Day 15: From Lake Constance up into Bavaria
Thursday July 11 - Day 15 - 40miles - Total 607miles
We started our morning, waking up in our favorite home-away-from-home, our tent in the campsite in Bregenz, Austria; where we had set up yesterday evening. Everything was dry and ready to pack... except for the bird crap all over the fly and some of the laundry we had left to dry over night... not cool. We had to deal with that before showering ourselves, packing up, and heading out. We stopped at a Lidl (discount grocery store found all over Europe) to pick up supplies before heading off into the foothills of Bavaria. Germany and Austria have this great seeded bread, that can only be called sturdy (even by Scottish standards) and this stuff is good! Only issue is that a bread weighs over a kilo (about 2 lbs), so a lot of extra weight on the back of the bike. But it's worth it for the energy content, and with a little cheese and pesto... voila! Lunch!
We followed the lake front around (very pretty and pretty touristy) but when we stopped for coffee at a place that looked open, we were stymied by the fact that they were not, in fact, open... This is not good, it was getting around the time when Andrea gets very grouchy if the caffeine hasn't hit the system yet... but soon we found a very classy campground (we're talking BMW and Mercedes in the parking lot) with a canteen that sold large coffees. Realize that a large (gross is the German word for large) coffee here is smaller than a small coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, but this stuff packs a punch! Little did we know that we had bought our coffee in Germany, without knowing we had crossed the border!
Soon we found the bike route, the Bodensee to Konigsee Radweg, and we were off towards the Alps.
Okay, so we were on a bike route... but this bike route was unlike any other we have ever come across. It seemed to find every hill and 12% grade from Lindau to OberStaufen. Realize that a 12% grade is challenging to walk up, let alone haul 50-60lbs of gear up on a steel touring bike. It was killin' us! We were huffing it up these hills in 1st gear and still had to take breaks. "Alright... (deep breath)... lets make it up to the next bit of shade up there... k?.... okay...."
At the "top" of one hill we took a break under a little church on the hill , ate some more alpine strawberries, and cheered on the cyclists who passed by. Little did we know, that we were actually only about a 3rd up that hill and there was a 14% grade near the top. We reached the top a long while later... that was one of the more challenging things I (Andrea) have ever done. A little bit down the other side, we reached cyclist Shangri-La... Stiefenhausen... a perfect little town with information, food, water, and an icy cold fountain fed by the alps. ahhhhhh... We refueled, cooled down, figured out where we were going and back up again...
Several more hills later... and later in the day, we saw one of the same cyclists (a speed racer on a light weight racing bike and spandex) who we had cheered on earlier. He was one his way back up and over the same route we hade just come from. He saw us and cheered "Well Done!" in a funny little accent... in that way we don't quite hate speed racers quite so much anymore... just a little bit less though... we really just want to give them all a pannier or two and see how fast their flimsy little carbon lightweight bicycles do under the strain.. he he he.. yeah we have time to think about these things... Looking back on it he obviously knew what we were getting ourselves into even of we didn't because he was heading back that way for the same punishment again.
At about 7pm, we were getting on shattered tired... so started the infamous "Search for a Hotel" for the night. This was a fairly touristy area, so it wasn't hard to spot them... but it was hard to spot one that didn't charge more that 100 Euros/night.
Andrea went into the first hotel and she asked how much for a room for 1 night for 2 people... and their response was... "What season?" . Needless to say, that hotel was WAY out of our price range. A few more ins and outs of hotel lobbies later we found Pension Wagner. The woman who ran the place, was a kind old German woman who spoke a little English. We caught her at the least opportune moment, she was on the phone and alone and the door bell was ringing. But once she showed us to our room, we were fine... we tried a red and a white (rot und weiss) wine from the Bodensee (Lake Constance) area out on the patio and watched the two Maine-coon cats that run the house, play in the backyard. We went upstairs, did some laundry and made dinner out on our patio with out camp stove and supplies from the Lidl this morning. Sleep was easily upon us in beds covered in while linens and puffy duvets. Hard day... Perfect...
The World is Ours!