Epic European Cycle
|2015-06-05 : Rhine Route / EV 15 to Rastatt|
|Today was our second day setting out without a proper map and information. We weren't sure where breakfast was going to come from because we'd eaten ourselves out of supplies. The campground had a small dep, but the lineup for coffee before it even opened at 8AM was frightening, so we decided to take our changes on finding something in Stollhofen. We rode in, but it looked like another summer bedroom community with no amenities. Suddenly, a café started to open so we went and sat at the outdoor tables... then the lady who was setting up the tables closed the doors and left. We were off down the road, thinking that we'd make do with our 8 cherry tomatoes, chocolate bar and two remaining inferior power bars until we could find something decent. There was a sign for a "Bäckerei", which looks suspiciously like "Bakery", so we decided to give that one last shot before leaving town. We detoured to the "Bäckerei", and lo... a wonderful Dep! A bakery, coffee shop and grocery shop all in one heavenly little place! Our day (and my attitude) were saved.|
|As we progressed up the Rhine today, stumbling around, we debated where to stop and try to find a book or map of the Rhine route. This whole "figuring it out" thing just wasn't working out. I was pointing us in the direction of Karlsruhe today, but because I didn't have accurate information, it was further than I anticipated. We had an opportunity to take a short detour into Rastatt, which we did, where we managed to find a map book of the section of the Rhine that we're riding. Hallelujah! We'd already ridden 30km, and there aren't really any good accommodation options for another 30km beyond Rastatt, so, with another 35C day, we decided to stop in Rastatt for the night. It is such a relief to have a map and information again! It is crazy how much of a difference it makes for decent planning and route finding, even with an extremely well-marked velo route.|
|Way #1 to tell that you're in Germany and not in France: Finding a store where Brent can replace his crocs. Yep, today he managed to find himself a replacement set of crocs which are even more hideous than the last pair of crocs!|
Cycling beside the Rhine... not quite as interesting as cycling in the Loire Valley...
|2015-06-06 : Rhine Route / EV 15 to Leimersheim|
|We left Rastatt with a good plan for reaching Leimersheim tonight. We made a note that there were a couple of highlighted "dekes" near Karlsruhe before we cross the bridge to the west side of the Rhine. When we got close, I said to Brent that we had to be careful not to accidentally take the side route into Karlsruhe itself - we're bypassing, not going all the way into the city. Ironically, when we got to Rheinhafen-Dampfkaftwerk, we missed a corner and accidentally started heading into Karlsruhe. Before getting too deep into town, we stopped to contemplate where we were and where we'd screwed up. We were standing outside a hotel, and after a few minutes, the nice hotelier came out and told us where to go. I mean, he told us where to go, not he "told us where to go". He mentioned that when we crossed the bridge over the small channel near the factory that there were steep stairs up and down, but the route was much more direct.|
|After getting directions back to where we had missed a turn, we returned to Rheinhafen-Dampfkaftwerk and found the bridge over the channel. Oh my... yes, indeed, there were steeps stairs up and down. If Brent hadn't done most of my work for me, I would have had to unpack all of my paniers and make three trips up, then three trips down, to get my bike and luggage up, and then down.|
When we started riding the Rhine, Strasbourg, France, was on one side of the Rhine, and Kehl, Germany was on the other. We assumed that the Rhine formed a natural border, and that on one side, you were in France (in spite of the German town names), and on the other side, you were in Germany. A couple of people had even said that to us... if we wanted to speak French, we just had to cross the river.
We crossed to the west side of the Rhine today because that was the only defined route. We really wanted to stay in Germany, but this was a necessary detour. When we got to the other side... everything was still German. When we got further and further into the other side... everything was still German. Close inspection of one of our maps showed that the Rhine isn't actually the border in most places and Germany spills further west than we thought. We're still in Germany, and we're planning on staying on the west side of the river as much as possible now. There are just way more amenities over here.
