Mainz to Bonn, Germany: Cycling Day 10

Well we knew today was going to be a doozy! The route was estimated to be 60+ miles again. 😬 Try to accomplish that after a night of sleeping in a tent on top of flat sleeping pads.

We left the camp ground thinking when we see a bakery open, we will grab some breakfast and keep on our way. However, after seeing every grocery store, fast food, cafe, everything was closed, we realized it must be some type of holiday. The town was dead quiet!

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We finally found a little coffee shop that was open. They said it was “party day/fathers day”. Not totally sure why those two go together but that’s pretty much what we saw all day. Dad’s with kids or guys drinking together. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ But we’re happy to celebrate this guy twice!

Waiting on a train.

Then we tried to just put in the miles.

I caught R mid-cough. πŸ˜†

Ty tried to get awesome photos of the kids with the red poppies. But the flowers were crawling with bees so the kids weren’t too keen on this idea. Can you tell? πŸ˜‰

Amazing old structures like this are everywhere!

These huge shipping barges on the Rhine.

We weren’t totally Scrooge-like today and allowed the kids ten minutes on a playground for lunch.

After that it was nothing but incredible scenery and more pedaling!

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I rode in front for the briefest of moments!

This is where is started to go all downhill for me. My knees started to ache from pushing in such a hard gear. I couldn’t stay in Ty’s draft. I just couldn’t keep up speed. The wind seemed to be in my face and slowing me down.

I finally threw in the towel sometime after mile 40. Ty thank goodness, found us the nearest train station, and was totally supportive. πŸ₯° The train arrived within ten minutes of us pulling up. We hopped on with help and Ty’s quick research began.

Do we go to the town as planned and hope for a campsite, on this very busy holiday? Or do we ride the train a bit further and make tomorrows 60 miles day easier?

We hopped off the train in Koblenz to suss out our options. A quick phone call and Ty had found us an awesome hotel in Bonn! That would leave us with a 20 mile ride the next day and my aching body was so happy to hear this! Even better the train was leaving within 15 minutes.

Everybody was happy!

The train was older and the doors narrower. This made getting the chariot on a bit tricky. But thankfully we were the only ones with bikes.

Also we got a private compartment, which thrilled the kids to no end! “Just like Harry Potter!”

Getting off the train shenanigans.

Bonn is apparently the home of Beethoven.

Also it appears to be a beautiful city!

We were all thrilled to find out our hotel had a pool. So we refreshed ourselves there before waking to a super yummy Indian food dinner.

Where we saw a blimp and a beautiful church on our walk.

Looking forward to a wonderful nights sleep in a real bed. Breakfast at the hotel tomorrow and no real rush to get on the bikes. Sounds heavenly!

Mannheim to Mainz, Germany: Cycling Day 9

So we had to ride 6 miles from our hotel just to get to the center of Mannheim and then make our way out of town. It was so huge it took us about an hour and half to do this.

We got stopped by a train but please note the different colored sidewalk. Red is for cyclists and grey is for walkers. It’s so simple and yet brilliant! My only real cycling comparison is Hawaii and so far Europe has been blowing my mind with how cycle friendly it is.

This tower is called Friedrichsplatz. We couldn’t quite figure out what or why it was such a big deal but it’s a key thing to see in Mannheim apparently.

More scenes from the city.

Ty rode up those stairs to that point! 😳 I used the bike rail on the side. Again so simple yet brilliant!

We found a strawberry and fargel stand just outside of town. So yummy!

Into the fields.

These red poppies are in bloom everywhere right now. They make road sides so beautiful and bright.

We randomly came across a swamp.

We ended up on cobblestones for a while today. It was my least favorite so far.

I’ve learned anything past 50 miles and it just feels miserable. My body starts to ache, knees are hurting, bum is screaming at me.

We got turned around at some point and we switched from the city to the country route. These added about ten miles to our route today. It was just a slog by the end.

