Today after about 19km of riding time we left Germany. If you read the last post I was not expecting the ride to be much different. I could not have been so wrong! As soon as we crossed the border we were given hills on each side covered with alpine trees and the beautiful natural smell of the pine. The river was a pale blue and we kept on reminding ourselves of the little stream it started from in the Black Forest of Germany, not far from a little village called Triberg.
Now I know why a lot of people start the tour in Austria, the path is all tarmac, still away from traffic but the surface is stepped up. In Germany it was like a canal path for a lot of it and it was harder going on the folding bikes. When we got to Austria’s tarmac though we were flying, not even the electric bike brigade could come past us.
You may ask was it worth the trouble getting to Triberg by public transport to get to the proper source of the river, I will say damn was! You can not experience the geography and the scale of what happens in the beautiful planet of ours until you see the effect of the surroundings as you ride along.
The Bromptons have come into their own since we got to Austria, we overtook the people on the campsite that left an hour before us which gave us a rite buzz.
I am so surprised by this trip. It has everything to offer to people who appreciate nature.
We have seen herds of deer, bevy of swans and goats. Today we had our tea at a traditional hangout, fischenof. We had freshly barbecued mackerel, chips and bread and it was lush. Washed down with some traditional ales and we were well happy.
The good news is Rachael is already talking about our next tour, so it can’t be that bad 🙂
We got up out of our tower after a really nice sleep. We woke up at about 0600 and went to pay a visit thinking we would be the first up, but these Germans are early risers and the shower block had quite a few people pottering about. After fixing Rachaels tyre (it had a piece of glass stuck in it) we left the site at about 0900, a bit later than planned. The temp was showing as 37 degrees on the Garmin in the shade it just felt like it was a blow torch on your back in the sun.
It was a struggle to get to the place where we get the little boat across to the other side. The boat is the best way as the river as cut a vertical route through leaving no room for a bike path. So you would have to detour to by-pass the gorge.
When we finally got to the place where we got the boat, we were struck by the complete beauty, there were people swimming and paddle boarding, but it was so quiet and not busy or tacky at all. It was the perfect place to stay for the day, but we had to get the boat to get to our digs. It was a bit of a challenge lifting the bikes in but people were there to help and other cycle tourers were taking their bikes as well so I did not feel I was causing any problems. Just before the boat came a French couple that were also on bikes jumped into the river, I thought I am having some of that. I wish we could have stopped there all day because as soon as you left the water the blow torch was on full blast. The French guy told me that the water temp was 28 degrees!! but it felt cool in contrast to the crazy temperature out of the water.
When we got off the ferry we went to a bike shop for some supplies and the guy behind the counter said their summer is normally 28 degrees. That temp sounds a lot better hat 36 degrees. He also said that it is not cooling down at all for the forseeable future. It is making the riding really difficult and other tourers have said they are not getting the kilometres done that they were expecting to do each day! I am happy that it is sunny, but a tad bit cooler and I would be happier.
We did end up doing just short of 60 km today and stopped in a beautiful town called Kelheim. It really is nice. We had some food at a greek place and now I feel stuffed. I broke the diet today and had a pastry mid morning and an ice cream on a walk to the bike shop. We are taking showers whenever we pass one or jumping in the river if a place allows. I would sum up our progress today as “Just getting through it”.
As I know from doing this kidda thing for the last decade, getting to an awesome place with a bike is probably the most challenging bit. Riding the route you have planned is the reward for all the effort.
We set off this morning at 0510 and got the train from Sowerby Bridge at 0545 to Manchester Airport. As we had a big box we bypassed the massive queue and Ryan Air Checkin and was told to go straight to the front, bonus! Our plane was delayed by about 30 mins, but we had a nice breakfast in the airport so no worries. We landed at about 1500 local time.
When we landed in Stuttgart we then had to get a taxi from the airport to the train station. As we had the Bromptons we did not need to wait for the train that I had booked with cycle carriage. We could jump on any train we liked!! This would have saved us ab out five hours, but we missed a stopped and had to do a bit of back tracking, so in the end we only saved a couple of hours, still a bonus.
As the train was getting closer to our destination in Triberg the scenery suddenly changed. If you have not been to this neck of the woods, sorry forest, Black Forest. You need to get here quick, it is beautiful and amazing!
Our total journey consisted of: Taxi, train, plane, taxi, train, train, train, train and taxi. But it was sure worth it. We got to our hotel and it is a rite old traditional building. We got here quite late 2100 so they did some quick and easy bites for us, a couple of G&T’s and an apple strudel with vanilla sauce. Feeling proper sorted.
Just time now for a shower, as we have been given a free ticket from the hotel to walk up to the highest waterfall in Germany. So that is the plan for tomorrow morning before we set off on the route.