Today we took a couple trains and we rode 46.44 km.
This is it! This is the day we made it to the North Sea, the mouth of the Rhine.
We call this “the day that would not end.” It was a great day, and a very, very long day.
This will probably be a long post!
We awoke to a wet and misty morning. Before I loaded my bike, I laid it on its side, removed the new bellcrank and squirted about a half bottle of Finish Line Wet Cross Country chain lube (which is really a good quality, high-viscosity synthetic oil) into the hub. I don’t think I mentioned it in yesterday’s post, but with the hills around Arnhem and the weight I’m carrying I’ve pushed the hub to its very limits yet again. I got the brakes so hot on one of the downhills that I burned out the remaining grease. There is a good likelihood that there were/are some metal fragments floating around in there too, as not only were the brakes “screaming” when engaged, the hub was making squealing noises when I pedaled and even when I coasted. This is how it sounded as we rolled into Rhenen last night:
Before we checked into the hotel, we stopped at a local bike shop to see if they had any of the special Shimano grease for the Nexus hubs. They did not. I intended to take a couple tubes with me from the beginning, but I have yet to find a bike shop in the Netherlands, Germany or Switzerland that would sell me a tube! Some of the bike shops had their own stash for their shops, but they wouldn’t sell me one. When I had the rear tire replaced in Koblenz I bought the bottle of the Finish Line lube as a substitute, “just in case.” I’m glad I did, because it worked. This morning before we started off, I put about half the bottle in the hub with the hope that it would flush out any metal fragments and also seep through to the brake shoes and give them some much needed lubrication. It did. As we rode into town to find breakfast, the hub was quiet and smooth as were the brakes. Nice!
We stopped for breakfast at a cute bakery and enjoyed some hot tea and pastries. I had a delicious apple pastry. It was so good we got two more for the road.
Our breakfast stop
As we were eating, we looked at the weather forecast and the calendar. The forecast was for rain today and the next couple days. Mila and Jette were not keen on riding in the cold rain, but there was no way we could make it to the North Sea if we took any more rain days. We were simply too slow for the days we have remaining. After some debate, we agreed reluctantly that if we were to hit the finish line by bike we would have to take another train. The plan was to train to Rotterdam and ride the final 40k or so to the Hook of Holland and the coast of North Sea. So, we packed our delicious apple pastries, hopped on our bikes and started riding toward the train station. The mist of the morning had turned to rain. A slow, cold, steady rain.
At the Rhenen train station
There was no ticket agent and the station, only a ticket machine. To get to Rotterdam from Rhenen the trains went through Utrecht. There was a train at the station, and we couldn’t figure out how to buy passes on the bicycles on the ticket machine, so we just bought three tickets for Rotterdam and jumped on the train. Once again it was a local train that allowed us to roll the bikes on fully loaded. So easy and so nice!
On the train the Utrecht
The wet green landscape out the window
Bike parking at one of the little stations along the way
It wasn’t long before we arrived in Utrecht where we rolled the bikes off the train, and headed for the ticket office there.
Elevator in Utrecht station
I told the ticket agent that I’d purchased three tickets to Rotterdam using the machine in Rhenen but that I couldn’t figure out how to purchase the bike passes. She was super-friendly and asked to see our tickets (actually “OV chipcards”). I gave them to her and she immediately saw that we had purchased an adult fare for Jette. She looked Jette in the eye and asked her how old she was.
Jette said, “Ten.”
“Oh,” the ticket agent said with a smile. “Then you have overpaid. I owe you some money.”
She proceeded to count out 14 Euros and give them to Jette, who smiled and said, “Thank you!”
This lady made our day. A smile and positive attitude makes such a difference and this nice lady went above and beyond.
Tickets and bike passes in hand, we rolled our bikes to platform 8 and a few minutes later, onto the train to Rotterdam.
Bikes crammed into the train
At 11:37 we rolled the bikes off the train at Rotterdam Central Station.
On the platform in Rotterdam
Leaving the Rotterdam Station
In Rotterdam we had sunny skies! Yay!
We rode through Rotterdam, winding through the city.
When we saw this cute frites stand, of course we had to stop and sample their wares.
We rode on until we reconnected with the river. When we did, we stopped at an old marina to snap a few photos.
Quick stop at an old marina
We were very luck and spotted the rare and elusive Rotterdam Monkey.
Route through Rotterdam
From here on, the route runs along the North shore of the river, all the way to the Hook of Holland and the North Sea.
