Rain stops play

It’s raining, no cycling for us today. Can you hear Kim cheering?

The year we came here for Christmas, we spent some time in the small town of Daun and bought a wooden Christmas decoration from a lovely little department store. It is one of only a few items at home that Kim has put her name in the event of divorce proceedings! The store is still there and full of things you didn’t know you needed, a great place to browse while it’s raining heavily outside.
From there we tried to find Hit Markt for John’s supermarket hit…… sorry about the pun. You would not have thought it could be so hard but the satnav packed up and the phones had limited internet access. Tempers were frayed and many circular miles were driven to find a supermarket which had been within 500m at one point. John spent a happy 30 minutes pottering around looking at German Dinkel biscuits before we decided to drive back to the Mosel for some wine tasting.

We headed towards Koblenz and stopped at Klotten to admire the neatly planted vineyards which appear to be mainly on the South slope. Obviously more research is required to understand why or if we’ve just made that up,

We’ve not had great weather today but the rain stopped long enough for us to have beer overlooking the Mosel before venturing into a small shop for a wine tasting. Our latest favourite is a dry Rivaner and the Beetle has a boot full.

We have an early start for Dunkirk tomorrow so no more from us other than to say, we understand the Tour de France started in Germany today. If you see a couple of Bromptons taking part, please be clear it isn’t us!

A day on the Mosel

The breakfast here is lovely and quite unlike any we’ve come across anywhere else, John is always captivated by the array of homemade preserves

Today, we drove into Cochem for more cycling. Our bottoms were sore but we’re heroes! The plan was to cycle down to Beilstein and catch the ferry back. As we set off, John asked ‘are you sure we’re on the right side of the river?’, Kim assured him we were.

We had a flat 7 mile cycle alongside the river and arrived to find Beilstein and the ferry on the other side. John had comments to make! We fortified ourselves with a cuppa at a campsite and all was not lost, there was a small passenger ferry to take us across the river.

We managed to catch the 12 o’clock Kolb Passenger Ferry back to Cochem.

The Bromptons caused a bit of confusion, should we be charged for them? There was some debate amongst staff before they were pronounced ‘really very small bikes’ and travelled free. They attract attention wherever they go and curious people are usually treated to a demonstration of how small they fold. Kim thinks John must be working on commission from Brompton.

The ferry ride was relaxing and the boat travelled slower than even Kim cycles which you wouldn’t have thought possible. We were treated to a commentary in German along the way, the only part that was translated into English was the historic and technical data of the Frankl lock we had to negotiate.

Finally, we rounded a bend and Cochem came into view

Back in Cochem, the bikes were stowed in the car (but not before a demonstration for a couple from Leicestershire) and we walked into town. Our target was the Sesselbahn, the cable car up to Klotten leisure park which has views across the town and river as well as looking down on the castle

We stopped at the top for a quick cuppa before descending back down.

Next stop, Nordschliefe. John has done really well to resist going before now. A visit to the Nordschliefe brought us here over 10 years ago. It may have 6 or 7 years since he drove a car round it but he is still drawn back. The car park was full of cars from around Europe, from family VWs with local plates to McLarens from the UK and Nissan GTRs from Spain – its an interesting place to sit and watch. At one point Kim was worried, John had disappeared and had the Beetle key with him…….

55 kilometres and counting….

Photos have been added to yesterday’s instalment.

Today started early, for us. If we were to cycle 55kms from Daun to Bernkastel-Kues, we had to be in Bernkastel by 10 to take the bus up to Daun – there was no way Kim could be persuaded to do the round trip, particularly as one way is all uphill.

We were parked in Bernkastel by 9:45, we’d paid for three days parking and found out where to get the bus from, how smug were we feeling? The bus journey takes 2 hours mainly because the driver has to get out and load more bikes onto the trailer he’s towing. Negotiating a bus and trailer round hairpin bends deserves a medal!

The cycle route, Maar Mosel Radweg, starts from a disused railway station in Daun and goes along the old track to Wittlich before following the Maar river down to the Mosel.

