August 27 to September 27, 2013.
This trip unfolded as follows: fly to Paris, take train to Metz, bike down the Mosel to Koblenz, bike up the Rhine to Muhlhouse, then return to Paris.
The following table shows the trip day by day.
DATE Distance Total City Hotel
27-Aug-13 Fly Toronto Airport 28-Aug-13 0 0 Metz Kyriad
29-Aug-13 35 35 Thionville Des Oliviers
30-Aug-13 43 78 Remich Villa Belle Rive
31-Aug-13 44 122 Trier Astoria
1-Sep-13 46 168 Neumagen Osteria Romana
2-Sep-13 49 217 Traben Central
3-Sep-13 56 273 Cochem Am Markt
4-Sep-13 42 315 Winnigen Adler
5-Sep-13 51 366 St Goar Winzerhaus
6-Sep-13 29 395 Bingen Café Koppel
7-Sep-13 0 395 Bingen Café Koppel
8-Sep-13 29 424 Bingen Café Koppel
9-Sep-13 0 424 Mainz Advena Europa
10-Sep-13 15 439 Worms Huettl
11-Sep-13 35 474 Speyer Amadeus
12-Sep-13 25 499 Germersheim Germersheim Hof
13-Sep-13 52 551 Karlsruhe Am Karlstor
14-Sep-13 0 551 Karlsruhe Am Karlstor
15-Sep-13 45 596 Seltz Des Bois
16-Sep-13 33 629 Strasbourg Citadines
17-Sep-13 629 Strasbourg Citadines
18-Sep-13 629 Strasbourg Citadines
19-Sep-13 58 687 Allmannsweier Parkhotel
20-Sep-13 36 723 Marckolsheim Loges du Reid
21-Sep-13 27 750 Colmar Beau Sejour
22-Sep-13 7 757 Mulhouse Residhotel
23-Sep-13 757 Mulhouse Residhotel
24-Sep-13 41 798 Belfort Boreal
25-Sep-13 798 Belfort Boreal
26-Sep-13 9 807 Paris Comfort
27-Sep-13 807 Toronto Airport
Wednesday August 28 – Paris airport to Metz
We flew Air Transat again. This time we got the Option Plus package. It was worth it, especially the priority check in and priority baggage. The bikes arrived in good shape. As we took the tape and bags off ourbikes, we talked to 2 men who were waiting for their bikes to show up. They were going to bike from Biarritz on the Atlantic over the Pyrenees to Barcelona! They were from Waterloo and knew friends of ours. Small world!
We walk about 1 km from terminal 3 to 1 to get the RER B train to Paris Nord. We use a special turnstile for bikes. We then get a lesson in how to take abike down an escalator from friendly security guard. He shows us where to stand on the platform to get the bike car. At the Gare Nord we take bikes up a long escalator. No problem. From Gare du Nord we walk 600m to Gare de l’est.
Metz is in Lorraine. Lorraine was taken over by the Germans in the 1870s. The train station in Metz was built by the Germans then.
After a drink we look for a restaurant. We end up back near hotel and eat there. Vege penne for Judy and duck for me. It was pretty good. Really tired.
Next is the market where we buy a baguette for lunch. We find the Mosel Bikeline map book at the tourist office. We are good to go. The Mosel valley is wide here. No towns on the river today. We pass an IKEA distribution center with 90 loading docks!
The main square is hopping. You could not do this in Ontario with our antiquated liquor laws!!!
We stop in Bernkastel-Kues for lunch. There is a wine festival on. We check out a wurst grill place. The half meter one is too long, so we split a shorter one. Judy gets a free brotchen to eat hers. An hour later we stop for coffee and talk ourselves into splitting an apple kuchen. With a dusting of icing sugar, it was so good.
Our last day on the Mosel. The trail is rough for the first 5 km. Then we get into Koblenz. The Mosel ends at the Rhine. We head south up the Rhine. We find a book store and get 2 bikeline books for the Rhine. Just out of Koblenz the bike trail is under repair and we have to detour. The detour was in bad shape, fortunately only 2 km. Then a mix of dirt, rough asphalt and cobblestones. Good thing we don’t have false teeth! Then the trail changed to new asphalt.