But we made it to this beautiful campground. Showered and walked to dinner.

These are all things that can make a miserable day better. Ty and I ate all the food we could order. According to my Fitbit I ‘walked’ 37k steps and burned over 3k calories today. πŸ€ͺ

Ty’s putting the kids down in the tent while I sit in the ‘beir garten’ and write the past few days down.

The scary thing is we have close to 60 miles to ride tomorrow. I’m crossing everything that we don’t add any extra mileage tomorrow!

Karlsruhe, Germany to Mannheim, Germany: Cycling Day 8

Here’s the view from our apartment last night. The sunsets have been so beautiful.

We started off the day by riding past the old royal palace. It was massive!! The grounds were so beautiful to ride through as well.

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We decided today would be our playground day. To see how many we could get in one day! Conveniently there was one on the palace grounds.

The trail took us through the woods for a while. It was a bit chilly.

Till we came across another playground!

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This one was incredible! So many areas and abilities could play in this one space. We snacked and played for a bit before moving on.

Lots of riding through little towns today.

A bakery and playground stop for lunch. Their pastries are so dang good!

Asparagus fields! Also known as Fargel in German.

We rode past the Mercedes Benz factory today. Then this train passed us full of brand new cars. πŸ€‘

The days final playground. Again it was completely amazing!

We finally made it to our hotel and it was in an industrial part of town. About 6 miles from the center of Mannheim. The hotel was clean but also weird. It was part of another hotel and had basically a vending machine to get your room key from after you entered your confirmation code.

We were just happy to be done riding and walking to dinner.

Pizza!!

Also Europe sells these personal sized bottles of wine. This one was 1€!

We got the kids asleep. We had no internet so we chatted future biking adventures and crashed. Tomorrow is a long day, 50+ miles so we’re trying to get up and out the door early.

Strasbourg, France to Karlsruhe, Germany: Cycling Day 7

Same as it ever was, we got up, had some breakfast, and loaded up our bikes. ☺️ R’s cough was sounding particularly bad this morning, so she took the first shift in the chariot.

We rode out of Strasbourg and into the countryside. It was a pretty uneventful but long day on the bikes. Over 50 some miles of riding.

See all the white stuff on the trail. The cotton trees are shedding. It’s a mess when it gets in your eyes and sticks to a sweaty face.

We did have our first and hopefully last tip over today. R took the tumble like a champ! The issue was a small side trail to that went around a barrier. It was too narrow for the chariot.

Then Ty got a bit too bold on this one. But thankfully it was just his bike that tumbled this time. I think Ty forgot how much weight he was pulling. πŸ˜„

Beautiful flat trails today.

Crossing from France into Germany.

Immediately stopping at the strawberry stand because they’re so yummy here!

Lunch today was Chinese food, and I hit up the dollar store (I think). I bought R a new shirt and some shorts. I had messed up and only packed her one t shirt. But hey we’ve made it work for over a week now!

Back on the road. L managed to take a nap this afternoon. I have no idea how kids sleep like this!

Dinner was the food court of the nearby mall. Followed by grocery shopping for breakfast and gelato, of course! It looked too good to pass up.

The kids are in bed but no one is sleeping. πŸ™„ Ty and I are wiped after today though and we get to do it again tomorrow. So we’re happy to go to bed early.

Strasbourg, France: Adventure Day

This was our first apartment with actual curtains. So I was hoping we’d sleep in a bit. But up at our usual 6:30am πŸ™„

We lazed around a bit then headed out the door about 8ish. Our plan was to walk around and enjoy the city before attending mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg.

The walk along the canal was incredible. We saw baby ducklings and a baby swan.

We were walking up to the church and the bells started to chime. The church is already to breathtaking. This just made it seem magical.

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There’s so much history here it was a wonderful experience to enjoy mass in French. Even if we understood none of it! The kids and Ty did pretty well with that. R even got selected to help bring up the donations. She was so excited and nervous!