An old windmill in the middle of the city
Somewhere in the outer ‘burbs of Rotterdam, Mila thought her rear tire was losing air. We stopped, I pulled the hand pump out of the trailer and pumped it up. This was the first time we had topped-up her tires on the whole trip!
In the outer burbs, we passed a giant shopping center and really started to feel the wind from the North Sea, which would turn out to be a brutal headwind for the rest of the day.
We rode through a couple cute little towns, some very industrial areas, and then the route curved down, right along the shore of the Rhine.
We were only about 15 km from the Hook of Holland but this is where the day would begin to feel like it would never, ever end. We rode and we rode and we rode and sometimes it seemed like we were getting farther and farther from the North Sea. Was that powerful wind blowing us backwards?! It sure felt like it!
On the left side we had the Rhine and on the right the industrial areas gave way to a long, beautiful park, green with grassy lawns and forested areas.
The path and the park
There were giant windmills, huge cranes, big smokestacks and of course big ships – all the things you would expect to see along the biggest port in Europe. For 40 years, Rotterdam was the busiest port in the world. In recent years Singapore and Shanghai and other ports have surpassed it in shipping volume.
We came upon a section of the river where there was a massive sand bar that formed a sort of “beach.” With the sun to the West, we could see trails of footprints snaking out across the sand. It was enticing and we stopped for a few minutes so Jette could go down and explore.
The sandy beach
Jette climbing back up
On we go
Against the wind
As we approached the Hook of Holland, we came up onto the dykes and rode past large floodgates and water control facilities.
Approaching Hook of Holland
Water control facility
As we come into the Hook of Holland, we pass more sheep and some lighthouses.
Into the Hook of Holland
We ride and ride and ride some more and finally catch a glimpse of the North Sea!
1 km from the beach!
We ride for another ten minutes and suddenly we are surrounded by beautiful sand dunes and a winding network of bike paths (this is the Netherlands after all!).
Sand dunes and bike paths
Around and over some dunes and we see the North Sea and the beach!!!!!!!!!
Dipping our toes in the North Sea
We did it!
Ha! I did it!
The North Sea at the Rhine Delta
Wet and happy, glowing with accomplishment, we rode back into Hook of Holland and found a hotel. The first B&B we tried was booked, but we found a room at the Grand Hotel.
Grand Hotel Hook of Holland
Source to Sea!
They did it
After checking in and clowning around in our room, we walked to an Italian restaurant down the street for dinner.
A well-earned dinner
Jette’s calloused hands
We did it!
What a river. What a ride. What an experience… There is so much that we have seen, so much that we have learned, and so much that we have enjoyed on this journey.
Today we rode 39.21 km from Koblenz to Koblenz and from Bonn to Bonn and we took a couple trains too! Let’s just say it was kind of a confusing travel day.
We woke up, packed our bags and bikes and headed out of Koblenz. We rode through center city and North across the Moselle.
Leaving Koblenz… the first time!
We wound our way through the northern part of the city and East to a path along the edge of the Rhine. It started sprinkling. I could feel a “bump” in my rear wheel. I was afraid that even with the spoke replacement the wheel was out of true. If the spoke tension was really off, that could be bad with the massive amount of weight I was carrying.
As we crossed into the industrial outskirts of town, a steady rain began. We were wet. We rode for a while and then took shelter under the awning of a nearby building to discuss our options.
Seeking shelter under the tiny awning of a fire station
Wet Jette with shades to keep the rain out of her eyes
Jette’s rain poncho was useless and Jette and Mila were not keen on riding all day in the cold rain. We were also running out of time on our visas, and given our current pace, we would not have time to make it to the North Sea before our visas expired. So we decided to go back to Koblenz and take the train to Bonn, and perhaps further.
I also took a look at my rear wheel. I spun the wheel and looked at the gap between the rim and the frame. I expected to see a “wobble” and a change in the gap, but I didn’t. That meant that the “bump” I was feeling was either my imagination or something else. The tire? I checked the tread and there was nothing stuck in it. Hmm…
We began to retrace our steps in the rain. As we passed through the ugliest, most industrial area we’ve seen we hit 1,000 km on the odometer. That’s not our “mileage” since Lindau, but rather our total kilometers ridden since I installed the odometer on my bike a week or so after we got them. Not bad!
High fives for 1,000 km
We crossed back over the bridge, but before we went to the train station, we stopped by the bike shop again.