Our plan for the day was to cycle as far as Leimersheim and then, tomorrow, cross on the ferry back to the east side. That was before we discovered that a lot of the west side of the Rhine is still Germany. Anyway, when we got to Worth am Rhein, we decided to take a side route instead of staying along the Rhein and enjoy going through some small towns on our way to Leimersheim. We'd be passing through Jockgrim, Rheinzabern and Neupotz. Jockgrim seemed to have some places to stay, but that was too soon to stop. Rheinzabern had nothing. Neupotz had what looked to be Pensions, but they were not open yet, and I wasn't into chasing someone down at their home to inquire. So, we continued on to Leimersheim. It's a really nice little town, but small. We found one guesthouse, but the proprietor advised that they were full and there was no other place in Leimersheim to stay. We'd have to return to Neupotz and look for a Pension. Since that meant backtracking (and I hate backtracking), we opted instead to head for the ferry. If we could still cross that night, we'd cross and then look for a place to random camp, otherwise we'd try to random camp near the ferry.
On the way to the ferry, we cycled on a pathway in between Leimersheim and the Rhein. We were beside a dike, and on the other side was a small forest. Unless someone deliberately climbed up the dike, they'd never see us camping in the small forest. It looked perfect, really. We just had to find a good spot to "hide". We decided that it was probably the best option we'd find for random camping, so we deked around the dike and started down the small "channel" between the dike and the forest, looking for the right spot. The lower ground was very wet (that should have provided a warning, but it didn't), so we went until we found a nice spot which was a little higher, and in a nice divot in the forest, for good hiding.
We decided we'd found the perfect random camping site and jumped off our bikes. At the same moment, all the mosquitoes in the world decided that they'd found the perfect meal and landed on us. By then I was pretty weary - physically and mentally - and I didn't want to go on, so we decided to tough it out. You have never seen two people set up camp so quickly. We set up the camp, then tossed most of our full paniers into the tent. Brent took one for the team and stayed outside to attach pegs and the fly, while I leaped into the tent to set up inside (including killing the mosquitoes which had followed us in). When the fly was done, Brent lept into the tent and we continued to set up and arrange our stuff (we don't usually have every single thing in the tent with us). It was stinkin' hot - it has been over 30C that day, and... uh-oh... the doors on the fly were closed. We'd opened the screens on the tent itself, but the fly was turning us into an oven. It was my turn to take one for the team. I decided I was going to put a "haz mat" suit on (my shell jacket, with hood up and cinched around my face, plus my rain pants), leap out of the tent (Brent would zip the door behind me), and open and secure the fly door on my side, then run around, open and secure the fly door on Brent's side, then leap back into the tent (with Brent unzipping and zipping the door behind me). With that operation taken care of, we were much more comfortable, but we were still faced with spending the evening hiding in the tent from the mosquitoes.
Ummmm... that's our BRIDGE!
Brent goes up the stairs
Hefting approximately 100 lbs of bike plus luggage
Brent goes down the stairs
Trying to maintain control over 100lbs of bike and luggage
Haz Mat Suit
Donning my haz mat suit inside the 40 degree tent so I can brave the mosquitoes and cinch open our tent fly doors.
|2015-06-07 : Rhine Route / EV 15 to Speyer|
We woke up early this morning and decided that we would break camp before people started coming by, and potentially discovering us in our campsite. Brent had devised a plan to avoid being completely eaten by mosquitoes - we would haul all of our stuff up the dike and load it there (after loading as much into the paniers within the tent as we could). Again I donned my "haz mat" suit to do this, and it worked pretty well. I said it had been the perfect random camping spot except for one thing... Brent said except for a hundred thousand little things. Brent was right.
We found our way down to the ferry, and lo... there were people camped at a small picnic area before the ferry, and more people random camped right at the ferry. D'oh! They probably had mosquitoes, but guaranteed not as many as us. That's when we discovered that the ferry doesn't start until 10AM on Sundays. It wasn't even 7:30AM yet. So, we had our "inferior breakfast" at the ferry (we had no proper groceries... it's been too hot to buy and carry real food... so breakfast was a power bar, some potato chips and a bit of chocolate) and contemplated what to do next. We decided since the west side of the Rhine is actually Germany here, there was no good reason to cross back, and we would cycle north on the west side of the river instead of crossing back. We'd aim for Speyer, which was about 40km up.
