Cycling along the Rhine. 2015.
From Bremgarten CH. to the North Sea in Katwijk aan Zee.

Bremgarten (CH)- Huningue (FR.)

Day 1 Saturday 29. Aug. 2015
Km. 84,03
Time: 4:31

At 09:30 we are ready for a cycling tour along the Rhine to the North Sea.
It is a known track for us until Brugg. We have already cycled the Bötzbergpass before but never with such a high temperature as today (35 ° Celcius).
We go leisurely to the pass but we are still wet from sweat when we reach the top.

Past the airport Birrfeld,

through the town of Brugg

and up over the Bözberg

We take a break until the perspiration has evaporated and whizzing down into the Fricktal valley to Rheinfelden, the town where the thirst-quenching beer is produced. With so much sweat we need to hydrate, but obviously we need to do it with a non-alcoholic beverage, otherwise we will not go not much further on this trip.

Through the beautiful Fricktal but in this heat of about 35 degrees

a break is essential.

We will cycle to Kaiseraugst and decide there whether to continue the journey to the next campground. Over a cup of chocolate milk, we believe that Huningue, (the next campsite) is easily accessible. My GPS lead us through Basel along the left bank of the Rhine. In the distance we see the new landmark of this city, the Roche Tower; with 178 meters it is the highest building in Switzerland. On Friday 18.09.2015 will be the opening.

Many Basler dip in the Rhine, at this temperature, the temptation is great.

In Huningue, full moon over the Rhine ^.

< Roche Tower,(178M) Highest in Switzerland.

Around 17:00h we pitch our tents in the small but nice campground in Huningue. This place is on the French side of the Rhine, bordering north of Basel. So tomorrow we avoid the morning traffic and in no time we are on the bike path.

Huningue - Breisach

Day 2 Sunday 30. Aug. 2015
Km 68.57 Total 152.6
Time: 3:46

We cross the bridge over the Rhine into Germany and remain today on the German side, mostly on good dirt roads along the natural course of the Rhine.
We are glad that there are so many trees to give us shade on this really warm day.
At the planted fields we see that this area has received too little rain. It is sad to look the withered maize fields. On the other hand the vineyards are benefiting from plenty of sunshine and seem that the drought has not harmed them.
In Neuenburg we have enough of the dirt roads and cycle slightly inland through small hamlets and villages on smooth asphalt bike paths.

We cycle from Huningue to the German

side along the natural course of the Rhine

a few km. North of Basel.

After about 15 km. we pass through a small village, Bremgarten. Bremgarten!! Did we not leave it 2 days ago?? Yes, of course this village is in Breisgau and where we come from is Bremgarten on the Reuss River in Switzerland. Here we take a coffee break on a bench. Shortly we share the bench with two more cyclists who are having the same aim in mind, so the topic of cycling comes on the table. They tell us that it teems with people in Breisach. Today is Wine Harvest Festival and parish fair.

What a coincidence, Bremgarten im Breisgau.

St. Stephans Cathedral in Breisach

The bridge leads us to the "I'lle du Rhin".

Indeed, something is going on, the whole campground is occupied with caravans of exhibitors. Therefore it is temporarily closed. No "Malheur" there are 2 options. The first one is on the offshore island and the second one in Neuf-Brisach.
We go to the island. Fortunately we have earplugs, because we can well hear the speakers at night.

In the evening Breisach celebrates its Wine Harvest Festival. Good to hear from Camping L'lle du Rhin on the French side of the Rhine.

Breisach - Gambsheim

Day 3 Monday 31. Aug. 2015
Km. 102.36 Total 254.96
Time: 5:22

We remain today on the French side of the Rhine. The first community is Neuf-Brisach, lay
out in the shape of an octagon with a central parade ground. Only Aerial photographs can show the shape of the town.
On the map the streets looks straight and one might think it will be a boring day, quite the contrary. In addition, there is no gravel but smooth paved roads.

Alsatian village with ending "heim", as every other village.

