Distance: 29 Miles
Today was the longest mileage day of the week. We had a couple of …um… detours today and we still ended up riding 29-ish.
In the reception area of the barge, there’s a bulletin board with helpful information that we’re supposed to check each day. We pretty much forgot to do it most days.
Our new pal Tim said he’d ride with us again, which is nice. It was a bit warmer in the morning and no rain predicted. Later in the day the sun came out and I was actually able to take off my full-fingered bike gloves, ear muffs and bike jacket. Miracle!
Because of the beastly bike and all the extra clothes I’ve been wearing, I can’t take pictures without stopping the bike. I may have mentioned it before, but I’ve perfected a strategy for taking pictures “on the go” when riding so that we aren’t stopping and starting all the time (or we’d never get there). When I’m not able to take my photos “on the go”, it makes me think twice before I decide to stop and get a photo.
We ended up catching up to a family group from our trip (Americans) and we rode as a group for awhile.
As we were passing through a “wilderness” area of the trail, I spotted this (possibly) old Roman fountain ahead. I was riding at the back of the group when I spotted it. Everyone was chatting and riding and I could tell that no one even noticed it because I was the only one who stopped.
It looked old to me, but could have been reconstructed more recently in Roman style. Either way I thought it was worthy of a stop to get the camera out because the setting was so pretty.
Mike patiently waited for me and then we pushed a bit to catch up to the group again.
Another picture worth stopping for was this one:
Our next stop was at the lock and dam at Detzem. We’ve seen plenty of those on the Mississippi, but it was interesting to see a lock on a smaller river. We were able to ride right up onto an observation bridge.
There weren’t any barges/boats waiting to get through –so we didn’t linger long.
We rode with the same group for a while after the lock and dam, but Mike, me, and Tim kept going when they stopped for photos along the river. That was unfortunate timing, because we ended up taking a wrong turn not long after (and the group didn’t). We ended up riding uphill into the vineyards for a mile or so before we decided we were on the wrong track.
We didn’t go too far before realizing we were not on the route anymore. After consulting the map, we were able to get back to the Radweg (bike route) without having to backtrack. We even decided that it might have been a bit of a shortcut, but I think the truth is that we didn’t add or subtract any distance for the day.
Mike said he wanted to take a quick break not long after we got back near the river, so we stopped at the next available bench we saw. It was by a restaurant/ wine tasting house that was closed.
Tim started looking at this contraption that was parked nearby and we realized that it was a sort of vineyard elevator/roller coaster (hah).
There was a single track, going all the way to the top of the vineyard. I couldn’t get a good picture of that because of the angle of the sun, (did I mention we finally saw the sun?) but you can see the beginning of it going up the wall. Anyway, it looked like there was a seat at the front for someone to ride up the hill on it, plus a cargo area. I would have liked to see one in action.
The next bend in the river revealed a really charming little town called Neumagen-Dhron.
The town’s claim to fame is that they have a full-sized replica of a Roman wine shipping boat. We dutifully stopped for a photo.
After the trip, our dining partners sent me this one – with the Patria passing by.
This ship is a replica (of sorts) of a stone carving that originally was on the tomb of a wealthy mine merchant and is from around 220 (A.D.) The original stone is in a museum in Trier, but Neumagen has a concrete replica.
Neumagen claims to be the oldest wine-growing settlement in the Moselle valley. Here’s a giant wine press:
We continued into the village for another break. This was a very old church:
Our guide recommended a wine house in this town where you could order 3 small glasses for tasting for 3 Euros. What a deal. We got there too early in the day to be thinking about drinking wine -especially since we weren’t even half-way yet. Instead we had a snack.
We saw the group we’d been riding with earlier. We asked them how long they’d been there because we wondered if our accidental detour into the vineyards had been a setback or a shortcut. They said they’d seen us making the wrong turn and tried to get our attention, but we didn’t hear them. From their answer, I think we broke even time-wise on that escapade.
We had a tough time finding the Radweg on the way out of Neumagen, thinking it had to be down near the river (by where the Roman wine boat replica was). After a couple of dead ends (involving some unwelcome hills), we forged ahead through an area that looked promising, but shortly was starting to look like another dead end. Just as we were slowing down to discuss maybe having to turn around (again), a man caught our attention and indicated (with sign language) that we could get through there. I’m thankful he was there because the way through wasn’t very obvious -and we hadn’t found the Radweg yet either. Whew!
Finally back on track!
Piesport was the next big town on the route today. We had parted ways with Tim a bit further back on the trail because he was going to take a wine tour there and wanted to make sure he was on time for it. If you weren’t on the wine tour (and we weren’t) the directions said to continue riding on the opposite side of the river from Piesport.
Historically, Piesport was the location of the largest Roman wine complex North of the Alps and one of the oldest wine growing communities along the Moselle. We didn’t sign up for the tour because they said it would take 1.5 hours and we just wanted to get our miles done and get to the boat!
We did end up taking another break on a riverside bench across from Piesport for a snack and enjoyed the view.
We were stopping more than usual today because our guide told us to take our time since the Patria wouldn’t be in Bernkastel-Kues until after 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. I have to confess that I was happy with the frequent stops because riding that bike was a workout!
Amazing views of vineyards clinging to the slopes along the way.
We bumped our way along the route (making a couple of other, quickly corrected, wrong turns).
I took this picture to show the spot below where we’d been riding along and the paved path simply ended. It was our first clue that we’d missed a turn (again). We had to backtrack a short distance and turn up a hill and go over this bridge to get back on track.
We made one last rest stop for the day in another cute town along the river. I was really thirsty for a cold diet-Pepsi (or Coke). While we were at it, we ordered a plate of french fries. That was a good stop! We sat outside aside the bike trail and watched a steady parade of bikers passing by.
After that, it was horses to the barn –but slow horses because it was impossible to ride very fast on the beastly bikes.
There is a castle (ruins) above Bernkastel (kastel is the German word for castle) and we could see it from several miles away.
As we entered the outskirts of Bernkastel, we saw the Patria moored on the opposite shore in Kues. We had to ride a short distance into Bernkastel to get to the bridge that we needed to cross. After that it was a short distance upriver to arrive at the Patria.
The tour guide had suggested that taking a shuttle bus up to the castle might be a good option for today, which I really would have liked to do. Mike and I said to each other that we’d go to the Patria first, unload our bikes and then walk back over to Bernkastel. We didn’t want to have to worry about leaving the bikes unattended while we took the castle shuttle. Unfortunately, we felt really tired by the time we got to the boat and didn’t want to walk anywhere!
Instead, we dragged ourselves and our panniers to our cabin and grabbed showers. After that we went up on the “sun deck” to enjoy the sun, have some refreshments and we officially called it a day.
I took another picture of the castle from there and it will have to do. The castle is called Burg Landshut. It is mostly in ruins and dates back to around 1276. It was built on the ruins of a previous castle built around 1200, which in turn had been built on the ruins of a castle built in 1017. Excavations at the site have revealed evidence of an old Roman fort which they’ve dated back to the 4th or 5th century. They’ve found even older artifacts that would indicate the site was in use well before the Romans arrived.
The Patria was moored alongside a very active park. There were lots of people out enjoying the day. This lovely manor house was our neighbor for the night.
It was built in 1884 by the Thanisch family, who have a winery here. The winery dates back to around 1654. The manor house is still the “home” of the Thanisch Winery, which is also still family owned.
Looks like everyone has arrived!
All in all, it was a good day out on the Radweg. The weather was a bit nicer and our bike legs were starting to cooperate a bit more.
Here’s the view (zoomed) from our room today!
Categories: Destination: Bernkastel-Kues, Germany