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Final rehearsal succeeded

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Vivi­ane: “The Danube cycle path turns to the left“. Stef­fen: “You mean the Lake Con­stan­ze cycle path”. “Ah, yes.”

This con­ver­sa­tion happened at min­im­um ten times dur­ing the last two days. So Vivi­ane had already the world trip in mind. How­ever, only the rehears­al was announced for this week­end: one time around Lake Con­stance — 220 km in 2 days with 12.5 hours of pure pedaling.

We star­ted on Sat­urday morn­ing — the first stage took us along the Aach. This springs a few kilo­met­ers from Sin­gen in the largest spring in Ger­many. Incid­ent­ally, part of the Aach water comes from the Danube — so per­haps because of that Vivi­ane had the Danube Cycle Path in her head the whole time.

We rel­at­ively quickly turned our backs on the green-treed Aach and passed the Swiss bor­der (incid­ent­ally without Vivi’s ID, as we found out back in Sin­gen). The illeg­al immig­rant put on a brave face and was velo­ing on her velo on the velo path (velo is the Swiss name for bike). The first few miles went smoothly- no com­plaints, little talk.

We crossed the Rhine in Stein am Rhein and rode across Switzer­land to the Rhine. Yes, exactly, we veloed from the point where the Rhine flows out of Lake Con­stance, up to the point where the Rhine flows into Lake Con­stance. We were thus able to exper­i­ence the Alpine Rhine near Alten­rhein, the Seer­hein in Lake Con­stance and the High Rhine in Stein am Rhein. The Rhine 3 in 1 — and only a small piece of the total 1232km from source to the estu­ary. With this length, the Rhine is only half as long as the Danube. Btw, who would have guessed that I could men­tion the Rhine 13 times in just six sentences?

Rhein AltenrheinClose to Alten­rhein the Rhine flows into Lake Constance

Des­pite the recom­mend­a­tions of bike tour guides we didn’t ride clock­wise around Lake Con­stance — we go against the tide! So first through Switzer­land (72km of shore), then Aus­tria (27km) and finally through Ger­many (173km). How­ever, on the Lake Con­stance cycle path we rode rel­at­ively along the shore of Lake Constance.This prob­ably much nicer route is reserved for hikers and flora and fauna.

In the shore area, many strict nature reserves (in Ger­man: Naturs­chutzge­biet or short NSG) are des­ig­nated, which provide a per­fect hab­it­at for many migrat­ory and breed­ing birds, rare plant spe­cies and any­thing creep­ing and crawl­ing in extens­ive reed car­pets, wet mead­ows and ripari­an forests. One of them was e.g. the nature reserve Erm­at­inger Beck­en, in which, depend­ing on the water level, up to 40,000 water birds and waders can be spot­ted.

Ermatinger BeckenTall but­ter­cups dressed in reeds served with a tree-trio – a feast for the eyes in the nature reserve Erm­at­inger Becken

Cramped between rails and road, often without see­ing Lake Con­stance, we veloed on per­fectly tarred roads in racing-bike-speed. Luck­ily we came every now and then through really idyll­ic vil­lages with beau­ti­ful half-timbered houses, pom­pous man­sions and cute castles. It would be amaz­ing to own such a prop­erty! Above all, the small details have brought us to stop and dream, like this dragon guard­ing one of the most beau­ti­ful half-timbered houses in Switzerland.

DrachenburgThe Dragon Castle in the spa town Got­tlieben — a blessed and well-guarded place

Even the bloom­ing apple trees were a real eye-catch­er. Flower Power en masse! As soon as you climb the moun­tain, you have a won­der­ful view of Lake Constance.

Panorama Bodensee SchweizStef­fens’ wide view over the Untersee or “Lower Lake”

Thanks to the excel­lent sign­post­ing with yel­low bicycles at our feet and red signs over our heads we could not get lost. Data roam­ing is any­way not recom­men­ded in Switzer­land — as many had to learn on their own account. In addi­tion, the GPS device that we tested wanted to guide us to the main road and beeped almost con­tinu­ously. It was funny at the begin­ning, but at some point we just silenced the mis­guid­ing system.