Along the Canal du Rhône au Rhin.

All 10 to 20 Km. A lock.

From Artzenheim on the path leads us along the "Canal du Rhône au Rhin". The lush green makes a good impression, sometimes as an avenue with oak, birch or willow trees. From time to time we encounter a holiday boat and locks with guard house.
Each bridge or cross street leads to a hamlet or village, whose name ends with "heim", for example, Hessenheim, Ohnenheim, Gerstheim or Wittisheim. We encounter this peculiarity up to Mainz.
Along the way we come across the cyclist who have entertained us last night on the campground. It is a New Zealander who likes to cycle in Europe. We travel together for a while. We have recommended him to visit the Romanesque abbey church in Ottmarsheim (1020 - 1030) it is one of the most important monuments on the Roman road. I was there last year and the octagonal central building is really worth seeing. He takes the bridge over the Rhine in Neuenburg to get to the abbey.

Good label, greenery and

benches for a breather.

The owner has a penchant for little hearts.

Last year I have been a day in Strasbourg therefore we continue through the city. It is very simply, because we need to follow the Canal du Rhône au Rhin which leads us through the city.
The following 15 km. we cycle on paved paths through untouched nature until Wantzenau where we have to share the road with motorized traffic for 5 kilometer.
There are many artificial lakes formed in gravel pit. At the artificial lake in Gambsheim is also a camping. Here we pitch our tent with this beautiful weather.

Happy holidays with the ship.

Coffee time.

Almost all the bridges are decorated.

Gambsheim - Jockgrim
Day 4 Tuesday 01. Sept. 2015
Km. 74.63 Total 329.59
Time: 4:05

We can leave the key of the sanitary facilities of the campsite at 08:00 and get the deposited money back.
The sky is overcasted, but the temperature pleasant for cycling.
We pass through a number of villages that end with "heim". In one of them we enjoy a fine breakfast.
There are many artificial lakes and many Mining companies pile the gravel in various grades to mighty mountains. It almost looks like coal mines 50 years ago in the Ruhr region, with the difference that they are not black but white.
Unnoticed we pass the French - German border, to see only on the signs in the German language.

Camping in Gambsheim.

Tudor style house in an Alsatian village.

Again a bridge railing with floral decoration.

The clouds are getting thicker and darker and I realize that I have forgotten my raincoat. We come to a department store, where I buy a cheap jacket.
We feel the first drops of rain as we want to continue. So I'm keeping the jacket on for testing if it is suitable. After a while, we have to put on the cape and leggings, because the rain gets more intense. After an hour we no longer need the rain clothes and we can ride relaxed further on.

A tributary of the Rhine.

Overnight at "the Elephant".

Dike increase and new bike path.

The great advantage of the Bike Line-Booklet is that all kind of accommodations are recorded on the Rhine route. That is why we leave the route at Wörth and get in Jockgrim to a restaurant with the unusual name "The Elephant". The host told us that there are several restaurants with that name in this area. The reason being Maximilian I (1449-1519) used to ride on an elephant through this area.

Jockgrim - Altrip (just before Ludwigshafen)
Day 5 Wednesday 02. Sept. 2015
Km. 66.75 Total 396.34
Time: 3:48

Financed from the EU pot.

Many cyclists are

as we, on the dike

The hostess explains how to find the Rhine Cycle Route.
Via Neupotz and Leimersheim we are back on the dike along the Rhine.
The weather is good again and the bike path is new, because the dike has been enhanced to protect against flooding. The costs will be paid from the EU pot, so we read on a blackboard.

The Dom in Speyer

Old Town of Speyer.

