Molly on the Main

Day 11 - Monday, June 3

Back to work for everyone here in Germany after a long holiday weekend! We noticed fewer bicyclists on the bike trail and definitely more car traffic on the roads.

We left Retzbach around 10:30 am, heading north on the Main Radweg toward our next overnight spot at Lohr am Main.

Our first little town, Himmelstadt, had a few installations of information along the bike trail - one about the different varieties of wine plants and another about postage stamps. We paused briefly to walk through the one about wine.

The whole route was very scenic today, with dramatic cliffs and steep vineyard hillsides. Just outside of Himmelstadt, we saw a ridge with cliffs which resembled columns of stone. The vineyards in the area were on such steep slopes that we marveled at the likelihood that the vintner used any sort of mechanized tilling on the slopes. It looked to us that, if the tractor's brakes were not in perfect operating condition, the farmer could too easily just fall off the cliff at the end of a row.

About one-third of the way into today's route, we paused to go in to Karlstadt. It was a picturesque village with many half-timbered buildings in the old town center. One could easily imagine that the scene was not too different 500 years ago. While we were in Karlstadt, we took the opportunity to go to the Apotheke (pharmacy), to ask about some special sun protection for the lips. I've already experienced some effects from the sun with a blistered lip, and although I have some lip balm with me, it does not offer any sunscreen protection. I was hoping to find a zinc oxide product, but I ended up getting something we could use on our lips, noses, and ears, and I think it will do the trick.

The day was already hot, and it was not yet noon. We know that we have a couple more days of riding in the hot sun, so we thought we had better start using something to stave off the usual outbreaks I have in reaction to the sun. (We are carrying and using lots of sunscreen, but I had not brought the right product for my face and lips.)

After admiring the quaint styles in Karlstadt and taking a few photos, we got back on the trail and headed for Gemuenden. We rode on a trail directly along the Main, sometimes getting a glimpse of a pair of swans, and always having the view of the steep wine slopes on one side and the valley floor on the other, with various crops of wheat, rye, mustard, corn, and peas. We haven't quite figured out exactly the crop in the fields which looked like sweet peas. I stopped and took a photo of one of those fields today, hoping someone can tell what is being grown there.

We reached Gemuenden at lunch time, and by that time it was really warm (about 85 degrees.) We found a cafe in the town center where we could sit in the shade under an umbrella. A shady beer garden under linden trees would have been better, but we did not see that option. We ordered the day's special from the menu - Schweinegeschnetzeltes in pfeffersosse mit butter spaetzle (pork strips in a cream sauce with green peppercorns served with spaetzle or a sort of chewy noodle.) We also noticed on the same menu that one could order a "U.S. Beef T-bone steak" - for 45.50 Euro, or about $51.00.

We were both hot enough that we asked for ice in our mineral water, something we don't normally do when in Europe, but it was very refreshing and helped quench our thirst. There were several other bicyclists also dining at the same cafe. Most of them looked like retired people out on a day trip (not really all that different from us.)

Gemuenden was our halfway point in today's ride, so when we left there, we did not have that much further to go to reach Lohr am Main. We crossed the Main on am impressive bridge which made me a little nervous but really accommodated the bike lane just fine. Once we were down in the valley and on the trail again, a surprise rain shower broke out. It felt so good to have the cooling rain on our skin that we just kept riding. We passed other cyclists who had pulled off under a tree or another dry spot on the trail, but both of us agreed that the rain was refreshing and we should keep going.

After about 10 minutes of riding in the rain, we were cooled off and feeling good. The rain was almost stopped, but we could see that the clouds were building for more to come perhaps an hour or two later.

When we cycled into Lohr am Main, I spotted an ice cream cafe and insisted that this was our stopping point. I don't often get a craving for ice cream, but I had one now, and it had to be chocolate. So we stopped for coffee and ice cream (Steve had coffee and a piece of fresh strawberry torte.) We checked our maps and could see that we were not far from our hotel. We were also not far from the Droggerei (drug store), where we stopped on the way to our hotel to buy some more soap and sunscreen.

Lohr is an charming place, and we are both happy that we have two nights' stay here so we can explore it a little before we move on. It claims to be the birthplace of Snow White, or at least a real-life woman whose life parallels the story of Snow White. We'll perhaps learn more about that tomorrow when we visit the museum in Lohr Castle which features more information about why historians think that Maria Sophia Margaretha Catharina Freifraeulein von Erthal, born in 1725, could have been the basis of the Grimm Brothers' tale of Snow White (Schneewittchen.)

After stopping at the Droggerei, we cycled a short way to our overnight spot - Hotel Bundschuh. We received a friendly and sincere welcome that really made us feel good that we chose this place for our rest day. After check-in, we did our laundry, fetched a couple glasses of wine, and relaxed. Later, we walked in to the town center and dined at Weinhaus Mehling, where we each selected the smoked trout and a small salad (with a couple of glasses of the regional white wine, a dry Silvaner.) Steve has always liked smoked trout, but I have been a fan of fried trout, so this was the first time I tried the other preparation. It was excellent, and I really enjoyed the meal.

Right now, we are relaxing and looking forward to an easy day tomorrow of doing whatever sounds good. We won't be back on the bike trail until Wednesday. We have a whole day to explore Lohr, take naps, drink wine, and/or just reflect. It is starting to feel like a vacation!

Karlstadt - this is a little unusual for a German town started in the Middle Ages - it is laid out in a grid. For military reasons, the streets are not exactly straight (so the archers and cannons don't get a clear shot.)

Himmelstadt had an installation along the bike trail explaining different kinds of wine grown in the region

The cliffs along the Main between Himmelstadt and Karlstadt. We met a friendly bicyclist on the trail who said that the view from the top was very nice. He said we could climb to the top on some steps up the hillside - "it is easier," he claimed.

A field crop of a variety of peas

The Katzenturm (Cat Tower) in Karlstadt - according to legend, the last tower-keeper fell from an upper level of the tower and landed on his feet - like a cat - on top of a brush pile and was unharmed.

The trail between Karlstadt and Gemuenden.

Schweinegeschnetzeltes

In Gemuenden - a tree wearing a "sweater."

Lohr am Main

Hotel Bundschuh in Lohr am Main

Hotel Bundschuh has a fairy tale theme. We have "wild pigs" in our room!

Our dinners of smoked trout at the Winhaus Mehling in Lohr am Main.


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