Molly on the Main

Day 10 - Sunday, June 2

We were up around 8 am and joined the family for breakfast. Steve and I had packed up our clean laundry and most of our things, but it was nearly 11 am before we finished saying farewell to most of the family and moved down the hill, with Martina riding with us. This was a real convenience, because she knew all the turns and switchbacks to take us through Marktbreit and onto the bike trail without dealing with much car traffic. She rode with us as far as Ochsenfurt, where we paused at old bridge to say goodbye. The north route from Ochsenfurt was smooth and easy, running along the east side of the river all the way to Wuerzburg.

Martina mentioned something that I had been wondering about - the meaning of "furt" in a town name. I comes from the word for "ford," so the towns with this as part of their name were places where one could cross the river. Ochsenfurt was known as a place for an oxen crossing.

From Ochsenfurt, Steve and I rode along the Main Radweg in the direction of Wuerzburg. The weather today is sunny and warm, or actually by European standards, it would be considered hot. We encountered many other cyclists on the path, and as we approached Sommerhausen, there were many people sunbathing or picnicking in grassy spots along the bike trail or on the banks of the river.

About half of the time we were cycling on a shady trail and with a bit of a tailwind, so it was a pleasant ride. We did not plan a long ride for today, and we were both grateful for that.

When we reached Wuerzburg, we were ready for a cool drink, so we stopped and found a table in the shade at a cafe near the old bridge. But as we sat there and enjoyed our drinks, we could see that the sun was slowly moving toward our table. In fact, the restaurant staff were moving the tables one by one, as the customers left, to another spot in the shade. Our timing was good because we were ready to get up and get back on the bikes just about the time the sun struck the edge of our table.

We left this cafe and crossed the old bridge, from which we had a great view of the Marienberg fortress on the opposite side of the Main. The signs to the path pointed to a little tunnel under street to the rejoin the bike trail, and as soon as we came out of the tunnel, we saw a perfect little wine garden in the shade. It would have been a better choice than the one we made, but we were already refreshed now.

The rest of the ride to our overnight town, Retzbach, was unremarkable. We rode on a mostly shaded trail and, once we reached Zelligen, we crossed a pedestrian bridge to Retzbach and located our hotel, Hotel Vogelsang. People we met at the reception were very friendly and asked us about our trip. We mentioned that we are heading toward Lohr am Main, which drew an enthusiastic response. The woman promised us that Lohr was a pretty little town and that the whole ride between here and there is very scenic. She also advised us to take some time to stop in Karlstadt, one of the first towns on our route tomorrow, and look at the inner part of the town.

At the moment, we are cooling down in a beer garden on the Zellingen side of the Main, the Ankergarten. Both Zellingen and Retzbach are small places and it is a Sunday, so the beer garden is crowded. We stood in line 15 minutes just to place an order for food and beer - it was long enough that we ordered an extra beer to save time later.

Steve and I have noticed that we draw some curious looks when we are in our bike gear, and we have had enough people ask us about the mirrors on our helmets that we think this is (at least) one reason for the looks. We see more cyclists wearing helmets than we did 25 years ago, but we rarely see anyone with a rear view mirror. When we do see a rider with a mirror, it is usually a mirror mounted on the end of the handlebar. My helmet, which has a small headlight and rear light mounted on it, also draws some odd looks. Harold thought it was a camera, so perhaps that's what others are thinking, too. I have not used it frequently, but it comes in handy sometimes, especially on the cloudy days (sort of wish we had another one of those now!) and when we are riding on a road with motorists.

I must stop now and eat my steak on broetchen mit pommes.

Marktbreit

Steve on the Main Radweg south of Wuerzburg

Vineyards near Sommerhausen

Molly is shrinking

Marienberg fortress at Wuerzburg

Molly at Wuerzburg

Evening light on the cliffs along the Main near Retzbach


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