Forests and Flower-filled Fields
Germany: Main River Tour – Stage 04 – Marktheidenfeld to Zellingen 70 Km (Sun 4th June 2017)
Weather: 12⁰C min – 19⁰C max, morning rain then overcast
Having delayed my start because of the early morning drizzle, my focus today was on riding rather than stopping frequently to take photographs. Besides, the overcast sky and dull light were not conducive to good photography.
In no time at all the kilometres passed by as I pedaled steadfastly through forests and flower-filled fields, lovely farmland, fields upon fields of wheat crops (understandably the dominant crop in Germany given the amount of bread that is eaten here). Attractive villages came and went. Touristy though they may be, the villages of Lohr Am Main, Gemünden Am Main, and the walled town of Karlstadt were especially appealing, filled with many half-timbered buildings built in the 16th and 17th centuries, fairytale castles, tall foreboding towers, and imposing church spires.
The tarmac beneath my wheels stretched hypnotically ahead as I powered on towards my destination of Zellingen, 70 Km from where I started just the other side of Marktheidenfeld. Just as I was thinking what good time I was making, I came to a sudden halt … faced with a large barrier right across the path and a high steel fence and pile of rubble beyond. What had once been a bridge across the river to Gemünden Am Main was no longer there. I looked to the left and to the right but there was no other path in sight, only a field of long grass. If I had passed any warning sign it must have been in German, because the dead end was totally unexpected. There was nothing else I could do but make an about turn and head back the way I had come, looking for another way across the river. After about 3 Km I came to Hofstetten where there was a car ferry about to depart for Langenprozelten on the other side, so I sped up the gangway before it lifted.
Being Sunday, the only shops open in Germany are a few kaffee shops, eis cafes and (of course) biergartens. Now I have just found out from the hotel receptionist that tomorrow is Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost Monday, a public holiday in several European countries. Looks like I will have to wait until Tuesday now to find an apotheke (pharmacy) or supermarkt where I can buy some big band-aids for some much needed repairs to my head that I gashed last night on the garage door while putting my bike away.
And so ends another day and another thoroughly enjoyable ride up the Main River. This is my third bike tour along German rivers: the Danube in 2012, the Mosel in 2016, and now the Main in 2017. All have much in common: picturesque scenery, stunning villages, and perfect bike paths. But I must say I am enjoying the current tour as much or more than the other two.