Cycling Along the Rhine

For our summer vacation, Jessie and I went on a five day cycling trip along the river Rhine.

I met Jessie, who had just taken the train back from her language course in Vienna, in Cologne. From there, we took a train ride to Mainz to then make our way back by bike.

We only had one evening in Mainz but I was surprised by the laid-back atmosphere and the nice boardwalk along the river. The city also has a cute old town centered around the Mainz Cathedral.

From there we took off to our first destination: Rüdesheim. Along the way, we stopped at Kloster Eberbach.

The city Rüdesheim was already my favorite on the trip. It was big enough for plenty of things to do in the evening, yet still old and cute. We visited the famous Drosselgasse…

…and took a cable car ride up the wine-filled hills to visit the Niederwalddenkmal.

The next day started with the first Rhine crossing by ferry. In this area, there aren’t many bridges so cars and pedestrians have to take small local ferries to get across. On the other side, we rode up to an interesting looking church that we had seen from the other side. Interestingly, it had an outdoor altar and benches that looked like it was straight out of Tamriel.

We continued our ride from there and were surprised by the amount of castles and ruins that we found along the way.

We stopped at one of them on average every day such as this one which was the best preserved and the owners had decorated the interior in great detail.

About two days later, we had arrived at what I thought would one of the highlights of the trip: The Lorelei - a famous rock formation that many poems were and songs were written about. We saw it first from the other bank and I wouldn’t have recognized it without the giant sign that it had on the bottom.

We crossed the river once more and took a walk along a busy road to finally find the entrance to the stairs that would lead to the top of the hill. The entrance was hidden behind this beautiful trash pile.

At the top, we certainly had a great view but I feel like we could’ve had this on any other hill there as well. Behind us was an enormous parking lot that bus companies used to haul loads of old people up there.

After the way back down, we stopped at a small restaurant where I had the biggest Schnitzel of my life 😀.

Just a bit before the half-way-point of the trip, we found this marker that was (presumably) pointing out the distance between our start and end point. Unfortunately, the values didn’t make any sense to me, though. The trip was around 200km long and if the ’M’ on the marker represented nautical miles, this would just add up to 43km. That wouldn’t be enough - even for line-of-sight distance.

In Koblenz, we visited the impressive Deutsches Eck that was built in appreciation of Wilhelm I’s merits in the unification of Germany.

From there, the trip got slightly less interesting but we still passed quite a few cute little towns with their old buildings and statues.

On one day, we were passed by around ten fire fighter trucks with just a few minutes time in between them. I was wondering where they were headed but I think it probably wasn’t this unfortunate scene here:

A whole wheat field had burned down (presumably from the heat) including the machinery that was located there. I had never seen this before and I really hope the farmer had insurance.

Shortly after, we arrived in Cologne where we climbed the Kölner Dom which I think I’m never doing again. Don’t get me wrong - the view was great and it was very interesting to see the internal structures of the cathedral but my fear of heights certainly was triggered on the top and the way back down.

Finally, we spent an extra day in the city to do some sight seeing and visit a small (and free) animal park.

Since we had never done a trip like this, I was curious what it would feel like. Overall, I had a ton of fun and liked the split of a half day of cycling and spending the rest of the day exploring cities and places. We had stayed in hotels along the way and I’d be willing to try it with a tent the next time but I’m not sure if I’d be able to convince my wife.