Pedestrian zone in Speyer. Alte Münze.(Old coin)

Entlang dem Rhein Richtung Worms

Dom in Worms

On a bench outside Germersheim we can enjoy a breather with coffee and cake and observe how many cyclists ride over the dike. There are a lot of 60+ with E-Bikes.
At lunchtime we are in Speyer. We admire the cathedral's façade before we visit it inside. After the destruction of the abbey of Cluny in Burgundy, it is now the largest preserved Romanesque church in the world.
We have lunch in the city center. In the afternoon we cycle for about 25 kilometers along the Rhine to Altrip.
As today the weather is very nice and it's not too hot, real cycle weather, we decide to camp out in the campground "Blaue Adria" in the recreation area of the floodplains.

Altrip - Kostheim (Mainz)
Day 6 Thursday 03. Sept. 2015
Km. 111.36 Total 507.70
Time: 6: 53

The bike path is guided around Ludwigshafen via Maudach and Oggenheim.
Here we have a breakfast break, this time an English style one, with three fried eggs, cheese, sausage, something green and a big cup of coffee (and big is really big in Germany).
We cycle on the dike to Worms on fantastic smooth bike paths.

Excavations next to the cathedral ^

Employed at Renovations. Wormser Dom >

Parts of the city walls.

Nibelungenbrücke across the Rhine >

A tower of the cathedral is shrouded to be renovated. Unfortunately the interior is pretty dark.
Outside archaeologists are busy with excavations.
After passing the old city walls and Nibelungen Bridge, we remain on the left bank of the Rhine.
In Guntersblum we have to leave the dyke (here the dike heightening is not finished yet). The detour leads us through vine-growing hills as far as Bonn.

Luckily no rain clouds.

With the ferry to the right side in Nierstein.

We come in a hilly wine region.

In Nierstein we take the ferry to the right bank. On a narrow, but long island, 4-5 km. should be some campsites. In the Bikline booklet however only one is located. The first campground refuses to take cyclists, the second is a naturist place (is not necessarily the right place) and the third has closed last year. By ferry we come back to the mainland. The next two campgrounds don't accept cyclists. In the Bikeline booklet we find two addresses for bed and breakfast. I type the addresses in my GPS. The first does not offer overnight stays anymore and the second is booked out. The restaurateur is very nice and helps us calling to look for a hotel. He makes a drawing how we have to go. On the other side of the river Main, we find the restaurant Rosengarten in Kostheim. We are glad to have a place to stay and enjoy the warm shower.

Kostheim (Mainz) - Oberwesel am Rhein
Day 7 Friday 04. Sept. 2015
Km. 71.15 Total 578.85
Time: 4:28

From Wiesbaden station we go down along the Biebricher Allee to the Rheinradweg.

The town of Eltville ^

< Kurfürstliche castle in Eltville

We have a sister who lives in Wiesbaden and we agreed with her and our brother-in-low to meet on the station square in Wiesbaden. My GPS is doing a great job and we are exactly 9:45 on site. They have seen us already from afar. 2 years ago we saw each other for the last time, so it is an enjoyable reunion. On a terrace we talk about everything. Through phone calls of course we are aware of many things, but it is much nicer to talk face to face.
We eaily find the Rhine-bike-path from the station: It is a straight road down to the Rhine. On the right bank of the Rhine we cycle via Eltville Oestrich to the ferry in Winkel. On the left side of the Rhine is a rather bumpy path through a nature reserve towards Bingen.
We are glad that after about 10 km the road is back to normal.

A suntrap for picnicking.

A crane of yesteryear.

Rhine crossing at Winkel.

Partly very steep vineyard parcels.

This earth color is much used.

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle at Kaub.

Now we come probably to the most beautiful and famous section of the Rhine until Bonn. The river has forced its way through this hilly landscape over the millennia.
Despite headwinds temperatures are not too high and it makes it a pleasure to cycle here. Here and there, the sun comes out.
We meet a cyclist from Oberwesel am Rhein and have a conversation with him. He's often in Switzerland with his bike. It turns out that he also rents out rooms. Because Oberwesel is about the distance we want to go today, it is decided quickly and we get a bed and breakfast in a nice house on a hillside in Oberwesel am Rhein.

Oberwesel am Rhein, seen from our room.