Beschilderung SchweizAlways fol­low the red signs — at least in Switzerland

In our brief snack break in Roman­shorn, we were on the lookout for the low­est point in Lake Con­stance. Unfor­tu­nately, we were unable to detect the 254m below-sur­face loc­a­tion — the GPS device also couldn’t help, although it almost soun­ded like a sonar.

The big shock came after more than 115 km of cyc­ling: The eco-camp­ing site “Mex­ico” in Bre­genz was fully booked! Even the own­er, who just opened the site 36 hours ago, could not fore­see that. After some search­ing, we decided to take our chances and cycled a few more kilo­met­ers to Lindau. There we were able to put our tent up legally.

Zeltplatz LindauReally chic our Hubba Hubba

After a large por­tion of pasta with tomato sauce cooked by our gas cook­er and the oblig­at­ory round of yatzhee we quickly went off to the land of dreams.
On Sunday morn­ing, after an opu­lent break­fast, we stroke our tents and set off to the second stage.

Frühstück LindauMmmmh oat por­ridge — our new favor­ite food

First, there was a bit of sight­see­ing on the timetable: medi­ev­al walls in the his­tor­ic island town of Lindau. The Bav­ari­an jew­el accom­mod­ates dec­ad­ent hotels and ornate build­ings. We espe­cially liked the old town hall.

Altes Rathaus LindauOld-fash­ioned graf­fiti — the sprayed Old Town Hall in Lindau

Enough pot­ter­ing! We con­tin­ued our way on the old­est cable sus­pen­sion bridge in Ger­many, which is already in oper­a­tion since 1897. We made a short detour to the nature con­ser­va­tion cen­ter Eriskirch­er Ried. The Eriskirch­er Ried offers between the end of May and mid-June a blue flower-sea caused by the Siberi­an iris. It’s a pity that it’s still April! But the liv­ing bee colony in a shelf and inform­a­tion about the under­wa­ter world in Lake Con­stan­ze made up for that.

In a park in Friedrich­shafen, in the shad­ow of a palm tree, we almost felt the Medi­ter­ranean flair and allowed ourselves a shortly longer break. Super­vised by the ser­i­ous look of Kais­er Wil­helm, we cooked our second ration of pasta with tomato sauce.

Mittagessen FriedrichshafenPasta with tomato sauce — favor­ite dish num­ber 2

Back on the wheels and after ped­al­ing through hun­dreds of col­or­ful manikins in lucent pink, bright green or blaz­ing yel­low suits, con­ges­tions caused by thou­sands of fam­il­ies and retir­ees, and fil­ter­ing through tens of thou­sands of tour­ists, we were a bit bugged. That’s why we wel­comed the coun­try road after Lud­wig­shafen over the fields back to our home in Singen.

Kurz vor SingenAfter 210 km almost back in Sin­gen — still look­ing good.

Our reflec­tion on the rehears­al: Des­pite the top weath­er, the tour was mixed — both phys­ic­ally and men­tally. So a real rehearsal.

What was good? Cyc­ling is a lot of fun for both of us — it’s almost med­it­at­ive. In addi­tion, we mostly agreed which way to take.

What can be improved? Our equip­ment is not per­fect and our stam­ina, too. The 220 km have giv­en us sore muscles.
We are happy to make the small improve­ments and are look­ing for­ward to our little adven­ture at the begin­ning of our big adventure.

#Lake­Con­stan­ze #cyc­ling #Lindau #adven­ture #roundtrip #vaude #leafand­sea #naturer­eserves #naturer­eserve #sun #sour­muscles #sun­burn #pasta #camp­ing #tents #rehears­al #equip­ment #worldtrip

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