Tag Archives: Stein am Rhein

Ko2Ko – Stein am Rhein to Waldshut-Tiengen – via Koblenz

I slept in a little this morning, not going down to breakfast until 8:30am.

On offer was the most sparse breakfast of this holiday (and in fact of any German cycle tour I can remember); just bread, cheese, two choices of cereal (both muesli), preserves, butter, orange juice and tea/coffee. One of the ‘breads’ I chose was a croissant, and on my other roll I decided to have some cheese (after all, that was the main option). It was proper Swiss cheese though – huge hunks you had to carve a slice off.

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Before heading out I checked my emails and saw one from a ICE rider’s newsgroup which said they were enjoying my blog and had put my photo on the front page of the Yahoo group. And so they had!

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I think they misunderstood my message to the group (which started ‘Grüße aus Österreich’)!

I settled up the bill for the room and the Strudel last night and then fetched Alfie from his overnight storage.

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This is today’s route:

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Off I went, enjoying the fact that it wasn’t raining! There were some mountains visible in the distance as I headed up (and ‘up’ it was!) to Hemishofen.

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As I was cycling along I heard an aeroplane engine which sounded very World War 2 to me. I tried to take a pic (not very good) but it was a twin engined plane. I saw it several times today so I think it might have been doing flying tours of the Rhine valley.

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I had taken the slightly-less-used north bank of the Rhein route for today; this route spent more time in Germany (cheaper food!) and also my planned stop in Tiengen needed me to be on the north bank. However I was in and out of Switzerland all day, crossing the border between Germany and Switzerland nine times in total. You can tell from this photo that I am in Switzerland because of the red cycle route signs; I find the red ones easier to spot than the German green-on-white cycle signage.

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After Hemishofen there was quite a long climb and I started warming up (I was wearing my windproof jacket which wasn’t 100% dry from yesterday’s rain, even though I attacked it with the hairdryer before I left). Then I reached a very sharp gradient up and the windproof had to come off!

The road surface now turned to the standard German off-road designed, crushed gravel, but a very light colour (which has made a right mess of my trike!)

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Still I quite enjoyed this bit of the ride as the woodland was full of wild garlic and the smell was heavenly!

After a couple of miles of this I came to a barrier and the path turned to a more earthy kind!

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This carried on for about a mile and then I was back on asphalt. I was glad it wasn’t raining as that would have made Alfie even more mucky.

I had a nice speedy downhill into the town of Gailingen which had the most wonderful wooden bridge.

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The bridge is actually the border between Germany (Gailingen) and Switzerland (Diessenhofen).

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I thought it would be nice to get someone to take a photo of me and so accosted a passing family to ask if they could take a pic. The young lad was game to have a go of my iPhone and so I posed.

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And this time with a church spire growing out of my head.

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I had a really nice chat with the family who were asking about my travels and then they said I could take a picture of them, so here it is.

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They were holidaying here from Kaiserslautern. When I said I couldn’t really understand the Swiss accent they saidd they couldn’t either. I gave them my blog business card and said they could have a look although they don’t really speak English so could only just look at the pictures really.

This is looking at the Rhein from the edge of the bridge.

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Having had an enjoyable 15 minute chat with the family it was time to get the pedals turning again.

The patches of blue sky were getting larger as I headed along to Büsingen.

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After about an hour and a half’s total ride time I reached Schaffhausen.

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I loved this speed limit sign for cyclists!

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Schaffhausen had a very attractive quayside with lots of punts you could hire although I reckon punting would be pretty scary with the speed of the water!

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I followed a group of other cyclists through Schaffhausen which was handy as there was an underpass to get under the main road and I think I would have missed it oon my own.

There were a few more ups and downs and then I reached Neuhausen which is the nearest town to the Rhine Falls.

As I approached Neuhausen there was some rather complicated signage which showed different ways to get the the Rhine Falls. In the end I saw that one route was preferable as it headed off to the next town I needed to go through; I think the other route would havee switched me over to the Swiss side (atlhough I crossed into Switzerland a mile later on the north bank anyway!)

The route had a very steep uphill and then an underpass below a railway line. The other side of the underpass was steps – I didn’t fancy them and found a lift that fitted Alfie in. It seemed rather random to have a lift for a cycle route, but there you go!

It was a long climb up at Neuhausen and then I had the most fantastic descent which tested my brake discs very effectively (yes, they do get very hot if you descent a 12% hill for half a mile and have to stop to avoid falling in the Rhine!!!)

And this was at the bottom of the hill:

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The view was fantastic and the noise very significant too. I’ve partially lost my hearing and white noise does terrible things to my ability to hear but the awesomeness of this made it not matter that I couldn’t hear anything else!

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There are people standing on that rock in the middle – a boat takes them to the bottom and they climb the steps. You can see the yellow boat in this photo.

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This is a view back at Neuhausen.

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I fancied a break at the Rhine Falls (and a chance to watch them for a bit longer as they were rather fascinating!) but the café had plastic-looking muffins and no exciting pastries so I went for an ice cream instead. As this was Switzerland this cost me 2,50€.

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Notice that the sun has bleached my eyebrows so they’ve virtually disappeared. Very uncool!

Here is Alfie enjoying the view. It took me a long time to get this pic as most of the time groups of Japanese tourists were standing round him looking and taking photographs.

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As I was riding along a German man ran after me, stopped me and asked if he could take a photo – which I was happy to grant. That hasn’t happened before!