We set out by going back through Leimersheim, where we discovered, to our dismay, a lovely little campground on the outskirts of town where we hadn't been yesterday. D'OH!!
Due to our early start today, we made it to Speyer quite early. It's a nice city, with a very nice platz. We found the Tourist Info office and inquired about a Waschsalon (Laundromat) and a book store, and bought a map that shows areas north of Speyer (one of the maps we've been using ended at Speyer). Speyer doesn't have a Waschsalon... Germany has a surprising dearth of Laundromats - France had quite a lot of Laveries. I discovered that Mannheim has a Waschsalon, so we decided to make tomorrow a "short day" (we had planned on a rest day anyway) and we'd do a wash there.
Then we set out to find a place to stay. The first hotel we inquired at was full, but recommended their partner down the street. We had trouble finding the partner down the street, but we finally managed, and they had a million people lined up for something. I suggested to Brent that we return to the Info Center and use their internet to use Booking.com to book into something instead of randomly wandering around town. We returned to the Info Center, but they had closed at 2:00. Drat! I decided to try using their internet from outside their window anyway, and lo - it worked! I managed to book us a room, in the partner hotel as suggested. It's an amazing room that should be going for at least $100CAD/night, but we got it for well under that, and I'm assuming it's because it was a last-minute booking. YAY!
Yay for Info Center internet, and yay for Booking.com! I booked us a place in Mannheim for tomorrow as well... I think the time has come for us to force ourselves to book ahead... busy season is here.
|We are encountering nice German after nice German after nice German. I think the crankiness around Kehl was just an anomaly. Alle ist gut now.|
|Gear talk: I am still wearing the "boob safe" every day. It is my bra with a couple of secret pockets in it. On one side I have Brent's credit card and my bank card (for our daily business, he uses his bank card and I use my credit card). On the other side I have my orthodontic appliance, which is essential gear for my life. I would die without it and I can't get a reasonable replacement. So I guard it well.|
|Since we got to Europe, we have been outside a LOT. In towns and cities a LOT, and in Places and Platzes a LOT. We have yet to encounter a busker. What's up with that?|
|We got a new cycle map today at the Speyer Tourist Info office. It shows a cycle route called the Welterbe-Radweg, which looked to go in the direction of Frankfurt, which the info desk lady confirmed. I thought, Eureka! Instead of having to go to Wiesbaden along the Rhine and then cut east, we could just take this other cycle route. Then, we looked into it further and it is a tour route of convents. I guess we'll give that a miss.|
|I made a happy discovery today. All along I've been planning on taking EV 15 north to Wiesbaden, then figuring out a way to get from Wiesbaden east to Frankfurt. Today I looked at cycling from Mainz instead of Wiesbaden and discovered that there's another major cycle route, the Main river cycle route, which connects Mainz to Frankfurt! I don't have to figure anything out or worry about navigating scary scary traffic! We can lop a day off of our itinerary by leaving EV 15 at Mainz, and use a popular cycle route to get to Frankfurt! Yay!|
Medical issues updates - Bubon Bob and Garry the Ganglion:
Bubon Bob (see my Happy Hollows blog to find out who Bubon Bob is) has responded incredibly well to being treated with moleskin. A couple years ago I'd tried moleskin as a remedy and it seemed to work, but I wasn't entirely sure. The cycling season ended soon after I started doing it, and then I stopped working on-site all the time, so I never did go back to commuting to work. Anyway, I had brought some patches of moleskin along thinking that they might help if the saddle sore returned, and it did a week or so ago. Putting moleskin on it started to work immediately. Brent and I aren't sure what Bubon Bob actually is. Brent thought some kind of aneurism. I thought maybe an angry hair follicle. It's just a tender bump. No change in skin color or anything. But moleskin is keeping it at bay. I have started to think that it's a "pinch injury". I think that when I'm riding, some of my motions tend to cause my skin to get pinched, which is causing Bubon Bob. Putting moleskin on it prevents the skin from being pinched - the moleskin takes the brunt of the abuse instead. Regardless of why it's working, I'm thrilled that it is working. When Brent and I did the Jasper to Banff trip a few years ago, Bubon Bob forced me to stop riding early, and I was afraid the same thing was going to happen with this trip, but I've found a way to manage him and keep on riding! Yay!
