Day forty four: the magnificent Rhine
Mainz to Koblenz
I’ve got to admit, when I left Italy I thought I was also leaving the jaw-dropping views behind. I’m ashamed to say, but I didn’t expect Germany to be as beautiful.
Today however, I was proved wrong. With help from the sunshine, the Rhine has shined and dazzled all day. It was an awesome ride. Definitely on the list for one of the best stretches this trip.
I left Mainz through a big park and things picked up where I had left them yesterday – lots of fields, beautiful flowers, but no sign of the Rhine again. You’re still on a fantastic cycle path, which felt like my own private race track as I zoomed along. The sun was shining and if this was as good as it gets, I was happy.
After just one flooded part of the track and a small detour (thank you Germany – your cycle paths really do make things easy, no matter what the weather), I got to the small but bustling village of Bingen.
After a coffee, I set off again and this was where the scenery started to change. I joined the Rhine itself on an awesome cycle track (an autobahn of cycle tracks) which was to take me for the remaining 70 kilometres to Koblenz. I was in a valley with dramatic hills and cliffs either side of the river. Dotted along the way were old castles, after every turn you take beside the river, there’d be another. Where I wasn’t surrounded by luscious forests, it was groomed vineyards or dramatic black rock. No wheat or corn today.
The view on the western side, the side I was on, was up at churches and castles. But then a real treat was also the pretty villages on the other side of the river too. I wonder what the cycling track is like on the east – it’d be hard to beat the one I was on today. It was made even better by a wind that pushed me along. I felt like I was flying.
I finally see why the Rhine is so famous and why it has inspired so many artists, poets and authors. Its twists and turns are set amongst a magical landscape and the natural beauty of the flowing deep green water inspired me too. It comes off the back of six wonderful weeks exploring Europe, which I’ve discovered is more amazing than I knew. We’re lucky to have it on our doorstep – even more when you have a bicycle. Quite pertinent given the referendum back home.
On to Cologne tomorrow where I’m staying with some friends I met on holiday a few years ago. The road looks like it hugs the river again – with thunderstorms forecast, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to beat today though. But the Rhine has surprised me once, let’s see what it has in store for me tomorrow!