Oberwesel am Rhein - Andernach
Day 8 Saturday 05. Sept. 2015
Km. 71.87 Total 650.72
Time: 4: 05

Oberwesel am Rhein

with many towers.

Right the Loreley

With an overcastted sky we leave Oberwesel am Rhein and cycle through well known towns such as St. Goar, Boppard and Koblenz.
It remains dry throughout the morning. In Rhens we have a coffee break at a bakery.
When we are leaving it starts raining. The cape and leggings are ready and we cycle through the rain the next 8 Km. until Koblenz.
Now we can finally pack the rain clothes away, because the sun shows up once in a while.
The bike trail goes past Deutsches Eck, with Kaiser Wilhelm on his steed. On the other side of the river we see Ehrenbreitstein's castle, where the Youth hostel is located. Some years ago, we spent the night there. Now we will cycle a bit further until Andernach.

Castles, ruins and castles

on many hills on the right and left

side of the Rhine.

In Andernach we get to the Konrad-Adenauer-Allee and stand in front of the geyser-center.
I see many people walking to a ship which is ready to leave the port downriver to the geyser.
In the Geysir Center is also located the Tourist Information.
After one phone call we have a room in the hotel Bollwerk just next door.

Deutsches Eck in Koblenz. From left the Moselle flows into the Rhine.

The bulwark in Andernach (above) and the <Rheintor, entrance into the town center.

Andernach - Köln
Day 9 Sunday 06. Sept. 2015
Km. 82.43 Total 733.15
Time: 4:52

We do sightseeing through Andernach before we continue.
The Round Tower (56M.) is surely the landmark. The old crane, with which the earlier ships were loaded and unloaded, is also worth seeing as well as the gateway to the city.
No rain, but headwinds. From time to time the sun shines through the clouds and it does more often throughout the day. When the sun appears a bit longer, we find a sheltered spot for a coffee break.

Alter Krahnen, on the way out of Andernach.

< Round Tower of Andernach.

In Remagen, the remains of the famous bridge are to be seen on both sides of the Rhine. It was one of the last bridges which were not blown up in the war. So the American troops could get to the other side. But the bridge was so damaged that it nevertheless collapsed after a few days and tore 30 soldiers to death.
The landscape remains hilly until Bonn and as long as Bonn we see castles and palaces. Only from Cologne on it is flat, the Castles are not so numerous.

Remains of the Bridge at Remagen.

Still many castles on the Rhine

It gets flatter and the landscape changes.

At Cologne, what's going on, almost impossible to get through on the Rhine shore?
A triathlon brings so many viewers that we have to go on foot for a while, because the bike path is littered with pedestrians. I fear that the hostel will be occupied with so many visitors. Luckily for us there is still a room free. I've been in many hostels, but I've never been in such a beautiful and equipped one. It has all the amenities and it has been newly renovated so even the most demanding events can be performed. We take the opportunity to wash and dry our clothes.

Not exactly the most beautiful section.

This looks better.

Modern Krahnen.

Köln - Krefeld
Day 10 Monday 07. Sept. 2015
Km. 88.07 Total 821.22
Time: 5:30

We leave the directly on the Rhine located Hostel. The sky is cloudy. The rain clothes are ready to be packed in our bag, where they will remain for today.
We cycle through Zons and are pleasantly surprised by this beautiful town with its historic center, streets, Rheintor and ramparts.
After almost 30 km away we find a breather and a second breakfast is overdue.

< Zons has a medieval core.

Obertor Neuss >

Flat and

in the countryside.

We are making good progress, cycle through the larger town of Neuss, take a picture of the upper gate and lose our way terribly. From carelessness we end up in the docks and until we are back out at least one hour is lost. I say lost because this area is not exactly a tourist destination.
In the suburb of Neuss, Büderich, we recover from the annoyance with a drink at McDonald.
We park our bikes next to two fully loaded bicycles. In the restaurant the two young Swiss tell us that there destination is Amsterdam.
Our destination is Moers, but we have to look for something else, because it is too far for today.
We look at the Bikeline booklet to find a hotel in Krefeld, I ask by phone if something is free and type the address in my GPS, which leads us directly to the Hotel Wilma in Krefeld.

