Tag Archives: Bodensee

Ko2Ko – Höchst to Stein Am Rhein (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Switzerland)

Saturday 1 June – Breakfast in Austria, Lunch in Germany, Dinner in Switzerland.

or

Konstanz Kraving (with apologies to K D Lang)

(this title was suggested by Deano from YACF)

The forecast today was rain – loads of it!

However, when I went down to breakfast it wasn’t raining, nor was it raining whilst I repacked my bags. It seemed like an exceptionally good idea for me to get underway before the heavens dropped their forecasted 29mm of rain.

So I settled up the bill at the hotel, fetched Alfie from the garage and was on the road by 8:15am. That’s early!
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Here’s my route for today, starting at the bottom right.

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I decided today to wear a different arrangement of cycle clothing, knowing that rain was forecasted but that it was also going to be reasonably warm. I don’t like riding in waterproofs (boil in the bag) and if it’s warm you’re better off just getting wet and drying naturally. So I had shorts with legwarmers, two jerseys and armwarmers, and this was a very good temperature for the earlyt morning’s riding.

I rode for more than an hour before I felt any rain. However, I could see lots of evidence of water in the skies – there were some lovely views!

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Höchst is the penultimate town in Austria; I rode through Gaißau and then arrived at this bridge.
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It happens to be the border between Austria and Switzerland (at least the bike/walking route border, there was a car border 100 metres down the road that looked rather more significant). Here is Alfie with rear wheel in Austria and front wheels in Switzerland (nominally, anyway!)
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It’s the Rhein that he’s hovering over. Readers of yesterday’s blog will know that I had already crossed the Rhein – turns out it splits into two at one point, like a mini delta, and I was now crossing the Alter Rhein.

On the other side of the bridge was a whole new set of cycle route signs to familiarise myself with.

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My destination for the day was Romanshorn (I’d looked up a few hotels there) but I did wonder, with the improved weather, whether I might get a bit further.

Once I’d crossed the bridge I was on a non-tarmacked surface. It was OK but I kept hearing grinding noises as stones were flicked up into my rear mudguard.

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I rode through Rheineck, Altenrhein and Staad, really enjoying some of the views of clouds hovering over hillsides.

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And clouds over Bodensee as well, of course!

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I chatted to a few people with dogs as I passed by – and discovered that it’s very difficult to understand the Swiss accent!

As I approached Rorschach there were clouds of little flies hovering over the track and I had to periodically shut my eyes and mouth as I went through these clouds.

I rode through Rorschach and there was a huge Würth Group building on the lakefront – you can just about see two of me in the windows

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This was looking across to Horn from Rorschach. The first spots of rain were falling.
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Very quickly the rain turned to proper rain, the sort that will drench you within a minute. I took refuge under an overhang from a café.

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After about ten minutes the rain had eased off a bit from ‘pouring’ to ‘raining’ and I headed off again.

I took this picture looking across at Steinach – those clouds are looking more ominous!

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I approached Arbon, riding past this church that started ringing its bells for 10am. I had covered about fifteen miles by this point.

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I passed several fields of sheep where the sheep were wearing cowbells (sheepbells?) Not something I’ve noticed in Germany or Austria!

I rolled into Romanshorn at about half past ten. This was originally my planned overnight stop but clearly I had to recalculate a bit. Although it was raining and I was wet, I wasn’t uncomfortable with the clothing I was wearing so pressed on.

Here’s a reminder what country I was in.

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After Rorschach the rain fell much harder. I saw a lot of people wearing huge macs that flapped about – this chap on the left was pushing his son along.

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My plan B was to have lunch in Konstanz (at 32 miles) and see what I wanted to do after that. I thought it was now feasible to stick to my original schedule and ridde to Stein am Rhein and the friendly B&B, but I’d see how I felt when I stopped.

The final miles to Konstanz were a bit drier with just a faint drizzle. I was turning the pedals steadily and it was midday when I reached this point – the border into Germany!

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The route took me in past cars queuing for the customs area, and then along the harbour which is the other side of the railway line to where the hotel was I stayed at on Wednesday night.

Here are some boats for James.

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Here is Alfie, parked up as I wanted to check out a café. I didn’t fancy the offerings though so headed off.

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I rode round to the pedestrian area and parked Alfie outside an Italian restaurant. I went in and ordered some soup and a tea. The man said that he would have to charge me for the hot water – 3 Euros. I thought this was ridiculously steep for tea/water so said I’d have a glass of tap water then. He said they didn’t supply tap water, only mineral water, and could I move my trike away from the seating area outside. I said I wanted to be able to see it from the window (which I could, just) as it is expensive. I told him to cancel my order and I went outside to find somewhere else – didn’t find them a very friendly café!

Soon enough I found another Italian and they didn’t mind that Alfie was parked outside.