We weren’t allowed to take any photos inside. Also we had planned on climbing the spire but learned it’s closed for the next six months. Bummer when stuff like that happens.

After mass it was so crowded around the church. It is the big thing to see in Strasbourg. The kids did enjoy this bubble guy though.

We walked around some more just enjoying the beauty of this town.

We may have also found a few playgrounds to check out.

More beautiful town!

We had an amazing indian lunch. Then back to the apartment for some relaxing time. We Uber’d to Jardin Orangerie and checked out their free zoo and playground.

Gelato prior to dinner!

Just some waiting for dinner portraits.

Everyone was tuckered out but it was a beautiful evening and walk home from dinner.

Looking forward to getting back on the bikes tomorrow.

Rust, Germany to Strasbourg, France: Cycling Day 6

Such a lazy day for us today! Only have to ride 25 miles πŸ˜† Our apartment check out wasn’t until 10am so we had a slow morning, reading books, playing games, and puzzles. We grabbed some bakery goodies and stopped at a local playground to kill another hour in the glorious sunshine.

R did her own hair today. Can you tell?! 😳

We headed out of Rust about 11 and soon after had trail issues. The signs weren’t great and we ended up crossing this rickety bridge to ride on this super rocky trail.

No photo evidence of the trail. We needed two hands to steer the bikes and not lose control. We did some more riding on the road after we crossed into France. Not our favorite but it shaved some time off the ride.

See not everything is beautiful fields and villages. πŸ˜‰

But after a bit we did get back on track. Also back to a beautiful trail!

These trees along the canal were incredible!

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We started getting nearer to Strasbourg.

Bikers everywhere in this city!

We got to our apartment. Dropped our stuff off and went to walk around the neighborhood. We found an amazing church, a playground, and a grocery store. Like always!

There was a wedding just getting started at the church and they were ringing the bells. It was beautiful.

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Found this at the grocery store and it made me chuckle.

We had tried to get an early dinner out but everything was closed! It was 4:30/5 and nothing was open or they were just starting to open. It’s a very European issue.

We ended up back at the apartment and then went out for dinner after 6. The best option we found was an Irish pub.

Sitting outside to help cut the cigarette smoke. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ I also made the kids promise to eat at least one vegetable tomorrow.

Tomorrow we get to fully explore Strasbourg!

Rust, Germany: Adventure Day at Europa Park!

After yesterday’s long, long bike ride we were all happy to sleep in. Till 6:30am πŸ˜„

We had a relaxed morning at the apartment and headed out about 8:30. Europa Park (aka he largest theme park in Europe!) didn’t open till 9. So we walked to the local bakery before slowly making our way to the entrance.

Its a Friday here so the park really wasn’t that busy! It’s huge and has country themed areas, also a mouse mascot. So it’s a bit of a knock-off Epcot. But we had a blast! All of the fun, without the Disney prices or expectations.

Linc was 4cm shy of the 120cm mark for some of the really good rides. So we just stuck with all he small stuff and whatever the kids chose. It was super low key but we stayed from 9am till it closed at 6pm.

Super amazing playground area we came across. With lounge chairs for parents and access to a beer garden!

More rides…

I was having a blast on this ‘spinny dragon’

Then we went to the rides that involve water. We couldn’t have asked for better weather today. Probably low 70s, so warm but not sweating hot. It made these water rides so fun and easy to dry from.

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Please excuse the horrible faces. I have a love/hate relationship with roller coasters. I love them but they freak me out!!

L did not like this ride but we bribed him to go again with the promise of ice cream after. #smartparenting πŸ˜† Also please crack up at how hilarious everyone’s faces are in this! ☝🏻

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The kids were all about getting soaked on the water rides and were disappointed when it didn’t happen.

We had such a fun day and walked almost 19k steps, almost 9 miles. It was nice to use different muscles from biking.

We’re back on the bikes tomorrow for a shorter day of riding and settling into Strasbourg, France for a few days.