Around the same time that Bubon Bob appeared, my old injury on my right foot started acting up as well. There was a lot of pain and swelling. After a couple of days, though, it had swelled up to it's "normal" ganglion size and stopped hurting. It is not getting better. It is not getting worse. The swelling is not going up or down. It does not hurt. It is just a bump on my foot, and hey... I've had that on and off, now, since I was 21. It doesn't seem that Garry the Ganglion is going to be an ongoing issue anymore than Bubon Bob will. Yay!
Wearing my haz mat suit to pack up after random camping. On the left side of the photo, you can see down into the forest where we camped. On the right side of the photo is where the cycling/walking path is.
Brent eats his melted power bar and potato chips by the ferry
A street off the main Platz in Speyer
Enormous ice cream!
Brent had Schwarzwald (Black Forest) and I had After Eight (After Eight).
|2015-06-08 : Rhine Route / EV 15 to Mannheim|
|Happiness is clean clothing. Brent and I have been amazed at the dearth of Laundromats in Germany. In France, every town with 1000 people or more had a Laverie. We have not been able to find a Waschsalon to date, and everyone gives us kind of a funny look when we ask. Finally, we found one in Manheim (on that internet thingie). So, we made a short day of riding today specifically to visit Wasch Freunde in Manheim. Oh, and what a Waschsalon it is. It is seriously the nicest Laundromat we've ever seen, between the two of us. Extremely clean, well set-up, and a nice spot, including free WiFi, for loitering while you're waiting. Brent and I have been tossing around the idea of staring a "Lavery and Loitery" in Vernon someday and this place would certainly be a starting template. Manheim has a Waschsalon because of all the post-secondary schools in the vicinity. Something to remember. And the staff is amazing. The most attentive Laundromat staff ever... it's like Germans have never seen a Laundromat before, and don't know that, if there is any staff around at all, they're supposed to treat the customers with cool indifference. We started our wash and went down the street for a beer, but when we came back to do our drying, we spent the whole time yakking with Nadia, the attendant on at the time. She is an art student and very engaged and passionate about everything, especially the anonymous art contest behind held in Munich. It was great to speak with her, and she wasn't just awesome with us - every customer who came in got the friendly Waschsalon treatment... so nice. Brent said that the other two staff members he'd encountered before Nadia were just as engaging and helpful with all the customers as well.|
|Immediately following the most amazing Waschsalon experience ever, we had the most mediocre Sushi experience ever. Brent always says that the closer you are to the origin of the cuisine, the better the cuisine will be. So, the closer you are to China, the better Chinese food you'll find. Well, clearly, Canada is a LOT closer to Japan than Germany is. Even the inferior sushi that Bridget and I had in Halifax was better than this. Seriously, the tuna maki was made with TINNED TUNA! Are you freakin' kidding me!!?? At least the seaweed salad and pickled ginger were good. They come out of a tin, too, but apparently better tins than the tuna came out of. We're now trying to drown the memory with the E1.87 bottle of wine we bought a couple of days ago.|
Really Tiny Truck
Brent with a random really tiny truck in Mannheim
|2015-06-09 : Rhine Route / EV 15 to Guntersblum|
|Today we rode up a 52km hill made of wind. We left Mannheim and used the ferry to cross a tributary of the Rhine about 10km north of town. It was a very small ferry - similar to the Bleriot Ferry - it's just a flat-deck that runs back and forth on a chain. The tributary was small, but the ferry moved so slowly that it took about 15 minutes to cross. We arrived just as it was leaving with a solitary cyclist. Dang. If we'd been 10 minutes earlier... but, instead we enjoyed second breakfast on the dock and waited while the ferry crossed, then the captain did... something for about 15 minutes, then crossed back over to get us. It was slow going, but still better than the long detour around to avoid the ferry. After the ferry, we continued north to Rosengarten where we crossed back over to the west side of the river at Worms. At worms, we left EV15 and used a side route a little further west, which would take us through several towns before arriving in our destination for the night. We went through Herrnsheim, Osthofen, Mettenheim and Alsheim (although Brent says he's already forgotten that one) before arriving at Guntersblum, at the top of our 52km hill for the day. The route was mostly flat, and 52km should have been easy, but that crazy relentless wind made it a pretty tough slog.|
Since having a couple of bad experiences on our first couple of days in Germany, we have met so many friendly, helpful, sweet people that I feel bad for ever saying that the Germans aren't as great as the French. Every time we turn around, someone is greeting us, helping us with directions (even when they don't speak English, and we already know where we're going). It's fantastic.