Helpfully, the cycle route has the distance written on it in 0.5km intervals. This is fantastic when you’re on a downhill section and kms fly by. However, the first 2-3 km from Daun are uphill and knowing you have another 40+km to go is not helpful. We arrived at Wittlich, for lunch, just before 3 and having cycled 35km. We then discovered it was another 20 to Bernkastel!! By the time we reached the Mosel bottoms were sore and we’d been caught in a couple of torrential downpours. Luckily after each one, the sun came out and we dried off nicely before getting soaked again. We couldn’t help but be impressed by Schloss Lieser as we cycled past. It was built for the Puricelli family in 1880s and has its own Wikipedia page…

Finally, 6.5 hours after we’d left, the castle at Bernkastel came into view. We’d last visited when we spent Christmas here with Ken and Diane. We couldn’t remember what had possessed us to walk all the way up but think it was probably Ken and Matthew egging each other on. Kim did remember that Diane gave up at the cafe halfway up and settled down for a coffee while the rest of us carried on!

Ediger to Westende, Belgium

We survived the night in the high roof bed but won’t be doing that again! It’s far more comfortable than the fixed rear bed but the rest of the van was completely unusable once it was lowered.

We woke to the sound of something with a very large engine going past on the river but were too cold to get up and see what it was. There’s frost on the ground so the heating went on for a while. We’re not being weedy – we like to think we’re giving the van’s heating system a good test on behalf of the owners JustGo!

It was a beautiful morning and the Mosel obliged with the sight of an incredibly long, coal carrying, freight barge cruising past just as we were getting ready to leave.

A brief stop in the town to pick up last nights purchases from the vineyard…..Did we really buy that much wine?

It took over 8 hours to do the 260 mile journey to Middlekerke and Westende which was far longer than anticipated. Luckily Ken and Jacky arrived at the campsite just as reception was closing and booked us all in before it closed. We were lost in Westende! Colin’s satnav has been brilliant but, today, it just couldn’t cope.  First, we ignored an instruction because ‘Ken probably knows where the supermarket is’. Next, the satnav really wasn’t convinced that the main road through Westende was impassable, even though there was a big hole in the middle of it, so we drove round in circles. Finally, a lovely Belgian man, who’d seen us go past several times as well as reversing back from dead ends,  flagged us down and gave us directions!

We parked up with a huge sigh of relief and treated ourselves to a beer on the campsite before heading out for dinner. We’re about 150m from the beach and its very windy and sandy. It was too much for us to head into town so we ended up at the nearest restaurant. The highlight was when the bill was presented in a stylish box, almost like being given a gift.

We’ve earned a leisurely start tomorrow and plan to take a tram ride

Ediger Eller

It was a long journey through Germany to the Mosel. Motorway most of the way with some very fast driving  by German drivers on the unrestricted sections but a lack of beautiful scenery, unlike Switzerland.

After about five hours driving, and losing Jacky and Ken along the way, we finally arrived at the Mosel.

We took full advantage of being campers – set out our picnic chairs, made a cuppa and ate lunch overlooking the river in the sunshine.

We have a lovely campsite, right on the banks of the river. The only problem is the cold wind and long walk to the shower block. We may never work out how Ken and Jacky arrived before us when they were several miles behind for the last part of the journey. The afternoon was spent wandering around Ediger, which is beautiful. We had forgotten just how lovely the Mosel is. John was particularly taken with the quality of copper guttering and lightning conductor on the church


We stumbled upon an opportunity for a wine tasting which was too good to pass up. Jenny (from London!) and her German husband run a small vineyard and guesthouse. We were treated to a tasting of seven of their wines and tomorrow morning we will be driving back to pick up several cases of wine!

Dinner was in a traditional German restaurant with wiener schnitzel all round.

We’re trying our drop down bed for the first time tonight. John has already bumped his head and it’ll be interesting to see if either of us fall out in the night