Day 24 : Along the Bodensee coast road

I saw this picture in the hotel yesterday from times when one could land one’s plane in Lindau harbour. Looks like he’s just landed as he’s still in the cockpit. Also note the car heading out to sea.

image
Snow day

I’m pleased to report that the rain stopped sometime during the night and I awoke to a bright day. I made the most of the continental breakfast at the hotel then pootled around the island, before taking the coast road out.

image
View across Bodensee – that will be Switzerland in the distance

I found a bike shop and picked up a cheap pair of gloves. Not as much padding as the ones I had, but they will do. Even from just one day with no gloves my hands are sore. So gloves, for me at least, are an essential piece of kit.

Bodensee is famous for its apples. I cycled past lots of apple, pear and plum orchards today. I bought a kilo of local apples from a roadside kiosk, which will come in handy I’m sure.

It’s quite compelling to grab small opportunities like this when they arise. I have to travel light and enjoy taking the odd serviette, complimentary hotel toiletries etc for the journey ahead.

image
Apple orchard

I stopped off at a backerei in Friedrichshafen at lunchtime for a sandwich and coffee. Friedrichshafen houses a Zeppelin museum, since the original Zeppelin airships were developed here. Count Zeppelin is from Constance – a big town on the other side of Bodensee, which also gives it its English name Lake Constance.

Despite being very interested in visiting, I didn’t fancy leaving the bike and my tour belongings outside whilst I disappeared for three hours, so instead I popped into the museum shop and bought the comprehensive guide in English, which is tonight’s reading.

image
Zeppelin museum and child’s playground

The Zeppelin is referenced everywhere here from sculptures:

image
Zeppelin water feature

Through blimps..

image
The blimp is on the right. My thumb is on the left.

To guesthouses.. Graf Zeppelin aka LZ 127 circumnavigated the world (can you tell I’ve been reading the guidebook?)..

image
Sadly no references to the band anywhere

Navigation was easy today. I just followed the signs and kept the lake to my left. I happened across this mermaid painted hydrant which is a good match for the one last week.

image
Mermaid fire hydrant

Also grown here are grapes for wine, a glass of which I had last night with my dinner :)

image
A cool photo of a vineyard huh

At an appropriate point in the afternoon I set my satnav to find a campsite and left the coastal path. Navigation immediately took me up a long and steep hill, then onto what I think were logging roads through forest for about 3km. Tracks were rough going in places. Thanks Garmin!

image
This bit of track was OK. The last bit was downhill over very rough track and I was barely able to stop the bike. In equal measures enjoyable and terrifying.

Campsite just had enough room for a small tent fortunately. They didn’t have a shop, but they did offer pizza, which, after 80km of pushing my heavy bike around was once again very welcome.

image
House pizza

Lindau to Wahlwies, 82 km. Total so far = 1,998 km.

Day 23 : To Bodensee (in the rain)

Having had porridge and coffee I left the camp site at a reasonable hour, with the tent once again wet and muddy. No sun this morning – but that’s good cycling weather anyhow.

image
Utilising front and rear drying spaces on the über-bike

I made good progress in the morning and stopped off for an early lunch just after 12. Generally things on menus are quite descriptive and most of the time I don’t know what it is exactly that I’m ordering – but that’s OK because I like the surprise.. What I received was in effect a very nice fried breakfast.

image
Apologies for posting more food pics, but if you’re doing a bacon and eggs fry-up this is a good way to go

After lunch the weather deteriorated into a drizzle.  In good news although there were a lot of hills today, the majority were downhills with a few nice hairpin treats.

For the past few days the housing has been chalet style, often ornamented with large displays of flowers. Today I cycled out of the ski resorts towards Bodensee, and the houses are looking less ‘alpine’.

Virtually all houses have brightly coloured window shutters (always open). This one had black and yellow chevron shutters which looked odd.

image
In fact this house is very strange all over..

Shortly after that picture was taken, it started to bucket down. I took partial shelter under two chestnut trees for half an hour (one tree for me, another for the bike). It lightened a bit but didn’t look like it was going to stop any time soon, so I got on the bike and cycled on. It got very bad again very quickly and after unsuccessfully trying to get some shelter in a pine forest I found a bus stop at which to shelter. With the next bus due on Monday I made myself comfortable and brewed a coffee.

The weather didn’t get much better, but I did have a bit of phone signal at the bus stop and found a hotel on the island if Lindau about an hour’s cycle away, booked myself in and set off.

A pretty miserable cycle, but my gore jacket kept my top half completely dry and stopped the wind, so I wasn’t feeling too bad. Could have done with some gloves though.