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I dfidn’t want a full meal and they didn’t do soup (surprisingly) so I ordered a half Pizza Bread.
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I headed off from Konstanz again with just 18 miles to go to Stein am Rhein. And now the rain came, properly set in and a bit colder.

I passed this building in Triboltingen that looked like one of the WW2 hides you see all over England, but a bit larger. Something to do wtih Switzerland protecting itself from Germany in the war??

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Bodensee squeezes itself through a narrow gap at Konstanz and then spreads out again into Untersee, which I was now cycling alongside.

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This beautifully-painted house was on the main road in Tribolltingen.

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Veg growing an scary clouds which continued to drop rain on me.

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This is the view of Untersee from what my iPhone’s map wants to call Näächsthorn but I think that’s got to have an extra ä in it!

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A very smart church I passed in Mammern.
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In Mammern I had to watch carefully as I cycled along the track because there were hundreds of snails wandering around. As far as I am aware I missed them all!

As the route neared Stein am Rhein it rather inconveniently started to climb. At Eschenz there was a particularly steep climb which was made harder by the wet tarmac with lots of leaves on it (not good for trike traction). I was also getting close to a group of three cyclists who were slower than me so I stopped a couple of times to take photos of the view to give them a chance to get ahead where the path was narrow.

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This photo is looking down on Stein am Rhein which is a very narrow pinch point on the Rhein (and I suppose could be considered the end of the Untersee and thus Bodensee itself). I said goodbye to Bodensee and its rain and looked forward to the improving weather forecast for next week.

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An uphill usually means there is a downhill and there was – a long, swoopy one. I was getting pretty cold now and was rather relieved that there were just two miles to go. I overhauled the three cyclists I had been trailing and then noticed a couple of warning signs in the middle of the path. Why were they there?

I soon discovered they were marking a flood across the path. There was no alterntiave route so I had to go through. The level was above the bottom of my Banana Bags so I tried to hold them up out of the water with minimal success. The three cyclists were following me and talking very excitedly about the water although I doubt they got their feet wet (I didn’t).

I arrived in Stein am Rhein, crossing the bridge with the rain beating down.

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The B&B I had booked was about three quarters of a mile outside the town and turned out to be, rather disappointingly, up a whacking great hill. The sort of hill that I had to tackle in first gear (out of 33), at about 2mph. Not what you need after 50+ miles of riding.

It took me a while to find the B&B that was nestled in a cluster of houses but eventually I located it, and the front door, and the doorbell – but there was no response! I tried several times, peered through the door, no luck. I noticed a business card pinned to the door with the mobile number of the B&B so rang it – and after ringing four times it went to voicemail. I left a message to say I was sitting outside, really cold, and wanted someone to let me in!

After five minutes I tried again, still voicemail. This was not good as I was getting really chilly now. I got out my Bodensee Radweg book and looked up Stein am Rhein accommodation. There were eiight or so hotels listed so I checked where they were situated (I realised I wanted to be near the centre, not up a hill a mile away!) and phoned a couple. The first one I rang had a single room for 70 Francs including wifi and breakfast. That’ll do nicely!

I left a message with the B&B to say that I had had to go elsewhere due to being really cold and headed down that steep hill (fun!) and back into the centre of Stein am Rhein. I found the Hotel Rheingerbe easily enough and the lady was very friendly. She showed my to my room which hadn’t been renovated in a while but was clean and looked comfortable enough.

It took a while to get the wifi working which caused some panic on my behalf, not helped by me dscovering the Swiss use different sockets! Yikes, my iPhone charger didn’t fit in!

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I tried again later and it worked so panic number 2 was also now over.

Here is the readout from my Garmin with today’s statistics – in imperial and then metric.

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I noticed as I parked the trike in their storage room that the Union Jack flag on my rear mudflap has completely disappeared today and the German flag sticker is hanging off. I will need to have a plan B for these in future (painting the flags on?)

I had a hot shower which was very welcome although I had a lot of stuff to dry and it didn’t all fit draped onto the radiator. I suspect I may have a bag of damp clothing in my panniers tomorrow.

Talking of panniers, considering my banana bags were partially submerged in a flood they hadn’t let in much water at all, probably less than yesterday. Clearly driving rain for 10 miles is more of an issue than medium rain for 30 miles.

After my shower it was time to have a bit of a walk around Stein am Rhein. The hotel lent me an umbrella and I had a bit of a look around the pedestrian precinct which was just behind the hotel.

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I was feeling peckish – not surprising after cycling for 52 miles and only having pizza bread for lunch – so I sstopped for a piece of black forest gateau!

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This was the choice I was initially faced with!

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Walking around the town there was a surprising number of shops selling Swiss Army knives! There was also a shop selling chocolate, including this 4.2kg bar of Toblerone (for 115 Swiss Francs, which is about £90)

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After writing up some of this blog it was time for dinner and I was very hungry!

