Day 5 - Altmühl and Taubertal Radwegs - CycleBlaze

August 31, 2019

Day 5

Weikersheim to Wertheim or bust

I think in yesterday’s blog I mentioned that I was aiming to make it to Wertheim in time for the 5:20 train and the convoluted trip back to Frankfurt and my airport hotel. But before I tell you if I made it there, I’m going to make you read my entire blog. You’re welcome. Also please note that the included photos do not include photos from my big camera. I don’t have a computer with to use to retrieve them. Tough luck. Maybe someday I’ll add them to the blog along with maps of my rides. 

My morning started with a breakfast that actually may have been more pathetic than the one in Solnhofen. Bread, cheese (one type), jam in tiny packets, a small amount of fruit, some juice, and no vegetables (also meat, but I don’t eat that.) Unacceptable. I ate as much as I could force down and that was that. 

I made sure I was as packed as I could be prior to breakfast so I was able to get out of there pretty quickly. I arrived at the Weikersheim palace around 9:30. I was amazed how empty the grounds were. It was very nice and peaceful, though already quite hot. I spent just under an hour wandering the gardens taking pictures. As I was leaving, all the big tour groups arrived. My advice is if you want a peaceful walk through the gardens, be there when it opens. 

The local Lutheran church. Weikersheim is far enough north to be out of heavily catholic Bavaria.
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Inside the palace courtyard
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Entering the palace gardens
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Kathy ParkeVery nice shot!!!
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Kathy ParkeEvery photo of this palace gets better! I think I'll move in next weekend! :)
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To the left is the Orangerie
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Someone’s about to have an expensive and memorable wedding
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It took me a bit extra to get out of Weikersheim because of the big Flohmarkt happening (flea market). Lots of people trying to unload their junk on other people in exchange for cash. I wish them luck with that.

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The ride out of Weikersheim in the direction of Markelsheim was quiet and flat. A few minor things to see in Markelsheim, not much to see in Igersheim or Elpersheim. Bad Mergentheim was worth a slightly longer stop. Mine ended up being longer than intended because I had navigational issues. My aged gps that came with my bike when I bought it used is not precise enough in tightly packed towns with little streets everywhere to give good directions. The little bikeway signs are not always in obvious places, especially when you’re trying not to run over tourists or get hit by cars while also navigating. 

Markelsheim city square
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Markelsheim market square
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Also on the market square
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Still in Markelsheim
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Tauber bridge in Igersheim
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Kathy ParkeSeems like it's missing a river ...
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Past Bad Mergentheim was Lauda and Königshofen. The Radweg passes through Lauda, but not Königshofen. I was going to cross the river to see the Altstadt for Königshofen, but my guidebook didn’t show anything exciting so I skipped it. After awhile you realize all these little towns look similar. You don’t have to see everything in every one. 

Palace park in Bad Mergentheim
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Pond in the park
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The Palace
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Bad Mergentheim city square
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The Radweg passes through a few more small towns with nothing of note (unless you really like cows and apple trees) and then hits Tauberbischofsheim. Aside from having a ridiculously long name that would be a pain to write on envelopes, it’s an interesting city, maybe even more so than Bad Mergentheim. Old buildings, nice castle thing (Bad Mergentheim has a castle but it’s not as fancy), old buildings, nice little city square. Also was much easier to navigate out of. 

Schoolhouse in Lauda
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Small square in Lauda
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Very important on a hot day to eat Eis
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Kathy ParkeDo they always serve Zigarettenkippen with Eis?
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Alvina Cookespecially after all those cigarettes!! :)
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Not sure what’s with the umbrellas, but it seemed photogenic
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Still in Lauda
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Decorative bike at the Eis Cafe
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Kathy ParkeNow that's my kind of bike!!!
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After Tauberbischofsheim, there wasn’t much to see. Fields, forests, glimpses of the river with the occasional group canoeing, more fields, more forests, the occasional shady spot that wasn’t so brutally hot (it was brutally hot today, hottest day of the trip), and pretty much downhill. I was flying along and actually quite pleased with my progress relative to the clock. 

City castle as it greets cyclists entering Tauberbischofsheim
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This young man had found himself a semi private place to smoke. Dude, Rauchen ist tödlich!
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More of the city castle. It appears they’ve got an event coming up.
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Still the city castle
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Tauberbischofsheim city square
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Rathaus
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Also the Rathaus.
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On my way out I passed a ReWe which had a bakery. I couldn’t decide which Schnitte looked the best so I bought and ate both. The one on the right, peach, was amazing. The raspberry one was very pedestrian.
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And the detour that greeted me right after devouring two desserts high in sugar
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Round about Gamberg (castle on the hill, passed on making the trek up to it), the hills started., and oh did they start. What I did not do when planning this trip was get an idea of the total amount of climbing. I knew there were a few hills on the Taubertal Radweg, but I thought it’s a river route. It’s not like riding in the mountains. No sweat. Yeah, there was sweat involved. The hills were brutal, kind of like the heat. Every time an e-bike passed me as I ground up the hills I wanted to shout “cheater” but I haven’t yet learned that word in German (note to self - learn that word in German.)

Views along the Radweg
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Castle in Gamburg
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Atop one of the multiple brutal hills
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Kathy ParkeI believe Betrüger is the word you were looking for as the e-bikes climb the mountains ...
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I finally reached the very short turn-off to Bronnbach Abbey. I figured it would be a nice break from the hills so I crossed the bridge to check it out. They want €4 for admission so I passed on that. Snapped a few photos, and headed across the bridge to the Radweg. I was greeted with quite possibly the steepest and longest hill I’ve ever encountered on a Radweg. I will never know if I can ride up that steep a grade because I got off and pushed. Too hot and too many hills to even try. It was a tough push up, too. 