I squelched into the hotel and made good use of the hot air heater in the bathroom to dry everything out.

I went to a Thai restaurant for dinner and ordered the ‘very hot’ fish curry to head off any potential cold, and am now in the harbour-side bar as recommended by the restaurant staff to write this blog.

Here’s a pic I took earlier of the Lindau harbour entrance. Note the wind and rain.. Fingers crossed for a brighter tomorrow.

image
Lindau harbour entrance – I was battling to keep the cheap umbrella I had just bought open at this point

Großer Alpsee to Lindau island, 68 km. Total so far 1,916 km.

Day 22 : Has anyone seen my glove?

So last night it rained very heavily pretty much the whole night. I made a recording on my phone (a decent digital recorder didn’t make the cut of things to take unfortunately):

The tent stood up well to the rain. The inner tent was completely dry in the morning, but the outer tent was soaked inside and out.

It had stopped raining by 8am or so (well just a light drizzle) so I got up and packed up the wet tent. Too damp to hang around for breakfast so I just got on my way as soon as I could.

The hills were covered with mist and cloud.

image
Dreary start

Things started brightening up within an hour or two. I thought best to keep on pedalling.

At some point today I lost one glove, so I’ll be stopping in at a bike shop for gloves and air at the next big town, which will probably be Lindau.

image
Romantic style castle

A very hilly route today – probably the hilliest – but all on good road surfaces, so progress wasn’t too bad. I reached over 1,000 m altitude too at this point:

image
High point

Around 3pm (I think) and well aware my tent was soaked and the sun was out, I decided to check in at a camp site that was en route.

With my tent drying really quickly in the afternoon sun, I took a break :)

image
Enjoying the sun

With no clean cycling clothes, I also took the opportunity to get up to date with my laundry.

image
Elastic washing line – good investment

A very nice campsite and the woman at reception kindly charged up my battery. A pizza and salad from the campsite for dinner brings today to a close.

Bannwaldsee to Großer Alpsee, 72 km. Total so far = 1,848 km.

Day 21 : Mountains beyond mountains

Good start to the day. The other camper at the camp site (also on a bike heading to Bodensee) had a problem where he couldn’t get his derailleur to shift to the largest cog, which I was able to fix for him. I’m sure he found this beneficial as the day went on and the hills got steeper!

image
Austria is the other side of those hills

After rolls with banana in my tent for breakfast, I stopped off at 11 for breakfast at what looked like a monasterial cloister. Everyone was drinking large beers, but 11 is too early for me, so I went for a pretzel and latte. The two don’t go. Lesson learnt. Should have had a cake or a beer.

image
Tasty pretzels and bad coffee don’t go

Another day with great scenery. Keeping the mountains to my left there were a lot of hills still.

image
A bridge, somewhere in Germany

I’d been recommended to try ‘haxe’ – a crisped pork knuckle – when in Bavaria and found my opportunity.

image
Bavarian lunch

Mixed-bag of terrain today. A lot of chunky gravel that I wouldn’t attempt on a road bike and a couple of river crossings. Brompton coping admirably.

image
Magic bike – stands up by itself

At one point my route took me to a closed gate and a crowd of cows looking like they wanted to escape. I had to lift my bike over the fence – no mean feat, it weighs about as much as one of the cows!

image
Cow possee

Nice weather when I was out today, but that was to change later.

image
Ahh – Brompton with mountain backdrop

There was a camp site on the route itself so I headed there.  Very large camp site with two restaurants. Other camper there was doing the Southern Germany route heading East and warned me of some big hills to come tomorrow.

image
Before the rain

As I was putting my tent up it started to rain. I went for a shower and when I came out of the shower block it was pouring with rain. I ran to my tent (a 2 minute run past all the caravans) and dived in.

It didn’t sound like it was going to stop any time soon, so I got out my stove and made 5 minute bolognase inside the tent.

A while later it did stop raining so I went over to the bar (the one that didn’t have a Bavarian oompa band) for a glass of red wine.

When I left it was torrential again. Another run to the tent, into less wet clothes and to bed!

Bad Tölz to Bannwaldsee, 88 km. Total so far = 1,776 km.

Day 20 : Mountains

Leaving Munich at lunchtime I worked my way to the Isar and then followed it South. There are many parts of the Isar that are used as a beach within Munich:

image
There’s also a stretch of the river with surfers

I stopped for lunch at a biergarten at a fish farm. The river next to the garden had plenty of fish:

image
Fishes

As I went further south, mountains appeared on the horizon, and worked they way closer.

image
Mountains!