Krefeld - Xanten
Day 11 Tuesday 08. Sept. 2015
Km. 75.60 Total 895.82
Time: 4:26

From Hotel Wilma to the Rhine-cycle-path is quite simple. I never thought that it would go so easily. A very long road to the east and we get to the banks of the Rhine.
The sky is still overcastted, but the sun shows up sometimes. That's better than yesterday.
In Alt Homberg in Moers we take the last booklet "No.4" of Bikeline Rhine Cycle Route.

Wildflowers galore.

Altes Rathaus Rheinberg.


In Orsoy we make the first coffee break. A group of cyclists enter the coffee shop too. We have a conversation; a cyclist says he has the Mercedes of E-bikes. It is a flyer from Huttwil in Switzerland. "Just ask my colleagues who see only my tail light.
We make a little detour through Rheinberg, as a welcome change to the many kilometers on the dike.

Here the Rhine is very wide, it have to be

large bridges to span them.

The youth hostel in Xanten.

In Xanten, we look at the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral. In front of the cathedral is the Market Square with many restaurants and we have a break with a cup of chocolate milk.
At the Xanten Southsea (artificial lake formed in gravel pit) is the Youth hostel only 2 kilometers from the town center.
To cycle in September has the advantage that you don't have to pre-register, because at this time of year is always something free.

The hostel has a magnificent view of the South Seas (name of the excavated lakeI).

Xanten - Oosterbeek (Holland)

Day 12 Wednesday 09. Sept. 2015
Km. 83.05 Total 978.87
Time: 4:30

Natural lawn mower at work ^

The cathedral in Xanten >

It seems that the grass tastes particularly good here.

When I take the bikes out of the shed I realize that my front wheel has no more air. The bicycle tube is repaired prompt, because everything is there to repair, even water to discover the hole. We still ride the 2km. back to Xanten to buy a new tube. Continental has on some places small wrinkles in the tube, thus no smooth surface (for whatever reason) right there is the hole, and I'm not sure whether the patch holds.

That was determined once a mill.

Bridge to Rees.

The oldest steel bridge in Germany.

We quickly find the bike path that runs along the east side of the two lakes.
The first coffee break is in Kalkar-Grieth directly on the Rhine shore with a view on the ferry. The hostess is interested in the Bikline-booklet and writes down the address of the publisher. She will probably sign for an entry in the book. I can easily imagine that, because the café is beautifully situated on the Rhine.
Bimmen is the last community before the Dutch border. Millingen begins on the other side of the imaginary frontier. Strangely enough, the name Rhine disappears and the river is now called Waal. We go by ferry to the other side and follow the smaller leg Nederrijn to Arnhem.

Tributary of the Rhine.

Border crossing to the Netherlands >.

At the station we stop to buy a train ticket for the journey back home. From here we can estimate how long we have to the North Sea and how long we will stay in Noordwijk.
We get a ticket for the City-Night-Line back to Zurich on Monday 14 September. The difficulty is always to find a space for the bicycles.
As the woman at the counter doesn't have any other customers, she helps us to book a room in Oosterbeek for us. "Pannenkoekenhuis" (pancake house) is the name of the restaurant.

From the Dutch border on, the Rhine splits. The large river gets the name "Waal" but we follow the narrower turn-off, known as "Nederrijn".

Overnight at "Pannenkoekenhuis" in Oosterbeek.

Oosterbeek - Woerden
Day 13 Thursday 10. Sept. 2015
Km. 91.07 Total 1,069.9
Time: 5: 02

I see from the breakfast table on the parking lot of the hotel a car with Zurich license plates.
It belongs to the couple at the next table. But they speak Dutch. It turns out that they, like us, have traveled to Switzerland in about the same time, 56 years ago. That gives us a lot of conversation. They also don't want to go back to Holland, but only for holidays. After 56 years we have built up our own life, social contacts and are accustomed to the varied and beautiful landscapes in Switzerland.