A local Stübl did an offer of salad and lasagne for 18 Francs. This seems remarkably expensive in gerneral but was cheap for Switzerland (I’d checked out lots of restaurants earlier).

My salad
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My Lasagne
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It was good food and the serving lady was friendly although the room was rather smoky as clearly smoking is allowed. It’s hard to remember what it was like in the UK before the ban but it seems so unpleasant now when people are smoking as you are eating.

I could hear the people on the next table talking in English and talking about doing a cycle tour so when I’d finished I said hello and we got chatting. They were doing their first tour and a company was taking their luggage to the hotel each night so they weren’t touring with all their stuff. It sounds like they’re enjoying itr but they keep getting lost (no Garmin!) Tomorrow they are going to the Rhein Falls, as am I, so we might bump into each other. They say they saw a couple on recumbent trikes today.

I walked back to the hotel and went up to my room but I still felt hungry so went downstairs to the restaurant and had an Apfelstrudel and tea.

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The Apfelstrudel was the cheapest thing on the menu at 8,50 Francs. A scoop of ice cream is 3 Francs (that’s £2), no wonder people say Switzerland is expensive. I will definitely try to overnight in Germany if possible. For example, my orange juice today was 6 Francs (that’s about £4) whereas one I had in Germany a couple of days ago was 2,40€.

Still it’s been very cool to breakfast in Austria, cycle non-stop through Switzerland to have lunch in Germany and then have dinner in Switzerland. The awful weather is about finished now too so hopefully it will be sunshine from now on!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz

Ko2Ko – Meersburg to Höchst (Germany to Austria)

A day of rain in Germany and Austria.

Friday 31 May – Meersburg to Höchst

Had a bit of a surprise last night when looking at Twitter – it appears I have been retweeted by a large body of water! Bodensee has its own Twitter feed and it had picked up my yesterday’s blog post and retweeted it a couple of times.

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After a good night’s sleep I went down to a leisurely breakfast at 8am, knowing my boat to Bregenz didn’t leave until 10:20. The breakfast selection was excellent and included some hot food – bacon, Bratwurst, fried egg – of which I partook. There was lots of fresh fruit too which looked lovely but by the time I’d eaten the bacon, Bratwurst and rolls I’d run out of room!

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I packed all my things into the panniers, being extra-careful that everything was inside a plastic bag as I knew it would be a rainy day, and then had another look at the weather forecast.

The 60mm of rain was now spread over three days – today (Friday), Saturday and Sunday. 20mm each day is still a fair bit, and the television news in the breakfast room had given a news report about a female cyclist who died yesterday when a landslip fell on her. Various bits of Germany are flooded and lots of homes are being evacuated. A great time to do a cycle tour!

On that basis I thought that riding 50 miles tomorrow, from Höchst to Stein am Rhein, was a bit of a challenge – and not one that I particularly fancied. Stein am Rhein was the last hotel that I had prebooked, after that I could go at my own pace with reference to the weather.

In the end I decided to phone up the B&B at Stein am Rhein and see if they would let me cancel. I spoke to the man there who was really friendly. He said of course they understood if I couldn’t get there on Saturday evening and they wouldn’t charge me for the room. I said it was best to cancel the room now but he said not to worry, they had several free (lots of people had cancelled because of the bad weather) and that if I was going to arrive really late I should call them and they would leave a key out for me. I said it was more likely that I’d arrive the next day or the day after and they said that was fine, they had space. They were so friendly and understanding that I will definitely stay there on my way past!

This means that I can either spend an extra day in Höchst (the hotel has several rooms free for Saturday night) or maybe ride 10 or so miles to Rorschach for a change of scenery (and country) the next day. I don’t think there’s a great deal in Höchst, it just happens to be the last town in Austria before Switzerland arrives.

If this rain really does persist for all three days then it’ll probably be another slow pootle on Sunday and I may not get to Stein am Rhein until Monday. I could always jump on a train but I want to enjoy the cycling around Bodensee – today’s boat trip will be fun but it’s not the purpose of a cycle tour!

I was checking my emails and discovered this message sent to me via my blog:

“Hello Auntie,

I just got the link to your Ko2Ko block by a friend, who knows, that I’m just up to buy me a trike in the next few weeks (have to decide between ICE and HP-Velotechnik now). I live in Friedrichshafen (which you will pass today) and I’m so sorry which weather our lake of constance provides you today: It’s friday 8:30 and rain seems not to stop.

Unfortunately my wife and me will start today to a 2-day-trip into the Pfalz, otherwise we would have invited you to tea and KUCHEN 🙂

But I will follow your blog from now on and wish you mainly a more sunny weather.

A (who can’t wait for getting his trike) and B (who is really excited about this project).”

Isn’t that nice, and what a shame that we won’t be able to meet up and have a long chat about trikes (which is always fun).

I replied saying that he’s lucky he’s away else I’d eat all their KUCHEN. At this rate I’ll still be on Bodensee when they return.

