A Travellerspoint blog

A journey, not a destination

Joy ride down the Rhine River

sunny 80 °F

This is a whole different kind of traveling. Not only do I have a room and reliable access to internet, but it has been quite nice to have Bernd to show me around and answer questions. Its much easier to pick up on cultural nuances and really get a feel for life in Germany. For example, Bernd pointed out the German flag his neighbor was flying and explained that it is rare and somewhat strange to do so.
On top of it all, I have a cell phone and a car!

I started the day the American way, with scrambled eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and of course hot sauce.
When you buy cheese here, they cut a few slices at a time and wrap them in these little packages.
I had slept in a bit later than I would have liked and was eager to get on the road.

My first stop was in Bad Honnef, where I parked and walked through town and saw a few neat shops. One had large glass jars of everything from gourmet flavors of olive oil to homemade lemoncello. Theyre were several smaller glass containers that you could buy and fill up from the larger dispensers. I also found a bank to exchange some dollars for euros. In town, there was this tiny old little dog that Kristine would have loved.
I didn’t get a very good picture on my phone (the pictures I am uploading are from my phone) but I got a better one with my camera. He was old and sort of waddled along behind his owner, who was older herself. Every dozen steps or so, she would pause and wait for him to shuffle and catch up. He wasn’t on a leash or anything, which seems to be pretty common here. Another thing I have noticed are parks with jungle gyms all over the place. There must be one every few blocks.

Once I was in Bad Honnef, my plan was to drive southeast along the Rhine. I had written out directions for myself, which turned out to be pretty useless. Street signs are hard to find and looking up NSEW directions didn’t help either because no highways are labeled in those directions. Instead, I would have been much better off just writing out the names of the towns I wanted to visit. There are plenty of signs along the highway and at every exit that tell you which towns/cities are in that direction, making fairly easy to navigate.
My new plan was to simply write down the names of the towns that I passed through so that I would have a trail of bread crumbs to follow on the way back. First, I stopped in Konigswinter until I figured out that I had been disoriented in Bad Honnef and had headed north instead of south. I stopped in Unkel, and walked for a while down the Rhine. The water was surprisingly fairly warm.
I was surprised to see how undeveloped this section of the Rhine was. I regretted not bringing shorts and running shoes because there is a path that runs along the river and the sun was shining on an exceptionally warm spring day. I’ve been nervous to run, because there aren’t too many long stretches of road here other than highways and I would be making more turns that I could remember and would inevitably get lost. On my way back to the car, I saw a sign with a crude map (basically with just town names along the Rhine on route 42) and took a picture as an insurance policy.

Throughout the town, there are these funny little green spaces that jut out into the roads. I can’t tell whether their primary purpose is to create parking spots or to act as a speed limiter. Either way, they have me zig zagging all over the place.
Another thing that amused me was the Ausfart signs. Ausfart or No Ausfart? At least they don't beat around the bush and set clear groundrules...


No Ausfart

No Ausfart

PS I'm pretty sure Ausfart means exit.

After Unkel was Erpel. Another tiny town that looked like it hadn’t changed in hundreds of years. I half expected people to walk down the street in renaissance era clothing. The architecture was pretty amazing. Every town has a church with lots of unique character.

After Erpel, I passed through Linz, which Bernd had told me was where he and Elke were married. It is a slightly larger town, and its section of the river is more developed, lined with a river walk and countless boat launches. After passing through Linz, I entered wine country. There were some beautiful landscapes with vines climbing up mountains that butted up to the Rhine.

The street signs I had been following were taking me to Koblenz and so I figured that I would get there and then turn back. Since it was one of the big destinations on the signs, I should have figured it would be a big city. Nothing too exciting. I was hungry and stopped at Aldi for some kind of meat (I thought it was turkey when I bought it but now I’m not so sure) and what I guessed was cottage cheese. Then I headed back north.

I stopped a few times for pictures along the way. There were several wineries that I stopped at and tried to poke around but they didn’t seem to welcome guests or do tastings or anything.

I passed this incredible castle that I had seen on the way down but it was not easy to find from the highway. I eventually stumbled upon it, and it was worth it for the pictures…

As I pulled into Bad Honnef, I was a bit worried about how exactly to get home from there. I couldn’t remember the name of Bernd and Elke’s town for the life of me (Windhagen). I passed through a familiar street where I had stopped at the bank earlier in the afternoon but couldn’t figure it out. I had been wandering around for 5 or 10 minutes and was about to call Bernd when he called me . He told me to look for signs to the Autobahn since I had to cross over it. Almost immediately after getting off the phone, I found a sign. It took me through the road I had been looking for, a long road that wound though the woods (reminded me of Durand). I still wasn’t positive I knew how to get home from there and the Razr Bernd had given me started beeping with a low battery so I got a bit nervous, but somehow I trusted my gut and for maybe the first time ever, the directions my gut gave me were right and I got back without a hitch. Overall, I was blown away that that had been the extent of me getting lost in a foreign country without a map. Setting out in the morning, I had expected and prepared for much worse.

When I got home, Bernd was just finishing up dinner and I grabbed a quick snack, (having eaten relatively recently) and we sat down for the game. Elke got home from her training in Hamburg around half time and we watched another dominant German performance. Chances are pretty good that it will be an all-German final. I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have wine during the post game show…just sparkling water tonight.

Overall a great day! My only regret was that Elke had not been home to show me how to take the top down in the BMW (it’s not automatic). It was a perfect top-down day. Tomorrow I’m waking up at the crack of dawn and Bernd is taking me to the train station to catch the train to Frankfurt to sit in on one of their trainings on facilitation. Should be fun!

Posted by atbrady 15:09 Archived in Germany Tagged country wine bad winery koblenz linz rhineland unkel erpel honnef

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Woo-hoo ... look at you with the directions and all. I'm suddenly reminded of you "trying" to run home to our cottage from the beaches of Cape Cod. Have a great time ~ be safe! Love you bunches!!! xoxoxo

by Elaine Brady

You are a true adventurer! I love the detail and the pictures. You chronicle it all so well. I hope you continue to have an amazing time! Can't wait to hear more when you get home. I wouldn't be a good big sis if I didn't say STAY SAFE! Love you!

by Laura

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.