In Luxembourg!

I left Koblenz and headed west to the Nurburgring. On arrival, I found that the ticket office was closed, although I could see cars on the track. I don’t know if it was a car-only trackday or how it worked, but I wasn’t very keen on getting on an unknown track with a low powered bike and a bunch of high powered cars vrooming past me. :| A motorcycle only trackday would have been fine, but I’m not sure how frequently they did those. Oh well, I was really disappointed but still glad that I got to see the iconic track.

Here on, I took the scenic route past the Mosel river, which was beautiful, green, winding roads through vineyard country. The sun was shining and it was a bit windy, but other than that, the conditions were perfect and I had a pleasant afternoon of riding.




By later afternoon, I reached Trier. I realized that Luxembourg was a mere 36km away. Rather than go south towards Saarbrucken like I had planned, I was tempted to go visit yet another country. And so I did. :)

I’m glad I did too. I got a bed in a really nice hostel, which was walking distance from downtown. I managed to get in touch with Wojtek, an ADVRider acquaintance, who was wonderful enough to give me a walking tour. We saw the Duke’s Palace and the cathedral and various scenic viewpoints. I simply loved how the city seemed to be build in different layers. We walked on the “rock” or the embankments of a fortress, and  we could see houses and roads and water spread out down below us. In the distance, there were bridges with trains and cars going cross them. There were lots of elevation changes in a very small area. It also looked very, very clean, like Ljubljana.

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I wish I could have had a couple of days to spend there, but time was now a luxury. I had to leave the next morning to be able to carry out my plan of getting to Freiburg the next day.

Update from Koblenz…

I was holed up in Cologne for a good three days due to really bad weather. Fortunately, it was with Silke, who was a great host, so it all worked out rather well. She introduced me to a lot of German food like blood pudding and currywurst and her favorite beer Fruh. She also took me a to a pub to get absinthe, which tasted a lot like aniseed water and made me very sleepy. :P

I also took the opportunity to take the bike to BMW Cologne where they replaced the gas tank cover. It cost an arm and a leg and I had to say goodbye to my desire to go to the spa and get a sauna and massage. Ah well.

By Wednesday, Silke was ready to kick me out though. :P We made a last minute impulsive plan to go to Koblenz, a city about 60km southwest of Cologne. We decided that I’d ride there after visiting the Nurburgring, and she would take the train, and we would meet up at a hotel we booked over the phone.

It was a good plan in theory except that the “light rain” they predicted for the afternoon was anything but. About 10km on the autobahn, it started pouring down. I changed my mind about going to the Ring pretty quickly and decided to focus on just getting to Koblenz in one piece. Heavy rain, wind and noisy helmet combined to make this the least fun ride I’ve had in a while.

I was relieved to make it to Koblenz. The hotel turned out to be a bit of a disaster. It was way more expensive than the crappy room we got warranted. The bathrooms were disgusting. The customer service was non-existing. We found out later that it was a 2-star hotel, although it cost about the same as a Motel 6 room.

Koblenz itself was interesting. The architecture was old and I especially liked the roofs and how it looked like it had waves going through it. Apparently most of Cologne had to be rebuilt after being bombed in WW2, but cities like Koblenz survived the bombings and still retained the old buildings.

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After Silke arrived, we found a bus to take us to the city center, from where we walked to Deutsche Eck – the spot where the north-south flowing Rhine met with the east-west flowing Mosel river. It had a very cool statue and columns for every German province pre-WW1. The weather was now pleasant and it was lovely to walk by the river.

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P1060478   The Stars and Stripes! :)

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We had a late dinner and took a taxi back to the hotel. The next morning we said goodbye. I don’t know when we’ll be able to meet again, but I hope it’s within the next ten years. :) It’s the curse of our times that although the internet has enabled us to connect with like-minded people in a way that was impossible a mere 20 years ago, they are so far away that meeting as frequently as you want to is not very realistic.


In other news, I also appear to have really fucked up my left knee and I spent most of my time in Cologne hobbling around. We went to an apotheke (pharmacy) where I got a neoprene brace and some painkillers and ointment. I don’t think they’ve made the least difference though. I’m mostly okay walking short distances on level ground, but walking downhill, especially on cobblestone streets is really difficult. I guess it will have to wait until I get home though. Even though my insurance covers me at 80% cost for out of network providers, I can’t afford to waste time waiting for an appointment or to pay 20% of the bill to go to an ER. :|