Browsed by
Author: admin

Canada 2023: Day 21

Canada 2023: Day 21

24rd July. Kamloops day…

Lazy start.

Todays mission was to sort Hazel’s British Columbia driving licence. This meant a trip to Kamloops in the hire car. While there Hazel was also going to do some shopping at Walmart.

To gain her BC licence Hazel has to hand her UK licence in which does seem strange. Anyway the whole process only took about 30 mins.

Call me strange but I do like looking round “forign” supermarkets. What people buy gives some inside to the country. In this case the first thing I saw was “George” labelled clothing ! Suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised as Walmart own Asda.

After shopping we returned to Sun Peaks for a chill. Later we headed out to a quiz night at the pub over the road. We were in a team of 6 with Hazel’s mates. Our team won the quiz – a high to end the holiday on πŸ™‚

The only downer on the day was the impromptu quiz meant we forgot about a fine fruit crumble that Hazel had made for us.

Canada 2023: Day 20

Canada 2023: Day 20

23rd July. Sun Peaks day…

Lazy start… walked around Sun Peaks & did some shopping.

Drove to McGillivray lake where the girls went paddling. I made friends with a butterfly

Any ideas what this is ?

Pizza for tea & an early night…

Canada 2023: Day 19

Canada 2023: Day 19

22nd July. Vancouver to Sun Peaks day…

Long driving day…

Started with a walk round downtown Vancouver which is a lovely city. Would come back here.

On driving out we did notice a huge amount of homeless people on the streets. Sad to see in such a prosperous society.

Long drive to Sun Peak & an early bed…

Canada 2023: Day 18

Canada 2023: Day 18

21st July. Vancouver Island to Vancouver.

Long drive from Brentwood Bay to Vancouver. We broke the journey at Cowichan Bay on route to the Naniamo ferry terminal.

Tonight we’re in a family room in hostel. This turned out to be a shit hostel. The room was only just bigger than the bed which was a metal framed double with a single as a bunk above it. No air-conditioning & way too hot. Ended up wedging the door open to get some air flow.

It’s not ideal wedging your door open in a dodgy hostel so we piled stuff behind the door so it couldn’t be opened without making a noise ! Anyway we’re all still alive.

The only photo is of our carpark ticket…

Canada 2023: Day 17

Canada 2023: Day 17

20th July. Vancouver island – whale watching…

Big day – whale watching in the morning & kayaking at night.

A playful baby humpback…

Night canoe at Brentwood Bay. Not many photos because it was too dark. The bioluminescence we saw as we paddled was beautiful.

When we returned to the Air B&B this fella was in the garden.

Canada 2023: Day 16

Canada 2023: Day 16

19th July. Vancouver island – a drive out to the west coast…

Today we drove out to Port Renfrew on the west coast of Vancover Island. 

Several walks were done…

Canada 2023: Day 15

Canada 2023: Day 15

18th July.  Vancouver Island

Started the day with a walk in Goldstream Park. 

Then we went to Bamberton beach for lunch and a swim

Barbering beach lunch stop

Next was a ferry back to Brentwood Bay.

We saw seals .

While queuing for the ferry we were told of a better beach near our AirB&B. This was Island View Beach. So we went…

Fish tacos…

Just stunningly beautiful & i don’t mean the girls…

Then it was home for fish tacos & catch up on blog…

Canada 2023: Day 13

Canada 2023: Day 13

16th July. Market day in Sun Peaks

Girls just love a market & this one had some nice tat for them to look at. The stalls were spaced down the main pedestrian street.

Obviously there was nothing really worth photographing but I did manage to find someone selling local beer 😁

A faily chilled day with nothing else to report…

Canada 2023: Day 12

Canada 2023: Day 12

15th July.

Hazel was working today so we had to amuse ourselves…

After a slow start doing washing & paying bills we settled on a game of disc golf. The disc golf course is located up the mountain and easily accessed using the cable car.

There are no pictures of disc golf because we were being eaten alive by millions of mosquitoes.

After a round of disc golf we had a short walk before home for tea and medals…

Our Strava trail, the only evidence of disc golf – except for all the mozzie bites
Canada 2023: Day 14

Canada 2023: Day 14

17th July. Travel to Vancouver Island.

Early start to the day. Hazel had arranged for one of her mates to give us a lift to Kamloops to pick up our Turo hire car at 7:45. Turo is like AirB&B for cars. You’re renting of individuals not a company.

Hazels mate arrived early & we got to Kamloops an hour early for the car. We killed time in Starbucks having some breakfast. In the UK breakfast at Starbucks would normally mean selling a kidney or re-mortgaging the house. Not in Canada 😁

The car pickup was at the guys house – he wasn’t there. The car was so we started our journey to Vancouver Island. Turo worked well.

The drive was long but scenic. We broke the journey with a stop in Whistler.

Sadly when we returned to the car we found we’d got a parking ticket. Turns out we’d been ticketed while Sarah was at the machine buying a ticket. Bastards… Our first bad experience in Canada 🀬

We then had an hours ferry ride to Vancouver Island.

Stunningly beautiful – scenery & Sarah…

We arrived late to our AirB&B which was in Brentwood Bay, just north of Victoria.

Canada 2023: Day 11

Canada 2023: Day 11

14th July. Shreddin Sun Peaks Dude…

Today Hazel treated us to eMountain bike hire & had worked out a route for us.

We hired from Evolution. This time they were proper mountain bikes.

We set off and got about half a mile up a fire track when my bike broke. The derailleur was bent and the chane had come off one of the jocky wheels !

I had a closer look and it appeared the chain had been threaded incorrectly ! I scooted back to the bike shop. The bike mechanic said it was broken & they gave us another bike.

