Day Twenty Six: Kobern to Zell: Happy birthday Dodie!: (Year 26: 1993) - Grampies Go 50 for 50 - CycleBlaze

October 16, 2017

Day Twenty Six: Kobern to Zell: Happy birthday Dodie!: (Year 26: 1993)

Flash Back to 1993:

The early nineties was a time when we really got into many aspects of small farming. Dodie liked fibre crafts in general, and would have done more work with wool - raising, carding, knitting - except that people went crazy for her bread and preserves.

Steers and turkeys were only some of the animals that graced our small farm.
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Dodie's bread was in big demand at the farmers' market. She also made over a hundred kinds of jams, jellies, marmalades, and sauces.
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Dodie carded, spun, dyed, and knitted our own wool. But baking and preserves turned out to be the big sellers.
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Over 200 free range laying chickens supplied many dozens of eggs weekly for the market.
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The old Appalachian tune "Cluck Old Hen" meant something to us because we understood about hens that would not lay, and because of a general interest in things "country".

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Flash Forward to 2017, Germany:

Two points of view

We kind of unthinkingly set our target for today at Zell, making a booking first and then realizing it could be a little far for us. No matter, we took it as a challenge and planned an early start. The breakfast was designated as starting at 8, so ten minutes before I started to drag our bags down to the breakfast room, so as to be ready to go as quickly as possible. I found the lights off in the room, and scanned around for a switch. I pushed one thing, that turned out to be a buzzer that rang in the kitchen, one floor below. Oops. I scuttled back up and returned with the remainder of our bags.

Then I made my second error. I sauntered on down to the reception area/kitchen floor, just to see if much action was brewing. The proprietor was in the kitchen which is adjacent to the reception, and without a door. I stepped 6 inches over the threshhold, just to address some pleasantry to the man.

To properly visualize the result you will have to put a stern German accent into his words: "This is a kitchen. You may not enter here. This is for staff only. I told you that breakfast is at eight, and not before. I am busy working. Do not ring any more bells."

Now Dodie says the man was completely within his rights. I say he was impolite. Admittedly that bell thing would be irritating. But he would not let me explain. Maybe this is how wars start. But hey, I didn't even mention that his wifi was crap. Anyway he came out in the street as we were packing the bikes and was very nice, to Dodie anyway.

The reception area and the kitchen
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The proprietor gives us a nice send off.
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We proceed back through the lovely town centre of Kobern and out along the Mosel. It was cool and misty, but would soon be clear and sunny. The next bit was pure gold - just sailing along by the river, with lovely towns coming and going. This is the part of the river where I think the surrounding cliffs are steepest. They are covered in vines, except as we knowingly noted, for any north facing slopes as the river twists. Added interest was supplied by the long white tour boats, gently plowing up river. It was entertaining to see their names and home ports, with the most distant being Basel.

The main attraction in this section of the river is Cochem, with its castle looming over the town. Before we could get there, around Klotten, we ran into elaborate signs indicating that the bike path was blocked ahead. The signs went into great detail about our options. There was #1, ferry to the other side of the river and further up, ferry or bridge back. There was #3, detour way way up into the vines. And there was #2, the non-option, continue on the car road. We naturally chose #1. At the ferry was a sign that said it ran daily, that the price for person and bike was 2 euros, and one should ring the bell. The bell was not a buzzer, like at the hotel, but a real bell on a string. We rang. Nothing. Finally I walked up into the town and found out that the ferry service had quit for the season, yesterday.

We looked at option #3. It looked like it would climb way up and spill out of this valley into some never never. So, #2!

It turned out (as with "Route Barree" in France) to be not such a big deal. Ok, so there was a 300 meter bit where the bike path was blotto and the cars were alternating access to a single lane, controlled by a light. We inserted ourselves into the situation and booted through. This was not so brave, as we first watched the two cyclists ahead of us do it.

The roadblock area shot us right into the outskirts of Cochem. It is very picturesque, but I had to wait until we were upriver of it for a good shot of the castle, because of the sun. We had decided not to tour around the town, because of that date we had made with Zell. But I did dive into one conditerei and came out with a piece of cake. Now is a good time to mention - today is Dodie's birthday!

The cake was a Sacher torte, famous with us because of good ones we have found in strange places like Victoria, BC and Bankok, Thailand. The torte is the originaly specialty of the Hotel Sacher, in Austria, but we have tried it both in Salzburg and Vienna and found it dry.

I am not saying that this one was the greatest, but you can see from the photo that the birthday girl got her bite in with a lot of gusto.

We continued past Cochem, just revelling in the drop dead gorgeous views, until we stopped to eat our saved lunch, just beyond Ernst. We sat in a kind of picnic pavilion by the river. There was a nearby WC building that I walked over to, but found it locked. We had sat down just near an old man, rather doddery and dressed in old old clothes. With a couple of words of English and mostly German, he invited me to follow him to be shown an available toilet. I went along and we doddered across the road, toward buildings that like most here announced themselves as wine tasting/sales places. Back behind a bit the man ushered me to a toilet, and then invited me into a room rich with decoration, tables, photos, and wine bottles, not to mention clouds of fruit flies.

The man poured a glass for me, and I was thinking I would have to be really polite, though I do not like wine. But surprisingly it was really nice! The man showed that it was a Rieseling, and I knowingly pointed out that it was not "trocken". He corrected me, designating it halb trocken. Well, how was that for a bloggable visit to the toilet!

We continued cycling past ever more of the great views, until we descended a ridge and crossed a passerelle into Zell. Zell bills itself as a totally wine village, and that is basically accurate. The town is closely surrounded by vine covered hills, and the streets (there are two main streets) are lined with wine merchants and restaurants. Zell has adopted the appellation Zell Black Cat which is applied to seemingly all production from the near vicinity. The story of the Black Cat is said to have originated in 1863 when some merchants from Aachen got into a confrontation with a black cat while trying to by kegs of wine from a local winery. The cat was defending one particular keg. The merchants bought it and designated it Black Cat. It sold well, and they returned to buy more from that winery. Somewhere in Zell there still exists that original winery.

Since it was her birthday, I took Dodie out to a nearby restaurant. Of course we ordered schnitzel, varieties of which are are the main offering other than steak in most restaurants. These ones were a little soggy, but good. And Dodie got a glass of wine. Now that we had been educated by the old man, she asked for a sweet Rieseling. And it was just as good as the one I had tried earlier. Dodie is now fast asleep, though. Can't hold her liquor!

Building along the way
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The hills in the early morning
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Lovely scene. I will try to give locations for scenes later.
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Part of the complicated roadblock arrangements. Yeah, but the ferry was not running!
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Forget the blockades.
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Sacher torte
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APPROACHING Cochem
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Cochem
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Dodie takes a bite
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Boats at Cochem
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Cochem castle
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The old man's house
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The old man and his tasting room
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One of the many elevators that scale the vine slopes
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Zell
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A closer look at some Zell houses
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The Zell Black Cat
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Our restaurant is straight ahead, our house is beside the red one
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Most wine for sale is labelled Black Cat
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Zell
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Yet another schnitzel
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Dodie's birthday Mosel wine
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Today's ride: 73 km (45 miles)
Total: 665 km (413 miles)

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