Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bacharach -- the unpronounceably indescribable town

These things happened today:

1) I almost got into a head-on collision with a tractor;

2) A woman half fell into my lap when the train stopped as she was walking toward the door. (This story would be so much more interesting if I were the one falling -- gracefully -- into a handsome European man's lap);

3) I found dead bugs in my hair when I got to Heidelberg; 

4) In writing my emails I kept typing reallz and thez because the y and z keys are switched on German keyboards; and

5) Heidi + bike + Rhine River = basically the best day ever. 

The Rhine, for anyone who has not heard me rave about it from last time, is pretty much what a river would look like if it flowed through the Garcen of Eden. It's clean, you can imagine being in it without cringing (Thames, Seine, Liffey, I'm looking at you), and in the valley that I was in, you have two mountainsides of vineyards, old German towns, ruins of castles and now the leaves changing color. Pretty much every town there is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Anyway, pretty much the most beautiful place ever. 

When I first conceived this trip, I thought about biking this section of the trip in lieu of a train. Then I thought about biking the entire length if the Rhine -- 800 miles, give or take a few, through four countries and some Alps. Then I remembered that I'm not what you would call a biking expert, and if something went wrong with the bike I was screwed. That, and I can't be trusted to find my way around anything. It's not like I'd have a river trail the whole way. 

But I did today, and I took it. For about four hours I rode -- first north, stopping a few times to climb up to castles or walk along the old walls and a lot to take pictures, then I hopped a train, went south of Bacharach and rode back. It was glorious. Several bugs lost their lives on my person. 

Tonight I'm in Heidelberg. Yesterday at breakfast I clicked on a list of the 10 most beautiful but overlooked cities in Europe. One was already on my list, seven are in countries I'm not visiting, but Heidelberg and Innsbruck were both promptly added to my itinerary. I've never been this flexible in traveling (in anything) before. It's kind of exciting. 

Now I'm waiting to hear if there are openings at a hostel in Freiburg. They don't have an automatic system; I have to send a request. I may be traveling back in time. 

And, if you were wondering, I did have to blow dry my clothes, and that still was insufficient. For some reason I have an extra bed in my room tonight, so everything that was still wet is spread out there. This traveling life is fun. 

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