Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 12, Saarlouis to Dreisbach: a bit boring, but great bike trails and signage the whole way

July 12, 2013: Saarlouis to Dreisbach, Germany

    After our night in Saarlouis, Lucy and I were ready to start peddling. We headed back towards the train station, and when we hit the Saar River we took a left instead of crossing the bridge.
    The bike trail from Saarlouis to Dreisbach is about as good as one could ask for. For 97 percent of the trip the bike trail runs right along the Saar. It's a nice, wide, paved, concrete, or bricked bike path. The worst that can be said of it is that a few of the joints are a little rough.
    But overall the bike path is almost all one could ask for.
    About five miles north of Saarlouis we came to a river lock and a sign pointing across the river to a biergarten. We stopped by and I had a baguette pizza and a beer; Lucy had ice cream. All of the customers were on bike.
    Lucy didn't know what a "lock" was. Back in the olden days we were taught this is social studies, but today they spend all their time learning about the Kingdom of Mali, which is about as useful as teats on a breastplate (or boar hog).
    The only downside to the Saarlouis to Dreisbach bike trail is that it is a little boring. The Mosel has more villages right on the river, with steep hills full of vineyards. The Saar actually has a substantial amount of river delta land. Of course, learning about these things is what the trip is all about; so if we had fewer opportunities to stop and more to just see farmland, that's what this type of touring is all about.
    When we arrived at Dreisbach getting to the local youth hostel required navigating a large hill. We pushed our bikes and were not ashamed.
    German youth hostels seem to serve everyone except for what we would tend to think of as "youths." They are open to and you will see lots of families with children, older couples, in fact just about anyone. There are lots of groups with younger kids. The one group you don't see much of is youths aged 16-25. I think these "youths" are looking for more of a party atmosphere, even though you can get a beer or glass of wine at a German youth hostel.
    The Dreisbach hostel had a very institutional feel to it, but everything was spotless. Our room was simple, with a set of bunk beds. Linens were provided.
    We had half-board at the hostel, which cost a few Euros extra. The supper consisted a nice salad bar with feta cheese, Kalamata olives, eggs and other good stuff. Lucy and I had a private table, and a bowl of reconstituted chicken noodle soup was served to us (the kind from the box). For the main course they served us a giant fish stick or fish cake and a bowl of potatoes. The fish cake was a bit greasy; the potatoes were in desperate need of salt and pepper, which was not on the table or readily available. Tarter sauce was on the table, but no ketchup. Fortunately we brought a bunch of Heinz dipping ketchups with us, so Lucy ran up to the room and retrieved them. Our beverage was some pretty dreadful Kool-Aid type drink. A great supper, no. But for the cost, it's hard to beat.
    The next morning breakfast redeemed the mediocre supper. There were hard rolls, ham, salami, cheese, jam, and American style coffee served in a "hottle" at our table. It's all we needed.
    Our total cost for one night at the youth hostel was 43 Euros. This included supper and breakfast. We had to be up and out by 10 a.m., but in a way this was a bonus, as it encouraged us to hurry along.
    For families wishing to tour Europe on the cheap, youth hostels are the way to go -- unless you can use hotel points!

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