Day 10: Remagen (Kripps) to Boppard - Grampies Tour de France - CycleBlaze

April 5, 2018

Day 10: Remagen (Kripps) to Boppard

A tale of two floods

We were impressed by the earnest way the owner of our hotel shared the details of his battle against the flood of the Rhine this winter. We were impressed by his photos of getting into a boat from a second floor balcony door, and by drone shots of the whole place surrounded by water. We are sure there are many factors involved in surviving a thing like that, not the least of which is the general fortitude to deal with it. But other things help. Probably the main one is that the buildings here are made from concrete, brick, or stone, often with tile floors.  Otherwise there would be waterlogged wood framing and fibreglass insulation - no hope. The owner also explained that on the ground floor he is using furnishings that are both light weight  and inexpensive. This allows them to be moved, stacked, and ultimately replaced.

The owner of our hotel - has a lot of fortitude
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Part of the secret of flood survival - impermeable materials.
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It's amazing that just a couple of months later we couldn't spot any evidence of the flood. That's a huge amount of cleaning.  Oh, there was one thing - a water line half way the door of the garage where our bikes were stored!

The second story boat landing door
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The bike garage door.
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The admiration for this small Rhine front hotel extended also to the breakfast. It did not have blockbuster items like bacon or great cakes, but it did seem to have a lot of little things.  A lot of things means a lot of arranging, so we could appreciate the amount of work that went in to laying  things out.  When we see people on our travels who are working hard to make a go of things we feel inspired and encouraged. 

Now it was time to head up the Rhine and to enjoy those aspects that have us returning her time and again. The first and most obvious thing is the mostly dedicated bike way along the river. The route is not entirely just a path by the river, but does deviate into some tricky bits, some crossings of roads, and some construction caused detours. But overall, it's a great route, corresponding to Eurovelo 15 and several other named itineraries.

This is a world class cycle way!
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Not all the path is this good, but a lot is!
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The next thing about this route is the insane cuteness of the towns, and the fact that you can see them coming along the river, or in their entirety as you gaze to the the other bank. In a lot of other cycling you can't really see what you are coming to, or the whole layout of the lands you are passing through. Here, it's different.

Bad Honningen - across the river just as we started out
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As we proceed up the river we will be coming to one fairy tale place after another. This includes the towns and also castles on hills overlooking the river. Here is the overview of what we will come to today:

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We won't try to photograph or name all castles, but here are a couple just to get the ball rolling:

Schloss Stolzenfels
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Marksburg
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Rolling along the river there is lots to look at as we pass by villages. But we know too that there is more to them than what can be seen from the water. So we overcame the urge to just barrel on through, and took a turn for a peek at Andernach. We were rewarded with some narrow streets and lovely buildings,  a city gate from the 15th century, and a look at a castle that was built in the 12th century.

Narrow streets
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Lovely buildings
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City gate tower
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The 12th century castle
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It turned out that a detour on the bike route was getting ready to give us a tour of Andernach even if we had not decided to turn into the old city.  So when we tried to return to the river we got kicked back to the town anyway. The only thing, the part of town we now visited was not the old centre but the yucchy modern part that seems to exist in even the most idyllic of places.  In this case it was not even so much modern retail and traffic that we ran in to, but smokestack level industry. This took the form mainly of a large ThyssenKrupp steel plant (ThyssenKrupp has a long and often nefarious history as a German heavy industry). We did not need to think about this so much, because following the yellow bicycle detour signs we soon returned to the fairy land by the river.

In terms of fairy land, one of the nicer bits is at Koblenz - the place where the Mosel joins the Rhine and with the famous corner of the two rivers, called the Deutches Eck.  Koblenz has at least four castles, consistent with its strategic position, and it has many church towers, making it very photogenic. It also has a huge statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I (who ruled from around 1871 to 1888). This is so tall that any photo attempts always have the backlighting of the sky, making it a hard shot to get. I was fairly happy with my Koblenz photos this time around:

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Koblenz panorama from the bridge over the Mosel.
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Back along the river beyond Koblenz we made one more small excursion, to follow a sign pup by a bakery. It was a good choice because the bakery had two favourite things - erdbeern schnitte and poppy seed danish. Poppy seed in German is "mohn" and "danish" can have several names. In this case they were calling it "strietzel".  But when I asked for mohn strietzel she not to understand. Finally she said "Oh, mohn strietzel!" and proceeded to try to instruct me on the proper pronounciation.  This however is useless, because I never get it right. 

We stashed away the mohn strietzel (or whatever) and gobbled up the erdbeeren schnitte. It was a good one, though we might perhaps vote for more custard and less cake in the layers. It powered us handily anyway to Boppard, which truly is a gem of a lovely town and minus any steel mill, I think.

Boppard
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A house in Boppard
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Our hotel
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Our hotel was called the Rebstock (62 euros with breakfast) and is right in the centre of town, on the river. We were really pleased too to see that the room had a jacuzzi type tub. But this is the genesis of our second flood story.

Dodie was first to try out the tub. She began filling it, while I was in the main room, starting the blog. But soon came cries of "Help, help!" She had gotten into the tub  with the water just about the level of the jets. She had not touched anything, but the machine turned on and began to spray water all around the room. It drenched the toilet paper, Dodie's clothes, the towels, and the thing was we could not turn it off! With the water just at the level of the jets they were really spraying it.  So I figured we should fill the tub to cover the jets. That worked, to at least control the wild spraying.

We located the on/off control, which was integrated with the  air control to the jets, but it was clear on/off was broken. Eventually we got the owner to have a look, but he clearly had no idea. Except that he thought it could be a time control and he advised us to wait.  After a couple of hours of continuous running, though, we reopened the topic.

Ok, here is what we figured out. The on/off control was broken and was permanently "on". But the unit has a failsafe feature and will only run if there is water at the jets. When Dodie filled the tub to below the jets, all was quiet. But when she got in the water level rose just to the jets. That's when all hell broke loose for the pump now felt it could run. And filling the tub further just encouraged it to keep running.

When we and the owner had understood all this, he killed the power to the whole room. Then we  could drain the tub to below the jets, and then the tub would stay off.

The owner then brought us dry towels, and this episode of flooding on the Rhine had come to an end.

Today's ride: 70 km (43 miles)
Total: 459 km (285 miles)

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Tricia GrahamI do enjoy following along routes I know well. Boppard is a lovely little place. It has the most fantastic man in the bike shop twice he has expertly fixed problems for us. In fact last year we held on to a problem for a couple of days till we got to Boppard and knew we would get expert help. Ken was also delighted by a couple of fine old tractor there

Keep safe
Tricia and Ken
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1 year ago
Scott AndersonYou guys have all the fun. This one ranks high in the category of best bathtub stories.
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1 year ago