1995. Germany is a large country and we wished to visit the Mosel valley area, famous for its wine. We had been there on a day visit from Holland, and wished to return here.
We went via ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, this being the most direct from northern England, then took the train from Brugge to Verviers, near the German border. Cycled generally southwards through the Ardennes to enter Germany near the Luxembourg border. Coming back we crossed the southern part of Holland to Genk and took the train to Blankenberge. Outwards was no trouble getting the tandem on the train as it was a main line train with a baggage car. Coming back the trains from Genk to the coast are the sprinter type with only limited space, but they took the tandem without trouble. We choose only to travel within Belgium on the train, because crossing the border by train was a much more expensive option.
Perhaps we were lucky, our first cycling day was also the first day of summer over there, we had left the UK still cold and wet, but it above 30 degrees on our first day. It stayed warm or hot for the two weeks in June and it was dry.
Initially hilly in the Ardennes and the Eifel areas, then mainly flat following the river Mosel, part of the Rhine and undulating back across to Belgium. From the Eifel mountains to the Mosel, to the Rhine and most of the way back we were on cycle routes, with about two thirds on designated cycle paths. We did not know that these were so extensive.
The German motoring organisation ADFC do a marvelous set of maps especially for cyclists, at a scale of 1/150000 (1cm-1.5km), 27 covers all of Germany. On these the red roads are the best for cycling, next best are orange. The motoring roads, that is main roads and motorways are grey. We only needed map 15 as it covers from the Belgium border to well east of Koblenz, from Trier in the south to well north of Koln. Recognised cycling routes, named or numbered are shown.
Food and Lodgings
Food was readily available and our lodgings were usually B&B, some of these being at the house of wine growers. Once we had to go to a rather more expensive hotel, on the way back through an area not frequented by tourists. Picnic lunches with evening meals in a local bar were the norm.
Generally higher than in the UK and slightly higher than in Belgium or the Netherlands, but some of the wine houses accomodation were very reasonable.
The popular regions for cycling are usually the Black Forest, Bavaria or Saxony, but we found the Mosel and Rhine to be highly populated with cyclists. The people were friendly and on two days running we kept meeting up with a group of retired men, doing the Mosel, who kept insisting that we join them for their pre-arranged wine tasting sessions.