Early breakfast and picnic lunch bought at the bakery opposite the hotel and we were ready to start by 7:45.
Sheila had carefully planned our route out of Strasbourg with a list of quays and road names and all went to plan as we cycled past the Council of Europe buildings leaving the built up area into forest.
The route for Eurovelo 15 was well signed as we made steady initial progress on good cycle-paths through forest, but then we arrived at a critical junction with no sign. The path straight on deteriorated in quality. The path to the right looked better but was a deliberate turn with no sign. What to do? A solitary car arrived and we asked the occupant. She said we should turn right and that would take us to the digue beside the River Rhine. At least we knew that if we went to the river and turned left we would be going the right direction, so we followed her advice.
It started to rain. We continued along the tarmac road beside the bank separating us from the river itself. As it was raining steadily and was none too warm we were happy to be there and not up on a track on the top of the digue (even if there was one there?).
We pressed on making good time but were not sure where we might reach. Eventually we came up and out onto a road junction. Looking around we discovered a sign to Gambesheim and Eurovelo15. A very welcome discovery that ought to put us back on route.
From here we followed route signs OK for the rest of the day.
An open bakery offering cake and coffee was spotted in Auenheim. We pulled up, parked the tandem and dripped our way inside. Hot coffee was very welcome.
The rain persisted as we continued sometimes on road and sometimes on top of the digue. The paths were all well paved, flat and often dead straight, so we shifted to the big ring, cranked the tandem speed up and then motored along maintaining momentum at 30 to 35kph. It was cycling to get there weather.
In Lauterbourg we decided it was not a day to enjoy our picnic lunch, so we stopped at a pizza café for a hot lunch. It was warm and dry, but the service was non-existent. Having taken our order we were then ignored as they made pizzas for every telephone or back door order made instead of cooking ours. We noticed a complimentary bottle of wine was included in the bulk pizza order for the local police force when it was collected. Finally a couple of local school girls came in (why were they not in school?) and were served before us. Sheila got cross. Finally we ate and left – We guessed they were not going to worry too much about not getting any repeat business from us.
Despite wasting so much time, because we had been cycling so fast we were still OK for time and it had got us out of the rain for a while.
From here we said goodbye to the Rhine and re-entered Germany picking up the Pamina Radweg and then going cross country on roads to reach Bad Bergzabern by 14:30.
We spent some time wandering around and asking people before we located some tourist information in a centre related to the Spa activity of the town. We got a town map and a radweg map of the German Wine Route for tomorrow. The rain had finally stopped.
The Pension Seeblick, our hotel, was several kms out of town. We cycled out to it partly on road and partly on a shared path beside the road.
Heavy rain started again while we were showering, so we decided we would not walk into town again in search of a meal, but would have a beer in the bar, then eat our picnic sandwiches (that had been intended for lunch) in our room. We watched some Eurosport womens world cup football on the television.
(tandem in the garage under hotel)
ONLY ONE PHOTO BECAUSE IT RAINED ALL DAY Click on photo to enlarge
Sheila not in good form at all when we woke up. Knocked sideways by a bad dose of UTI was not a good place to be for cycling. We decided that we had better forget about today’s intended stage along the German Wine Route, but the first task was to find a doctor and get some medicine.
After breakfast we packed up and put the panniers onto the tandem (easiest way to carry them) and walked into town to find the doctor, whose address the hotel had given us. Medical cards and a sample were produced and lots of form filling took place, but without too long a wait Sheila got to see the doctor and emerged with a prescription and compliments about her German.
Walked on into the town centre to find a pharmacy and collect medicine – a powerful one-shot dose of antibiotics. We mixed up the powder in a cycle drinks bottle in the quantities directed.
Bad Bergzabern is at the end of a little single-track railway branch line so we decided to walk to it and see if it was a once-a-day service or more often. No station staff, but we recognised the Deutsche Bahn ticket machine on the platform, “What language would you like to talk and where would you like to go?” Well, Worms was our intended destination so let's give it a try. The next train to arrive would be in about 15 minutes and would depart again not long afterwards. We would have to change trains in Winden, Neustadt and Ludwigshafen. It told us our arrival and departure times at each of these stations together with the number of the platforms at and from which we would arrive and depart; and it then printed all of this onto a small card for us to carry on our journey. We purchased tickets and set off. Went like the proverbial clockwork. Although we needed a bit of help at one station to avoid the stairs and find a ramp, if we had followed the disabled signing we could have worked this out for ourselves. Absolutely no problem accommodating the tandem on all trains.
In Worms we walked to our hotel and Sheila seemed to be much recovered. Worms makes much of its Martin Luther connection and link to the Rheingold legend, but having been substantially destroyed the town does not have much of sightseeing interest. We visited the Nibelung Museum and learned more about Siegfried, Rhein maidens, Brünnhilde, Gudrun, Wotan and a dragon than we needed to know.
In the evening we ate in an Italian restaurant and retired to bed early not expecting to sleep. We were in the town centre and it was ”Jazz and Fun” weekend with a large open-air disco on tonight. It was noisy, but we both fell asleep remarkably quickly.
(tandem in open air in hotel courtyard – it got rained on)
ANOTHER ONE PHOTO DAY Click on photo to enlarge