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Day 34 – 36 – Loreley

Rheinstein Castle on the Rhine river, watercolour by Leanne Talbot Nowell

Simon left Rome very early in the morning and landed at Frankfurt-Hahn airport, hired a car and drove to meet me at Oberwesel. Happily freewheeled down the hill to find him waiting in the car park.  We wandered through the quaint town and milky coffee and a large slice of romantic cake at the Konditorei-caffè Bonsch.

For the sake of love I let him ride my bike sans-panniers for 17 kms to Boppard while I drove the cumbersome car.  There he surprised me with a booking at the extraordinary Bellevue Rheinhotel. A luxurious room with a river view! Lovely place for some pampering.

No cycling this weekend but as Simon is known to be a no-limits man, we managed to visit five different castles on one day. Including the infamous Loreley rock. “Die Loreley” is a poem written by Heinrich Heine in 1824  which describes a lovely siren sitting on the slate cliff above the Rhine and combing her golden hair. She unwittingly distracted shipmen with her beauty and song causing them to crash on the rocks.

The tour was not without a good number of wine tasting sessions. This is Riesling territory after all.

One cannot escape sampling the German beer as well,  and eating enormous helpings of tasty food under the hanging baskets of geraniums and rose covered pergolas. It was all supremely majestical.

We also took a small boat over to an island to see the customs house. Once the passing ships had to stop to pay taxes here. History on

Here are loads of photographs which tell the story.


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The horseshoe which belonged to the devil, was embedded in the road when the people rolled a barrel down upon him as he tried to enter the town….

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Day  36 – Boppard to Bad Honnin

Simon had to leave very early on Monday morning to get back to the office in time.

He was not there to see me heading off north down river, hopping from coast to coast by ferry, whenever things looked more interesting on the opposite bank. The track is perfect up until Koblenz where it gets a bit lost in the industrial zone. An older couple stopped me to complain, they thought it was an idyllic riverside tour all the way. It soon became idyllic once again.
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Having got lost and eventually crossed over the train bridge at Ermitz, the path fizzled out, and I found myself struggling along in the grass. But after some panicky moments in a dark wood, up popped a lovely girl with a dog, and said I should persist. Soon a town popped up and I felt much more on the right track. There are many lovely little villages along the way,  but now they are much flatter and more spread out.
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Linz am Rhein.

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Found the super Bacchus garten at Leyscher Hotel in Leutesdorf under giant walnut trees on the river bank for lunch.

The track was closed, so I shot onto the ferry just in time. On the opposite bank was another ferry just ready to go, so hopped onto that one, so zigzagged a bit to avoid the construction works.

Later that afternoon I was happy to accept a very generous invitation to stay with our friends Rolf and Bianca in Bad Honnef. They treated me to a sumptuous BBQ with good Italian wine and a lovely guest room. Fabulous friends.

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88 kms.

See the route map here

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Day 32 – Nackenheim to Assmanshausen to Oberwesel

Cycling along the Rhine dykes

This illustration is slightly imaginative, conjured up from memory. The poplar trees keep me company all along the cycle track on the river dykes. I hope to paint them again plein-air.

Wurstsalat has been the bug on every menu since Freiburg. At the biergarten in Bingen a woman sitting near me ordered it, so I forced myself to give it a try.
It was served in a glass jar with a lid and the contents looked like a nest of worms, but it was satisfyingly delicious! You would think having a German husband would have exposed me to this salad at least once on our many trips to see family in southern Germany. With my elevated cholesterol level I must stop having all these würsts, schnitzels, and bread served with FAT Schweineschmalz. At dinner this evening I was served a basket of bread and a little ceramic dish of fat. A thimble sized serving of pure white fat with bits of cured meat in it. I took a tiny scraping….but the guilt was huge.

This morning in the lovely city of Mainz I found an E-bike shop and asked the nice smartly dressed young salesman to please check my pedals. He tapped them and declared them tight.
I had the feeling he thought I was just looking for some attention.

Simon is coming to visit.