Life is good…

Basel, Switzerland to Rust, Germany: Cycling Day 5

Well today was a doozy! Got separated, lost, a flat tire, you name it, we dealt with it today. All on the day we knew we were going to ride 60 miles. 😩

The day started off just fine. Breakfast at the apartment. A beautiful day and a impressive church to start.

It quickly went downhill from here. Just down the hill from here Ty had u-turned in the street. Well I’m not as quick, let’s blame it on the trail-a-bike. So by the time I had turned around he had completely disappeared. L didn’t see where he went either. We rode down a side street for a block but came right back to where we had lost him. I tried turning my phone on but it wouldn’t work. I found a bakery that had WiFi so I tried FT’ing him, my mom, my father in law. Anyone who could maybe call Ty for me. Nothing worked.

We sat there for half an hour and i kept thinking, you get separated and you return to where you last we’re together. Why isn’t he returning?!?

Meanwhile Ty thought I had gone on ahead. He traveled over the border into France even! πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ He was wondering why I wouldn’t just turn on my phone. If only it had been that simple!

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He obviously wasn’t too concerned since he was taking photos. πŸ™„

After sitting there for 30 minutes L and I realized Ty wasn’t coming back so we rode back to the church and then decided to go to the nearby police station to use their phone. Thank goodness it was no big deal and we got ahold of Ty. They came back from France for us and we were glad no one was hurt. But with a 60+ mile day ahead of us, we hadn’t needed this hour delay.

We hit the trail together and headed over the border to France. With a quick break to see some muskrats and swans.

The weather was beautiful but the headwind was a bit brutal. The majority of my day looked like this.

Tucked in behind the chariot just trying to draft off of Ty. I took 11 photos like this today! Hope you don’t mind the view πŸ˜†

We were in and out of towns. The bike path varied between winding villages roads, dirt trails, and abandon mud trails in the woods.

Finally found a village with a cafe for lunch around 1:30.

I need a hashtag – things L climbs!

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So tired by this point! We had attempted to get on a train at the next village that was an hour away from lunch. But they trains would have taken longer to get to our final destination than just riding. The decision was made to just suck it up and ride. By this point I gave each kid access to a phone. Chariot kiddo got to play games while trail-a-bike kid got the audiobook of their choice. They were such good troopers today!

Then our way was blocked by this dang gate. So we ended up in the woods, on an unmarked dirt path. There’s no way we could have found our way if Ty didn’t have maps.me on his phone.

This photo cracks me up. We were getting loopy by this point.

We finally make it out of the woods, up a hill to the trail and R mentions that funny noise again. Ugh I’m pulling a 7 year old on a flat tire!

Thank goodness Ty’s Superman when it comes to changing tires. We were back on the trail again with an hour or so to go. Just sucking it up and pedaling at this point.

We kept saying, at least it’s not raining.

With Europa Park in sight we were so extremely thankful to roll into our apartment building at 5:45pm. After starting at 8:00am we were wiped out, exhausted! Strava wasn’t working but we estimated 67 miles of riding today. πŸ€ͺ

But tomorrow is our day off and we’re going to the largest amusement park in Europe, Europa Park! So tomorrow will include all the walking instead of riding. I know my buns will be happy for the break.

Waldshut, Germany to Basel, Switzerland: Cycling Day 4

It wasn’t raining this morning!!! We had a yummy breakfast at the house, packed up, the kids exchanged a few more notes, and we were on our way. Or so we thought…

Our first (and hopefully last!) flat tire of the trip. It was the trail-a-bike. A couple of quick pumps from the road crew and we were back on the road.

The morning ride was quite scenic.

Aside from the giant power plant on one side of the river.

However, everything else was mostly like this.

We alternated between hot and a bit windy. The kids were switched out about every hour. Both wanted to stay on the trail-a-bike so they could listen to their stories.

After this snack stop L didn’t want to get back in the chariot. He wanted to run the trail. So we let him for a bit.