At half past nine I headed down with my luggage and paid the bill. It was a squeeze to get my trike out past the parked cars but soon I was heading off, aiming to take the main road (rather than pedestrian precinct!) to the ferry landing stage.

I ended up going the wrong way as I tried to follow my nose downhill but eventually had a fast whizz down the main road, the rain really cutting into my face at that speed.

Here is my route for today.
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I was half an hour early to the ferry ticket and waiting area and bought my single person-and-bike ticket to Bregenz. Alfie had to stay outside the waiting room but I brought my panniers in with me – they were already soaking just from the 1.4 mile cycle to the ferry quay.

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Yesterday Bodensee had been still, as the photo showed. Today it was covered in white horses and very choppy, steely grey in colour and not particularly inviting. The ferry boat, called Karlsruhe, appeared out of the rain mist and tied up at the pontoon, whereupon I fetched Alfie and wheeled him round to it. It was a nice wide gangway onto the boat and it was easy to wheel Alfie there and park him in the wide, open standing area. There was an information board about the ships that plied this route and the Karlsruhe was built in 1937, which is rather a long time ago. It presumably used to see the Zeppelins being launched at Friedrichshafen!

I found myself a seat on the lower deck and settled in for the journey. We passed several sailing boats – people were rather brave to be out in this weather!

I watched this boat for a while – two chaps were standing by the mast trying to get the sail out whilst the boat went up and down with the swell. They managed it and it probably made the boat a bit steadier in the weather.

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The ship stopped at Hagnau, Immenstaad, Friedrichshafen, Langenargen, Kressbronn, Nonnenhorn, Wasserburg, Lindau and Bregenz. It was a shame I didn’t get to see all these intermediate places by trike rather than boat but it was definitely not a good day for cycling.

I had a cup of tea on the boat and actually had to pay for it! Fair enough, I guess it’s how they make money on this kind of trip, but a warming cuppa was just the thing after a cold, wet cycle ride (my legs were a bit damp from the ride to the ferry port, although my jacket had kept my top half dry).

By the way, does anyone else find that EVERY time you open a little Kaffeesahne creamer pot it squirts creamer at you? I’ve learned to face them away from me whenever I open them but they always eject a drop or two of milk wherever they are pointing. Am I just particularly unskilled in this procedure or does it happen to the rest of you?

As we approached Friedrichshafen the skies appeared to be clearing a little although I couldn’t tell, from my seat on the boat, whether the rain had eased.

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The journey was just under three hours and in due course we approached Bregenz.

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We docked and I let everyone get off before I dragged Alfie back onto dry land. Here he is with Karlsruhe (the ship, not city) behind him.

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We were now in Austria!

I kept my Garmin on whilst on the ship and it was interesting to see that its average speed was 11.7mph so not too dissimilar to my cycling speed. Unfortunately I didn’t take note of the trip computer when I got off the boat but I think we had sailed/steamed about 25 miles in total.

Talking of trip computers, my excellent value Aldi Bikemate bike computer which I have as backup, and which I really like, turns out to completely stop working at the firsst drop of rain. So my cumulative odometer thingie isn’t working which is irritating. I think I’ve done about 125 miles in total since Monday but I’ll have to work it out properly when I get home and can download the tracks from my Garmin.

It was half past one in the afternoon and time to get some food, I decided, while I was still relatively dry. I decided to ride the very short distance into central Bregenz and see what I could find.

The first thing I found, which was most decidedly unexpected, was a huge inflatable purple cow.

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It was a marketing event for Milka. I lurked close to where everyone was handing out purple Milka-coloured flags and things but they obviously decided I wasn’t a child and didn’t need any chocolate. Shame!

There were several bakeries and cafés but not many that had shelter for the trike. I found one before too long, stowed Alfie under the awning to try to keep my luggage dry and then went in. I had a salami and cheese roll and a cup of tea which was most welcome. I finished the roll before I’d made any headway on the tea so decided to get an Erdbeerschnitte to help wash the tea down.

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It was now time to head off properly on my cycle ride to the pre-booked hotel in Höchst.

The official cycle route doesn’t actually pass through Höchst but looking at hotel prices and facilities whilst I was booking up the overnights round Bodensee it looked like it was worth the slight detour. I could ride the cycle route and then double back to Höchst, which was the route I had pre-plotted on my Garmin, for 12 miles, or do the shortcut to reduce it by about three miles.

I followed the cycle route in Bregenz, having to get used to completely different signage. That’s usually the first thing I notice – that the road signs and cycle path signs are a totally different style – as the language and shops and everything look really similar. There were signs to Hard (the next village) and to Höchst so it was pretty easy to follow where I should go.

I stopped on the bridge over the Bregenzer Ach river as it had some impressive mini-rapids.

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The bridge iteself was very impressive too – this was ‘just’ for cyclists and dog walkers.