We rode off towards the fire track when my chain broke and fell off ! Second bike broken – now that’s embarrassing 😬

Back to the bike shop they’d run out of hard tail eBikes in my size so I got an upgrade to a full suspension version 😁

We set out again with me being very careful with this one…

On the way down Sarah’s rear brake leaver leaked oil – 3rd bike broken.

We made our way back to the bike shop where it transpires the bikes were new and it was their first ride ! Anyway the bike problems didn’t spoil a lovely day in the mountains πŸ™‚

Back to the flat for some R&R…

Canada 2023: Day 9

Canada 2023: Day 9

12th July. Sun Peaks.

We all had a few too many last night so it was a late start to the day. We put some washing on and had a walk round town.

Hazel’s place…
Recreating last nights Sarah & the chair incident.
A deer wandered across in front of us.

Then a nice evening watching a film…

Canada 2023: Day 8

Canada 2023: Day 8

11th July. Calgary to Kamloops

Well it seems the assistant in the BK Whopper bar in Calgary Airport read last nights post on customer service – she was, or came across as really quite rude !

Anyway they sell beer so ordered Molson and two vege burgers. All good until my order is ready. Apparently you can’t drink in public in Canada so I couldn’t take my bottle of beer out of the burger bar to where Sarah was sitting πŸ˜•

Mellowing to my charms she offered a solution 😁

Does this make me a Canadian law breaker ?

The flight to Kamloops was on a tiny plane.

Cold and wet in Calgary. When we landed in Kamloops it was sunny & 30Β°C

We met Hazel at the airport and after some food shopping headed off to Sun Peaks.

After a short chill in Hazel’s flat we went out for Taco Tuesday at Hazel’s local.

Then it started to go wrong…

Can’t remember what it’s called but it’s a double Margareta with a Corona. Many were drunk !

To cut a long story short we had a great evening with Hazel & her mates. Sarah was a little squiffy & needed a sit down on the way home….

Canada 2023: Day 7

Canada 2023: Day 7

10th July. Lake Louise & Johnston Canyon…

It seems Lake Louise is popular. You can’t drive there but have to book a park & ride place. This booking has to be done on-line. That process was a nightmare ! Luckly once booked the park & ride bit was really well done & quite stress free.

What wasn’t stress free was the numbers of people visiting this small area. Luckly it was a bit like the lakes in that people don’t go far from their transport. We walked down to the head of the lake & got away from the crouds.

It was beautiful…

At the head of the lake Sarah had a swim – the mad fool πŸ₯ΆπŸ₯ΆπŸ₯Ά

Back at the park & Ride we had Poutine a Canadian delicacy of chips, cheese curds and gravy.

Poutine. Looks grim but it’s really tasty πŸ˜‹

Awesome, super excited to serve you, Funday Sunday, Taco Tuesday, great choice,

Fuelled by Poutine we went for a walk down Johnston Canyon.

On returning up the Canyon we heard rocks falling and the cracking of timber above our heads. We looked up to see a tree falling into the Canyon above us. We ran… Luckly the tree roots held & the tree didn’t fall onto the walkway else it would have been close !

This is a wide angle photo so doesn’t show how big the tree is or how close it is to the walkway.

After this close shave we ate out at a Taco bar to celebrate still living 😁

The food was good but the service ethos is starting to become a little annoying. Every menu choice you make is “awesome” and every waitress says they’re super excited to serve you Hmmm 🀨

A few beers then bed. Flying to Kamloops to see Hazel tomorrow…

Canada 2023: Day 6

Canada 2023: Day 6

9th July. Banff

Slept well in the Canmore Hostel – didn’t hear the live band in the hotel next door. We’re up by 8am to put a new ticket on the car. A ticket was needed but was free – work that one out ???

After making tuna mayo sarnies we headed out to Banff for a day’s eMountain biking. We were both looking forward to exploring Banff.

When we arrived the bikes were hybrids rather than mountain bikes. We ask for routes & three were provided. It transpired there were no mountain bike trails locally so the routes provided were on road.

The thre routes were ” Golf course”, “Tunnel mountain” and “Lake Minniewanka” loop. Being quite childish the name Minniewanka made me snigger…

Anyway some photos…

After riding we had an hour or so before a wildlife tour. The tour started from the same spot we hired the bikes from – simples…

The tour was on a small minibus. Our tour guide was Ray, a young girl with multicoloured hair and a loud voice.

We all got on the bus (12 people) and Ray told us the route for tonight’s wildlife hunt.

Sarah & I looked at each other as Ray said the exact route we’d eBiked earlier ! We laughed…

Anyway the tour was good and Sarah got to see a Wolf. No photo – it ran off.

Back to Canmore for a couple of beers… Night x

Pissed again…

Canada 2023: Day 5

Canada 2023: Day 5

8th July.  Banff

Today we move from Jasper to Banff.  The plan was to look at interesting stuff on the Icefields Parkway, our route home.

Athabasca Falls

Pretty waterfalls – see pictures below…

Athabasca Glacier

Short walk to the foot of the Glacier…

Tangle Creek

Tangle Creek is a pretty waterfall..

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake…

Then it was find the hostel, shower, beer & bed !

Tired so this is short – jus so we can remember what we did…

Canada 2023: Day 4

Canada 2023: Day 4

7th July.  Jasper in search of Yogie…

The nice Spanish cyclist – he snored all night 😑

I woke at 3am and ventured out to the loo.  Half way there I suddenly became aware I’m in bear country & not at the top of the food chain – I woke up quickly !     Luckily for me no bears were hiding in the kharzi

Breakfast was coffee and boiled eggs on toast while chatting with the snory French guy. 

First activity of the day was a trip on the Jasper sky tram.   This is a cable car that takes you half way up Whistler mountain.  The plan was to walk to the summit which is just over 8000ft high.

Looking up Whistler mountain from the Jasper sky tram base station

We were lucky it was a clear sunny day which allowed good views.

