Day 7 – Ochsenfurt to Gemünden
We both slept well and woke up ready for our breakfasts. Today’s hotel had a somewhat different breakfast arrangement, with the usual buffet choice narrowed a bit and delivered to our table. No cereal or muesli available, just rolls with ham, cheese and preserves, followed by a yoghurt. We paid the bill – a bargainous 50 Euros.
The day looked bright and sunny at 8:30am and I asked the hotel proprietress if she knew the weather forecast – like this all day, she said, and 23-24 degrees. Perfect cycling weather!
We packed up all our belongings again ready for the off. I wiped the dried mud from last night’s rain off my trike, re-arranged the socks on the headrest and we were off at 9:15.
We took the road bridge over the river rather than the ferry as the ferry is rather a tight squeeze for my trike (I used it two years ago). We had to walk over the road bridge but this was fine and we were soon on our way.
We went through Sommerhausen (with Winterhausen on the other bank, naturally!), Eibelstadt where we saw six herons flying alongside the river, then we arrived in Würzburg which is a wonderful old town with a very impressive and imposing castle looking down over the Main.
We crossed the river here over a bridge that was just for cyclists and pedestrians,
then had to do a short loop to get back to the radweg which included six steps – not much fun on my trike.
As we cycled along the Main racing a barge called Wartburg we felt a bit peckish so stopped for a banana each.
We carried on, racing a group of people with matching panniers and matching checked shirts.
We cycled on through Zell am Main and then through Margetshöchheim where James admired some boats, then on through Erlabrunn on a good, fast path. We now fancied some lunch (well, I was after a cake) and we found ourselves on a stretch rather devoid of food opportunities. Eventually we arrived in Zellingen and had two fruitless stops at a Biergarten and what turned out to be a kebab house looking for cake. I knew I wanted cake, so we went on. We thought we’d probably have more success if we went into the centre of Zellingen rather than sticking to the radweg (the centre was about 500 metres inland) and wended our way through some quiet streets, eventually finding what appeared to be the main street and which had several cafés. We stopped at the first place, a bakery, and when I had ascertained that it had a loo as well as serving cake, we sat down.
A rather handsome cyclist sitting alone on the next table struck up a conversation. He was doing the ride the other way but slightly more miles per day (he was planning on 160-200km per day). He asked us whether we recommended going all the way to Bayreuth and we suggested we felt Bamberg was a better end point. He had a look through our guidebook and then chatted generally about cycling. He’s clearly a very well-travelled chap as he mentioned cycling the coast to coast in America, cycling in Patagonia, Argentina, Namibia and more. He said he was now cycling in Germany as in the summer the weather was nice and it wasn’t so far to travel. He wasn’t a proper German as he had no mudguards on his bike (thought they weren’t necessary) and bemoaned the shocking lack of free WiFi in Germany. He said he lives in Bremen so had travelled a fair distance to do the Main river, even if he were going to do it in just three days.
We had an hour chatting with him about all sorts of things – the Olympics, Tour de France, Franconian hotel decoration and more – and then it was time to move on; he was going to Schweinfurt for the night which was quite a distance, and we felt if we sat still for a lot longer we’d find it difficult to get on the bikes again.
A few miles outside Zellingen we came to Himmelstadt which seems to have two claims to fame – stamps and Christmas – and we were treated to lots of information boards about both of these things. We continued on through Laudenbach and Mühlbach where we crossed the river on a narrow bridge (cyclists were supposed to walk but I pedalled at walking speed) into Karlstadt.
We were now on the right bank of the Main again and the excellent, smooth path continued on through fairly sparsely-populated fields growing lots of sweetcorn and barley with vineyards visible up the hillsides.
Wernfeld came and went and then we were arriving at Gemünden, our stop for the night. I was aware that our hotel was a little outside Gemünden, halfway to the next village of Langenprozelten, so I suggested to James we stopped for tea and cake in Gemünden itself, which we did. As we sat there someone cycled past on an HP Velotechnik Skorpion trike but they didn’t see my trike. Earlier today we’d seen a recumbent bicyclist too.
After a very nice piece of Apple Torte:
we set off the final two miles to our hotel, popping into an Edeka supermarket to buy some biscuits and choccies to keep us going tomorrow.
We arrived at the Hotel Imhof zum letzten Hieb at three o’clock, wondering a bit where we were as we seemed to be next to a couple of railway lines and a busy road. Fortunately the hotel itself was very nice and we actually have a balcony (I’m sitting on the balcony typing this) which gives more room for drying cycling clothing.
Today was the first day we didn’t have to race to our destination to avoid rain, which was a bonus. It was sunny with blue skies and white clouds all day, although not as warm as yesterday (maybe 21 degrees).
The overall impression of today’s cycling was the excellent quality of the cycle paths – 95% of them were separate, asphalted lanes about 3 metres wide with a lovely, smooth surface and often alongside the river.
As this hotel seems to be in the middle of a suburb with no shops or restaurants visible we ate in the hotel’s restaurant.
Then tomorrow is a shorter cycle to Wertheim, just 35 miles, and is also my 40th birthday. Yikes!
Statistics for today:
Distance: 41.77 miles
Moving time: 4 hours 16 minutes
Moving average: 9.78 mph
Maximum speed: 20.24 mph
Calories burned: 1145
Maximum heart rate: 150
Average heart rate: 100