I reached Bad Tölz around 5pm. It’s a pretty town, and judging by the cars and the poseurs in the high street cafes, it’s a wealthy town. I stopped off at an organic food store to pick up some groceries and beer.

image
Bad Tölz

Even the camp site is expensive – 14 euros – most expensive yet. For that I get a muddy bit of ground, but at least the tent pegs went in easy. Dinner was  ravioli with olive pesto all fresco.

image
14 euro pitch

Munich to Bad Tölz, 70 km. Total so far = 1,688 km.

Sat nav had plenty of issues today and also managed to delete half the route after crashing. Thanks Garmin.

Day 19 : Tourist / rest day

Today (Wednesday) I took a break from cycling so I could be a tourist for the day in Munich.

The day started with me breaking my glasses so I found an optician and in German explained I had broken my glasses and could she help me. She understood what I had said and was able to help. German speaking landmark success! And glasses fixed.

I walked over to the BMW museum and spent some time there. I think the 50s and 60s were the most stylish decades and I’d be happy driving any one of these:

14873773970_7cf376054f_z

15060073822_e0bd3ee9be_z

15060383465_d2d60d4a53_z

After the exhibition I toyed with the idea of buying a German touring motorbike which I’ve had my eyes on for a while, and riding that back, but I don’t even have my driving license with me, so that quickly put an end to that!

I had lunch and then went for a walk in search of art nouveau / jugenstil type architecture in Munich, following a guide I had found online.

15060494495_1db0745b23_z

15037503216_51d26e9efb_z

15060148602_4c8f088b4c_z

15060158592_05ed72f6df_z

Then on to see the Villa Stuck. An early 1900s house lived in by the artist Stuck. A highly decorative house that shows some of his art and also holds exhibitions.

I got talking to one of the gallery attendents who gave me a history of Stuck, a tour of his art, and some tips on where I should head on my cycling tour. Excellent stuff!

14873925440_864bcf7d8b_z

15057491001_2ec3ed6cf8_z

14873997087_14f88c75f0_z

14874006907_b68c5d18e3_z

14873828959_1d4e3b68ea_z

14873842219_05aa9e406d_z

15037574806_a396378ed3_z

After this I headed to an outdoor shop ‘Globetrotter’ to get a light long-sleeved top to protect against the sun / provide an extra layer for when it’s slightly chilly, and to get a sleeping bag liner and long-johns for those cold nights in the tent. It’s a huge store and even has a large pool in the basement where zou can try out your kayak.

In the evening I met up with Hilla and Greg and we ate at an Italian restaurant in Preysingstraße. For dessert I had kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce. Highly recommended!

Many thanks again to Hilla and Greg for their very welcoming hospitality and a couple of great evenings :D

Day 18 : Made it to Munich

After breakfast I got ready to leave. I topped up my tyres (Martin had an air compressor and line conveniently in the garage!) and had a fabulous sending off by the whole family, which was wonderful.

This point marks the furthest East I’ll be on this bike tour.

It had rained all night and during breakfast, but luckily stopped just before I left. I took the backroute along the river as sugested by Kim and Martin into Landshut, and took in the sights by day.

image
The town centre including town hall (tall brown building in the middle) and St Martin’s church on the right

I popped into C&A to see if I could find something warm to wear on the cold nights in the tent. Whilst in there I couldn’t help thinking the clothing range here must be different to the one in London.

image
Dirndls

The day’s route followed the river Isar all the way into Munich, so was pretty flat, but it was a wet gravel path, so not good for the drivechain, and not the most comfortable of long rides.

image
A lake on the river Isar

This fishery had placed lots of cans alongside the road.. I am not sure why. Perhaps they had been used as torches for a festival?

image
Fish cannery

I found the perfect spot for lunch (packed lunch by Kim – thanks again!)

image
Exclusive lunch spot

There were many short waterfalls on the way to Munich:

image
Waterfall

Occasionally the path would be blocked and I had to find other ways around.

image
Verboten!

It took a while, but I found Waldo…

image
Where’s Waldo?

And finally, I made it to Munich at around 5pm, so I pedalled slowly around the town for an hour to take in some of the sights briefly.

image
Central Munich

At 6pm I arrived at Hilla and Greg’s lovely place which is super-central in Munich.

They made me feel at home, and Greg cooked a wonderful thai-style chicken curry which hit the spot nicely, and we spent the evening chatting and catching up.

image
Hilla

I’ll be spending one more day here in Munich so I can take in a few sights properly, before heading back. But how to get back home?

