On Saturday July 5th and Sunday July 6th the Wieland Sport Group along
with a few people from Wicona went on a bike and canoe tour from the
Lahn River Source in Netphen (which belongs to the county of Siegen-Wittgenstein)
to Giessen. I was invited to go along with a colleague that is part of the WSG.
I spent the night Friday in Erbach, and woke up Saturday morning at
04:30am. I finished packing my backpack and carry-on and drank a quick
cup tea. At 5:00am I made my way down the hill with my backpack on my
back and my carry-on in my left hand. I was to met my friend and
colleague, Sepp, at the Penny Markt parking lot at 5:10am. It was
raining lightly, and I had to use my brakes all the way down, since
it was very difficult to steer while carrying my heavy carry-on. I
did not want to have an accident before the trip even started. I had an
accident just a few days before because my brakes were dirty and oily
and did not work well enough going down a hill. One more crash would
have been the end of my front tire, if not worse.
I made it down just before 5:10 and Sepp was waiting already. We loaded
my bike into his mini-van and headed to Ulm. The bus was waiting for
everyone at the Wicona parking lot in Ulm-Weststadt. We were there before
most of the group. We unloaded the bikes from the mini-van and into the
trailer. Once everyone was there and all of the bikes were loaded up,
the 21 bike riders and the bus driver with his wife and son got onto the
bus and we took off at 6:00am sharp. After an hour or so I fell asleep.
Between 11:00 and 12:00 I woke up. It was a little rainy when we finally
got to the top of the big hill where the Lahn River begins. The bus took
us all the way to the top, despite the fact that we passed more than one
sign saying that busses were not allowed on the street. That was a good
thing, because it would have been a tough ride to get all the way up.
Our trip would have taken at least an hour longer than it did by bus.
We unloaded the bikes, and went up the hill a bit to the Hotel Lahnhof
where the Lahn comes up out of a spring and feeds into a little pond. The
Lahn starts as a small outlet of this pond and runs about 224 Kilometers
into the Rhein river. We stopped here for just a second and the started our
tour. The trail starts down the hill and to the left from the pond. It is
pretty the first few kilometers... the trail goes through the forest and down
hill a ways.Eventually it runs into a road and continues the downhill decent.
I do not remember seeing even a sign of the Lahn for at least the first 10 or
15 KM, maybe even more. After going through a few villages (like Glashütte
& Volkholz) we met up with the train tracks and the Lahn, which was not more
than a little stream. The first big town was Bad Laasphe. It stopped drizzling
once we were at the bottom of the hill, but it was still cool and windy.
We stopped for lunch at around 2:30pm. We had smoked sausage, and pretzels.
There was also coffee and some sweet bread for dessert. Once everyone
had eaten and rested a little, we hit the trail again. We road a while without
stopping... sometimes through villages and sometimes through fields and forests.
We took a break just a little before 4pm, in order to let a bulldozer get off
the trail ahead of us, and to let the car go by from the other direction that
was waiting on the bulldozer.
After that short rest we started on the last stretch. The weather got better,
in fact the sun came out for a bit. We got into Marburg around 5:10 and went
straight to our hotel, the
Sorat Hotel Marburg. The hotel was waiting on us, and had a conference room
reserved just for our bikes. Once we parked our bikes we all signed in at the
Hotel Desk and Sepp and I went to our room. We relaxed and watched TV for a bit,
and then took turns showering. At around 5:45pm we went took the elevator
up to the old part of town.
The "Altstadt" is up on a hill around the castle, and the elevator was right
across the street from our hotel. Marburg is an old city. It was first mentioned
as a city in the year 1222. Although it has been a city for so long it is still
small, with about only 70,000 residents. It is however a major university town.
The university is the top employer and has been around for a long while. The
current German State of Hessen was founded as a country with Marburg as its
capital by Sophie von Brabant in 1248.
Sepp and I went through the Old Town, up the hill even further going by different
buildings that belong to the University and Fraternity Houses (Fraternities are
a little different in Germany). We finally got to the top, and eventually found
the castle. We wandered around the top and came down the other side of the hill
towards the old town and our hotel. We happened to find the restaurant we were
supposed to eat at on the way down, but we decided not to wait on the group there.
We went down and met the group at 7:15pm. The whole group went up together to the
castle restaurant Bückingsgarten
and had a great meal with great service. After the meal a tour guide was waiting on
us to take us on a night tour of the city. We went around to a few places that Sepp
and I did not see before, but we did not go back up to the castle, so it was good
that we had gone up earlier. The tour ended at around 10:20 or 10:30pm. Sepp and I
went back up to the room and went to sleep around 11:15, while the others went out.