Day 8 – May 11, 2013

Bad Kissingen – Wertheim : 130 km

It is hard to believe that I am nearing my final destination. Only two more nights in hotels and I will be with my family again. Today was also a day with its highs and lows. The bike route along the Fränkischer Saale was narrow and in some places just gravel which is not the best surface to bike on. As the route progressed, the river wound its way into a narrow valley and it was great to look ahead and see where the river was winding through. imageI also entered Baden-Würtenmberg which is the German State where Stuttgart, my final destination, is located.

But then when I crossed the river I was again in Bavaria! After some 50 km I had reached Gemünden-am-Main, where the Saale flows into the river Main. A quaint little town where I stopped for lunch (see photo). As I arrived there were lots of police located at every corner and I wondered how did they know I was coming? To my disappointment I learned that there was a junior Triathlon taking place and I was humbled as lots of kids, no older that 7 or 8, flew past me as if I was standing still.
From this point on, the scenery changed. The river Main is one of the major waterways in Germany and it is wide and powerful. imageThe bike path also turned into a wide asphalt “motorway” which meandered alongside the river for miles. It felt like going for a bike ride on Sunday as I went through small towns with families out enjoying the good weather on the green verges by the river. Following the river it was also slightly downhill but with a fairly strong headwind but I could have biked for hours in these conditions. And that is what I did.
As I approached Wertheim, my final destination for the day, I called the hotel for instructions. The voice on the other end pointed out that they were located 12 miles past Wertheim, which is normally not a problem but with nearly 120 km in my legs it sounded like 50 km. imageThat, however, was not the problem. I called again when I reached the town of Wertheim to make sure I was still on track and the voice told me to cross the river and then keep going straight until I hit the town, Mondheim, where the hotel was situated. After 12 km I entered a town which I assumed was Mondheim and called to ask the way again. We the had one of this those conversations where I knew something terrible had gone wrong. I didn’t know where I was, neither did he.
To my horror it appeared he had sent me down the wrong side of the Main river to where the hotel was situated. I had no intention of biking back the 12 km. I went online to see how I could get across the river to the side where the hotal was located. There was a ferry not far away but the last boat had already left. Things started to look pretty bleak but then I asked a local who said there was a bridge just around the corner which would take me over. imageAt first I rejoiced but then I saw the bridge itself. I had to carry my bike and all of my luggage up and done a flight of 53 steps, not a pretty task when you have 130 km in your legs and a bearish hunger. My only consolation was it had saved me from having to bike another 25 km! To put it mildly, I was pretty unhappy. All I could do was to drown my anger in two big mugs of good German beer and a huge angus steak.