Molly on the Main

Day 7 - Thursday, May 30

Strawberry torte, from a cafe in Hassfurt

Strawberry torte
We started today in Bamberg at the Hotel Brudermuehle, where we enjoyed the hotel breakfast (the eggs were fresh eggs from "happy chickens" because they had such a good flavor.) We were packed up and riding way a few minutes before 10 am, heading uphill to the basilica, Sts. Peter and George (constructed in the 13th century.) I especially wanted to see a couple of sculptures in the cathedral, but because today is a holy day (Ascension Thursday) and Masses were scheduled for 9:30 and 11:30, they were not admitting any visitors until 1 pm. We did not wish to wait around that long, and since we had actually been in the church 28 years ago, we decided to move on.

The route out of Bamberg was along the Main, and it was a smooth surface and easy to follow the route. There were more than the usual number of bicyclists and pedestrians on the path because of the holiday, and there was relatively little car traffic.

We had made some sandwiches from the bread, meat, cheese and butter at the breakfast buffet, anticipating that very few cafes would be open today. About 20 miles into our ride near the village of Limbach, there was a little trailside cafe selling mostly drinks and desserts. It was located right on the trail, which was directly on the banks of the Main. We found a spot on a bench facing the river, sat down, unwrapped our sandwiches and ate lunch. Steve fetched a cold Coca-Cola from the cafe and we split it.

As we sat and rested, we saw a small Viking cruise barge coming from downstream and a few minutes later another Viking cruise barge appeared from downstream. We watched as they glided past. A few passengers were sitting on their balconies watching the scenery. People sitting at the cafe waved at them, and they waved back.

Another handy amenity of the cafe was access to a toilet in a house across the street (the cafe was actually being operated out of a little trailer and a small hut.) This was a nice convenience, especially on a day when we had only limited opportunities to find open cafes.

After Limbach, we rode on a smooth, paved path through open fields and crossed the Main several miles before reaching Hassfurt. We were ready for a cup of coffee and that point, and because the route took us directly into the middle of Hassfurt, we saw a handful of cafes open and picked one near the center off town. We ordered two kaennchen (small pots) of coffee with milk, one piece of apple-cream cake, and a piece of fresh strawberry torte. All of it was very tasty and gave us the energy for the rest of the ride into Schweinfurt, tonight's overnight spot.

The woman we met along the trail yesterday forewarned us that there is statewide gymnastics tournament in Schweinfurt today and this weekend, and it was apparent as soon as we left the trail and rode into town. Lots of young people and their parents were milling about in an area on the banks of the Main and also in about four other places we came across in town. The festival website says they expect 8,000 participants.

After we checked in at the Hotel Ross am Alten Parkplatz, we did our day's laundry and showered. This hotel room does not have a towel warmer on which to dry our wet clothes, so we pressed them as dry as possible with our bath towels and then hung them on a clothesline strung across the room. I hope they will be dry enough by morning so we can pack them in the panniers, but even if they are a little damp, we can always secure them on the bike with a bungee cord to finish drying.

Today's weather was sunny and breezy, and the temperatures were still somewhat cool. I was comfortable in shorts and a long-sleeved jersey today. Tomorrow's forecast is a bit warmer, so I'm planning to wear a short-sleeved jersey and shorts. With the cool weather we have had all spring at home, I don't think I have worn a short-sleeved jersey more than a few times so far this year.

After cleaning up, Steve and I walked down the street to find a spot for dinner. He had found an Italian restaurant that sounded interesting, but when we got there, it was closed. There was another Italian restaurant right next to it, so we asked for a table for two. The hostess was very honest and said that she would be glad to give us a table but that she knew that it would be a terribly long wait for our food. Steve had noticed, too, how many people were sitting at empty tables, so we thanked her and moved on down the street. Just a few feet away was a Lebanese restaurant, and having had a good experience with Lebanese food at a place in New York City, I thought this sounded fine.

It was a good choice. They had menu with some of my favorite dishes - tabouleh, hummus, lamb, etc. Steve snapped a photo of the menu page for the main dishes and sent a quick message to his colleague in New York City and asked her for recommendations. We ended up with dishes of a sautéed beef tips and a mixed grill plate, as well as a delicious tabouleh salad, and hummus with pita bread as an appetizer. Everything was tasty, and the staff was friendly and welcoming. If you are looking for a nice meal in Schweinfurt, we can recommend the Libanesisches Restaurant Zeder on Metzgergasse.

We finished dinner a little after 8 pm and strolled through one of the plazas on the way back to our hotel. There was a performance and a crowd of people, so we stopped to watch for a bit. A comedian-emcee was on a large stage with ventriloquist's dummy, and he introduced a dance team in sparkling silver-sequined dance gear, and they performed a fast-moving routine with jump ropes. We were impressed at their agility and choreography.

We were too tired to hang around for much more than that, having ridden about 40 miles today, so we headed back to the hotel and are going to call it a night. Tomorrow's ride will take us to Obernbreit, where we'll stay with some friends for two nights and perhaps have a chance for a rest day.

At the Bamberg cathedral

at Bamberg cathedral

Viking cruise barge on the Main at Limbach

Viking cruise barge

On board the cruise barge - a chef at the grill

Chef on board

Cafe along the bike trail at Limbach

Bike trail cafe in Limbach

Steve enjoying lunch on the trail

Taking a break

Locks on the Main

watching boats in the locks

The Viking cruise barge, viewed from above as it passes through the locks near Limbach - a mini-golf course and a shuffleboard court

Top of the Viking Cruises barge

Sand am Main, a village between Bamberg and Hassfurt

Sand am Main

Apple cream cake at the cafe in Hassfurt

Apple cream cake

Steve enjoys some coffee at Hassfurt

Coffee break in Hassfurt

Tabouleh salad from the Libanesisches Restaurant Zeder in Schweinfurt

Tabouleh salad

Performance stage for the Landesturnfest in Schweinfurt

Dancers perform

Dance group with the jump-rope routine on the stage for the Landesturnfest at Schweinfurt

Dance group with jump ropes

Poster for the Landesturnfest (state gymnastics meet)

Dance tournament poster in Schweinfurt

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