Now it was time to leave Neuhausen and head off away from the river to Jestetten and Lottstetten. I had researched some hotels in these towns but the weather was good and I was making reasonable progress so decided to carry on to Waldshut-Tiengen. But first I had to climb the hill to the plain that Jestetten and Lottstetten are on.

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Leaving Jestetten there was a wonderful piece of newly-completed tarmac cycle path. It was so smooth!

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I arrived in Lottstetten and decided it was time for lunch. After Lottstetten I would be back in Switzerland for ten miles or so and wanted to make the most of the cheaper food. 5€ got me some asparagus soup (it is Spargelzeit!), a side salad and a cup of tea.

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After I ate my dinner I telephoned the hotel in Tiengen I thought was the best choice to see if he had any rooms – he had several, the cheapesst single was 64€ including breakfast and wifi. Sounded good so I said I’d turn up in three or four hours.

I cycled up another hill to reach Switzerland and went through Rafz. I liked this wood store under the stairs of this house.

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After Rafz I cycled through Wil at which point I thought there was a problem with my bike as I could hear a weird noise. My hearing loss means that certain sounds are very confusing and it seemed as though something odd was happening. When I stopped the noise continued and I realised it was ccrickets/grasshoppers in the grass beside the path!

There was a bit of on-road cycling through Wasterkingen at which point once again I changed countries and was back in Germany. I felt peckish so had the banana I’d filched from the breakfast fruit bowl.

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I now arrived at Hohentengen am Hochrhein which looked very quaint, although the official cycle route didn’t take us through the town.

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On the way out of Hohentengen I saw the obligatory cement factory; James has commented when touring with me that we always seem to see loads of ’em. Here’s a photo for James.

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I rode on, getting closer to Tiengen all the time. I climbed the hill into Lienheim and then enjoyede the downhill to Reckingen. I was making very good progress and started thinking about doing a small detour – to Koblenz.

At Rheinheim I crossed the bridge to the south side of the river. There were a lot of men in uniform from the Feuerwehr wandering around over the bridge – a look over the side and I could see that the gardens of some buildings beside the river had flooded and the Feuerwehr were trying to help. Good luck with that, the Rhein looks very full and fierce.

My plan was to cycle from this side of the river (Bad Zurzach) along to Koblenz and then cross the river to Waldshut. I had my Bikeline book which showed me the cycle path but I didn’t have a Garmin track for the route this side of the river and it proved surprisingly difficult to find the correct path. My GPS track of this bit of my day’s ride will see me going round in circles until I found one of the signposts.

We climbed out of Bad Zurzach through some new housing.

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The track followed the railway for a while, then swooped down into Koblenz. This is, of course, not the Koblenz where the Mosel and Rhein meet but a different one, a Swiss one. However I could theoretically pack up and go home now – but why on earth would I want to do that when I’m having such a good time?

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The Garmin has the track from Konstanz to Koblenz and look, it says I have 357 miles to go!

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I crossed back over at the bridge in Koblenz and headed off eastwards (back towards my starting point) to go to Tiengen. My detour added about six miles to the day’s ride but I had plenty of time so was happy to do it.

This was a very nice pedestrian and cyclist bridge on the way to Tiengen.

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I watched these chaps canoeing down one of the four rivers that makes up Tiengen (the Rhein, the Wutach, the Steina and the Schlücht).

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My hotel was in Bahnhofstraße which always makes it easy to locate – head for the railway and find the station!

The Hotel Bercher was very nice outside and in!

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I had enjoyed a good day’s ride – here are the stats from my Garmin in Imperial and then Metric.

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Alfie was stored inside a garden room which they weren’t using.

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This is my room which seemed palatial!

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It was so nice, in fact, that after my shower I went downstairs to check that it was the room I had ordered, the cheapest single room at 64€. The lady said they had put me down for an 85€ room but because I had said to the man on the phone that I wanted the cheapest room they would just charge me the 64€. Bargain!

As you can see, my cycling sandals foot tan is coming along OK!

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I had a shower and washed all my clothes as usual. It has been noticeable over the last few days (in Austria and Switzerland) that my hair is a lot nicer; there’s something about German water that makes it go lank and heavy. Now I’m back in Germany I’ll have to tie it up or put a hat on or something to hide it!

I was feeling really hungry so went out to search for food. Being Sunday lots of places were shut but I did find some Apfelstreusel. This and a cup of tea cost me 2€. Germany is SUCH better value than Switzerland!

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I then had a bit of a walk around Tiengen.

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This Christian bookshop has in the window… a bike!

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The Stork Tower.

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Saddly access to this woodwork staircase was shut off.
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After writing up some of this blog I went out for my evening meal – I had an absolutely enormous pizza!

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Followed by a crepe with banana and ice cream. They forgot to put the ice cream in it which I discovered after taking this photo so they then added it.

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It was then time to finish writing up this blog and check out some hotels for tomorrow. I plan to cycle to Basle but not actually stay there but find somewhere either before Basel (but in Germany) or after Basel (but in Germany). The forecast is overcast and 16 degrees but seeing as today’s forecast was for 4mm of rain and I didn’t feel a drop I’m hoping for blue skies and sunshine!

By the way, if you’re wondering why there are quite a few double letters sprinkled about the text, and sometimes double spaces, it’s because I’m typing this on a keyboard built into the case for the iPad. It’s not quite full size and it has a tendency to duplicate letters. I don’t want you all to think I can’t spell!

I hope you’re enjoying these reports – please leave a comment below if you feel so inclined!

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

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