Biking

Cycling the Alsace Wine Route: From One Beau Village to the Next

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Bergheim, Alsace: 4-flower rated village

So many lovely towns along France’s scenic Alsace Wine Route…which ones are the fairest of them all? That’s what I was musing over on our last night in Strasbourg as we plotted our next six days of exploring Alsace à vélo (Alsace by bike). Looking back at it now, I laugh about my obsession with reading reviews and checking the “flower ratings” of countless villages. No way was I going to miss a town with the coveted 4-flower rating or one on Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the most beautiful villages of France) list. It turns out that regardless of rating (or no rating at all), every village, town and city we visited was over-the-top charming. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day from Strasbourg: My French Love

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Cycling into beautiful Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, the largest city in eastern France’s Alsace region, was another “rest” stop on our three-week cycling trip in Germany and France. I fell in love fast and hard. The dedicated bike lane with excellent signage that brought us to the busy city center was like the ultimate welcome mat. Over the next few days we gaped in awe at the behemoth that is Strasbourg Cathedral,  marvelled at the flower-lined canals and charming half-timbered dwellings and lingered in romantic cafes. We were enchanted by a place that’s been tossed around like a ping pong ball between Germany and France, yet has an undeniably strong identity and proud people. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , , , | 41 Comments

When Things Don’t Go Smoothly on a DIY Cycling Trip: Wissembourg to Strasbourg

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Wissembourg in Alsace, France

For those following our do-it-yourself (DIY) cycling trip in Germany/France you’ll know that things have gone very smoothly. We managed to find fantastic last minute accommodations and arrive in towns just in time for local wine festivals; we never got lost and didn’t have even the slightest too-much-travel-time-together-blowup. Well, that all changed just as we entered France (not the country’s fault). The roughly 100 km stretch between the lovely cites of Wissembourg and Strasbourg had us struggling to find the cycle path and a place to sleep. There were tears and angry outbursts—not our finest hours. In the end, all turned out OK. It taught us some lessons and reinforced that the kindness of strangers is alive and well. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

Cycling the Deutsche Weinstraße: Pig’s Stomach, Donald Trump and Wine

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World’s largest wine barrel: Bad Dürkheim, Deutsche Weinstraße

“You have no reservations!” exclaims the friendly women at the Neustadt an der Weinstraße tourist information centre. “You realize that Germany’s largest wine festivals are taking place along the Deutsche Weinstraße (German Wine Road) right now. There’s a giant parade here in Neustadt on the weekend for the crowning of Germany’s Wine Queen.” She sees the overwhelmed looks on our faces, arms us with information and brochures and gently recommends that we head to the town square where we can figure out what to do over a nice kaffee und kuchen. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The Saar River Cycle Path: Dinner Plates, Bends and Banksy

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Along the Saar cycle path

After a rest day in the wonderful city of Trier, our cycling journey continues along the Saar River Radweg (bike path) in southwestern Germany’s Saarland. We ride the 115 km leg from Trier to Saarbrücken over two days. Saarland has had an interesting history, jumping back and forth between French and German rule four times since World War I.  While this region can’t compete with the Mosel or Rhine for fairytale charm, it has some unique and unexpected highlights. And, unlike the riding along the Rhine and Mosel, we have the Saar bike path to ourselves. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Do-It-Yourself German Cycle Tour-FAQ

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Mike’s bike along the Rhine Cycle Route

I’ve had lots of questions about how we went about planning and executing our recent Germany cycling trip. Well, this post will answer those questions.  This was our first overseas do-it-yourself (DIY) cycle tour, and while I think we did a darn good job, I don’t claim to be an expert. My recommendations are based on our experiences along the Rhine and Mosel cycle routes in mid-late September. They are geared to fairly easy-going, non-camping trips that are heavy on sightseeing and enjoying local food and drink. Please take a look at my posts on the Rhine Cycle Route and Mosel Cycle Route for descriptions of these gorgeous rides. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Trier: The Oldest City in Germany is an Underrated Gem

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Electoral Palace in Trier

It’s not a place that’s on the itineraries of many  visitors to Germany. Google top tourist attractions in Germany, and Trier is often absent or way down the list. Berlin has the cool factor, Munich has Oktoberfest, and Heidelberg oozes romantic charm. Perhaps it’s a branding issue. Trier’s unique features should place it much higher on Germany’s must-see lists, especially for history buffs. During our cycle trip, we spent a “rest day” in Trier and discovered a city with remarkable history, incredible monuments and laid-back joie de vivre. Here are some of the amazing things we learned about Trier. Continue reading

Categories: Biking, Germany | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

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