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Lost in Germany (near Daun in the Vulkan Eifel region)
'Stuffed in Germany' would have been a completely appropriate name for this tour. The Hotel Berghof fed us so well we had trouble standing by the time we came home. The chef learned his trade in Switzerland before opening this little hotel with his wife and they looked after us superbly.
Unfortunately this region experiences a lot of rain and our weekend was very wet. We rode on the first day to Jammelshofen, where Frithjof Erpelding has a superb museum full of racing motorcycles from Manx Nortons, AJS 7R to Yamaha TZ250/350/750. There must have been more than a hundred bikes displayed. We were glad of the opportunity to get out of the rain and to enjoy a hot chocolate and a soup. We decided there was no point continuing to the lunch stop at Andernach to look at the Rhine in the rain so we made our way back by a reasonably direct route past the Nurburgring. The second day was even wetter. Tony Page and Debbie decided to ride but the rest of us went out in our vans. We visited Cochem, on the Moselle, for coffee just in time for the rain to fall in stair rods ! In the afternoon, however, the rain ceased for a while (after I got spectacularly lost and found myself 10 miles downstream of Cochem instead of 10 miles upstream) and we visited the medieval village of Bielstein.
On the third day the rain held off and we all enjoyed a dry ride to Blankenheim. The journey included a short stop at a German military cemetery where around 70 soldiers had lost their lives right at the very end of the second war. The afternoon run featured a lengthy search for a petrol station and then a 'follow your nose' journey trying to get the general direction back to the hotel. We eventually picked up a sign for Daun, which clearly indicated that we had travelled several miles from Hillesheim in the wrong direction and we had to double back. It was a good day though and we covered about 100 miles or so. Not having followed the route sheet properly means that I can use it again in the future!
The inclement weather was accompanied by a good deal of fog on the higher ground that meant that we were robbed of the spectacular views that we should have enjoyed. The Eifel region is characterised by forest, hills and miles of twisty, empty roads, which are just perfect for motorcycles - unless it's pouring with rain. Near to the hotel are a number of volcanic craters, which give the Vulkaneifel its name.
I hope that we shall be able to visit again in the future in the hope that we can enjoy the area in better weather. It is quite a drive from Calais. It is motorway all but the final 20 scenic miles, but is 280 miles in total. The journey is worth it in my opinion as it puts us in the heart of a perfect motorcycling area.
Murray Freeman and Brian Barrett both voted the hotel and the food as being even better than Vianden - and that says a great deal.