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Mind you, there weren’t very many cyclists about (not that I blame them). I did meet several dog walkers though, and a surprising number of pug dogs – perhaps that’s the cool dog for Bregenz.

It’s not difficult to follow the path in the right direction as they have painted helpful signs on the asphalt at times.

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The little cycling man with the blue back wheel is the Bodensee Radweg logo.

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After riding through Hard I found myself cycling south along a river. Ooh, was this the Rhein?

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It’s not very big!

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Turns out it wasn’t the Rhein but was instead the Lustenauer Kanal. I discovered my mistake after 100 metres when I crossed a larger river – this time it was the Rhein!

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Very fast flowing, carrying lots of tree debris and muck, and looking like it was rather swollen too. Not surprising after all the rain I suppose!

Once I crossed the Rhein it was time to decide whether to take the direct route to Höchst or follow the scenic route. The rain made it an obvious choice – go straight to Höchst!

I followed the main road into the town which was pretty busy. There was a cycle path alongside it but there were HGVs whizzing past me and the spray from their tyres wasn’t the pleasantest of showers for a cyclist. The scenic route would have been a great deal more enjoyable, except for the wet trousers and socks for another three miles.

I arrived at the hotel Die Linde and could instantly see it was a great choice! It reminded me vvery much of Burghotel Pass in Oeding where I stayed on my last German day during my Berlin to London trip. It’s a large, nicely furnished place with excellent facilities, amazingly fast wifi (hurrah!) and a rather dishy barman.

Here’s the Garmin data for today, except I forgot to zero the trip computer when getting off the boat at Bregenz so didn’t do it until I’d ridden a mile or so, plus I did 1.4 miles earlier in the day to get to Meersburg ferry terminal, so I suppose I’ve actually cycled about 11 miles today.

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The receptionist showed me the bicycle garage and Alfie went into there for the night to hang out with some other touring bikes.
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Alfie is not quite so pristinely clean now but he’s not a complete mess, at least!

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There was, rather surprisingly, a bunch of English people in the bar area who were talking about being on a cycle tour. You don’t see that very often! I said hello and was wearing my Union Jack jersey but they didn’t say anything to me. I may chat to them this evening.

My room was lovely – very spacious and with a little bag of two pralines made here!

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It was time to unpack my bags and see how everything fared in all the rain.

Things inside the plastic bags were all dry but there was some water inside the Banana Bags, as you can see from this photo.

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Still, for bags not marked as waterproof they’re keeping things mostly dry, and overall I do find them easier than traditional panniers.

After the usual shower and clothes wash (which took longer as I wore more layers today, plus long cycling trousers) I started feeling peckish and decided to wander downstairs and see if they had any cake.

Yes they did.

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LKook at that for an Apfelstrudel with Sahne (interesting he called it Sahne, I thought it was Obers in Austrian). I had that with a cup of tea and it was fantastic!!!

I had my iPad downstairs with me and was writing up the blog but then I smelled smoke and realised the chap in the table opposite me was smoking. This has now been banned in buildings in Germany but clearly not in Austria so I beat a hasty retreat back to my room.

So how much rain did we actually have today? According to my weather app, enough to float Noah’s Ark!
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And how about tomorrow? More rain! Although not quite as much in volume.

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My thinking is that I might see if I can find a couple of hotels between 10 and 20 miles from here (not booking anything up, just checking on availability and whether they have wifi which is a must) and I’ll head off tomorrow and ride until I’m fed up. As I get nearer Konstanz the forecast for Sunday is sun and rain, not just rain, so it might be worth trying to get a bit further west tomorrow. It would be good to spend Sunday night in the B&B at Stein am Rhein. It seems that magically a lot of hotels in this area have now got availability, when previously everything was booked up. Several days of torrential deluge seem to put off some holidaymakers, but not us brave cycle tourists! Although I have to admit I only saw about a dozen groups of cycle tourists on my ride from Bregenz to Höchst today; yesterday I would have seen 30-40 in that timespan!

At 7:30pm it was time for my evening meal. I went downstairs and saw a rooom with a no smoking sign – that would be preferable. They had a menu posted on the door – a six course meal for 58€. Ahem, I don’t think so! Fortunately they had another seating area which had a more normal menu although things were still quite pricey. It reminded me of the Alter Posthof hotel in Spay which I have visited many times – really nice food but little change from 15 Euros for a meal and a drink.

I ordered Wiener Schnitzel but before it arrived the lady appeared with a little taster sample – sweet potato soup (in a glass) and a little asparagus salad.

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Then came the very tasty Wiener Schnitzel, a generous portion. I wouldn’t have minded a bit of salad with it or something – I find German meals can be a bit short on vegetables

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Then it was back to my room, a quick chat with James on Skype (the connection was being flaky again) and then I started to do some research for hotel possibilities tomorrow. Here’s hoping the rain isn’t quite as bad as today though!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz, Trikes & Velomobiles

Ko2Ko – Konstanz to Meersburg

Thursday 30 May – Konstanz to Meersburg, racing the rainclouds!

