Frauenwald – Bad Kissingen : 120 km
Today I was looking forward to the downhill run and I was not disappointed. After the first two hours I had 40 km behind me. The talk with the hotel owner’s son last night had really paid off. At some points I was traveling at 40 km/hr even with my brakes on! At that pace I could have made Stuttgart by nightfall but as the law of physics points out – everything that comes down must go up.m
One thing that I noticed was that the scenery on the south side of the Thüringer Wald mountains was different. Much more open with wide vistas with white and yellow fields. As the road leveled out I stopped for some refreshment and met two other riders on their daily tour. The funny thing was one of the came from Berlin and was also an avid biker who was on vacation in the area with his friend from Cologne (Köln). We all exchanged cards and planned to report back about our respective trips.
I was not traveling on the route I had planned myself until I reached Mellrichstadt. The road was flat to slightly downhill so my average speed was still around 20 km/hr but as today was a public holiday in Germany, every man and his dog was out and about. Every time I stopped for some refreshment, I was conversing with people about my trip, where they came from or history about the neighborhood. Very entertaining, but it slowed me down. There were large groups of male students with their boom boxes and carts full of beer, which they had started drinking from early in the morning. Apparently, today is known as Man’s Day and the men can basically do what they want. Very interesting.
I was following the Werra river which winds through pretty little villages and provides lots of opportunities for canoeing and fishing. Then I had to take a road which took me from the old Eastern Germany to the West. This was quite hilly and with a terrible headwind and rain showers and I finally arrived at my next river, the Fränkischer Saale at Bad Neustadt. This is a crossing point for several bike routes so to be sure I followed the signs to the “Biker’s Info Point”. This was a mistake as it was so confusing.
To cut a long story short, I finished up on the wrong side of the Saale and landed in a small town with no more signs. A friendly neighbor, who had been celebrating Man’s Day, all day, tried to convince me to return to Bad Neustadt but I was too far south for that and followed my instincts, and the map.
At some point I found a sign to Bad Kissingen, which was my endpoint. The only problem it took me over yet another hill. On the way down on the other side I was caught in a real downpour and stopped under the shelter of a bus stop. Across the road was a snack bar. I went over and ordered a warm snack and a coke and asked them how I could get to the hotel which on the road sign was about 5 km away. A large group of drunken men stopped by to help and gave me lots of good advice.
I took the advice of the most sober of them which took me on a route which avoided another mammoth hill, for which I was very happy.
I arrived at the outskirts of Bad Kissingen and called the hotel for the final instructions. Unfortunately the person I was talking wasn’t a local so it took me another 30 minutes to find the place. Of course, the final 2 km were straight uphill, something I really needed with 120 km in my legs! However, it seemed I had arrived in paradise with a very nice room and great views from a nice large balcony. Now I will be able to enjoy the day of rest I have planned for tomorrow.