue pot), a carstic spring, ...
... guess how it got its name.
Day 9: Rothaus to Ehingen
Another full day of great riding, cultural highlights and culinary delights. A Black Forest rollercoaster in the morning, a short stint through Switzerland, two Rhine crossings, wide open scenery on the Swabian Alb, a ride along the young Danube, a great picnic, an amazing abbey church, a few extra curves in the valley of the Lauter... almost too much to list. Check out the pics!
Blach forest roads ...
In terms of water volume the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen/Switzerland are Europe's biggest.
Nidal, the Rhine and the town of Diessenhofen.
Stein am Rhein is a picture-perfect medieval town
Welcome to another great picnic!
Location, location, location!
Monument of the sleeping knight
What an amazing baroque masterpiece!
Day 8: Rest day in Rothaus
Nidal in heaven
Rothaus, smack in the middle of the Black Forest, was our base for an amazing "rest" day: sleep in, ride some twisty roads for a few hours, have a great lunch, ride some more, relax, take a guided tour through the brewery, drink some beer, have dinner.
The "Tannenmühle" is a typical Black Forest guest house. They serve the best trout in, well, at least in the Black Forest, maybe in all of Germany. Or the world.
Departure from the Tannenmühle
Rothaus is the 40th-largest brewery in Germany
Everything here is squeaky clean!
Visiting a brewery makes people hungry. Here is Christianne with her little snack...
... and Jacques even managed to have dessert: a genuine Black Forest Cake. Yummie!
Day 7: Nancy to Rothaus
boot beer time!
Today we say good-bye to Frane and hello again to Germany. The roue takes us from Nancy in Lorraine over the Vosges mountains into the Rhine valley. The Black Forest with its winding roads and Germany's highest brewery (at 1000m above sea levele) wait for us. Grey skies in the morning were soon replaced by a blue sky with few white clouds: perfect riding weather!
Getting ready for the ride in Nancy.
Ready for departure!
Abbey of Moyenmoutier
Lunch in Ribeauvillé: Tarte Flambée with Monster cheese...
... Burger à la Alsace. Jacques was happy.
The old gate tower in Ribeauvillé
The Haute Koenigsbourg is the biggest castle in Alsace and a must-see
The views of the Rhine valley and the Black Forest in the distance were stunning!
Typical Alsatian village
Later, in the Black Forest, on top of a mountain named Kandel. Great views of the Rhine valley and the Vosges mountains in the distance
Belgian Trappist boot beer in front of the Rothaus brewery in the Black Forest. We had to drink it to make space for (better) German beer...
Day 6: Reims to Nancy
A very small but also a very funny group!
An Edelweiss picnic lunch waited for the group at Verdun, where a hundred years ago one of the fiercest battles in history raged.
Some of the over 14.000 (Fourteen Thousand!) graves on the American war cemetary near Romagne-sous-Montfacon.
Every grave has a story to tell...
Place Stanislas is the center of Nancy
Stan (on his podium) and Axel (on the ground) are pointing it out: this ist the best restaurant on the square!
All the buildings around the sqaure a illuminated after dark
Jacques: wow that looks great! I should have gotten one, too!
Oh, wait, I did!
Rest day in and around Reims
A leisurly ride into the hills south-west of Reims, where the world-famous Champagne grapes are grown. Sit back and relax...
"Faux de Verzay" is the name of a grove of trees that grow in a very unusual way. As if they've had too much Champagne!
Yes, Jacques, that's a tree!
Day 4: Across the Ardennes to Reims, France.
The start of another great day: backroads in the Belgian Ardennes
Wonderful view of the Semois valley. What a beautiful, tranquil place!
Bouillon castle served as a backdrop for a typical Belgian lunch: Moules et frites
L'Abbaye d'Orval is one of the few Trappist monasteries that make the famous beer
Nidal can't wait to sample it
... and THIS is how you pour it!
The old church was destroyed in 1794 during the French Revolution
The "Butte de Sonne" offers amazing 360° views of wide open French countryside. And of the rain cells that move across it...
Jacques, Christiane and Nidal: tired but happy in Reims in after a long day.
The "son & lumière" at the cathedral in Reims is a spectacular display of, well, sound & light, with the facade of the giant building serving as a screen. Pictures or even videos can't do it justice, you have to experience it. Still, here are some impressions:
Day 3: Luxemburg to Belgium
Rain followed us for most of the day on our ride along the backroads of Luxembourg and Belgium. It made the green of the forests and meadows even more intense.
Vianden Castle in the rain
Vianden Castle in the rain as a backdrop for Christiane and Jacques
Jacques and Nidal marvelling at a piece of American engineering: the Sherman tank in the courtyard of Clervaux castle, where it fought off German attacks in December 1944
After a good lunch even the rain cannot douse the high spirits.
During dinner we celebrated Christianne's birthday
Day 2: Along the Mosel river to Luxemburg
Panoramic view of the Mosel river and the vineyards
After traveling for two days, following the big rivers Rhine and Mosel, sampling the local wines and beers as well as countless curves in some of Germany's best riding regions we arrived in Luxemburg today. Dinner is about to start and we just can't wait to taste the local brew...
Niedermanderscheid Castle is in ruins, but still worth a closer look
The tower holds the dungeon...
Riding the twisty roads of the Eifel was a lot of fun!
What an amazing view!
The market square of Germany's oldest city, Trier, is very well kept.
Day 1: Fairy-tale Germany
High above the Rhine sits Stahleck castle. Believe it or not, it's a youth hostel! This is what they look like these days...
The Upper Central Rhine Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
View from Dhaun Castle towards the forested hills of the Hunsrück
The "Reichsburg" watches over the picturesque town of Cochem on the Moselle. Not a bad view from the dinner table after a great riding day.
In Bavaria, this would be a regular size beer. We're not in Bavaria, but the stuff is still veeeeery good!!!