I slept very well after all that travelling and woke up at 7am. Breakfast didn’t start until eight, apparently, which was a bit disappointing as the weather looked rather good and I was hoping to get out on the bike as early as possible as the forecast was for rain early afternoon. Maybe I could get to Meersburg before the rain began!

I heard people in the breakfast room at 7:50 so went for my breakfast, the usual selection of muesli, corn flakes, boiled eggs, cheese, ham, rolls, yoghurt and fruit. There was a group of seven people onthe table next to me and I couldn’t work out what language they were speaking – I thought maybe it was Italian. Anyway, after about ten minutes one of the men’s phone went off and he answered it with “Boqer Tov”. Hebrew then, good thing I spent four years at University studying Hebrew else I might not have been able to differentiate it from Italian!!!! (In my defence, we studied Classical Hebrew which we didn’t speak, just read/wrote).

I was out of the hotel by 8:30 and fetched Alfie out of the Fahrradkeller which involved carrying him up the stairs. The breakfast had clearly done its trick as I felt very strong!

I had decided to fix my panniers on in a slightly different way today, eschewing my clip system and just putting the strapping directly onto the relevant bit of rack. This meant I couldn’t remove the Banana Bags in a hurry but also meant they might stay in place a bit more securely (over time on Tuesday they had slipped a bit).

So in the early morning sunshine I stopped outside the hotel and took a pic of Alfie. Note the green paint that describes swirls and circles all along Bahnhofplatz – no idea why!

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I decided to use the TrackMyTour app for the day’s ride as well as the overall route so you can see where I went today. I have to mark a waypoint manually (which means the iPhone’s battery doesn’t drain too badly) and I decided to do this every 1-2 miles, so there are lots of straight lines between waypoints. When I’m back home in England I’ll download the GPX tracks from my Garmin and put the more accurate maps up. But this gives you an idea of where I went!

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Within a quarter of a mile I was crossing the bridge over the Rhein as it flows out of Bodensee towards (eventually) the North Sea. It becomes the Untersee, the lower of the two arms of Bodensee on the left hand side; I shall be cycling along this bit of the Rhein in a few days’ time, once I’ve gone right round Bodensee first!

This is looking out to the main bit of Bodensee to the east.
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Here is the view along the Rhein.
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I was now cycling along Seestraße and boy was this a posh bit of Konstanz – enormous h ouses, shiny big cars, attractive vistas.

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The route took me through Petershausen and then towards Staad, at which point there was a diversion of the cycle route. I decided to take the opportunity to cycle down to the ferry area – this ferry goes directly to Meersburg, my destination for the day, but I had another 38 miles to ride!

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This is the signage I was following – generally very good but I did have to refer to my Garmin a few times as there are several routes you can take (round the main lake or the two smaller ones) and I wanted to ensure I didn’t do a detour.

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The diversion was because of building work around the cycle path; at this point the cycle path is alongside the lake but the diversion took us up to Allmannsdorf, and by ‘up’ I mean climbing. A fair bit, as it happens, which is hard work first thing in the morning after a hearty breakfast.

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I rejoined the original route at Egg, whereupon the tarmac ran out for a couple of miles although this surface was OK.

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I passed Insel Mainau (an island) and carried on on asphalted roads now to Dingelsdorf. There were lots of fruit trees here.

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After Dingelsdorf there was a bit of a climb to Wallhausen and then I noticed the route turning inland, heading towards Dettingen.

It turns out that Dettingen is up a bit of a hill. Quite a long one, in fact, and my Bodensee Radweg map has a chevron printed on it, which means it is a steep gradient. The map did not lie, I trundled up at 5mph, getting warmer and warmer. In the end I had to take off my windproof jacket so I just had a normal jersey on but I was plenty warm enough, burning all those calories!

From Dettingen it was slightly flatter on a long, swoopy cycle path beside the main road (which wasn’t that busy). I saw some road cyclists on the main carriageway but most of the cyclists were keeping to the Radweg, like me.

I reached Langenrain and could see in front of me a pretty substantial hill. A quick look at the map and it was clear I was going to have to go over that hill. So I did – slowly. Once over the bump I had a nice bit of downhill at a good speed before there was another up and down. Not that I minded – the weather was great, blue skies with white fluffy clouds and away from the lake it felt much warmer. I think I was sheltered from the wind by these hills I had to keep going over. However, there were some fairly ominous clouds visible a fair way away – the promised rain, and it was heading towards me.

When I reached Liggeringen I noticed that the map had an alternative, more direct route to Bodman. The official cycle route does a real fiddly stretch through Güttingen and Stahringen which involved going round another hill. The alternative route looked like an easy, direct option to Bodman – 4km instead of 10km. With the massing dark clouds I decided quicker was better!

