The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Rhine and more

Castle at Kaub - Rhine river
Castle Mania on the Rhine
We have really enjoyed our time here in Frankfurt. On Friday we took a daytrip west from Frankfurt to Weisbaden, Rudesheim, Lorch, Kaub, and St Goarhausen; all part of the Rhine valley. With a day reaching near 30C and sunny we rode the autobahn and eventually narrowed down near Rudesheim to a 2 lane windy road in the valley. With vineyards on the right and the river on the left we rode north until past St. Goarhausen stopping in Kaub where we had spent a day in 2006. Kaub is home to a castle above the town and another in the Rhine river just south of town. It is a very picturesque place and the bicycling as well as motorcycling is very active there.
Castles at every stop and turn
A view from the dining terrace at Schloss Johannisburg

We have always talked about this part of Germany being full of castles and as the lead photo indicates there is alot of eyecandy to see.

Bike Break in Bernkastel Kues
Part of the Casements -Luxembourg

Jazz band in City Square They were great!

Chapel in the Gorge Luxembourg

Stained glass in Cathedral - WoW!

After a couple of hours of riding we were ready for some lunch so we stopped at Schloss Johannisburg just east of Rudesheim. Heiko took us there in 06 and we have looked forward to it’s best in class Riesling wine. As well Spargel  “asparagus” soup which is in season was on the menu. It was a superb meal. After an uneventful return to Frankfurt we headed back downtown Saturday afternoon for the Pealing of the Bells, a special celebration associated to the feast of the Pentecost. Here (hear) ten churches ring 50 bells in unison for ½ hr. and walk around to hear them in stereo. Simply something that can’t happen in North America.

Today with Heiko ready to ride, we headed out to Luxembourg riding the autobahn west for 80 kms then caching a great back highway through to the Mosel valley at Bernkastel Kues, then Trier and finally Luxembourg city itself. The video I shot of the winding road against the river is over 1 hour long with some excellent scenery. We arrived in Luxembourg at noon and went sightseeing in the afternoon taking in the casements, and the Luxembourg gorge. It is a very quaint and pretty city that dates back to 963 AD. Not a bad first day!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oberursel Frankfurt

Mainz river and the Skyline of Frankfurt

Our first few days travelling back to Germany were filled with recovering from jetlag, visiting with our good friend Heiko, and doing some maintenance chores on the ‘Strom’. Since the last trip was over 20000 kms I knew it was time for another air filter but I couldn’t believe how bad the old one was, choked with flies, wasps, and sand.... oh yeah we did go through a desert come to think of it. Replaced it with a K&N lifetime filter and I really like the additional induction sound it provides.

Though the brake pads weren’t worn out I wanted to do the preventative maintenance stuff, and installed EBC HH sintered pads well known in V Strom circles. Yes I can notice the better feel in the lever/pedal, and they feel very powerful. Should be great for the autobahn eh? Won’t bore you with the rest, but the bike is really easy to work on except the plugs and air filter. One thing I put to incredible use is a forehead headlamp (LED) that straps to your forehead when working in low light conditions. It was amazing how the light was always in the right place ( where I was looking) and I never needed to commit a hand to focusing it.
Old and New Skyline together
Town Square buildings

Sits in a mezzanine by itself
Ann Franks plaque

Today we headed into Frankfurt from Oberursel. A 25 min. S5 DB rapid transit ride that took us right to the centre of Frankfurt, a city of 600,000 by night and 1.5 million during the day.It is the hub of finance in Europe and there is alot of building going on. It is not really a tourist town but it has some neat architecture of interest. It definitely is a conference/show town though with the Auto Show there every second year and the largest in Europe. The Old town sq. is restored like so many others in Europe, it has a feel very much like Rothenburg or  Bruges. The Ratskeller or City Hall is beautiful and very large. There must be 15-20 churches in this close vicinity and this weekend is the feast of the Ascension. On Saturday we’ll come back to hear 50 church bells ring in unision at 4:30 pm. We love church bells!

Another thing we love, to hear are pipe organs and the pipes at the St Bartholomew are among the largest we’ve seen. Now if we could only hear them!    

Frankfurt is also home to several Holocaust memorials. One is constructed as a wall that has a small plaque for each Jewish resident of Frankfurt killed by the Nazi's in a concentration camp. This wall surrounds a cemetery the size of a CFL football field and has a small plaque commemorating each individual. Ann Frank, known by her diary was a Frankfurt resident who was killed at Bergen-Belsen.

Ann Frank was not alone
The riverfront in Frankfurt is very scenic as well with a walkway on either side of the river and parks and cafes everywhere. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll down it in 28C heat only to escape to a 7 storey department store for the air conditioning. What wimps!!  We tolerated 47C last year, I guess we’ll just have to acclimatize ourselves again. Now back in Oberursel and readying ourselves for a little Rhine valley circumnavigation tomorrow. Plan to shoot our first video during that ride so stay tuned for more!

Children's Art Workshop in the Town Sq.

La Pieta in St Bart's Cathedral

More Old Town foto's