The haze we were told was due to wildfires.
Looking back on the cable car station as we started the walk

After Whistler mountain  we went into Jasper for a cool beer and a look round.  It reminded us of a very spread out Keswick – outdoor shops surrounded by mountains.

We went into a bar for a cool beer.  Nice beer but expensive – just like keswick !    Now I don’t normally take photos in public toilets but I had to take this one of the gents urinal.

Makes you want to stand a little closer πŸ˜‰

After the pub we drove to Medicine lake & Maligne Lake.

After Medicine Lake we drove to Maligne Lake to see a friend of Hazel’s.  Sadly the 60 mile round trip was in vain as she’s in Jasper on her one day off a week !   Meline was too busy so we moved on quickly.

The drive home was interesting as we saw this fella wandering buy…

After our encounter with Yogi we did a walk down Maligne canyon. For this walk we were lent some bear spray by the hostel warden.

Rambo Nick “armed” with bear spray hanging off my rucksack sack !

I was excited about a wilderness walk where bear spray may be needed. Dont get me wrong I didn’t want to go around pepper spraying bears. I’m well aware of what the outcome would be and I don’t want to harm them anyway. (I’m a vegetarian don’t you know) It was the thought of being in such a wild and untouched place we don’t really get in the UK.

The sad truth was it was a really popular walk. Hundreds of screaming kids… No self respecting animal would be withing 5 miles of this place.

So I felt a bit of a nob being armed like Rambo on a “family” walk. It was a beautiful place so here are some photos.

The Internet a little slow today so only two pics….

Canada 2023: Day 3

Canada 2023: Day 3

6th July. Calgary to Jasper

Today has been another really long day…

We were woken at 4:30am by a phone call from the uk – I’d not turned my phone on silent. Doh…

Todays plan was to get the bus back to the airport & pickup a hire car. Then drive, via a Walmart for food to Jasper. Simples.

We said goodbye to the hostel at about 9:30 after another hearty breakfast. We caught the 300 bus to the airport.

We’d picked the cheapest car we could with a company called VIP. What could go wrong…

…well nothing really. After some admin mixup VIP had booked us with Hertz for the same price. Hertz were nice and allowed us to take the car early so we were on the road by 11:30.

The roads out of Calgary Airport were busy but we managed find Walmart. I was looking forward to this because of the Facebbok group “People of Walnart”. If that’s to be believed the place will be filled with very “Special” people. Check it out. Just search FB for #peopleofwalmart you’ll love it.

The drive to Jasper was a long one – 440km and 4.5 hours according to Google.

After a couple of boring hours the scenery started to improve with big mountains on the horizon. When we got on the Icefields Parkway the scenery was just stunning.

Poor picture of the glacier. We didn’t get any good photos so you’ll just have to trust us – it’s beautiful here…

Now the speed limits on this road are low and between 50 and 110kph at random sections of the road. The locals just ignored any limits which lead to some sketchy overtaking.

We came round one right corner to see a groupe of cars on the opposite carriage way all stopped in a group by a turning. I had my eyes on them looking for any stupid overtakes that would put us in danger.

What I didn’t see was they were looking a a bear on my side of the road by bushes on the hard shoulder. So we passed within 12″ of the bear at 50mph !

On passing the group of cars we could see they’d stopped to look at the bear. Given Paddingtons size I think our Hyundi would have come of worst.

We laughed at the thought of these people admiring this beautiful animal only to see us run it over !

As we drove on, I said to Sarah she should get her good camera ready. She laughed and said they’d be no chance of seeing another. Five minutes later we passed another smaller bear coming out of the tree line at the side of the road ! Again no photos ☹️

The hostel we’d booked is basic but in a beautiful location.

Maline Hostel, Jasper

Mixed dormitories, no showers and compost toilets.

Toilets to the right 🀣

Tired, we cooked pasta & went to bed after chatting with some of the other guests and Scott the hostel warden.

Luckly we were only sharing with a nice Spanish cycle tourist.

Canada 2023: Day 2

Canada 2023: Day 2

5th July.  Calgary.

The day started well.  Sarah got an email saying our bags had been delivered & I got an email from NS&I  😁

Last night we arrived in rain so I opened the blinds to see what sort of day it was and saw this fella…

On the way to the hostel I saw squirrels as well.  Amazing wildlife for a city centre.

We retrieved our bags, showered and went for breakfast.  The hotel breakfast was a help yourself buffet of coffee, juices, bread, waffles, boiled eggs, yoghurt & fruit. This was served in the communal kitchen which had chairs & tables.   We ate with youths – we’re definitely the oldest swingers in town here !

Today we wanted to see Calgary.  Given the size of it we were only ever going to see a small part so we picked on the Downtown area which seemed to have interesting stuff.  I’m trying a wordpress gallery below – tell me if it works !

We then went for some lunch at the River Cafe on Princes Island Park.   We just wanted a drink & a quick snack so we ordered a coffee, a beer and a mixed meats and cheeses board to share between us.

This mixed meats and cheeses board was an individual starter which we shared.

We got a shock when the bill arrived  😭😭😭   Seems the River Cafe is 28th out of over 3000 Calgary restaurants on TripAdvisor !

This didn’t include the 15% tip !  
It was nice but we won’t be going back

We walked further down the river & saw some eScooters.  Sazz downloaded an app & 5 minutes later we were off…

I was sceptical, but I have to say these are a great laugh & a brilliant way to get around.  They’re especially good on smooth dedicated cycle paths.   I think we did about 5 miles & cost us Β£10 each.

Decided to go back to our room & have a cheeky snooze before the evenings festivities.  On the way back we nearly got pepper sprayed by druggies who were fighting in the street.  Never a dull moment in Calgary !

