Bratwurst, beer & brat kartofeln
20.05.2014 - 21.05.2014 21 °C
Awake at 5.00am and there was no point in trying to get any extra Zzzzz’s we just wanted to get ready and go. Dutifully we were ready with the bags and ready to go by 7.30. All lined up in front of the hotel waiting for the call to roll, it came and the front bike failed due to a flat battery and we’re all lined up behind him! Add to that a wrong turn on the way to the Ace Café and it could be said that it wasn’t the grandest of starts but we arrived at the infamous Ace and chowed down on the last of the English breakfasts washed down with large mugs of tea. Photos, media shots and interviews in the car park and if everyone was like me I just wanted to get going. Well they say ‘things’ happen in 3’s and a wrong turn to Dover added just a few extra miles. Fairly smooth run to Dover to catch the train via the ‘tunnel’ and a chance to get a feel for the traffic before we hit France. Putting your bike on the train via the tunnel is quite a different experience, you ride on, locked in and 35 minutes later you are in France. You can tell the bikers who have done it before; they are the ones with the chairs!
Europe has changed…… not a single glance at either the UK or the France end at passports or vehicle doc’s………..refuel at the first servo in Calais, cheaper there, and then it was north to Brugge or really a blast along the Autobahn until the turnoff however the traffic went up a couple of notches, faster and trucks, trucks and more trucks……haven’t they heard of B-doubles? Arrived into the town of Brugge and our digs for the night was La Barge, a converted 100 year old freight barge, very well done however it was a little disconcerting with the water level 40cm below the window! Just as were about to leave and explore what is supposed to be one of Europe’s most beautiful old towns there was a clap of thunder and the rain came down, waited that out with the captain/manager exploring the delights of the local brews. Once the rain finished we were of into the town itself and it did not disappoint truly a beautiful place, so well preserved and maintained. Walking and taking photos we made our way into the town centre, superb ‘zentrum’ and these folks know how to cater for the tourist…………we picked a brasserie for a beer or two and escape another short downpour. A few of the group decided to eat but for me it was the typical tourist trap and ‘alles mit pommes frites’ so with a few others we set off to find something a little off the track…...The Little Hobbit, hole in the wall, tiny & dark inside but it had the vibe. A superb 5 piece mixed grill each individually spiced and grilled to perfection with a simple mixed salad washed down with a very young and surprisingly scrumptious merlot from I think Spain. First meal on the continent and I wasn’t disappointed, oh and let’s not forget that roomie organised a local digestive which according to custom must be consumed with no hands 305 k’s today and reached a temperature of 20deg C
I awoke to a large freight barge passing our bedroom window, showered and headed off to brekkie in the dining room. Typical European breakfast with it all, breads, spreads, eggs, meats, cheeses, unsalted butter, table bins yum so Europe and after last night’s meal I was in heaven and thinking about what to have in Germany tonight!! Left for Sankt Goar on the Rhine at around 0900 with a mixture of Autobahn, mountain terrains and twisties. Hitting the highway in the direction of Brussels I was truly shocked by the amount of trucks; dancing with death at 130km/h but I’ll give the European drivers their due, it works but its fast and you need to stay aware! We arrived at around 5.30pm to the Hotel Rheinfels of course overlooking the Rhine, great position, views and especially from our third floor room……with no lift . 412k’s today and 28deg!! Finally got to catch up with emails etc. before heading off to dinner and what could be more German than Bratwurst, sauerkraut and brat kartoffeln mit weizenbier. Finished the day off with a stroll up to the castle overlooking the town, now a hotel, to watch the sunset and soak up the views of the Rhine valley.