I unhooked the trailer and pulled the bags off the bike and rolled it into the shop. I told the mechanic about the “bump” and that it seemed like the wheel was not true. He shook his head “yes” and together we looked at the wheel. He spun the pedals, looked at the gap between the rim and the frame and looked confused. Then he checked the spoke tension with his fingers, squeezing spokes, spinning the wheel and squeezing again.
“It’s not the wheel” he said.
That left the tire. We spun the tire and looked at it. There was the slightest wobble. He took a allen wrench and held it right next to the tire so close it almost touched and spun the pedals. The wheel turned and sure enough, once per revolution the tire just touched the wrench.
He looked really surprised and said, “It’s the tire. But these are good tires!”
“I know,” I said,”they’re Schwalbe.”
“Yes, Schwalbe” he said.
(The tires are Schwalbe Marathons, a German tire known for quality, durability and puncture resistance. The kind of tire you want on a trip like ours and the kind of tire that isn’t supposed to do this).
Back at the bike shop for a new tire
There was no damage visible on the outside of the tire but it was now obvious that there was some kind of internal damage or failure and the tire was forming a sort of bump or bubble in one spot. It would have to be replaced. I think we were both surprised.
On a Dutch style bike with an internally geared hub and full chain case removing the rear wheel to replace a tire or tube is not trivial. It’s not especially difficult, it just takes some time. Removing the wheel requires disconnecting the bellcrank of the shifter, removing the chain case, loosening the two chain tensioners and the two lug nuts of the axel, disconnecting the brake arm for the coaster brake. Reinstalling the wheel is essentially all of that in reverse and adjusting the shifter if necessary. I didn’t want to be the one to do it, so once again we left the bike at the shop for an hour or so.
While my bike was getting a new tire we went for a hot tea to dry off and warm up.
Tea time while my bike gets a new tire
Playing with that long hair
While we were having tea, another group of touring cyclists came in to warm up and escape the rain.
Some other cyclists decide to sit out the rain too
After the tea, we decided that we should grab a quick lunch before we picked up the bike and headed for the train station.
Donner kebab lunch
After lunch we picked up my bike, rode to the train station, and caught the train to Bonn.
Forget the rain, let’s train!
Waiting for the train
On the train to Bonn
It wasn’t long before we arrived in Bonn. The plan was to visit the Haribo gummy bear factory, then catch a later train on to Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Given our slow pace and the limited time before our visas expire, we decided to train through the industrial part of Germany to Arnhem and pick up the trail again from there. At least that way there was a chance of us riding to the end and dipping our toes in the North Sea.
Mila and Jette had been reading about tours of the Haribo factory in Bonn and were exited to visit. We got off the train at the Bonn Central Station and searched Google Maps for the Haribo factory. It turned out that there were no tours of the Haribo factory, but that there was a Haribo factory store. The bummer was that it was in the Southern suburbs, very close to the Bad Godesberg train station we passed before we got off at Bonn Central Station! We decided that we would ride back South about 7 km to the Haribo Factory Store then get on a train to Arnhem at theBad Godesberg station so we wouldn’t have to ride back to Bonn Central Station.
Bonn seemed like a pretty city and felt very different than other German cities we’ve visited. Some of the streets felt like Brooklyn or Washington D.C.
Somehow it looks like it used to be the capitol.
Leafy streets and townhomes in Bonn
Once we navigated through a few city streets there was a long, straight path that paralleled the train tracks all the way South to the Haribo Factory Store.
A long, straight path
A sugary oasis in a the land of carbs:
The Devil’s Workshop
Jette in gummy paradise
There were too many kinds of sugary treats to count and we spent hours, days, maybe even weeks exploring them all.
Mila and Jette with our purchases – a bag of gummies and an advent calendar with Haribo treats behind each door.
Cartwheel in GummyLand
When we were done with Haribo, we rode to the Bad Godesberg train station and bought a ticket to Koln (Cologne) from a grumpy and very unhelpful ticket agent. Tickets in hand we soon discovered that the only way to get to the platform was up and down two giant flights of stairs:
The inaccessable station
There was no way that I was going to unload the bikes and make a hundred trips up and down those stairs with heavy bikes and bags. No way. We thought that there must be another way and asked how people in wheelchairs got to the platforms. We were told that they had to take the stairs. Nice. Still no way, so we decided to ride back to the Bonn Central Station and catch the train to Koln from there.
Apparently we made it back to the Koln station about the time that rush hour started because there were so many people on the platform and the trains were so full and stopped for such short time that it was three trains and about as many hours before we could get our bikes onto one!