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Ty managed to entice him back. 😁

There was a fare amount of city riding as well today. I nearly crashed R and I on a large curb. We irritated a few sidewalk walkers with our giant bikes. We went the wrong way on trails. Whatever!

I love these little troopers of mine!

We made it to the city of Basel about 1:30 after riding 40 miles today.

We couldn’t check into our apartment for about an hour so we went to the nearby playground and Ty picked up lunch.

After getting settled into the apartment we decided to use the easy button and call an Uber to take us to the zoo. It was glorious!!!

L had a bit of an injury situation.

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Thankfully it was healed by another playground coming into view. πŸ˜†

We took a taxi back to a grocery store near our apartment. It was a Mercedes that had built in booster seats. It was awesome!

We grabbed dinner from the store and walked home. Felt so nice to finally take showers, feed everyone, and finally get a chance to relax. My Fitbit has me at 26,800 steps today, though I’m not sure how it calibrates the biking. But either way we’re are pooped!

Tomorrow is supposed to be clear and hot but we’re also hoping to make 60ish miles. 😬 It’s going to be a challenge for me but trying to focus on the fact we have a rest day after that!

Stein am Rhein, Switzerland to Waldshut, Germany: Cycling Adventure Day 3

Well we woke up and guess what, it was raining still! It didn’t seem too terribly bad so we decided to try biking in it. Ty would not only be carrying all the camping gear, he would also pull both the kids in the chariot so they could stay dry.

We had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel.

Before we put on all our rain gear and hoped for the best.

We’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth out of this chariot! πŸ˜†

The ride was so beautiful but so wet!

We crossed over this amazing wooden bridge.

So wet! And you notice the dirt path we’re now on. It made everything so muddy and filthy!

I finally had to stop Ty because my hands were so cold. He gave me some dry gloves which I then covered with free doggie poop bags to stay dry. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ You do what you need to!

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We finally made it to Rhein Falls which are the largest waterfalls in all of Europe. The kids and I were freezing at this point. So we came, we looked, Ty took photos, and we said let’s find the train!

Funny side story, another cyclist was there and he came up to Ty so excited to see him. He said something like I saw your video and now I’m seeing you!! Ty had no idea what he was talking about, if it was actually us or not but hey, we seemed to have made his day. Also people have been taking photos and videos of us along the way so it’s hard to say if it was or wasn’t us he saw. We’re kind of a rolling circus!

The train station was just up the hill from the waterfall so that was nice. What wasn’t great was he fact we had to wait 40 minutes for the next train.

We finally get on the warm train!

However, it stopped after about two stops. This wasn’t really the train we wanted. 😩 So we waited about 20 minutes or so for our next train. Thankfully the conductor let us sit on our current train till the next one arrived.

That one took us to our last stop where we found out we had to wait an hour for our last train. 😭

So we are our lunch of snacks in the ‘smoking room’ out of the rain and read some Little Prince.

We finally made it to our town in about the same amount of time it would have taken us to ride our bikes. πŸ™„ I zipped into the grocery store to get dinner and breakfast food. Then we rode our bikes to the house Ty had rented. I was so thankful we aborted camping again! The rain had stopped but we still all needed to dry ourselves out.

It took a lot of wandering and one international phone call to find this house but it’s been totally worth it!

I unpacked all our clothes while Ty washed our bikes and gear. R made friends with the family that lives downstairs and it’s been so fun to hear how much german she knows! Oh yeah, we’re now in Germany. Apparently we crossed over the boarder on our last train ride. Who knew?!

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Ty caught just this snippet of her chatting with the kids. She ran off to the playground with them while L helped me get dinner ready.

After dinner R and L have been slipping notes under the doors of the kiddos downstairs. International friendships are the best! So thankful this miserably cold, wet, and long day ended on such a high note.

The weather is supposed to stay clear tomorrow, the gear is all dry and ready for us to cycle a full day. 🀞🏻