A majestic valley that just seems to keep on going with grapes planted on every available scrap of land. Tending the vines would potentially require mountain climbing gear, special cable car vehicles are used to tend them

This of course means that we have now transitioned from biergartens to winehaus as a means of undoing all the good the cycling is doing.we are leaving the partaking until after the riding, although I do confess to downing the odd Bier during rides as the weather has got hotter.

After the first day’s ride We switched from the left bank to the right and found the going much easier, less need to constantly refer to the cycle way guide book to find out why we were suddenly the only cyclists on the ‘trail”. We had managed to get totally lost at one stage and I suspect that had we cycled past the same road workers a fifth time they probably would have hit us with their shovels.

Stayed in a village called Peisport which was great, no tourists just us and the locals. Found a little winehaus down on Main Street and proceeded to sample the local Rieslings. Not only were they cheap but also excellent. We stuck to the very full wine glass rather than trying the 700ml glass the locals were downing. Tractors were parked up and not sure if vines were run over when they weaves their way off.

The trail then took us to Bernkastel-Keus, a town full of half timbered houses and millions of holiday makers. Then on to our night stop of Trarben-Trarbach. These towns have double whammy names because they were originally separate towns on opposite banks of the river.

A hot finish lead a couple of thirsty cyclists to the Hotel Bellvue. Have to say we thought we were in the wrong place. The service and quality of accommodation has been top notch but this was over the top. A three roomed suite with spa bath. We were ushered onto the terrace for iced tea on arrival, still in our riding kit and looking decidedly dodgy. An old couple pretty much choked on their champagne and checked out when they saw us.

Saturday was our second longest ride. Decided to go down for breakfast in our glad rags least we might cause the locals to choke on the meat and bread. However, it was a wasted effort, they were all still sensibly tucked up in their beds.

It was a long hot ride but with a great mix of both track and scenery. We had around ten km of unsealed forest trails today. The German riders all stuck to the seal on the left bank so we largely had the place to ourselves.

Spent a little time in Zell which is home to the black cat wines. Unfortunately it was far too early to start sampling the wines but the prices and range did make it very tempting. Settled for a few glasses and some pastries for lunch instead.

By the time we got to Beilstien I was ready for a big bier. The choice of village was perfect with half timbered houses and the Rathaus enclosing our supping area.

We finally made it to Cochem just after three. Struggled through the heaving masses to find our hotel nay to be told that the parking facility for our bikes was back though the heaving masses.

Our previous naught accommodation was definitely a one off. This is the worst of our ride but still very acceptable.

Despite the hard ride, we wandered around the town and found ourselves up at the Berg (castle) above the town. When we got up there we both realised that the fitness levels have improved. Apart from a sweat due to the heat, there was no huffing, puffing or stopping. Alas, the seats are still winning over the bums. 260km down and the last day of our German leg tomorrow which takes us through to Koblenz on the Rhine.

A late start due to breakfast not kicking in until 8am. Jolly nuisance old boy (they think we are English) as had a damn castle to attack, the book said we needed to allow 90 minutes for the siege.

Firstly we had to recover the bikes from the garage, then return the key to the hotel, all gobbling up valuable peddling time.

Unlike Saturday, the path was good, the weather a little dodgy which had eliminated the day trippers, just us hardened expeditionary riders left.

We made stunning time in the overcast to wet conditions and when I saw a sign to Berg Eltz with a picture of people walking I knew we had reached our hop off point of Moselkem to hike into the hills and lay assault to the Berg.

The track followed a river (so said the guide book) but I could see no river, only the alpine styled road that we were walking up. Never less, there were regular signs telling us this was the way and shortly after a 3 km near vertical walk we reached our destination, well a car park that sad we had another 2 km along a romantik walkway to the berg. After a pleasant stroll though the forest we were soon scaling the ramparts with our camera assault weapons.

Hang on, it has taken us 90 minutes to get here, what the f…. We quickly purchased tickets for the guided tour, to hell with the English tour every 30 minutes, we jumped into the German tour, nodded when they did, swivelled our heads on queue and came away thoroughly informed.

Coming down we spotted the river and the path back to Moselkem. Given that the path we came in on had descended to the Berg and did not look a great return option, we knew from our biking experience that rivers ran down hill and opted to take the river path back to Moselkem.

It did run downhill, and after a coupe km, we hit a sign that read, “Moselkem 2.8km”. We are 2 hours into our 90 minute excursion, but onwards we march and finally reach Moselkem. Hang about says Cliff, this is not the town we eft our bikes in. A quick consultation of the map hopefully verifies that it appears we eft our bikes in the town further own the road. An immediate offer of resignation was made as tour leader, but Ruth felt it was easier to give knowing looks rather than take on my onerous responsibility.

So, a further 3 km hike back to where our bikes hopefully were was made. We found them, and found a few more pretty villages along the way and eventually made our way to Deutches Elk at the junction of the Mosel and Rhine along with the massive and imposing statue of Kaiser Wilhelm on horseback.

310km biked, god knows how many km walked but a fabulous start. We are pleased we added this leg to Le tour. Ruth is very impressed with Germany and I think he may want to become a German.

Well, off to France tomorrow, we rushed a few last minute German tastes in tonight, bratwurst, apple strudel and off course a few more drops of Riesling.

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