Today was the best so far. We got to Guntersblum, and I wasn't sure how we'd find our Pension. The address didn't seem to come up properly in Google Maps, and the town looked to be another little labyrinth town. One of the first things we spotted was a sort of a tourist information office. I went in and waited for a lady to help me, and I showed her the name of the Pension and asked if she could direct me to it. She got the "deer in the headlights" look and started to ask her colleague for help when the lady behind me jumped in. She told me, in some English and some German, where the Pension was, and it seemed like it would be fairly straight-forward. I returned to Brent who was poking an automated "information/help" machine in the lobby. He poked it a little more, and we discussed, and just as we were about to leave, the lady (the other customer) came out and offered to escort us up the road to the Pension. We followed her over in her car. How freakin' awesome is that!
|We're staying in our first-ever Pension tonight and man is it ever NICE! I can see why they are so popular. We'll try to do more!|
Riding over on the slllllooooooowwwww ferry north of Mannheim
Bridge to Worms
A cool tower in the middle of the bridge over to Worms
|2015-06-10 : Rhine Route / EV 15 to Mainz|
|The best thing about camping is meeting people. When you stay in a hotel, or even in a B&B, it's difficult to connect with anyone, but at a campground, everyone is just right out there, and often ready to talk. As always, our Canadian flags offer an invitation to folks to strike up a conversation with us. Tonight we met Simon from Manchester, and then Tim and Anna from Germany. We laughed our asses off with Simon, who is riding his 2.3L Triumph Rocket 3 from his place in Manchester (he lives on a boat... how cool is that) down to visit a friend in Italy. Then we shared travel stories and adventure ideas with Tim and Anna, who invited us to visit at their campsite specifically because of the flags. They're both physiotherapists in Mainz for a seminar and camping because the weather is nice. What a great night. Probably my favorite one so far on this trip. Yay!|
|2015-06-11 : Main Radweg Cycle Route to Frankfurt|
|Today is the first day of "taking care of business" in Frankfurt. First, we had to ride from Mainz to Frankfurt, which took us under the flight path of all the aircraft landing in Frankfurt. That was pretty cool. We were due to meet our hostess, Jessica, at 5:30, and we arrived in Frankfurt early enough to set up our bike storage at My Place, which worked out great. Now I'm getting a head start on our other Frankfurt chores. Brent has secured us accommodation right at Trinity College in Dublin for our first three nights in Ireland. COOL!|
|Brent and I are a really great "getting places" team. Today was the second time that we used Google Maps, in our own ways, making our own notes, to find our way to where we're meeting our B&B hostess for the night. In spite of Frankfurt being a typical European city (really stinkin' hard to find your way around in), we found our way all the way to the Metro station we were meeting Jessica at. When we were one station away, we stopped at an Esso and bought a Frankfurt street map, which we'll use for other errands while we're here, but we managed to find our way all the way in just with a few scribbles on a couple pieces of paper, a couple of snapshots from Google Maps, and what was in our brains.|
|Today was our 29th day cycling since leaving Canada. For the first time, our leg muscles didn't whinge when we set out after a break. We've finally reached the zone, and now we're done for five weeks. Brent says we're just going to let ourselves get out of shape again so that Laura and Gabi can catch up when we meet for the Danube Cycle Trail. We just give and give that way.|
|Boy oh boy... cycle touring is stinky business. My cycle gloves have been foul, and even though I just washed them a few days ago, today I ended up with Molly Hands again. Brent told me that years ago he had a female co-worker (named Molly) who used rubber gloves to protect her hands while doing her job, which involved working in sand in the rain. Apparently her hands got to stink so badly that it took two days for them to stop stinking after she stopped wearing the gloves.|
2015-06-12 : Metro Chores Day in Frankfurt
Buy backpacks, do laundry, mail stuff out.