When we finally arrived in Koln, the sun was setting and it was raining again. We didn’t have a hotel and my phone suddenly decided to stop working. We had mapped some hotels on the train, so we rode to where we thought we saw a bunch of hotels on the map. Somehow we ended up in the “Bermuda Triangle” surrounded by hotels, but with none nearby and no clue which way to go.
Surrounded but none nearby
After some time I got my phone working again and we found our way to one of the closer hotels. They were full and said that most of the hotels in the city were full because of “The Expo” whatever that is. We rode through the dark, cold and rain to another nearby hotel. Again, sold out. The man behind the desk suggested three more nearby hotels… In the end we found an overpriced hotel with a room available and took it. What is it with German cities and sold out hotels?! We unloaded the bikes, locked them up on the street and carried the bags up to our funky but serviceable 1970’s room. At least it offered an internet connection for one device, and at 1980’s speeds!
Our bags safely stashed in the 70’s, we walked two blocks to an empty but surprisingly good Thai restaurant for a quick dinner.
Pad See Ew
After dinner, it was finally time for bed and some well-earned rest!
Monday morning. We got up and walked into the shopping district in town to find some breakfast. I walked my bike and after breakfast Mila and Jette did some window shopping while I took my bike to Fahrrad XXL Franz a great bike shop with a branch in Koblenz. It’s a big multi-story shop with lots of bikes and accessories and a service area that promises repairs within 24 hours!
The service area of Farrhad XXL Franz
Farrhad XXL Franz
I was in luck. They had a replacement bellcrank in stock and even did the installation for me while I had a tea. Nice. I didn’t snap a photo, but it is the new style that looks like this:
We spent the rest of a rainy afternoon window shopping and sampling the best gelato/ice cream we’ve found so far on this trip. If you are ever in Koblenz, check out eGeLoSIa.
Best ice cream
Best gelato-ice cream so far
I had bitter chocolate gelato and strawberry chocolate chip frozen yoghurt. Mila had hazelnut and stracciatella, and Jette had chocolate and rocher. They were all delicious.
It was a good “rest day”!
Today we rode 41.83 km from Sankt Goar to Koblenz.
Sunrise at camp
This morning we packed up camp and I decided to do some quick bike maintenance. The trailer arm had bumped my rear wheel and knocked it out of alignment a couple days ago and I had been procrastinating fixing it. So, we ate some bread and butter, packed up camp, brushed our teeth and I broke out the bike tools. Five minutes later the wheel was aligned, but there was a problem.
When I reattached the bellcrank, the anchor bolt simply kept turning, it was stripped. The bell crank is the mechanism that links the shift cable to the hub of the rear wheel. When you twist the grip shifter, the shift cable moves and the bellcrank translates the movement of the cable to a push rod in the hub, causing the gears to change. In the photo below, the bellcrank is the big silver thing. The shift cable is coming out of the top, the wheel is on the left and the anchor bolt is on the bottom. When tightened the anchor bolt pushes agains the axel lug nut and holds the bellcrank in place. Without the tension of the anchor bolt the bellcrank just falls off. Not good.
Shimano Nexus 3 speed bellcrank
I have seen this happen before from the anchor bolt being over-tightened. The body of the bell crank is cast from a soft metal and if the bolt is tightened too much, the threads in the bell crank body disintegrate. Some years ago I did this on another bike and have been very careful ever since. It’s possible that I am to blame once again, but I’d like to think it was either the guy who swapped cogs on the bike in Amsterdam or the one who replaced the spoke in Switzerland. Regardless, I was stuck now. I had two wrenches, a multi-tool, and no spare parts.
Clearly it was MacGyver time…
I went into the little shop at the campground to see what I could find to improvise. They didn’t have much. In terms of hardware it was mostly spare parts for campers and RVs. Lightbulbs, hoses, fuses, and things of that sort. A little package of hose clamps caught my eye, and I picked up a roll of duct tape for insurance.
My MacGyver impression
Hose clamps to the rescue
I joined two hose clamps to each other to get the length I needed, then wrapped the hose clamps around the dropout of the frame and the body of the bellcrank. I snugged them up and the bellcrank was held nicely in place. I was ready to roll!
As good as new
Off we went, past castles and cruise ships.
Cruise ships and castles
Taking a water break
We stopped for lunch in very touristy Boppard. I think we hit town just as the river cruise ships dumped their human cargo for lunch too. We had some yummy omelets and it began to rain. We were tucked safely under the umbrellas and of course our panniers (bike bags) are waterproof.