So drug addicts, and by drugs I mean opiate based not just blow. There’s loads in Calgary & they’re everywhere. They’re totally fucked – it’s so sad but makes good people watching.

Anyway we rested. I watched the Tour highlights and we were out again by 7:30. We were both hungry as we’d only eaten a starter between us for lunch !

We ate cowboy style tapas & drank beer at a local bar. Calgary is lit up well at night…

Anyway time for bed…

Canada 2023: Day 1

Canada 2023: Day 1

4th July. Birmingham to Calgary

Today has been a really long day…

Stayed at my old uni friend Kal’s place in Brum on the 3rd. He’s looking after the car – thanks Kal πŸ‘

Woke at 2am to get an Uber to the airport. Uber arrived on time, but roadworks meant the driver took us to Coventry & back to get to the airport. Not good but still arrived in plenty of time.

Tipped our friendly driver and walked into the terminal when my banking app pinged. I looked expecting to see the Β£30 somthing bill from Uber. The Uber bill was Β£96 ! Apparently because the ride was longer than expected (road works) they can charge more. Not happy – has anyone had this happen ?

We checked our bags no problem & still had time for a pint in Spoons

A pint before flying is always needed – even at 5:30am 😁

We arrived about 30 minutes late into Frankfurt but still made our connection OK. The next flight was the biggy – 7 hours to Montreal. An OK flight & got a few hours kip.

In Montreal we were delayed by nearly 2 hours for thunder storms. That wait in a cramped holding area was joyous – NOT. If we don’t get covid after that I’ll be amazed.

The final leg from Montreal to Calgary was 4 hours. We arrived OK but our bags didn’t appear on the carousel !

We talked to a very nice man on the Air Canada desk who tracked them down – they were still in Montreal. Joy…

The nice man promised to have them delivered to us tonight and gave us an emergency travel pack each. All we could do was leave our details and set off for our accommodation, which was a hostel in Downtown Calgary.

The hostel’s better than expected & even includes breakfast. I’m just writing this while waiting for our bags – I’ll let you know tomorrow if they arrive…

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 28

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 28

Haarlem to the Ferry. 29th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 12 miles.
  • Total mileage: 945 miles.
  • Disasters: zero 😁

With a little sadness we headed for the ferry. Only 12 miles again using cycleways.

At the ferry terminal they’d got our booking but said we’d not paid. My NatWest app showed that the payment was pending.

Anyway they wouldn’t let us board until I’d paid – again. Grrrrr 🀬 Let’s see how long that refund takes….

And that was it the end of our adventure…

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 27

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 27

Rotterdam to Hook of Holland. 28th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 26 miles.
  • Total mileage: 933 miles.
  • Disasters: zero 😁

This is a little late because we’ve been on the beer last two days 🍻

9:30 start from our ripoff hotel. Because its a Dutch Bank Holiday prices were sky high and there was limited availability. Its not as if we were ripped off but the room was nice – it wasn’t. Very tired and dirty, just like us.

It was relatively easy to navigate out of Rotterdam and we made good progress on what was the last section of our route.

Soon we were out of the suburbs & back by the Rhine.

No it’s not a road it’s a dedicated cycle path !

We were both feeling mixed emotions – Happy to be completing our challenge but also sad it’s coming to an end.

Hook of Holland – the end of our adventure.

Our route, 933 miles through 6 countries…

EuroVelo 15 from Oberalpenpass to Hook of Holland.

Now how to get home πŸ€”

…a plan was quickly formed. Metro to Haarlem, night there before short ride to the ferry.

The plan worked easily. The metro/train we got was easy to get fully laden bikes on to (unlike UK trains who have a big step). The service ran every 30 minutes, even on a Bank Holiday. It was cheap.

The hotel in Haarlem was a good choice as well. Great room at a fraction of the Rotterdam price.

We then went out for a celebration beer. The beer we liked turned out to be 6.5% and a good night was had in Haarlem πŸ€ͺ

Rocket fuel this Europop !
Rhine Cycle Route: Day 26

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 26

Molenbuurt to Rotterdam. 27th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 44 miles
  • Total mileage: 907 miles
  • Disasters: None 😁

It was a cold clear night but I slept well cuddled up in Big Agnes. Sunshine again today. We had another brilliant breakfast of stale pitta with cheese and tomatos.

Our campsite.

The campsite had some old military style buildings. When paying we found out it was an old Fort constructed pre ww1. It was one of a chain of waterline fortifications.

The waterline Fort now a campsite.
This shows there were 896 waterline forts.

With a tail wind we made good progress on quiet roads. Most drivers were great, only one van gave us poth a close pass 🀬

Quick roads on the polders linked beautiful villages.

There was one area with 19 windmills.

…if Carlsberg did cycle lanes. Oh and don’t forget all the Swans we saw with little babies.
Some were working.

At Kinderdijk we had to get a ferry to get round various bits of water. We took this ferry into the centre of Rotterdam.

I have to mention the ferry terminal. We all had to walk past this to get in the waiting shelter. If you’re pissed, stupid, not looking or a child you’ll end up in the river. In the UK H&S natzis wouldn’t have this. That’s why I love Europe.

Looking at your phone instead of where you’re going could get you wet 🀣

Our hotel was shite for the price but very central so we had a walk around to see some of the wacky architecture.

Cool building and note the bike park
Rhine Cycle Route: Day 25

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 25

Arnhem to Molenbuurt. 26th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 44 miles.
  • Total mileage: 863 miles.
  • Disasters: Sarah had a luke warm shower πŸ₯Ά

We had a lovely sleep in the Holiday Inn & we’re reluctant to get going today. On the road by 10:40 – the latest yet.

The route took us out of Arnhem via parks and forest. Super route but slow going with twists and navigation stops.

Stopped at a restaurant by the river for a latish lunch. I ordered what I thought was a cheese and beef sandwich & Sarah got egg on toast with cheese, soup & a cheese croquette.