We have a nice hotel near the centre. There is wine festival on in Bingen and they are starting early on Friday afternoon. Every square has different wineries set up to sell their wines. You pay a 2 euro deposit on a wine glass, then go around buying whatever. You get 2 euros back upon returning the glass. I am not ready for wine, so we find an Italian restaurant run by an Indian family and get a German beer. By dinner time the town was partying. We found another Italian restaurant, run by Italians and had a good pizza. We wandered around the squares. Three of them had bands. One even played German music! 🙂
Saturday Sept 7, 2013 – In Bingen
It rained overnight and this morning. The forecast is not good so we walk around town. Very pleasant. We walk a ways up the Nahe River which comes into the Rhine at Bingen. There is stone bridge over the river which was first built by the Romans.
We climb up to the burg Klopp for a view.
Dinner is greek tonight – quite good. The town is hopping again. This time I buy a bottle of red wine. We sit at a table and listen to a blues band. A real party in the streets.
I get flu overnight – shivers first then sweats. Wake up really draggy. We decide to take train to Mainz. Nice hotel near center. I crash for a while. Not a great day.
As we approach Speyer the rain stops and the rain gear comes off.
Speyer is very pleasant small city. We ride down the pedestrian only main street. The Speyer Cathedral (The Dom) was originally built in 1020, then rebuilt in the 1700s. It is the largest preserved Romanesque cathedral in Europe.
The old city gate is one of the largest and most architecturally significant gates in Germany. The bottom part is originally from 1250, built on the ruins of a previous tower. The middle part is from 1514 and the roof from 1710.
We go for a walk. There were many empty army barracks.
Good paved trails. There is a detour that takes us inland and adds 7km to the trip. We do get to see some smaller towns. Coffee in Leimersheim, lunch in Woerth. We have trouble finding route to bridge over Rhine to Karlsruhe. Finally a fellow on racing bike leads us there. Long bridge, separate lane for bikes.
We get lost twice more going into Karlsruhe, but soon got straightened out. Busy city, but good bike lanes. Hotel is near center. Deceiving as it does not appear large from outside. Late arriving (5pm) so head out and find restaurant for drinks and food. Busy in the downtown on Friday night. Too cool to sit outside.
Decide to take train at Drusenheim. Buy tickets at machine – took a few tries to figure out right slot to use for a credit card!
Our hotel was a block away from the “Homme de fer” terminus. It made it easy to get around the city.
The Strasbourg Cathedral was the tallest building in the world from 1674 until 1847. It is a gothic masterpiece with thousands of carved figures. The organ was beautiful. The astronomical clock was built in 1843 and replaced one from 1574 which replaced the original from 1354. The latest took 1 year to design and 5 years to build. Besides the clock, there is a perpetual calendar, shows the position of the sun, moon and planets.
From the cathedral you can walk to the well restored medieval buildings in the “Petit France” area. The river Ill flows through this part of Strasbourg There are canals going off the river in many places. We took a boat cruise which gave a good view of the whole city. Then we walked around the very interesting buildings.
We took a tram out to the European Parliament building. It was built in 1999. It has a unique circular design. It was difficult to determine where the entrance was. We tried to latch onto a group going into the building, but we were curtly told to leave. We later found out that to get into the building you have to book online months ahead. Also, you have to be an EU citizen to get in! At least the tram ride was interesting.
We really enjoyed our 2 days in Strasbourg.
The rain is very light and off and on. Finally the sun comes out as we arrive at our destination. We make schnitzel (last nights leftovers) buns and eat on bench in square.
The bike path is excellent. There are 41 locks up to Montreux-Vieux where we catch the train to Belfort. We finally see a sailboat (no mast) going through a lock heading downstream to Basel. It was an interesting trip for our final day of biking.
We ride through central Paris, buy baguettes and go to the Notre Dame to eat them. We run into a couple we knew from home. Small world.
We rode some more with a brief stop at the Louvre. Judy was nervous in the busy traffic. I found it to be an interesting challenge. We end up at the Gare du Nord to get a train to the airport and our hotel – The Comfort. We are able to store our bikes in their luggage room. Wi-Fi was not good.
Friday September 27, 2013 – Paris To Toronto
We take hotel shuttle to airport. We get into the priority checkin line and get the bikes wrapped up with little problem.
Good flight home. Everything made it back in one piece!
Another great trip.