Lunch in Boppard
Silly guy eating a farmer’s omelet
By the time we finished lunch the rain had stopped. While Mila and Jette waited (forever) for the check I pulled out some tools and made some adjustments on my bike. While I was working a group of about 8 spandex-clad cyclists in matching jerseys pulled up on fancy road bikes. They were clearly amused by our bikes, the amount of stuff we were carrying. I think they were even more amused to see that I was strapping hose clamps on a three-speed. They were speaking Dutch to each other and it wasn’t long before one of them wheeled over a little closer and asked me where we were going and where we were coming from. They had a good laugh. We chatted about our trip our bikes, and one of his friends pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of his fancy touring bike with a BOB trailer. While we were talking even more of their group pulled up. They said that twice a year they come to Germany or Switzerland on a big ride. A few jokes about us joining their pace line and they were off.
We hit the road again. It was a nice ride. We had the river and the cruise ships on our right, there was lots of pretty scenery and a good number of old castles on the hills. One has to marvel at how they were built. With the technology of the past it must have required massive amounts of human labor.
Stopping to check out the wildlife
As we got to the edge of Koblenz we stopped at the Koblenzer brewery biergarten for a refreshing heffeweizen. While we were there I searched online with my phone to see if I could find and book a hotel. I couldn’t find any that would allow me to book online. They were either fully booked or didn’t have online reservations. I called a couple and they were full. For some reason my phone wouldn’t connect to some of the numbers. We decided the easiest thing would be to ride into town and just find a hotel.
At the Koblenzer biergarten
The trail into town went through a pretty, wooded park.
Coming into Koblenz
As we came into town, things seemed eerily quiet. We didn’t see any people at all. Had the zombie apocalypse finally arrived?!
We’d found a few promising hotels on Google Maps, and we stopped at the first one, the Hotel Hamm. They were fully booked. I asked the friendly woman behind the desk if she could recommend another hotel nearby and she said that virtually every hotel in the city was full. She checked some sort of online hotel booking system and called about 8 hotels to see if they had any openings. None of them did. She made a final call and found one that “might” have an room available, but wouldn’t know for half an hour. It was called Hotel B&B and she said that she was not familiar with it and couldn’t vouch for it. She said that they local tourist information office had been calling her looking for rooms and suggested that they might know of some hotels with openings. She drew us a map, gave Jette a candy and we were on our way.
The tourist information office was right in the middle of town, it a very modern new complex surrounded by lots and lots of retail.
At the tourist information office
Funky modern building
At the tourist office, they just laughed when we asked if they knew of any hotels available. Really. I told them what the nice lady at Hotel Hamm said about the possibility of an opening at Hotel B&B and asked if they could call them on our behalf. They did and there was one room available! Obviously we said we wanted it and would be there as quickly as we could. The woman at the tourist information office marked the location of Hotel B&B on a map for us and we were on our way. It turns out Hotel B&B is not a B&B at all, but rather a motel on a busy highway called B&B Hotels. Hey, they have showers, beds and electrical outlets! They even have an internet connection. The Holy Grail.
Cartwheels in B&B Hotel
We checked in to the hotel, locked our bikes up in the parking garage and walked into the city in search of dinner. We hit one of the main shopping streets just before most of the stores were closing. Mila and Jette couldn’t resist going into the local T.J. MAXX which in Germany is called T.K. MAXX.
Transatlantic discount shoppers
Twilight on Koblenz shopping street
In the almost every town and city we’ve visited the main shopping streets are pedestrian. It is so nice to have quiet streets with sidewalk seating and no traffic or traffic noise. In this regard, the quality of life is so much higher here. In one of the plazas off the main shipping street, there were a number of restaurants. We choose an Italian place and enjoyed a nice dinner under the huge umbrellas. I’d love to get one of these twenty foot umbrellas for our back patio at home!
Restaurants on the plaza
Italian for dinner
On the way back to the hotel, we giggled at the Oktoberfest outfits for sale in the shop windows.
Oktoberfest here we come
Mila said she would pay good money to see me in the men’s outfit above. Even with the offer of renumeration, I think this is highly unlikely. 😉
Back to the hotel and to bed.
Today was a short 23 km from Basel to Kembs, France.
First thing this morning I found a bike shop and got the broken spoke on my rear wheel replaced. The shop, Cenci Velo, was kind enough to do the work while I waited. Thanks guys!
While I was out getting my spoke replaced, Jette and Mila packed our bags at the hotel. When I returned, we checked out, left our luggage at the hotel and had a quick breakfast. Then we hopped on our unloaded bikes (wow, they sure felt light!) and explored the Old City of Basel.