It was a rather bumpy road surface which meant I had to do a bit of swerving to miss the worst potholes (there were very few cars taking this route), but it was flat and that was good. Then, after about a mile there was a sign warning of an 8% descent for two kilometres. Oh no, what a shame – a free descent! So of I whizzed, reaching over 30mph easily enough. I had to use the brakes a bit because of the road surface but halfway down it was fresh tarmac so I let Alfie have his head and off we whizzed, feeling sorry for the many poor cyclists I saw toiling up the other way.

I overtook a roadie on the way down which always feels good; mind you, the combined weight of me, Alfie and my luggage was notably more than his bike, plus I had less wind resistance, so I really ought to have found it easy enough to pass him ono a downhill.

At the roundabout just before Bodman, after I had rejoined the official route, I saw this interesting vehicle steaming away quietly by the side of the road.

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From Bodman it was just two miles to Ludwigshafen, the tip of the Überlinger See (this top left hand side extra bit off Lake Constance), and it was also the halfway point of my journey (or a bit further as I’d cut out four miles on the direct-to-Bodman route).

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Ludwigshafen afforded some wonderful views of the lake, as well as just a few spots of rain!

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And here is Alfie enjoying the view!

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From Ludwigshafen the cycle route followed the railway, variously crossing under it. This was quite a busy bit of Radweg with plenty of cyclists out, including lots of families with children. It is clearly half term in Germany too!

Looking acrosss the lake to Bodman it was clear the clouds were massing. You can just about see the solid line of green which is the lakeshore – no wonder the road had to go inland before Bodman (on the far right of the pic).

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Although I’d cycled twenty miles I wanted to press on before the rain arrived properly so kept the pedals turning towards Sipplingen. At which point I bumped into this:
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It is a Catrike, a VERY blue one!, and the chap had a windwrap fairing on the front. I reckon that would be rather handy in the rain! We had a little chat but unfortunately where we had met was a rather narrow bit of cycle path and I was clearly irritating the passing cyclists by taking up too much room so had to head off after a few minutes.

At Sipplingen there was an unexpected sign which pointed two different ways to Meersburg – 20km each way, but one way had “Steigung” (a climb). Not surprisingly, I took the alternative, flatter route. Which turned out to be pretty fast – I was maintaining 15mph for a mile or two which is fast for Germany, especially with luggage!

I cycled along the lakeside to Überlingen which seemed like a good place to stop for lunch as it was ten miles from Meersburg. As I stopped at a bakery the rain began to fall so I dashed in to the café and ordered myself a Fladenbrot sandwich and a cup of tea.

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When I left the café the rain was really falling. My Banana Bags were already wet outside with the rain beading up on the fabric surface. I remembered what Peter at Radical Design had said, that they are not fully waterproof, and I thought this would be a pretty good test!

Lots of people were standing under awnings out of the rain with their bikes alongside them. It looked to me like this rain was set in for a fair time and as I only had ten miles to go I might as well head off and get wet. So I did.

I rode through Nußdorf and the rain was really coming down now. I stopped periodically under a tree to do the waypoint for my TrackMyTour app but was reluctant to do so when the rain was really fierce in case my phone got wet so the waypoints bbecome a bit further apart!

After Nußdorf I passed Schloss Maurach which had Kloster Birnau on the hillside above it.

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Looking across the lake it was clear it was raining everywhere!

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The cycle path signs led away from my GPS track after Schloss Mourach but as I had found the signage to be pretty good up till now I decided to go with the signs. I noticed a couple of cyclists taking the GPS route but I carried on along a decent bit of road and it eventually joined up.

In Oberuhldingen I stopped to take a photo of some boats for James my husband.
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I was soaking wet by now (well, my Altura jacket had kept my top half dry but my shorts were distinctly wet) but I was warm enough as it was about 13 degrees. I pedalled on at a good speed (to keep me warm) and zoomed through Unteruhldingen and Ergelen before arriving, at last, at Meersburg.

I had plotted a GPS track directly to my hotel but I hadn’t quite appreciated how pedestrianised Meersburg is – my GPS track wanted to take me up a huge flight of steps! I tried a few alternative routes before eventually winding my way up a colossally steep hill which was a pedestrianised area. I went past lots of shops and food establishments and the place was bustling and very attractive. It was only when I got to the top of the hill that I noticed a rather important road sign – oops!20130530-195126.jpg

It took me a few minutes to find the hotel once I’d got to the top of the hill but eventually I located it and stood in the receptio’n area, dripping gently onto the floor.

Statistics for today:

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I was shown to my room which was a tiny garret!
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It didn’t have an en-suite but a bathroom down the corridor although it turns out that bathroom is just for me which was handy as after I’d had my shower I could hang all the wet clothes up in there.

