Molly on the Main

Day 6 - Wednesday, May 29

We spent last night in Burgkundstadt, and it was a restful and successful stay (i.e., "successful" meaning that we had ample facilities to wash and dry our laundry in the room - towel warmers are a great way to speed the drying, but one has to be careful not to get the fabric too hot.) We had a good dinner with a couple of fine pilseners, and we both slept very well. Steve actually fell asleep at the dinner table while sitting on one of those cushioned benches along the wall. I knew we were in trouble when we sat down and there were too many pillows around him.

Today, the morning started out to be overcast and slightly damp, much the same temperatures as yesterday (ranging from 47 to 57 degrees F.) A light rain was falling around 7 am while we ate our breakfast, but by 9:30 when we rolled way from the hotel, it had diminished to only sprinkles and stopped raining by the time we were back on the Main Radweg. We rode the rest of the day in cool and overcast conditions but with no more rain.

We rode along a paved route for a while and then went on a trail through the forest just before Burgstall. It was the most rustic surface we had ridden so far, with the exception of very short stretches of gravel now and then in places where the trail was diverted for construction or under repair. While we were riding in the forest, we could hear the song of a cuckoo.

Later along the trail back on a paved route, we looked off to our right just in time to see a pasture with four or five camels. There was no apparent reason why there were camels there, but we stopped just long enough to take pictures of them.

At Lichtenfels, we stopped at a grocery store, where we bought some sandwiches and used their restroom. We sat at a small table in the parking lot of the Edeka grocery store and ate our sandwiches and then got back on the trail to ride into the center of Lichtenfels, where we had coffee and a pastry.

Between the town of Lichtenfels and Bad Staffelstein is the well-known baroque basilica cathedral built in the mid-1700's under the direction of architect Balthasar Neumann. We could see it perched high up on a prominent point, but we did not divert to make the long trek up there to see it. At Bad Staffelstein, we could also see a rocky precipice known as Staffelberg, a 540-meter stone plateau which was inhabited in pre-Roman times. We could see it from a distance, but it was much too far out of our way for us to get a closer look.

After Lichtenfels, we rode through about 20 km of natural areas ranging from open meadows to some pits of apparent sand-mining operations.

Shortly before we entered the outskirts of Bamberg, we stopped several times to pow-wow and check the maps, to make sure we were still on our planned route. At one of these stops, a friendly woman asked us about the mirrors mounted on our helmets. We have noticed more bicyclists wearing helmets than we would have seen 25 years ago, but we haven't seen anyone else wearing rear-view mirrors like we are wearing. We find it very helpful, especially when riding on the streets with traffic, to know whether or not there is a car behind us and how close it might be. So the woman was curious, too, about the mirrors, and we chatted with her a bit. She was very pleasant and asked us about our visit, enthusiastically endorsing our choice of hotel in the center of Bamberg. She was wearing blue jeans splattered a little bit with white paint, so Steve asked if she was painting. Yes, she said, and pointed to a house not far away which was being painted on the outside. We parted with her good wishes for a pleasant stay in Bamberg.

We continued on our planned route, stopping a few times to redirect ourselves and stay on the route which brought us directly into the center of Bamberg, crossing first the Main River and then the Regnitz to get to our hotel, the Hotel Brudermuehle.

We arrived at the hotel around 5 pm after having ridden 40.66 miles for the day. We checked into the hotel and were assisted by an energetic young man who carried our panniers up to the room for us (God bless him!) and showed us where to store the bicycles in a little garage across the street. There were already four or five bicycles hanging on hooks in a locked storage area.

After we did our hand-wash laundry and took showers, we strolled around the area for about an hour and then settled in for dinner at an Italian restaurant, Casa Italia, where the wait staff was very friendly and welcoming.

We had a couple of pizzas and some wine for dinner and then walked back to the hotel. Tomorrow is a holiday here - Himmelfahrt - Ascension Thursday (this IS Bavaria, after all, so it is a state holiday.) A couple of places in our walk from the restaurant to the hotel were filled with people standing outside a pub (or two), with beers in the hand and just chatting with others. They practically filled the street, and a policeman or two strolled through there now and then. We later concluded that the primary reason for the gathering in the street had less to do with the beer than with the fact that most of them were smoking cigarettes.

Since tomorrow is a holiday, that means that no shops, groceries or bakeries will be opens (but perhaps a few cafes) and there may also be more cyclists and pedestrians on the bike path. Since we did not take time this evening to go to the Bamberg basilica, we will try to do that tomorrow on our way out of town.

It is nearly 11:30 pm, so I will stop for now.

Trail through the woods near Burgstall

Camels we saw along the trail

Vierzehnheiligen [Fourteen Holy Helpers] basilica near LichtenfelsX

Staffelberg

Self-sevice bike repair station

Guest book at the bike service station

Hotel Brudermuehle in Bamberg

Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall), Bamberg

Little Venice, in Bamberg

Molly in Bamberg (Little Venice in the background)

Pizza at Casa Italia, Bamberg


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