|I just got some messages from Ian regarding Ryan Air to alert us that Ryan doesn't fly out of Frankfurt airport. They fly out of Frankfurt Hahn, which I didn't know was a separate thing. Frankfurt Hahn is over 100km away from Frankfurt! OMFG! We've booked a train with The Train Line to get us there. It will be an early early morning....|
|Our first stop this morning was the main train station in Frankfurt. We wanted to go to the Tourist Info office there, and also scout out where we'll go to catch our train early on Sunday morning. We wandered around and around, looking and contemplating. We didn't see any information about trains going to Frankfurt Hahn airport. The Tourist Info office was closed briefly when we got there, and when it opened, we went and asked the lady about it. She said it's not a train - it's a bus, and handed us a sheet of paper for where to catch it. Ian was right again... bus, not train. I'm so glad we looked into it today! 5AM on Sunday when you have a "train" to catch is NOT the time to be figuring out that you've missed the "bus" you were booked on.|
|After sorting out our Sunday morning bus, we did a laundry at the nearby Waschsalon, had some Curry Wurst mit bier, then went in search of backpacks. The Tourist Info lady had suggested a couple of places to look, and where we ended up was at an enormous department store called Galleria. Brent and I contemplated the backpacks on offer, and decided on a couple of 35L + 8L ones. What on earth was I thinking? I don't have compression sacks along for my sleeping bag, nor my clothing. 35L? Where did I think I was going to put everything!? The Galleria turned out to be on the same subway line as where we're staying, so we had a quick ride back to "our place" where we tried to figure out how to make our woefully inadequate backpacks work to carry everything we want to take to the UK. Backpacks (and camping) weren't even part of our original plan for the UK, but now that we've decided on it, we want to be able to do it. I was pretty done already at that point and ready to pack it in, but Brent suggested at least going back to Galleria and trying to exchange the packs. We had discarded the price tags off of them, but there was a spare one stuffed in one, plus we had my credit card receipt. So, back down the U-6 we went to Galleria. Exchanging the packs turned out to be amazingly painless... no questions asked... badda bing. We traded the 35L ones in for 65L ones. If those don't work, well... we probably shouldn't be traveling.|
2015-06-13 : Bike Chores Day in Frankfurt
Wash bikes, ride the Airport-Train route to ensure it is acceptable before Laura arrives in July.
Today I got a note from a good friend which read: "I'm amazed at the skill with which you handle the incredible variety of new experiences that come at you each and every day. Every single day you are dealing with something completely different. I think I'd have been longing for the familiar routines of home long ago."
Oh, I am longing... sometimes all I want is to be at home, and I'm definitely dreaming of an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico where I don't have to deal with a steady stream of... whatever decides to show up.
Another thing that showed up is my vehicle registration. I got a notice from AMA that my registration is due this month. No one is using Nemo while we're gone, but if he needs to be moved out onto the street for any reason, it's best that he have current tags on. To renew my registration online, I need a number of pieces of information, for example, my current insurance information... plus the "bar code" from the renewal notice from the Government of Alberta. I e-mailed Ian and asked him for the information, but I never received a notice from AB Govt in Edmonton, so... no bar code. I contacted them to see about getting it, and they refuse to give it out over the phone. I e-mailed Saeed to see if it may have shown up in Calgary instead, but it's not there either. Another option would be for me to fill out an authorization form for Ian to do it for me. Problem is, I would need to download a PDF form (can't read it on my Surface), fill it out, and FAX it to the AMA office (I don't have access to a FAX). Finally, in desperation, I e-mailed four women that I know in Alberta who manage registry offices (I did some software work for them years ago) asking for their help. Three of them are in Calgary, and one is near Edmonton. The one near Edmonton provided a great solution, so with her help, and Ian's help, Nemo will get registered today.