My Radical Banana bags had not kept all the waater out. There was a small amount of water in the bottom of the bags but as everything in there had been wrapped in plastic it didn’t matter. I hung the bags on the bannister of the staircase to dry them.

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After my shower I noticed that the rain had stopped and as it was only half past two it was time to go and have an explore of Meersburg.

There were lots of really interesting fresh flower arrangements, placed on cut grass, in rectangles and circles all through the pedestrian precinct. They were something to do with the church, I think, judging by the symbols, but they were really interesting to look at and very colourful! I was subsequently informed that they were to do with a Corpus Christi procession.

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Interestingly, when I went out for my evening meal at 7:30pm all but the big circular one had been cleared away!

Meersburg is a very attractive place with its steep pedestrian roads, half-timbered buildings, flowers and of course the huge castle right in the middle.

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The road is so steep that after just a five minute walk from the side of the lake you get a pretty good view of it from above!

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I decided it was time for a cake and looked into a few cafés (there were plenty to choose from) eventually selecting a Butterplunder and cup of tea in a cosy café near the top of the hill. The Butterplunder (which was very tasty) was 1,50€ and they didn’t charge me for the tea (as I supplied my teabag). Bargain!20130530-202234.jpg

This is the ‘high street’ of Meersburg at the level of the lake.

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I walked along to the where the ships that cross Bodensee had their quays and wondered about maybe getting a ferry some of the way tomorrow. The forecast is for 44mm of rain (an improvement on the previously-forecasted 61mm!) and I need to get to Höchst in Austria (five miles past Bregenz) as I have a non-cancellable hotel room there.

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I went into the ticket office and the lady told me that I can get a ferry from Meersburg to Bregenz for 21,50€ including bicycle so I thought that sounded pretty decent. For an additional 4€ I can get on and off to explore places along the way (such as Friedrichshafen) but I’ll only do this if the forecast has improved somewhat.

The lady said that the cycle path between Meersburg and Friedrichshafen wasn’t very exciting but the section between Friedrichshafen and Lindau (which has several ferry stopping points in-between) was rather nice so I’ll think a bit more about it in the morning. Although it’s slightly cheating to get a boat, it’ll be fun to actually go ON Bodensee on my bike!

I walked up the hill again and had a closer look at this fantastic building (a private house) nestled under the castle walls. It appears to have a working water wheel hiding around the back!

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I then found myself at the Zeppelin Museum which chum Tony Simister had suggested on Facebook that I visit. So I did.

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The entrance fee was 4€

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The museum was a large room absolutely filled with bits and bobs about Zeppelins. The lady cashier, who was singlehandedly looking after the museum, got really excited when she heard me speaking German. She said how rare it was for English people to speak her language and that she was a bit wobbly in English. She looked like she could chat all day but I wanted to look round the exhibits so she took me to the little film section which had a film on Zeppelins. It was in German but I said that was fine (she was keen to switch it to English for me, but what about the other chap watching it?)

I’m fairly familiar with the story of the Hindenberg – who can forgot those pictures and the commentary by that American man so long ago – but I hadn’t quite realised that there were other Zeppelins that had successful plied the Germany (Friedrichshafen am Bodensee, in fact) to America and Brazil and Tokyo route many times. The Graf Zeppelin is the obvious example and the museum had loads of artefacts from it (I assume it was retired after the Hindenberg went pop).

They had plates and crockery and cutlery, all with the special Zeppelin logo, and examples of menus for the trip to the USA (Turtle soup, for example). There was a letter from a piano manufacturer in Germany who said that his grand piano on the Graf Zeppelin had covered 500,000 miles, multiple ocean crossings and had held its tune. There were bits of girder from the Graf Zeppelin, its radios and telex machines and more. All really interesting.

Of course there was also a section on the Hindenberg. I didn’t realise that a fair number of people had survived (how on earth did they survive???). I need to read up a bit more about it, I think.

After this I wandered to the Bible Exhibition in another building but it was 4:30pm and the Exhibition shut at five so it wasn’t worth paying the 5€ entry fee for just half an hour.

Another view of Meersburg’s hilly pedestrian area.

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The gate out to the main road where my hotel is.

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After writing up some of this blog I started to feel hungry so I went out to an Italian café restaurant. I ordered a salad but when it came it was surprisingly short on lettuce leaves – none!
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I was still a bit peckish after this so had a small pizza as well!

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I came back to the hotel and settled down in the dining room (desk for the iPad) and the hotel manager brought me a cup of tea (using my teabags, of course). There was no further rain this evvening so the forecast for rain all day ended up as rain from about 1pm till 2:30pm. Not bad at all! Here’s hoping tomorrow’s weather is better than forecasted so I can maybe do a bit more riding between boat trips!

Tomorrow evening I shall be sleeping in Austria!

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Filed under Cycle Tours, Cycling in Germany, Konstanz to Koblenz