Her choice was way better than mine – the beef on my sandwich was raw ! I’m sure it was beautifully prepared but I like beef cooked. 😬

After the lunch stop the routevopened out onto cycleways on top of polders. Our speed increased & we even had the wind behind us at one point 😁

We used the lunch stop to look for camp sites for the night. Google maps was showing nothing in the area we wanted but Sarah had the Archies camping app. This showed one site at a reasonable distance. I was doubtful (if it’s not on Google…) but Sarah called and it did exist ! Result πŸ‘and good learning that not everything’s in google.

Our route passed through this windmill. Apparently, it’s the only windmill that you can drive through – wonder why πŸ€”

Wouldn’t be Holland without one of these…

We stopped at a Spar about 2 miles before the campsite to get some dinner. Outside the Spar was what looked like a mobile fish & chip van.

No fish but deep fried cheese, croquettes and chips for tea πŸ˜‹ …with mayo of course !

We arrived at the campsite full so just sat in the sun & chilled. I watched the Giro highlights. G still in pink with two days to go – come on G 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Our camp for the night.
Rhine Cycle Route: Day 24

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 24

Xanten to Arnhem. 25th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 45 miles
  • Total mileage: 819 miles
  • Disasters: Bike falling apart…

It was a cold night but we woke to bright sun. This dried condensation on the tent quickly while we had breakfast and packed.

Breakfast reached a new culinary low – cold veggie donner meat in day old naan bread washed down with instant cappuccino.

The campsite was lovely & we had the tent field to ourselves.

Bunnies played around our camp 😁

The only downer for the site was that the toilet block was miles from the tent. It was so far we rode our bikes there. It was on one such trip that I noticed a rattle from my front rack.

Investigations showed that one of the bolts holding the rack to the base of the fork was missing. No problem I thought – I’ve packed spares.

Problem was that the bolt wouldn’t tighten into the fork boss thread more than 3 to 4 turns. This left the rack loose – not tight to the fork boss. Don’t know the reason. It wasn’t mismatch threads – tried three different bolts. Maybe the thread was damaged as the old bolt worked lose. Who knows… Anyway to stop it moving on the bolt I used trusty cable ties. 🀞 it lasts the ride else Arnhem could be a bridge too far…

More pretty villages, now with windmills.

Even saw an old nuclear plant that had been turned into a theme park. Check out…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wunderland_Kalkar

More bread and donner for lunch, this time with crisps. Then on to Arnhem.

For those who don’t know Arnhem was the site of a famous battle during operation Market Garden…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Market_Garden

Tha battle at Arnhem was made famous by the film a bridge too far…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Bridge_Too_Far_(film)

Anyway this is the famous bridge – now named John Frost Bridge after the commander of the failed attack…

John Frost bridge…

We cycled over the bridge to our hotel for the night.

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 23

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 23

Dusseldorf to Xantem. 24th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 53 miles
  • Total mileage: 774 miles
  • Disasters: None…

We were sad to leave the flat. It was warm, clean and full of chocolate!

So we had chocolate for breakfast and hit the road by 9:30am. It took about 20 minutes to get back on route which followed the river quite closely.

Once out the town we made swift progress on cycle paths on the flood defences.

The cycle paths are better quality than UK roads.

We made good time covering over 20 miles before lunch. This brought us to Duisburg. I have no pictures of Duisburg for two reasons…

1. I thought if I got my camera out I’d get mugged.

2. There’s nothing worth photographing in Duisburg!

Duisburg is very industrial but unlike Mannheim (BASF) it looks and feels poor, rundown and dirty. As we passed through the city we saw some very shady characters hanging around on the streets.

This was a side of Germany we’d not seen so far. We got out as quickly as possible…

Out of Duisburg we came back to dedicated cycle tracks in beautiful countryside. Save as above really so no photos. We stopped for a snack at a country pub. Apart from that we just pushed on to Xanten and our campsite for the night. It was a 50+ mile day.

The campsite had a bar. We had beers…

This is where we are now…

Xanten just inside the German North border.
Rhine Cycle Route: Day 22

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 22

Charwiler to Dusseldorf. 23th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 27 miles
  • Total mileage: 721 miles
  • Disasters: Not finding cheap hotels !

Good night’s sleep snuggled into Big Agnes. Woke to a grey day. Over breakfast chatted to a French guy who’s turned up late and camped next to us.

He’s a retired high voltage electrician who’s on a solo cycling trip. He’s playing a game where you have to find mosaic images hidden throughout Europe. Can’t remember what it was called but it had an app !

The route closely followed the Rhine. Firstly through countryside but this changed to heavy industry as we approached Dusseldorf.

Not much to photograph except the sign below. Not sure if it was a joke ?

Wacky architecture on the approach to Dusseldorf

It was a cold & grey day when we reached Dusseldorf. We sat by the river and decided we’d had enough cold for the day – hotel time. This proved difficult with many hotels stating not having bike storage. Also prices were high.

To cut a long Google and booking.com story short we ended up with a flat. Turned out to be a lovely flat & the best thing about it was the amount of chocolate in bowls around the place πŸ˜‹

One of four loads of chocolates around the flat πŸ˜‹

We showered and went to the nearest veggie restaurant. This was Sattuni, a middle Eastern restaurant. We were the only people eating in. Had lovely food and chat with the Palestinian owner.

We talked about travelling and learned he was off to Palestinian for a 2 day visit to his parents. He was very worried because they were trying to arrange a wife for him !

Back in the flat, we watched Giro highlights 😁 before bed.

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 21

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 21

Bonn to Chorweiler. 22th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 35 miles
  • Total mileage: 694 miles
  • Disasters: No cheap hotels in Cologne and shower trauma…

We had a good night’s sleep in our funky design hotel room. For Β£50 it was a bargin. We were feeling lazy today so paid for the hotel breakfast, which was good. Considered stopping another night but the rate was Β£150 now.

