26 May 2019

Into the blue

Our human had initially planned a short trip to get us onto the Mosel cycle path and as you saw on the elevation profile, yesterday the start was up hill!

Well after breakfast we set off, but quickly discovered we were going the wrong way! Turned back and then we were off on our jolly!

The route took us through a tunnel which curved through the hillside!

Back out in the sun we were soon attacking the long steep hill we had anticipated! Effort was needed and at times it felt never ending, 

The views at the top were great and our BBF sang the song, “I’m on the top of the world looking down on creation “.
Then came a few more short sharp hills requiring effort from our human again. Eventually we came to the one big down hill ride where the adrenaline rush is what we Bears live for! We screamed with joy as the speedometer went over 60 km/h! 

Alan uses Komoot to navigate by and now we couldn’t find the track it wanted us to take. We cast about a bit, but then Alan used his navigation skills to guide us through a dense forest to get back on the right path! This was fun too as the track was steep down hill as well as having a steep drop on one side.

In the Forest we came across many hikers but few cyclists!

So it was that in no time we found ourselves on the banks of the Mosel. 

Now we had to contend with opposing traffic in the form of dog walkers and many cyclists! 

At one point we found a Camping Site which had a nice pub on the bank of the Mosel so our human stopped for an isotonic drink before continuing! 

In the distance we thought we saw a group of free fall parachutists, but as we got closer we saw they were hang gliders riding a thermal.

The cycle path allows one to cycle at a steady speed of between 20-24 km/h! We Bears have come to the conclusion that riding along it is fine, but monotonous! There’s no adrenaline rush to look forward to! 

Alan arrived at his planned destination after only two hours, so he just bashed on!

The scenery was great with great big river bends and high hills covered in vineyards either side. 

When we had gone some 50 Kms Alan had had enough and he sought out a place for us to stay!

We are in a really pretty place. Alan was told to park his bike in the cellar while we live in the rafters! 

Where we are off to tomorrow we have no idea, but we think our human intends to attempt to get to Koblenz the day after tomorrow! 

25 May 2019

The hills have it in them!

Our human can be a worrier! He lost sleep last night worrying about getting back up the hill! 

This morning after a good breakfast and enquiring at reception whether someone had discovered the business opportunity of ferrying damn old fools like our BBF up the hill ( there wasn’t) we set off.

He attacked the hill from the start. There was no long run at it and in the end the bends were not as steep as he thought in the dead of the night. We made it to the top without having to engage the lowest gear or the highest motor setting! It was long though and did require effort. His lungs were gasping for air at the top, but oddly the heart was quiet and not trying to pump its way out of his chest! 

As in all hill climbs the effort was rewarded with fine views. And then there was the down bits. At one stage we clocked 60 km/h! 

As you can see in the elevation picture the route had a lot of little sharp steep bits which did require the lowest gear and the highest motor setting and even then he was required to stand on the pedals and work! 

Although occasionally we passed through villages we never passed a cafe or bar where we could stop for an isotonic drink. In Spain you would find them all the time! 

Hill climbing was over at this bridge over the river which marked the border between Luxemburg and Germany!

We now followed the river crossing again into Luxemburg virtually all the way to Minden an der Sauer!

We came across a number of memorials to the US Forces and the battle of the Bulge along the riverbank! 

This structure is made of old wine stocks and marks the time when the region had wine growing along the valley. 

There’s not much to see of the terraces now, but some enterprising folks are trying to grow wine again! 

Cycling along the bike path was almost boring as it required little real effort, but we were making great progress at 20-25 km/h! 

We have landed in a cheap and cheerful place, though Alan complained about the towels which felt like sandpaper and the fact that he has to pay extra for the Internet! 

We are going to strike across country and get on the Mosel Bike path tomorrow. The start as you can see will require effort from our human, but we Bears are looking forward to the down hill rushes which are really exhilarating and fun fun fun! 

24 May 2019

Our Human is restless

Our BBF gets restless if he has to stay in one spot for long. Since birth and until we settled in Mönchgladbach he moved on average every two years. Sailing round the World didn’t help only made the restlessness more acute. Hanna fully realised this problem and so she always organised an adventure somewhere exotic every six months. Immediately after she died his first instinct was to “up sticks” and move on. He walked the first Camino instead and that changed much of his life. Since then we have walked two more Caminos and had a knee operation before going on a cycle pilgrimage to Trier! And then there were our fabulous trips to America and Canada!

This year, because he had promised his two daughters he would be there for their birthdays, followed shortly after by Christopher’s first communion he was stuck in one place for far longer than he liked. 

The answer he told us was to “get on my bike and bugger off”! So this is what he did, naturally taking us with him. 

There was no real plan just a general idea of cycling south via Aachen, on into Luxemburg and perhaps back via the Mosel river. Nothing was booked so we were free to cycle as we pleased and the mood took us.

We got to Aachen around lunchtime and our human had thought we would stay in the youth hostel. However, he decided to cycle on and chose a small town in Belgium to stop in.

We rang ahead having found a place with the “Bett und Bike” App and so this friendly place in Raeren is where we ended up the first night after a ride of some 72 Kms. 

This monument is to the fallen of the First World War, and though we are in Belgium it is all inscribed in the German language! 

The first day had started out grey and cold but in the morning of the second the sun shone and it lasted all day! 
Our BBF had selected Sankt Vith as our next destination but with a detour to Malmedy on the way. He has no paper maps or guide books only a number of Apps on his mobile phone. We used Komoot for the first two days! It generally worked well but we were never sure if it selected the best cycle route. To Malmedy it was up and down. Down at a rush of 50kmh is real fun, but the steady climb back up was hard work even with the motor. A thought always in the back of Alan‘s mind is will we get there with the power we have! 

After Malmedy we found ourselves on the Vennbahn. This is an old railway line turned into a cycle track and runs from Aachen to Troisverges some 125 kms with only a 2% gradient in parts! Had we known about it before hand we might have selected to travel all the way on it. 

This dam surprised us as it’s a Weser Dam! We had no idea Belgium had a Weser River too! 

Occasionally we would pass through a town and Alan stopped to look at this Cathedral! 

On the Vennbahn there are few places to stop and so we cycled on till we found our next place to stay in Sankt Vith which was the Youth Hostel! 

Fortunately we had the four bed room to ourselves though there were lots of junior school children in the hostel too! 

Another sunny start took us up hill and down dale again. 

An historic site with a hut to rest in. The boundary stone dates from the 17 century! 

Then we found ourselves back on the Vennbahn! 

But not for long as the railway tunnel on the route had been taken over by bats and was now closed to humans and bears! 

It was up hill into Luxemburg! 

The countryside is really beautiful and there is a constant smell of new mown hay in the air! 

A monument to an American pilot in the middle of nowhere.  

The route went through small villages and towns and had it been Spain then the odd little bar or cafe would have been open, but not so here! 

We had a fine view of Clervaux and an exhilarating ride down the hill to get into it. 

A well earned isotonic drink was called for with a wee bite to eat while our human scanned the Internet for a place to stay. As luck would have it, it was only 25 meters from where we were sitting! Now all we had to do was bridge the two hours until we could check in!

We did this by visiting the Battle of the Bulge museum in the castle.

The yellow building is our hotel.

The hotel has underground parking which includes a bike lockup with electric outlets! 

Alan showered and did his laundry! 

This is the view from our window! 
We wonder what our BBF has got planned for tomorrow?