Some of you may have had the privilege in the past of attending one of our house parties (always themed) which focussed on either our penchant for all things piratical or – failing that – anything gypsy. You can imagine our giddy delight as we hurtled through those sub-zero temperatures down the UNESCO World Heritage protected Rhine valley to discover the place to be brimming with the stately piles that are the former homes (going back a fair few hundred years) of Robber Barons and quasi-feudal despots. These guys really knew how to make a living…..
Wine-making was a possibility but not so commercially viable, so Count Dieter V of Katzenelnbogen (for example) knocked together a little fortress in the mid thirteenth century, perched over the River, and thereafter resolved to sling a large chain across the Rhine to bar or permit passage towards Bonn or Frankfurt. Quite a base for his toll- collecting operations.
Francesca is concerned there may be a little more historical accuracy required to the above, but you get a flavour. In any event, it makes for a wonderful tasty backdrop to our passage through the arctic conditions…..
Which brings me nicely on to the subject of toes, previously designated “MIA”. Well, they are BACK! We have been overwhelmed with the kindness and apparent genuine concern for the plight of our oft-forgotten nether-digits. The suggestions have come in thick and fast and having bowed down at the shrine of the Neoprene Gods, we no longer fear the -5 degree temps that greet us each morning on the fluvial bike-paths of the (now) Main River. The booty covers make an appearance above.
We have been holed up in Frankfurt Am Main for the last couple of days, not through fear of pressing on, but due to the immense kindness that has once again been shown to us by our current hosts, Sven and Caroline.
This morning, there is snow. Not settled (yet) but ready to kiss our cheeks when we leave the cocoon of current hospitality. We are itching once again for the open road. We hope to be in Neustadt an der Aisch in the next few days…..the birthplace of Francesca’s mum, Juliana.
For now, toodle-pip…