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?
Close 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.
Tall 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.
The 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.
Steffens’ 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.
Always 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.
Really 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.
Mmmmh 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.
Old-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.
Pasta 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.
After 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