I am so excited that Simon is arriving in two days to keep me company for the weekend. I hope he’s not shocked at my vagabond appearance.

A month of daily sun and wind has darkened my face to a mottled brown (nose in particular). My glasses have protected the eye skin and weepy pink piggy eyes (allergies). Arms are as scaly as branches and my legs have a patchy burn on the back of the calves. The feet stripes are a mix between giraffe and zebra. Backs of the ankles are a mess from pedal bites. The hand tendons are pronounced. When I wake up in the morning they need time to unravel.

As for my clothes, I wear the same stretch pants every evening. It gets a bit cool on the terrace restaurants and there are mosquitoes around. The nice little frock I brought with me for romantic possibilities is hideously short and does nothing to cover the two-tone-tan effect.

My hair…oh dear! In Italian – “Un casino”

This morning when the church bells gonged in Nackenheim and woke me up at six, I painted a new sign for the handlebar bag. The other one was dull. It’s a bright and cheerful watercolour with the Italian flag in one corner and the Norwegian in the other… Roma – Oslo. At this point I’m beginning to believe that I may in fact, finish.

This caused a stir amongst the oncoming cycle traffic. Within minutes three women cyclists from Amsterdam called after me: “Roma!!! Roma!!!…” so I stopped and we gaggled together about our respective tours. A nice Italian man called Marco saw me at the caffe and said he would follow the blog.

On the ferry crossing over the Rhine once more, a large group of loud men doing their annual cycling tour, took it upon themselves to include me in their photographs. They galantly offered ‘ladies first’ when it was time to disembark. They all watched to see how I would negotiate the steep ramp out of the boat and up the river bank. Haha, I shot up there so fast with my battery on turbo…and heard them all having a good laugh.

The hilly slopes are beginning to steepen and are blanketed with vineyards. Beautiful scenery and architecture everywhere you look!

Found a very pleasant hotel at the water edge called Hotel Schön.

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Only 60 kms today, with an average speed of 23 kmph. I don’t want to go too far. Simon and I would like to spend two days together on this stretch of river amongst the castles and vineyards around Loreley. How romantic!

See the map route here

Day 33 – Assmannshausen to Dellhofen

I dreamed I could fly and had a magic blanket that spilled out all manner of exquisite things when I shook it.

Breakfast on the veranda under a flowering trellis at a table dressed in white linen and elegantly battered silver cutlery and coffee pot. It must have been shiny once when my Great-Great Grandmother, Sarah sat at this very table. I have no proof of that, but she lived in Germany for a year… so maybe…

The morning is exuberant with fresh vineyards. Riesling grapes budding on the vines. The Rhein is becoming greener and deeper as it winds into the gorge at Sankt Goar.

Along the comfortable cycle route at the very edge of the water, someone has set up the perfect table and chairs on the riverbank just for me apparently. I painted the scene on the opposite bank from under a large white board with number 542 printed in black ….which I presume is a kilometer sign for boat pilots. It is a tricky section to navigate.

It is a really hot day, and so with a bit of meandering and hanging around painting I didn’t do more than 30 kilometres. On a tall stone was written this poem –

In jeder Planze
ist Mein Herz
spricht die Erde
So nur
fang den Himmel
ich auf

- F.G. Paff

The translation is more or less this – In every plant, is my heart, says the earth, only like this, I catch the sky.

Thought I would be soft on myself and book a room in advance. On arrival in the village of Oberwesel, as a challenge to my searching and finding skills (no map), I nonchalantly pedalled up and down looking for nr 43 Rheinhöhenstraße…  Eventually had to ask a shopkeeper. She said “Oh that’s right on top of the mountain!! You can’t go up there with the bicycle, it is a very hot day”. That’s the problem with google maps, you can’t see contour lines.

I did go up at great discomfort but thanks to my ebike. The river is nowhere to be seen from up here but Landhotel Zum Kronprinzen is really nice. The name is noble and dinner was served in a lovely private garden next door.

Tomorrow I’ll whizz down the hill to meet Simon.

See the map route here