I was lucky enough to be able to spend the last 5 days down in Monsheim, Germany with some friends. It was gorgeous and I had just so much fun. It has made me completely change my opinion of Germany (Schwelm is apparently the epicenter of German shit-holeness) I think this is why I was so surprised by the beauty. The minute I got off the highway and onto the country road I was in the middle of vineyards and the most amazing cycling roads. I couldn’t get the grin off my face!
When I got to my “friends” house. (I had never met them before.) They were really friends of my friend Shannon back in Jax. They took pity on my living in Schwelm and invited me down. Yup, totally random and awesome at the same time! Susan was there as was her husband Oliver and the most amazing 16 month ever called Hermania. Seriously, the best kid ever. I could just go on an on about her but I’ll reign it in.
I had pretty much two options on what I wanted to do. 1. Go to some local vitners and drink wine or 2. Go cycling. I was so conflicted. I mean, these are two of my favorite things to do and I had to chose. Damn! I then had an “a-ha” moment after remembering I had gone out for an hour run before driving down. I opted for the wine (squelch the surprise).
It was again, amazing! First stop was the worlds largest wine barrel because being touristy is ok every now and then. Afterwards we ended up in a small little village called Rhodt where we were able to drink some wine and eat some typical German food. I ended up with some thing called pigs stomach sausage because “It’s traditional and good and you have to”.
The cherry blossoms were blooming which made everything seem just that much more beautiful! We went to Oliver’s favorite vitner called Anselmann. It was a super cute little tasting hut, where they just put some bottles of wine in front of you and said “you pour”. Umm, ok :). I was a bit to early for the outdoor eating in their garden, but I can see how wonderful that would be!
The next morning I was on mission to get outside and go for either a run or a ride…. Well, Germany was experiencing some freak storm: 30-40mph winds with gusts over 50mph. I opted for the run considering only 39 riders were just able to finish GW the other day due to the wind. Turns out there was the Palatinate Forest right by us and much to my hosts dismay (it was raining and windy and cold) off I went. I’m glad I did because it did eventually clear up and there was some fantastic views with some blue sky’s. It was a trail runners play ground.
The next day we took a day trip to Heidelberg and again, a place in Germany that wasn’t bad, but great. At this point I’m pretty convinced that there needs to be some sort of disclaimer by the Germans about Schwelm.
I finished up the trip with some amazing riding on the one day that the wind sorta calmed down. The riding here in Europe is spectacular. Belgium is great, the Nederlands is great and Germany is also great. They give cyclists their own bike lanes and when you don’t and you have to share the rode, they don’t try to throw things at you, run you over or yell to get off “their road that their taxes pay for”. That’s always a tell tale sign of the genius behind the wheel. Anyways, I got a good 50 miles in and loved every single bit of it. It’s not to often that I get to ride through vineyards.
All in all it was a great experience and I loved every bit of it. I got to experience a great part of Germany, taste some of the best German wines (another post is coming about that) and became friends with some pretty amazing people and one special little girl.