Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Rolling Down the River

Ready to roll - 220kms to go    The flight to Frankfurt and then train to Mainz go without a hitch.  On arrival in Mainz we realise we have no idea where the hotel is, so we pile our bags into a taxi and tell the driver Hotel Konigshof.  He turns and points 100metres down the road.  Sheepishly we unload the bags and walk across the street.  

 

We've booked a five day six night trip running along the Rhine from Mainz to Cologne (Koln).  Most days are 35 to 40-ish kms a day with the exception of one longer day (which you'll have read about in the last blog, many of you laughing unkindly at my misfortunes!)

 

We've arrived a day early to do some siteseeing.  High on the list is the Gutenberg Museum, as we recently saw  two early editions of the Gutenberg Bible, one in the Senate Library in Washington, and the other in the New York Public Library. Sadly, the museum is closed on Mondays.  The h-g was interested in the Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding.  Guess what!  Closed on Mondays.  Our disappointment was short lived when we went to St Stephen's Church - not closed on Mondays.  

 

I think this is the first time I've walked into a church and gasped in awe.  It's not really large and it's certainly not ornate.  What it has is a series of blue stained glass windows by the Russian/French artist Marc Chagall.  Just breathtaking.

 

Chagall stained glass in St Stephens

 Our bikes are waiting for us at the hotel. Three of us are on e-bikes and the h-g is doing it the old fashioned way.  It's my first time on an e-bike and I LOVE it.  You still have to pedal but getting the power assist up a hill, not that there's many going along the river, is wonderful.  

 

 

Loving the e-bike

 

Our trip runs from Mainz to Rudesheim, to St. Goar, to Koblenz, to Bad Godesberg, and finishes at Cologne. A couple of cable car trips give us stunning views of the landscape and river course.  

Vines around Rudesheim

 

 We're travelling through the expected: vineyards plunging down vertiginous slopes, castles perched on rocky promontories, and twists and turns of the bike path.  We rarely have to encounter traffic as the Rhine bike path runs its own route.  In fact it runs 1230 kms from Andermatt in Switzerland to Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands. 

I guess that means we'll have to do the other 1,000 kms or so another time.  I'll definitely be on an e- bike. 

 

Yet another castle on the Middle Rhine

 

 

The longest sweep of the river

 

 

More vineyards

 

Monday, 19 June 2017

A bad day

l was looking forward (not) to day four of our cycle trip along the Rhine - 60kms and a feisty headwind.  We are leaving Koblenz to ride to Bad Godesberg. 

 

In Koblenz

Koblenz is lovely.  Sitting at the confluence of the Mosel and the Rhine it has lots of walking and cycling paths through parks and along the water. The old town is charming and beautiful.

 

Koblenz

 

I start the day well, genteelly falling off my bike as I put my foot down to the kerb, but miss.  Ankle, knee, thigh, hip - bruises will ensue.  The day only gets better when I inadvertently brush against stinging nettle and my leg suffers death by 1,000 cuts - or stings in this case.

 

After 40 ass burning kms we stop for the requisite beer and Germany sausage for lunch: Currywurst in this instance.  It turns out currywurst is not, as we expect, a spicy curry sausage but a regular pork sausage drenched in tomato sauce and sprinkled with the merest hint of curry powder.  Huh?  Actually this turns out to be the highlight of my day.  

 

The fries were really good - currywurst, not so much
We get to our accommodation 20 kms further on, after a series of strong discussions about directions adds another five kilometres to an already too long day.  My high moral ground (I was right about the directions, but overruled by the h-g) was immediately cut from under me as I open my saddlebag and realise I've left my bag -with passports, phone, credit cards, and several hundred Euro in cash - at the restaurant.  Do we remember the name of the place?  Most certainly not, we only remember the currywurst, against our will. 

 

What luck, in an historic first, I kept the receipt for the sausage fest so we can call the restaurant.  Yes, they have my bag.  Cue €55 taxi to restaurant and back to collect said bag, and €10 thank you to lovely waitress.  

 

Could the day get any better?  Only with alcohol.