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|We assembled at Dover Ferry terminal at 07.00 am in order to catch the 08.10 departure for Calais. As bikers, we had our own lane and we boarded the ship first. Unfortunately this meant we were the last off at the other end as we were put on an upper deck. Whatever- we were on holiday so what's the rush. At Calais, we assembled in the exit carpark and sorted ourselves into 2 groups - the 'Nutters' and the 'Plodders'. On a Honda Goldwing with a pillion, yes I'm a plodder.|
|Despite the weather that alternated between sunny and shitty, we made good progress along smooth uncongested roads. Europeans just don't know how lucky they are! Our first stop after 100 miles was in Belgium and - shock horror - Belgium petrol costs the same as in UK, which was a big surprise. Pressing on into Germany we pulled in for a potty break and the heavens opened up. Watching the rain get worse and worse, we decided to get back on the bikes and continue. It was actually dryer in the saddle.|
|Arriving in Soest we stayed at the Hotel Stadt Soest, which provided comfortable rooms and secure parking for our bikes. Lynne and I took a turn around the town and found it to be quite big. We settled on a restaurant near our hotel call "Der Mönchhoff" We enjoyed a dish we had not had in years - A Balkan Platter. I recommend it to anyone.|
|On Day Two we made our way first to the Möhne Dam where we stopped to take in the sights. It is quite remarkable that despite the destruction wrought by the RAF during WWII, the dam was rebuilt like new.|
|Heading out from Möhne we made a stop at a little 'Schnell Imbiss' nestling in a mountain valley. Here we enjoyed our first real taste of Germany - Brattie and Chips with curry ketchup.|
|The German Police had closed all of the bridges across the Mosel to allow a cycle race to be held on the opposite bank. Therefore, we ended up in a small village called Treis Karden waiting for 2 hours until they re-opened the bridges and we could continue our journey.|
The Hotel Zur Poste in Klotten provided hot showers, secure
parking and great dinners.
Mien host, Klaus, was very helpful and ensured that his guests were happy and well fed.
The Hotel is termed a 'Biker Hotel' which means that bikers can relax in their bike gear and can enjoy great facilities for parking and servicing their bike. The Hotel provides cleaning cloths, fluids, lubricants and an air compressor and the bikes are parked in a secured room well away from prying fingers.
|Meals at the Hotel were usually 4 courses and were always filling and tasty. On our arrival, Klaus served up a superb offering which, together with the Mosel wines made our first night an enjoyable feast.|
|After a good night's rest we set out on Day 3 for a ride-out to Berkastel. This was a gentle 50 mile roll down the road following the riverside. At times wet but mainly dry. We set out at 10.00 am but the 'nutters' set off a little earlier for a zoom zoom over the mountain roads. We arrived in Bernkastel before them. Parking up along the riverside carpark, we then took a stroll around the town to see the sights and do all the normal touristie things.|
|Scenes around Bernkastel.|
|After a really nice day out in Bernkastel and after enjoying a tasty sandwich and coffee at a local bakers, Lynne and I decided to ride back to Klotten on our own so that we could stop and take in the scenery.|
|Scenes at Cochem|
|Back in Klotten, we went for a walk all the way up the hill. We found vineyards and some beautifully kept houses. What a shame that if anyone in Britain was to tend their houses like this, it is sure to be vandalised or destroyed in some way. Why can Germans look after their towns and villages so well and yet we in Britain seem to live in a perpetual war zone and building site. Why can they have such respect for their environment and we seem to have none.|
|The next day, Lynne and I booked tickets for a boat cruise up the river to Beilstein (and back). However, we were told that the ferry did not call in at Klotten except for Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays or by request. So we stood at the jetty and when the appointed hour came, a small ferry boat made its way up river towards Cochem. However, it cruised straight past and we felt - oh oh we have been forgotten. Fear not, a much larger ship came down river from Cochem and did a very nifty 180 right in front of our position and then came in to pick up us and another couple (who had arrived in the last few minutes )together with a baby in a buggy. This ship then took us to Cochem and delivered us directly to our cruise ship in Cochem. That's what I call service. We then set out for a great day on the river.|
Beilstein - Town Castle and Nunnery.
Beilstein is a tiny village which looks as if it hasn't changed in the last 500 years. It is distinguished by having the ruins of a riverside castle on top of the hill and a still occupied Carmelite Nunnery. We took a walk around the village and took lots of photos - in fact too many to show here. But the visit was most enjoyable. At it's conclusion, we caught the 3.00 pm ferry back to Cochem where we had another chance to walk around the town before taking the ferry back to Klotten.
Overall a great day out.
The next day was a ride-out to Nürburgring. Lynne decided to opt out of this trip and instead went to Cochem for a nice ladies day out. I joined the nutters and we went off through twisty mountain roads and soaking rain (and even up an almost vertical footpath) to get to nurburg. Unfortunately, when we got there the whole place was deep into preparation for a show taking place on the next weekend. As a result most everything was either closed or in the process of being built. Entry to the Museum was €19.50 which included entry to a funfair and monorail ride. However, not wanting to go to a funfair in the pouring rain and the monorail was closed, I was a little miffed that they didn't offer a lower priced ticket for such a restricted entertainment. So I did my usual thing saying "19.50 for that you must be mad !! I ain't paying that" and then walked away. I'm glad to say that the crowd following me also walked so perhaps next time they will offer better value for money. The photos below show the few cars on display in their so-called museum - so look at these and you won't need to pay in future.
Our way back included a visit to Yepres in Belgium but by this
time our camera had run out of juice and so we have no photos.
However, we had a great ride back to Calais and managed to get
an earlier ferry crossing to Dover.
I'd like to thank all the guys on the tour for a great trip
|Back in UK, we got stuck in traffic on the M25 and M11 and then finally found we had picked up a 2 inch nail in the back tyre. Having fixed the tyre with a can of 'Instant Tyre Fix' we finally arrived home just 2 hours later than we planned.|
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