|We dropped the bikes into storage first thing this morning, then mailed off some things to Janet and Joanne. We returned to Jessica's to collect our things and off we went down to the airport. From the airport, we took a shuttle bus to our hotel nearby, dropped off our backpacks, then walked BACK to the airport... and BACK to the hotel, to scout out a cycle route for when we're back here to meet up with Laura. Frankfurt is so amazing with their cycling infrastructure. It is a seriously liveable city for a cyclist.|
Before we left Canada, I could find almost no information regarding bikes allowed on trains in Europe. So, I went with the cautious approach and assumed that bikes couldn't go on trains... period. What we've found since we arrived here is the following:
- Bikes are pretty much not allowed on "bullet trains"
- Bikes are not allowed on the Paris Metro
- Bikes ARE allowed on the France regional trains (RER), which goes through Paris
- Bikes ARE allowed on a lot of SNCF (France) trips - you just have to choose carefully
- Bikes ARE allowed on the Frankfurt Metro (U-line)
- Bikes ARE allowe3d on the Frankfurt regional trains (S-lines)
Bikes into storage
at My Place, self-storage in Frankfurt
Sent off some package of books/maps to Janet and Joanne today. Five pounds off of Brent's back. Yay!
Velo cartes to Joanne and Farhhadkarten to Janet.
Our new beasts of burden
We decided to buy backpacks and take our tent to Ireland and the UK. That wasn't our original plan - hopefully we can camp enough to justify buying the packs.
|2015-06-14 : Fly to Dublin|
We are waiting for our flight from Frankfurt-Hahn to Dublin. Everything this morning went smoothly, all things considered. I can't believe the fiasco that Ian saved us from. If the Multiverse exists, there is at least one "me" in at least one other Universe who recently arrived at the Frankfurt airport and is probably still in the process of discovering that we've missed our flight because I chose the wrong airport to fly from. In this Universe, Brent and I used Talixo taxi to go from our hotel (near the Frankfurt airport) to the train station at 4:45 this morning, then took a "shuttle bus" 130km west to "practically Luxemburg" to catch our Ryanair flight.
Talixo is an amazingly efficient operation, although, considering it's German, maybe that's not so amazing. I booked them online and entered my payment information. Before our taxi arrived, they texted us a PIN number to give our driver. Our driver arrived spot-on-time and took us to the train station. We gave him the PIN and I was automatically charged for the ride per the info I put into their web site. Boy, we if we could get taxi service like that in Calgary life would be sweet.
While we were waiting for our shuttle bus, we spoke to a young Minnesotan who is doing the "post-College grad Europe backpack" trip who was waiting for a bus to Luxembourg. His bus was supposed to leave at 5:30 as well, but no other bus showed up. It wasn't until after we departed, and I said we were enroute to "practically Luxemburg" that we surmised that he probably should have been on our bus with us. I guess he will have more of a story to tell about today than I do.
Once our shuttle bus was underway, we left the Frankfurt main train station proceeding to Frankfurt Hahn airport... via Frankfurt airport RIGHT PAST OUR HOTEL. We could have caught the bus at the Frankfurt airport (Terminal 2). D'oh!
Contemplating our map of Europe, it looks like the Frankfurt-Hahn airport is neither in nor near either Frankfurt OR Hahn. I normally search for flights based on airport code (ie. YEG, YYC). I will have to be sure to do that rather than just searching on a city from now on. Wow. Pay enough attention, Rhonda.
|We reached Dublin, and I think the universe is trying to apologize to us for the whole Ryanair thing or something. Everything went amazingly smoothly. Arrival. Baggage. Customs. Shuttle bus to Trinity College. Checking in. Settling in. Finding food. Meeting up with Sandie and her mom. Finding a grocery store. Bing, bing, bing, bing. Much better, Universe... much much better...|
What else would we do on our first day in Ireland but attend a political protest!?
First successful "Meet up in Europe" mission
Met up with Sandie and her mom, Jennifer, to visit Dublin Castle (and then have a beer in the pub). Yay!