Oberahrain to Munich, 97 km. Total so far = 1,618 km.

Day 17 : Quickly to Landshut

I packed up the tent, damp with condensation and got on my way, wondering at what stage a caravan with awning attached becomes a house with caravan attached.

image
Spot the caravan

Conscious of the fact I need to keep on top of my nutrition I spotted a quick way to get 4 of my 5-a-day.

image
Fruity cake with fruit tea

The scenery is chaning again with rocky outcrops appearing from the hills. In many instances this has been seen as prime real estate.

image
Hard work for the postman

My destination for the day was Kim’s house in Oberahrain, near Landshut. For some reason I thought this only about 40 km away, and had been taking the ride pretty leisurely, but looking at the map at lunchtime I discovered I still had another 70ish km to do – I had some pedalling to do!

image
Essing

So the afternoon was spent at a brisk pace, and breaking away from the scenic route later on in the day so I could get some quick miles in on main roads. I had some energy gels in my bag left over from a sporting event so decided it was a good time to use them!

I arrived a little late to a very warm welcome at Kim’s house. The kids have grown in size and number since last time we met! Martin had made a stew with dumplings which was exactly what was needed, and we spent time catching up.

image
Gifts for the journey ahead!

Later on Kim took me into Landshut for a guided tour, where we took in the sights of the elegant city by night, including St Martin’s church – the tallest brick built building without steel support in the world, the duke’s castle, and a festival. Even for a Monday night, there were hundreds out in the beer tents on the tables, most in traditional Bavarian dress.

image
Beer tent, feets on seats

Landshut is also famous for hosting a very large medieval festival every four years, next one in 2017, which I am assured has to be seen.

Many thanks for the wonderful hospitality :D

Irfersdorf to Oberahrain, 121 km. Total so far = 1,521 km.

Day 16 : Laundry day 2 – this time it’s persil-nal

Having spotted laundry facilities at the campsite the previous evening I decided I would take the morning off cycling to have some clean clothes to wear.

I soon joined back with the canal, which has some very large locks:

image
Big lock

I stumbled upon a busy backerei and ordered the ‘New Yorker’ breakfast which could have fed a family of four for a week. I ate it all (never knowing when the next stop might be..).

image
German village..

Today’s cycling was lots of hills, but none too taxing. Lots of gravel paths too.

image
Into the woods again

One village I went through had a volksfest going on – a beer tent, lots of food and lots of activity.

image
Festival time

Someone had got creative with this fire hydrant:

image
Happy hydrant

Weather was on my side today.

image
A German church

And some more creativity with these toddlers jeans:

image
Bloomers

I reached my destination campsite at a decent hour (the sun was still out!) And pitched my tent by the river. Then headed to get dinner at the campsite – currywurst and fries. Here in the South, the dialect is very different to the North and I find it difficult to understand anything being spoken. Managed to get my order in though :)

image
Currywurst

This campsite is popular for kayakers and hangliderers. You might be able to spot some in this pic:

image
View from the dining table

Eckersmülen to Irfersdorf, 56 km. Total so far = 1,400 km.

Day 15 : Through Nürnberg

Leaving the guesthouse, I set out to rejoin the cycle network.

I came across this peculiar work of art of a cyclist being bitten on the bum by what looked like a carp, and hoped it wasn’t a sign of things to come:

image
Carpe bottom

Many German villages and town have these totem-pole-like trees:

image
Very difficult to decorate tree

My satnav guided me through some nice forests:

image
A forest

Back to cycling along the canal.. No more hills for a while!

image
Rhine-Main-Danube canal

I reached Nuremberg around lunchtime. The old town centre was strangely quiet. I cycled around a bit and came to another part of town which was a bit busier.

image
Fürth

And found a place that served noodles and also provided shelter from the rain shower.

image
Oodles

As I cycled out of town, I found other parts looked very interesting, and realised I’d only seen a fraction of what it has to offer, but need to come back another time when I can do it properly.

image
Nürnberg bahnhof

It started raining again persistently. At one of the heavier points I discovered a snack in my front pannier that I’d bought earlier that day in case of such an emergency..

image
Tasty salty chewy bread snack

I cycled on for a few hours towards a campsite. I stopped off along the way at a supermarket.

At one point I saw a deer in a forest I was cycling past. I stopped the bike and went back, but the deer had moved on.

I arrived at the camp site at 10 minutes to 8pm, checked in, put up the tent, and went to the camp site cafe for a drink.

Markt Taschendorf to Eckersmülen, 110 km. Total so far = 1,344 km.