Before leaving I had a fiddle with Sarah’s front break. I think I’ve improved it so it should work till the end of the trip now. If it fails catastrophically & Sarah ends up in the Rhine I may be under investigation 😬

Todays route was mostly industrial with some nice parks thrown in.

Not sure what this was – not nuclear though.
This is my sort of museum πŸ˜‹
Shows the scale of heavy industry here.

No wonder the German economy is faring better than ours – they do stuff and make stuff.

Cologne cathedral

We stopped in Cologne for lunch. The cathedral is stunning and big ! Would have stopped the night but couldn’t find a reasonably priced hotel with bike storage. The cheapest we found that would look after our bikes was €250 for the night ☹️ …so at that price we peddled on.

Ended up at a small campsite near Chorweiler. Lovely pitch but the showers are lacking for two reasons…

1. Control is a nightmare – the difference between freezing and striping your skin with steam could be measured on an atomic scale.

2. There were no shower doors or curtains. You’re just standing there freshening your bits while blokes are wandering by with their washing up ! Good job they’d eaten else I could have put them off their wurst !

Needless to say I didn’t use both shower tokens !

Beer was needed to recover from shower trauma
We are here…
Rhine Cycle Route: Day 20

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 20

Koblenz to Bonn. 21st May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 41
  • Total mileage: 659
  • Disasters: Bird shit…

Despite ear plugs, it was a noisy night with broken sleep. Trains and boats run all through the night. Their noise was added to by a large French cyclist in the next tent down who was snoring loudly. πŸ™‰

To add insult to injury, some birds craped on the tent badly enough to require a cleaning operation before it could be packed away.

We were on the road by 10am and fighting our way through the many weekend cyclists.

Not long after starting we had to stop to adjust Sazz’s front break. The miles are starting to take their toll on both bikes now. While stopped we were passed by a Canadian couple we’d seen the day before.

We caught and passed then a short time later. This started a bit of a race which I’m glad to say we won but it took about 6 miles to drop them.

The cycle paths were quite rough on todays section. This, along with sunday cyclists, made for what felt like slow progress. We actually managed 20 miles before lunch !

We stopped for lunch at a village fete where I tried curry wurst mit frites.

A German classic πŸ‘Œ

Back on the road (at a slower pace), todays target was Bonn. The views on route wèe again wonderful.

I love how low they sit in the water

We used booking.com to find the cheapest hotel which actually turned out to be good ! The colours and design are a little wacky.

Try walking down that after a few pints !
Rhine Cycle Route: Day 19

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 19

Oberwesew to Koblenz. 20th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 30 miles
  • Total mileage: 618 miles
  • Disasters: Breakfast !

Beautiful campsite with a chilled vibe.  Sun shining.  Hot coffee while watching giant barges float by.  The only thing that spoiled it was that some bafoon cannot read German and got two pots of herby cheese spread instead of healthy bercher for breakfast !

First World problems & we had a laugh about it. It was funnier at the time than it sounds now.

More pretty towns and villages.

It’s a German long bank holiday so we were a little concerned about campsite availability in koblenz.  …so we hit the road at speed. After being held up by a group of ebikers who wouldn’t let us overtake, we covered the first 20 miles in under 2 hours ! πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ

Lorilei rock. The narrowest part of the navigable Rhine.

Some interesting info…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorelei

After a quick lunch of – yes, you guessed it, bread, cheese and crisps we made it to Koblenz.  One of the first landmarks we saw was a statue of the kaiser…

Kaiser Wilhelm I statue. 

Now I don’t know much about the Kaiser (I or II) so looked them up on Wikipedia…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_I,_German_Emperorhttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_I,_German_Emperor

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_II,_German_Emperorhttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_II,_German_Emperor

The only campsite in koblenz is big and busy but they had room for tents 😁 we pitched quickly and headed off for a look round Koblenz. We got from the campsite to koblenz via a small ferry over the Moselle river.

Ferry across the Moselle

“Moselle, don’t you mean Rhine ?” I hear you cry… The Moselle and Rhine join at Koblenz. The Moselle separates the campsite from koblenz.

A few wines before early bed. Ear plugs needed tonight. Trains, boats and kids noise 😬

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 18

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 18

Mainz to Oberwesel. 19th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 35 miles
  • Total mileage: 588 miles
  • Disasters: zero 😁

Nice breakfast & a bucket of coffee for Sarah before testing her shoulder out on the bike. The verdict was its very sore but OK to ride on.

When we got out of town the countryside was stunning and we kept hitting beautiful villages.

The village of Eltville.
As usual dedicated cycle paths away from traffic.

The picture doesn’t show it but the cycleways were really busy. Progress was slow weaving through the traffic.

Oh and the sun was shining 😁

We crossed to the west side of the Rhine at Rudesheim on a small ferry. After being shouted at the previous day we’d learned to walk onto the ferry ! …though it seems cycling off is acceptable πŸ€”

Rudesheim ferry

After 35 miles we found a campsite with a fine view of the Rhine.

Camp with a view…

…and there was a Lidl just round the corner where we got pasta for tea… This had veg in and was more nutritious than the chips, cake and beer that had got us through the day πŸ˜‹

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 17

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 17

Worms to Mainz. 18th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 36 miles
  • Total mileage: 553 miles
  • Disasters: Sarah had a fall πŸ€•

Lazy start in the Worms Hotel. Nice continental breakfast & lots of coffee for Sarah.

The first part of the day’s riding was out of Worms – nothing of interest to report. Won’t be being back to Worms. (bit like Workington)

Things got better when we left the suburbs. Dedicated cycle tracks along the flood defences with interesting landscape and the odd deer.

