Day 08: Wierchem to Gensingen, somewhere close to Mainz, Germany.
This morning determined and bound by the beauty of the Burg Eltz forest we rose early and got our racing socks on ready for a morning hike. It had to be the coldest morning we’ve had in Doris so far, so climbing from our humble abode was difficult in such weather. Drawn by the beauty we saw yesterday we knew this 13km/5 hour hike would be worth getting out of bed for.
After a morning coffee and a shower we were out by 830 and ready to take on the beautiful German hills. It started out relatively cold but a few hills later we were soon a layer or two down. The hike was beautiful throughout and toured around the Eltz Forest with a passing of the Burg Eltz and then back into the forest to finish the hike.
Wildlife a plenty with birds in full song, mice playing and dancing in the grass and stalks watching the fast flowing river closely. It was so nice to see so much wildfire thriving in this thick, dense woodland. We even got a little show around this little fellas house. He was so inquisitive and even stopped to say Hi to the Explore Stronger viewers!
After a few steep hills, many bridges, a beautiful castle, 2 ham and cheese sandwiches and a brownie bar we were back at Doris with 18,000 steps done and well ahead of the 5 hour schedule. Finishing the hike in just over 3 hours. The sun was still strong and weather still nice so we sat outside Doris and enjoyed the rest of our packed lunch before heading off in search of resupplying Doris.
Resupplies done, next up was some household chores. Filling water and emptying the toilet. IT really doesn’t phase me anymore and we get the job done faster every time we do it. It’s just part of life here when you live in a van and pee in a bucket. Someones got to empty it, right?
Our route South would take us down the Rhine river. A beautiful river that flows through Germany and is incredibly beautiful. Small picturesque medieval villages draped along the river bank with their imposing castles and beautiful buildings. That matched with Doris’ windscreen that is bigger than my glasses from when I was a young boy and we were in for a wonderful drive down the river.
There were two things we want to see this afternoon, but it turns out poor planning has them over an hour a part, so slight change of plan and we headed to thing number 1.
A 1150ft long suspension bridge cradled 350ft off of the forest floor. Built for absolutely no reason whatsoever and serving absolutely no purpose whatsoever it still look too good to miss. Doris parked up and off again on our bikes down towards the bridge. Although the trail down to the bikes was a little ‘too’ off road for our adventure bikes. But they weren’t enough ‘adventure bikes’ to chase the little kid who threw a pinecone at us. I had planned to tie him to my back wheel and free ride him through the village like the vikings used to do, but unfortunatley he’d gone when we came back.
To be fair, it is pretty cool. Weighing a huge 57 ton this thing isn’t going anywhere but still that doesn’t stop almost 20% of people who visit the bridge from not crossing. Thankfully I’ve got the stomach of a goat so crossing it and looking down the 300ft drop wasn’t an issue. Plus it can hold 50 ton, which by my calculations I’d have to eat a hell of a lot more chocolate bunnies to cause and issue here.
Hike done. Doris Resupplied. Toilet emptied. Water tank full. Diesel full. Bridge explored. Bikes ridden. Found camp for the evening. I’d consider that a successful day.
We’ve had a slight change of plan for the future, nothing drastic. But we’ll likely stay in Germany a couple more days and then head towards Prague, Czech Republic. Then head North again towards Berlin before crossing into Poland.
One thing to note, if you remotely care, is that the sense of freedom and ‘zen’ we both feel. Out walking today I felt like I was noticing more animals, more flowers, smells and sounds. It’s got to be down to the only thing to worry about is what we’ll have for dinner. It’s a really nice feeling and a good place to be. Only good things can come from this journey and I’m exciting for where Doris will take us next.
Tonights camping location: Gensingen, Germany. (CamperContact: 47970)