Epic European Cycle : 2015-06-04 : Rhine Route / EV 15 to Stollhofen

Tip
Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Notes Actions
General Info Rhine Cycling Crazy Guy on a Bike says: In 2008 I cycled from Amsterdam to Florence. You can see my blog on crazyguyonabike. Most of it was on the Rhine which has a nice dedicated cycleway most of which is paved & very scenic. Here is the Rhine Cycling route (EuroVelo $0.00
General Info Cultural Norms Don't be an asshole in Germany $0.00
General Info Eurovelo Germany Map $0.00
General Info Weather: Frankfurt 10 Day Forecast $0.00
General Info Weather: Germany Map $0.00
General Info Map of Route to Frankfurt $0.00
Reminder Paying in Germany Crazy Guy on a Bike says: From personal experience we know that Visa and MasterCharge credit cards are not much good in Germany. Instead, bring your debit cards and remember your PIN number. Most hotels will take credit cards, including American Express b $0.00
Activity
Type Name Description Service Provider Cost Kms To Date Total Notes Actions
Cycle EV 15 / Rhine Route to Stollhofen $0.00 0.00 0.00 Day 22: 55km: Total 956km
Accommodation
Type Name Service Provider Confirmation Location Cost Notes Actions
Camp Freizeitcenter Oberrhein Random walk-in Near Stollhofen, Germany $35.00


Trip Log

Notes Actions
After the complete breakfast wasteland that is France, I was excited to see eggs with bacon on the menu at the restaurant in our campground last night. I ordered it this morning, but had a bit of a communication kerfuffle when I tried to ask for the bacon to be crispy. The problem was that, in Germany, they don't do bacon and eggs like we're used to. They do bacon omelette thingies, and the bacon doesn't really have any fat to worry about. I ate the bacon omelette thingy, and it was good, but my hankerin' for regular old bacon and eggs remains unfulfilled.
We woke up in Kehl this morning with the idea that our first order of business was to get a book or map of EuroVelo 15, the Rhine Route. We had breakfast, and then headed to Kehl town center. Everything was supposed to open at 9:00. 9:00 came and went. We wondered if people were lackadaisical about opening times. 10:00 came and went. We decided that it must be some kind of national holiday in Germany. We seem to have really bad luck with national holidays in Europe.

We debated whether to spend the extra 20km round trip to go back to Strasbourg. Since Strasbourg is in France, we figured even if it was a holiday in Germany, everything would probably be open in Strasbourg. We decided against it - we knew where the EuroVelo 15 route was - it ran right beside our campground. How hard could it be to follow the signs 40km up the way, right?

As we were leaving Kehl, there was an Esso station open and Brent suggested picking up a highway map. I talked him out of it because highway maps don't include velo routes, so I thought it would be of questionable value. Oh, silly me. Remember - it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it! There were little signs everywhere pointing this town this way, that town that way, but since we had no map, we had no idea which towns were in the right general direction for us to be heading! So many times I kicked myself for not having that highway map!
We rode a good part of the day on the dyke beside the Rhine. The Rhine area where we were today is not interesting at all. It is flat, boring, and has no points of interest. It was 35C today, and the ride was mostly on a slight incline, with a slight headwind, and on gravel. Yuck yuck yuck. Along the way there were occasional maps of small regions and we tried to piece together where we were in relation to the town I had pointed us towards. We had no idea, really, where we were along the route or how far it would be until we found food and shelter. At Greffern, there was a small restaurant called Das Boot (a floating restaurant on the Rhine). We stopped there for desperation lunch and to fill our water containers just in case we ended up having to random camp for the night. It was the best desperation lunch we ever had, actually... I had schnitzel with spetzle and beer. YUM! With our bellies and water jugs full, off we went in search of the night's accommodation. There was supposed to be a campground about 3km up the road. We spotted an enormous, crowded golf country club so Brent went and inquired about camping. He got directions to a campground - yay! We followed the directions, got lost a time or two, and ended up heading back almost all the way to where Das Boot is to get to the campground. And what a camp ground...
Remember yesterday when I said if I was going to stay in a crowded campground, it may as well be crowded to the point of absurdity? Well, I had no idea. Tonight we stayed at Freizeitcenter Oberrhein, which has an area, Brent estimated, of about 1km by 0.5km with campers piled one on top of the other as far as the eye can see. It was so large that we ended up going past the "1800s" stalls to get to our spot. It was so large that, seriously, they assigned a guy on a golf cart to escort us to our spot - we would have never found it otherwise. The campground has two small fake lakes, a dep, an outdoor pub, and a restaurant. It was packed so thick that Brent thought it looked like a refugee camp... I thought it looked like a shantytown.
When we got to our campsite, there was a sign that said it was 35C. No wonder it felt so bloody hot cycling all day! While we were in France, every day was between about 15C and 20C. Some days were on the chilly side, and there were only two days where I rode with short sleeves. WOW! This is something to get used to.
When we were in Kehl, I did not get any warm fuzzies from the Germans thereabouts. They were abrupt, stand-off-ish and disinterested. I became instantly "homesick" for the warmth, friendliness and helpfulness of the French. This is so different from what I expected from all the cultural stereotypes I've heard.

Once we left Kehl, things got better, at least in the campgrounds. In the campgrounds everyone is interested in chatting us up and inviting us to their camp sites for a beer and a chat. That's nice. On the trail, and in the towns, no one is really interested and we've gotten a lot of sneers. One time, in Kehl, when I wanted to ask someone why everything was still closed, I asked a server who was setting up his tables if he spoke English. He literally yelled "NO!!!" at me, which made Brent guffaw (which I thought was a perfect response to a ridiculous "NO!!!" in response to an innocent question).


Photos