There were a lot of other cyclists on route all of different speeds. No photos because we ended up overtaking traffic and racing ebikes.

We made good progress until this…

Happy Father’s day celebration.

It’s Father’s day in germany and it’s taken seriously. Its a Bank Holiday where men get passed and ride bikes. See the interesting link below if you don’t believe me…

https://germanculture.com.ua/german-holidays/vatertag-fathers-day-in-germany/

So we had a beer and stayed a while enjoying the sun, atmosphere and music.

When we got going again it was even more chaotic on the cycle track. In the cyclist chaos Sarah clipped a post with her pannier and came off. She’s OK but battered and bruised.

After this we changed plans and got a hotel for the night in Mainz.

Showers and a few paracetamol later we were out for some food. We found a wonderful family run veggie asian restaurant. A fine feast was had before an early bed.

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 16

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 16

Lingonfeld to Worms. 17th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 41 miles
  • Total mileage: 517 miles
  • Disasters: Food…

Got sidetracked by some nice wine last night so this is gonna be a short one.

Lazy start on a lovely camp site.

Breakfast in the sun.
Technology museum at Mannheim.

Mannheim is home to BASF factories. They are massive & employ over 30,000 people. The picture below shows company bikes for employees to use around site. This is just one of many !

Europeans take bikes seriously!
Nice lunch
Sarah found a Wooworths and bought some pants and a dress !

We had high hopes for Worms – it’s one of the oldest cities in Europe. Hopes were dashed – its a dump !

We did find a nice restaurant and ordered tarte flambΓ©. We thought this would be like French tarts & there was a choice of savoury fillings. So we ordered one a piece and a bucket of chips cos we’re hungry.

Oh what a mistake that was. Tarte flambΓ© in germany is a pizza and they were huge – see picture below…

Over ordered on the pizza

We only ate half and asked for a doggy bag for the rest !

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 15

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 15

Seltz to Lingenfeld. 16th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 42 miles
  • Total mileage: 476 miles
  • Disasters: Just the bastard wind πŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ’¨

Despite a nice hotel room we both didn’t sleep brilliantly – don’t know why. Breakfast was some leftover bread thing with custard and icing + a yoghurt. I think the yoghurt was on the turn but it didn’t taste too bad.

The sluggish start meant we hit the road by 9:30am. It was a cold and windy day. The first problem was to navigate around a section of the cycle path that was supposedly flooded. We managed not to get lost and found a route around.

It was cold and windy. Jackets, hats snd gloves were needed. We brewed up on a bench to warm up.

The route up till now was cycle path along the flood defences. The route today wasn’t inspiring- don’t get me wrong it was lovely but just not up to the previous days.Also we were tired and cold so not feeling the love today.

We stopped at a cafe for Scooby snack – chips, cake, and a coffee. Whilst there we chatted with an interesting German and a Spaniard.

Big barge pushing its way again the formidable current.
Water dropped enough to let us past.

When we finally got to our camp site there was no-one in reception. We were reading the signs on the reception when a German turned up on his ebike. He told us he’d spoken with the site earlier today and they’d said you pitch up and pay tomorrow.

So we head into the tent field – which is empty. Thing is the German also follows us and attempts to pitch right by us.

We weighted till he’d pitched then moved ours 20 yards away – wierdo !

Then I had a look at Sarah’s gears while she cooked tea. Her chain gad fallen off several times. Tea was pasta, tomatos, tuna, kidney beans and olives. This was OK but not going to win any awards.

Then it was showered and bed xx

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 14

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 14

Strasbourg to Seltz. 15th May 2023

The featured image tonight is for Edna.

Edna. Just heard from Sarah you’ve been in the wars recently. Best wishes for a speedy recovery πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ

  • Mileage today: 44 miles.
  • Total mileage: 434 miles.
  • Disasters: Finding campsites that are open ☹️

It was hard to get up today. We were in a lovely hotel with a super king size bed.

So a later start than normal. The first 40 minutes riding was to get out of Strasbourg. The cycle lanes took us past beautiful bits of the city. We’ll definitely be coming back for a city break here.

Then back to situation normal – dedicated cycle track through stunning countryside.

Geese blocking the path.

I have to say the sinage on this leg was poorer than normal and we did lose the path a few times. Also there were a few route closed signs. Luckily both times locals said we could ignore them πŸ‘

We stopped for lunch at a cafe by a marina. It was definitely a locals place & no English translation on the menu. With poor mobile signal we were struggling to work the menu and thought about going else where. We didn’t mainly because Sarah had chomped through all the free pretzels on the table already. Glad we didn’t because the food was great though a tad expensive.

Not sure which is heavier the barge or my bike 😬

Then the rain came – well rain with thunder and lightning. We sheltered under a willow tree in someone’s garden until it passed.

I wore a helmet cover which Sarah found hilarious. She called me Mr Condom head – don’t know why.

Mr Condom Head…

We’ve done well with just rocking up at campsites and getting in. Today our luck ran out. The three we tried were shut or not taking tents.

This left two options… 1. Continue another 12 to 15 miles to the next town with camping. 2. Get a hotel nearby.

Being hard core cycle tourists we were up for the extra mileage but then the rain started again. …so we’re tucked up in another hotel tonight 😁

Here’s a little map showing where in the world we are..

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 13

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 13

Neuf Brisach to Strasbourg. 14th May 2023

  • Mileage today: 44 miles
  • Total mileage: 390 miles
  • Disasters: One and one near miss…

Woke to the patter of rain on the tent. It was very light but we decided to get the tent down before it got soaked.

As we packed the rain stopped but disaster struck when Sarah discovered she’d lost a pair of pants somewhere on our travels. Also an ant infestation meant that everything needed brushing down before packing.

Living like a king with coffee, Danish pastries and profiteroles for breakfast.

