Mr. Right and I took a last minute trip to Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and France, and we just returned home this week. When I say last minute, that is exactly what I mean. We talked about taking a bike and barge bicycle trip because we love Europe in October, but Mr. Right had to finish up a work project first. And then, we discovered that since his return from his own six-week trip to Europe this past summer, his passport had disappeared from his desk. That meant a last-minute scramble to get a new one in just a few days. (We think the old one probably got lost in some files or papers and will show up one day.) To make a long story short, he finished his project on Wednesday Oct. 12, his new passport arrived Thursday morning, we booked the trip, and got on a plane a few hours later. We love bicycling in Germany, and I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the photos.
We flew into Paris and needed to take a train to the northeast corner of France. However, there was a security scare in the CDG airport train station, and it was evacuated for a few hours. There were tons of policeman, and we heard that they spotted a suspicious package. Everyone remained calm as we waited for them to do a thorough inspection. Knowing what a hot-bed Paris has been in the past months, we took the warnings seriously as did everyone else. So, we just sat and waited it out.
Eventually we were given the green light and caught a train that took us to Metz, France where our trip began. We boarded the Iris which would be our home away from home for the week while we pedaled our way to Cochem, Germany. The first day we rode through France and Luxembourg on our way to our final destination.
The Iris, like all boats that are used on the bike and barge trips, was once a working barge that hauled something like sand, coal, grain, stones, etc. It was bought by our friend Jossie who turned it into a passenger boat. She did this to four different barges.
The rooms are basic and small, but you only spend the time you are sleeping, showering, or dressing in your room. The rest of the time is spent in the lounge area, on the deck, in the dining room, or off of the boat cycling. And by the way, the food is outstanding. We have been on many of these trips on many different boats, and we have always loved every minute of it.
This area of Germany is wine country, and they were in the midst of harvesting grapes for this year’s production.
The main wine they produce there is Riesling, but they also make other wines, too. You might recall that we took this same trip two years ago, and it was so beautiful that we wanted to do it again.
As long as we were on bicycles, it didn’t matter that it was a repeat. Our guide Walter did such a good job, and he took us to sites, monuments, mountains, and tours that we had not done before. Two years ago he was a new guide, but he has matured into his position and did an outstanding job.
We celebrated Mr. Right’s birthday while we were there, and on that day we took a tour of Poll-Fabaire, a company that makes cremants, the German version of champagne.
The time and effort that goes into making a bottle of bubbly blew us away, and I am telling you that you are never paying enough for it.
Much labor, thought, precision, and time go into making this sparkling beverage. Last year when we cycled in Italy, we had a similar photo, but it was a wall of cheese. This warehouse was full of aging cremants. That lady was our tour guide. Sorry about the photo’s darkness, but it was hard to get good light in there.
I don’t have any photos of my favorite day of the week. We took a bus to the top of a mountain and rode down the mountain on a rails to trails path. It was a glorious day, but it just happened to rain the entire time, and it was cold. I’m talking cold to the bone kind of cold. Linney, who is the owner of the boat, joined us that day for the ride, and she treated us all to soup for lunch. I had tomato soup, which tasted a lot like this recipe that I shared with you a while back.That was a welcome departure from our usual sandwiches and fruit that we packed for a picnic each day. It helped warm us up, but we still had hours of pedaling in the rain before we would arrive at the boat which would be in a new town.
We passed through villages all week, and spent an afternoon and night in Trier. These are the ancient gates to the city that were built by the Romans, and they are one of many things we saw that are World Heritage Sites.
Trier is one of many storybook type towns and villages that we were in. The area is loaded with them.
There were vineyards as high as we could see, and we never got tired of looking at them. They often came right down to the bike path that we followed along the Mosel River.
We were so lucky to join up with an amazing group of strangers (there were 14 of us) on the boat, and by the end of the week, we were friends. But like all things, that week ended, but we still had another week of cycling to do in Belgium and France. We took a day-long train trip to get there and joined another group on another boat. I will tell you about it soon.