Yes you really see we are in Holland. Unfortunately, this departure was only 50 meters.

Castle Doorwerth, from the 13 century, first of wood, later of stone.

Marvellous these biking trails.

West is the North Sea and so we cycle. For the first time in many days we have tailwind, a wonderful feeling, despite electric support.
Summer is back and the sun warms our backs.
Until Doorn (here the German Emperor Wilhelm II lived in exile, from 1920 until his death in 1941), we follow the signs of the Bikline booklet, then my GPS takes this task.

Water cows and trees, that is the eastern part of the Netherlands.

Grebbenberg who fought the most common area in Holland by the Second World War.

Kromme Rijn.

We follow the "Kromme Rijn" to Utrecht. The GPS leads us through the south of this big city on quiet bike paths.
We cross the Amsterdam-Rhine canal and continue the river which name changes to "Oude Rijn" before Woerden. It keeps that name up to the North Sea in Katwijk.
As the weather is so beautiful we try again to pitch our tent. As long as the sun shines it is pleasant. From 19:00 onwards we have to go into a restaurant, because it gets too cold on this time of year at the campsite.

Tomatoes as far as the eye can see.


Channel across the Camping in Woerden.

Woerden - Noordwijk
Day 14 Friday 11. Sept. 2015
Km. 72.58 Total 1142.48
Time: 4: 03

We don't need GPS or a map today. We just need to follow the Oude Rijn.
We have breakfast in the centre of Woerden, then we follow the Rijn via Bodegraven to Alfen aan de Rijn. With backwind we only need one hour to reach this city.

Duckweed in large quantities.

Oude Rijn ^

< Church in Woerden

Oude Rijn in Leiden, this section is called Galgewater

It get sooo long until mother is back again.

Windmill Museum de Valk in Leiden

New Architecture in Leiden near Station. "De witte-kerk" at the Boulevard in Katwijk >

Our goal, the North Sea is reached. In the distance, ships waiting for a berth in Rotterdam.

We have a cup of coffee on a terrace, because the sun is shining and already warming up.
We take a souvenir photo of Alfen aan de Rijn and we cycle along the river to Leiden. We know our way through Leiden. Apart from the many new buildings, the streets run still the same. The bike paths are now made of asphalt and the old tram is replaced by buses.
10 Kilometer further along the Rijn we reach our destination, the "North Sea" in Katwijk.
We enjoy the view of the horizon, where a lot of cargo ships are lining up at the docks of Rotterdam to unload their cargo.

Here flows the Oude Rijn into the North Sea.

180 degree rotation.

Through the dunes to Noordwijk.

The first houses of Noordwijk in sight. We are not alone with our bikes.

We reward each other with an ice cream on the Boulevard for the successful bike tour.
I take a picture of the river flowing into the North Sea, where we cycled along so many kilometers.
After another 5 km north through the dunes we are in our birthplace, Noordwijk, where our eldest sister is waiting for us.

The journey home: Amsterdam - Zurich (train) - Bremgarten (bike)

Day 15 Monday 14. Sept. 2015
Km. 71 Km. Total 1213.48

Cycling from Noordwijk to Amsterdam Central Station has pros and cons.
We have strong tailwind and quite a bit of rain. Two times we need to seek for shelter until we get too cold and continue despite the rain.

With my two sisters on bike tour. Cycle lanes are often red.

Another construction of trampolines.

After the tulips come other flowers.

On the way to the train station in Amsterdam.

Many residents have their own boat.

St. Bavo in Haarlem.

The train leaves at 21:00h and we are already at 19:30 at the station, i.e. plenty of time for a warm cup of hot chocolate.
At about 09:00h we are in Zurich and prepare for the final leg, 21 km to Bremgarten.

We are grateful arriving safe and sound in Bremgarten from this beautiful bicycle tour.