Exploring old Basel
Fountain in the Old City of Basel
We then went down one of the main shopping streets. I went into a fantastic book store and bought a couple of books. Mila and Jette went into a pharmacy to get some gauze and ointment for her scraped knee. Instead, the pharmacist dressed the wound for Jette and wrapped it with an elastic bandage.
Getting treated in a pharmacy
We all popped back into the bookstore so Jette could get a new mechanical pencil and eraser to replace her broken/lost set.
A new mechanical pencil and eraser
After that it was back to the hotel to pick up our bags and pack the bikes, then we hit the road. We rode out of Basel on the Rhine Route past the massive Novartis corporate/industrial campus. It is like a city unto itself.
Passing the massive Novartis campus on the edge of Basel
A little further on and we came to the intersection of the Rhine and Rhone au Rhin Canal.
The start of the Rhone au Rhin Canal
The rest of the day’s cycling would be along the canal path.
Along the canal path
Along the canal
Lunch and the canal
Yummy bread and butter
Canal path and field
Planetary distance and scale
More canal trail
We stopped to learn about the fish that live in the canal. There are 12 main species of fish today. In the 1980’s pollution in the Rhine killed off many of the fish and had a big impact on the biodiversity of the canal. In recent years the pollution has lessened and the fish have made a comeback, with a different species mix.
Learning about the fish in the canal
Looking from France into Germany
Village left, canal right
As we came into Kembs we saw people along the canal banks looking at something in the water. As we closer we thought they were beavers, but they were not…
Swamp rats? Otters? Who knows?
Can you tell what they are?
Who are these guys?
They are coypu a.k.a “river rats.” Whatever they are when Jette saw them she said, “Awww…they’re adorable!” and fed them an apple she found on the ground.
Jette and the swimming rodents
Meanwhile I tried swapped SIM cards in my phone, trying to find one that would work. The German card wouldn’t, even though I could throw a rock into Germany. With the Swiss one, I got a text message suggesting that I upgrade to a roaming data package for France, but when I clicked on the link in the message I got an error saying that I didn’t have a roaming data plan! It was a Swisscomm catch-22.
I was hoping for access to Google Maps so I could search for campgrounds close by. Jette was tired and we were all ready for a shorter rest day. A man came out of the house we were parked in front of and in my rusty French I asked him if there was any camping nearby. He said that he wasn’t aware of anything but that we could pitch our tent in his yard if we wanted. It was very kind, but I thanked him profusely and declined. I did’t say it to him, but we were as interested in the potential of a shower and internet connection as much as we were a place to pitch the tent.
I found a spot where apparently the phone “thought” I was close enough to Germany and got a connection. The closest campgrounds were too far and there were no hotels in Kembs. Jette and I rode back to an information map and sign we had passed and found a listing of local B&B’s. There were three, all on the same street. We turned off the canal path and rode into town. Compared to most of of the towns and villages we’ve been thorough on this trip it seemed a bit plain and even rough around the edges.
Kembs – a rather plain village
We quickly found the street we were looking for and two of the B&B’s. The first was a gasthaus style pub-hotel. There was a note taped to the door saying that it was closed until next week. The next one looked more promising, but it too had a note taped to the door. It said that there were two rooms available and gave a phone number to call. The door was locked. I tried my phone, but couldn’t get service with any of the the three SIM cards (German, Swiss, Dutch). I was hoping that one of them would let me buy a roaming package, but no luck. So, we got on our bikes and went in search of the third B&B which was supposedly on the same street. We rode down to where we thought we should find it based on the house number, but there was a roundabout and the street changed names. So, it was back to the second one. We knocked on the door. No answer. There was a restaurant across the street so Jette and I went in and asked if they had a phone we could use. Somehow they understood my French and kindly obliged. I stumbled through a conversation with the man on the other end of the line and a few minutes later we were back across the street and entering the magical oasis of Au Relais de la Pose aux Chevaux.
Au Relais de la Pose aux Chevaux – B&B in Kembs
The driveway entrance
Built in 1739 the building used to be a mail relay station (thus the name Relay of the Mail by Horses). We were warmly greeted by the owner and shown into the beautiful garden and then into the home.
The driveway and shed
Mila with a portrait of Jette
An interior wall showing the original construction methods from 1739.
Hundreds of years of wear and character
As you can see, it is a beautiful, charming place and a fine setting for handstands and cartwheels.
It is almost midnight, so I am off to bed. Goodnight.