Bronnbach Abbey
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The Klosterkirche
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The brutal hill that greeted me. My gps was registering 13% or more. Whether or not that’s accurate, I’m not sure. It hasn’t been registering total climbing for the day very accurately.
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I thought after the abbey the hills were done. I was wrong. There were a couple more. Fortunately they were less brutal ones and I was able to ride all the rest of them. By that point I was watching the number of miles left to Wertheim and enjoying seeing the number drop. Things were looking good. Quite good, in fact. So good, that I arrived in Wertheim around 4:20 and had plenty of time to take a bunch of photos of the castle and ride aimlessly through the narrow streets of Wertheim. Sadly not enough time to eat a real meal though. 

Wertheim
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Castle ruins overlooking Wertheim. I have better photos of it on the big camera.
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The following photos are from the big camera with the big zoom
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Same castle in Wertheim, but more up close and personal
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Wertheim Rathaus
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Proof that I made it to Wertheim
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City gate
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Pleasure boaters docked near the end of the Tauber River
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What’s left of the city fortifications in Wertheim
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I am now on the train headed toward Aschaffenburg where I will catch another train to Frankfurt and then a further train to my hotel near the airport. I’ve already stripped all but my panniers and rack bag off my bike and I may need to strip the panniers off to get the bike off the train. Steps are such a dumb idea. 

The train passes along the Main River which I rode 2 years ago. The scenery is as monotonous as I recall it being.  It is also very hot in the train and since the windows are open I think they probably don’t have a/c. My hotel has a/c though and I’ll be using that tonight. Did I mention it’s really hot here today?  Like 90 degrees hot here today?  Yeah, it is hot. The train is also running 5 or so minutes late which may cause a problem in Aschaffenburg where I have 7 minutes to switch trains with a bike and bags. Not likely. 

Amazingly, despite the delayed arrival of my train, they held the connecting train to Frankfurt. I just barely made the connection and it will not be easy to get my bike off the train. It’s a tight squeeze through the door into the seating area of the car. The trains are also packed full of cyclists today. Biking somewhere and taking the train back seems popular. I wonder if Europeans even know how fortunate they are to have that option?

I’m pleased to report that I was able to get my bike back through the tiny door on the train. My next task will be to get from track 6 to track 103. Not kidding. Platform 103. They have that many in the main station in Frankfurt. I have 14 minutes. 

And then I got mixed up and took the wrong elevator to the S-Bahn. I walked around the platform a bit trying to figure out where track 103 was. I passed a couple train workers and asked how to get to track 103. Elevator. Top level. Take the next elevator over. That worked. Then I kept seeing that the S-Bahn ended in Wiesbaden. That threw me off because I kept thinking the Hauptbahnhof was west of the airport, not east. Seeing Richtung Mainz on the board was freaking me out a little too. I really didn’t want to end up back in Mainz. I’ve been there once before and spent an extra day there.  I don’t need to go back. I ended up asking two different people, both of which said we were headed toward the airport before I actually was convinced of it. The presence of people with suitcases SHOULD have clued me in. It’s very possible I was tired and hungry. It’s also possible that I still am suffering from hunger since it’s 9:30pm and I haven’t had supper yet. 

Once I arrived at the station near my Hotel, I had to get my bike down the long stairs to get out of the train platform area. That’s always fun with bags still attached. Small trick: use the rear brake for this one, not the front break. The bike just slides when you apply the front brake. Getting to the hotel was also an adventure.  My hotel is kind of in an industrial area with little streets going off in all sorts of directions. I already packed up my gps and other handlebar attached stuff and that meant I had to keep pulling over and checking my phone. I ended up with a slightly scenic route through the not so scenic industrial area, but I still made it. 

Then I headed for Lidl for some last minute shopping since stores are closed on Sundays. Their selection was pretty picked over so I may still need to check the grocery store in the airport complex before I have all the supplies I want. 

Shopping finished, i headed across the street to the hotel. If you remember back to the ancient history of Monday, there was a very nice helpful lady there who let me use the phone to call lost and found baggage. She also was at reception tonight when I went to check in and she very much remembered me. She was surprised and pleased to see me with a bike and had to ask if it actually was my bike. I informed her my mother had located the bike and gotten it sent to Nürnberg the next evening. 

I’m now at a restaurant, the second one of the night since the first only had chili with meat and hackfleisch something or other which is definitely not vegetarian.  Eventually I’ll probably get my supper and then I walk the 8 minutes back to my hotel room which smells lightly of smoke despite the sign that says no smoking.  In the morning I’ll repack my bags in the most efficient manner conceivable and head to the airport to locate hall C and the baggage service that sells boxes. I’m planning to head there about 4 hrs before my flight with the assumption something will go wrong and cause a delay. 

I will also add that I opted to repack bags tonight, party to see if I have room to bring anything else back with me. It appears I’m allowed a carry-on bag plus a smaller carry-on which means I should be able to pick up a couple more things if I find anything good at the grocery store in the airport complex. This year I know not to buy things in sealed jars and try to bring it home in my carry-on luggage. 

And finally a note about pictures: this is a small portion of the photos I’ve taken. What is not pictured are the not so pretty parts of Germany. I did not include pictures of industrial areas, trash laying around, lots of smokers, run down houses that clearly need more than just some paint. You also can’t smell the farms, places that smell like urine, drivers that need to slow down, mopeds that just recently were allowed to use bike paths, or farm equipment that you have to pull off the path for. There isn’t no such thing as a perfect place to cycle. I choose to do my touring here because I usually find the experience good enough to outweigh the not so great parts. 

Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 191 miles (307 km)

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