We said goodbye to the nice but wierd campers we chatted with last night and hit the road about 9am.

The cycling was perfect down canal towpaths.

Perfect cycling…
With the odd obstruction!
Maginot Line fortifications.

Interesting reading on the Maginot Line here.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maginot_Line

Our lunch spot on the Maginot Line.
Inside the fortification.
Again more perfect cycleway towards Strasbourg.

Suddenly a 70 year old bloke joined the cycle path from the left. He wasn’t looking and nearly hit me – only inches off my rear pannier. If I hadn’t shouted and swerved I’m sure he would have.

Avoiding me put him off ballance and he swerved towards the canal. He stopped inches short. Sarah spoke to him first while I turned round. He was OK but visibly shaking. That was a close one 🫣

…and more perfect cycle path.

We arrived in Strasbourg about 3pm. Its a beautiful city with a great vibe.

Old fortifications around the city.
Beautiful cathedral.

beer & food before an early bed.

Strasbourg is a lovely city ❀️

…now let’s hope our washing dries before tomorrow 🀞🏼

Oh and another thing – it’s not often this happens.

DVCC weekly leader board.
Rhine Cycle Route: Day 12

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 12

Kembs to Neuf Brisach. 13th May 2023.

  • Mileage today: 33 miles
  • Total mileage: 346 miles
  • Disasters: None really 😁

I woke early, about 6am. It wasn’t a woodpecker but my bladder to blame this time. It was a dry but overcast morning with little rain forecast 😁

Breakfast for me was Danish pastries & a pot of profiteroles washed down with instant Cappuccino.

On the map the route looked easy and straight alongside the canal de Rhone. The route ran along side the campsite but after a couple of miles there was a diversion for maintenance work. The diversion was poorly signed so we made our own route up using the many cycle tracks in the area.

This is a cycle path.
Listen to the bird song.

Back on route there were intetesting WW2 memorials on route.

Me with a big gun…
A Sherman tank…

Lunch was the usual…

This time the cheese was a fine Camenbert

Fuelled with fine French cheese it was an easy ride to Neuf Brisach. This is a wallet town from 1700’s. The town is a UNESCO world heritage site because of the fortifications. Wikipedia’s got some good info…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuf-Brisach

You can ride your bike round the fortifications and see this…

Free and no restrictions about riding here
And tunnels to play in…

We had a quick beer in town at a very French bar. Shopping & back to the campsite to make tea…

Another masterclass in one pot cooking…

While our washing was drying we chatted with other campers on the site. There were Rome interesting characters. A Swedish couple in their 70s who had big shopper bikes and a road atlas. A German lad doing a PhD in AI and an Aussie girl who just seemed a bit weird.

The evening got cold so we came to bed…

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 11

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 11

Waldshut to Kembs. 12th May 2023

  • Mileage today: 58 miles
  • Total mileage: 313 miles
  • Disasters: One – Sarah got stung by a bee.

We both woke early after a good night’s sleep – probably due yo the carafe of wine for dinner 😊 The forecast was OK so we got going early.

Our guide promised a mainly flat route so we were hoping to get some miles in. We chatted to our German friend before setting off about 8:30am.

Nothing new to report, same as the day before, really – just lovely towns and villages linked by great cycling infrastructure. Here are some pictures…

Cycling signpost!
Dedicated cycle track by the Rhine.
Wooden bridge that takes cars as well.
824km to go 😁

Despite being quite flat it was a long hard day. On arriving at the campsite we got the tent up then ate. Food tonight was a quiche and a salad from Aldi. I also had this…

Phil do you remember this stuff ?

Then it was off for a quick shower and to the bar for a beer. It was a quick shower because they were just warm. But for €15 you can’t complain.

We sat outside the bar. There was a bee on the table. I tried to blow it away but only managed to blow it into Sarah’s flip-flop where is stung fer foot. Not my best move !

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 10

Rhine Cycle Route: Day 10

Flaach to Waldshut. 11th May 2023

  • Mileage today: 29 miles
  • Total mileage: 255 miles
  • Disasters: Nearly an explosion.

OK it’s 9:55pm & I’m knackered so this will be a short one.

Woke early because a bloody woodpecker started hammering at 5am. Bastard… Don’t get me wrong I love nature but 5am puts me in a grump.

I think the woodpecker was in the tree to the right of the tent.

We got up at 7am and started packing – rain was forecast & we wanted to get the tent away dry. It doubles in weight if put away wet.

We breakfasted with our Dutch friends in a covered area near where the tents were. We seem to meet a lot of Dutch cycle tourists and they’re all going to Rome !

I smelt a strong smell of gas while we were both using our stoves which was worrying. So myself & the Dutch guy had a good sniff around. We concluded it wasn’t our gear leaking & it must have come from upwind on the campsite. Phew…

We started cycling about 9:30am. Again lovely cycling on cycle track or quiet roads.

Just nice cycling..

For lunch, yep you guessed it bread, crisps, cheese and tomatos. Food of the God’s πŸ˜‹

We were in Switzerland for most of the day. Everything is so perfect here – even the graffiti is nice…

How nice πŸ™‚

The idea was to do about 40 miles today but weather & campsite availability conspired against us. We we ended up only doing 29 before finding nice site for the night.

The site had a covered ebike shelter with electric sockets we were allowed to use. We parked the bikes and made a brew. While relaxing with my brew I could smell gas again. That’s two much of a coincidence!

The stove was checked and checked again – no leaks. Then I remembered Sazz had a spare canister in her bag. I opened her pannier & got a huge blast of gas. The canister valve had broken and was leaking. This was in the pannier that was about 18″ from the stove I’d used to make a brew πŸ’£πŸ’₯

To celebrate being alive we ate at the site restaurant before a walk to the shops for bedtime chocolate. Night all x

…oh and I spotted one of Switzerlands four nuclear power stations.