Our Cycle Ride Along the River Rhine
Day Eight: Wednesday 3 August 2016
Diepoldsau to Arbon - about 46 kilometres
Robert roared off at a snails pace – albeit a fairly quick snail, which was something of a relief as us non-cyclists are more plodders than pedallers.
This was to be the first day of our little adventure that JP wouldn't fall off his bicycle. I was beginning to rename him 'Crasher Cook' as even when riding along a smooth flat road in a straight line, he'd somehow manage to fall off. After following him for some time I began to realise why – he was all over the road – anywhere from the middle of the road to the gutter. He just couldn't ride in a straight line! Anyway, today, almost stuck to the back wheel of Robert's bicycle and with me riding close behind him, he improved and never once fell off.
Crossing the River Rhine – again:
We followed Robert all day as he had a good SatNav and there were numerous navigational complications. Even Robert and his SatNav got it wrong once and we had to turn back in order to find the correct route. Robert had spent more on his SatNav that I had on our two bicycles and was far better equipped than JP and I in every respect.
Immediately after leaving the camp site, we crossed the border into Austria at the start of a burning hot day. We had a pleasant ride, crossing the Swiss-Austrian border a few times throughout the day.
We stopped at a supermarket in Austria, where things are a lot cheaper that in Switzerland, and Robert asked me to get him some tomatoes, bananas as baked beans. I also bought some milk, bread and apple cereal bars.
We continued for a few more miles until, in the distance, we could see Lake Constance. We headed off at a tangent as continuing to the lake would have taken us into a nature reserve with no way out onto where we wanted to go. Throughout the day we passed palatial homes, none more so that those overlooking the lake. There must be a lot of rich people in these parts as these places would all cost millions of pounds.
By Lake Contance:
We stopped at about 1500 hrs. at a campsite on the shores of the lake at Arbon where we had an expensive, poor quality meal.
Day Nine: Thursday 4 August 2016
Arbon to Steckborn - 52 kilometres
We cycled from Arbon to Konstanz where we had a short break before spending some time trying to find our way out. Once more, we got going in the wrong direction and had to turn back before finding then right route. This was another blazing hot day and we had another long way to ride.
We were determined to find the camp site in Steckborn where we'd all visited a few years previously on one of our 'grand tours'. We arrived at the site at about 1600 hrs. where upon JP went of to swim in the lake. Keeping him out of water is just impossible and this is his favourite site in the whole world! We'd made it with no serious navigational difficulties, to find Robert already on site. He'd left Arbon before we were ready and had also stopped for a break of about an hour in Konstanz.
Day Ten: Friday 5 August 2016
Rest Day at Steckborn
JP just couldn't get out of bed this morning. He said he wasn't ready to ride, so I left him sleeping and booked another night.
I spent a lot of time working on my computer and getting the blog up to date, processing photographs and uploading them to my back up on line storage.
We went shopping for food at about 1500 hrs. and returned to have a picnic on site.
JP and Robert intermittantly played Monopoly for some time which kept them both from getting bored. JP won, so that pleased him.
JP went swimming in the early evening – he really does enjoy this activity.
Day Eleven - Saturday 6 August 2016
Day Eleven - Saturday 6 August 2016
Steckborn to Jestetten - about 46 kilometres
Cold start to the day but the sky seemed to be brighter on the horizon.
Off we went into the cold and not long afterwards a sudden change in both direction and gradient of the path we were following nearly brought both of us off our bicycles and onto the ground.
This was the view from nearby where we nearly lost it! This shows the Western end of Untersee, towards Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhein was a very interesting place, which became even more interesting when some lunatic on some sort of motorcycle engine'd machine tried to run me down in the main street. JP was mortified - quite shocked. Luckily something told me that all was not well and I managed to leap out of the way. Apart from that, Stein am Rhein is a medieval town still in use in a more modern setting.
On the outskirts of Schafhausen we met an American from Oklahoma who was doing the same trip as us – he'd planned doing it in 17 days but was already a day or two behind schedule because of the climbs. He was travelling light and staying in guesthouses and had a lightweight bicycle. Talk about the hare and the tortoise!
At Schafhausen there is another of the famous wooden covered bridges over the River Rhine:
It was amazing to me, in view of the water temperature of the River Rhine, just how many people were swimming in the river - or at least, floating past us being carried by the current. People also bobbed past in rubber dinghies and other floating contraptions.
Further downstream, I believe it was at Gailingen we stopped for Crepes, served from a Citroen van:
We paid a visit to Rheinfall, the waterfall that moves the greatest volume of water flow in Europe. It seemed rather tame to me after seeing Niagara Falls
In the town of Rheinfall, we stopped for a break as it was quite a climb to get there. I sent JP into a restaurant that also sold Swiss chocolates. He chose what he wanted with great delight as he'd never had genuine Swiss chocolates before. He was SO delighted – thrilled to bits!
Out of Rheinfall, we had quite a big climb all the way to Jestetten, so we were pleased to arrive and get settled in on this campsite. Being worn out didn't stop JP from heading for the swimming pool, of course!
Day Twelve: Sunday 7 August 2016
Day of rest at Jestetten.
I decided we'd get going and get some more miles under our belt. In fact, we had already done some packing before I changed my mind and decided to have a rest day. At least, I did. JP, as usual doesn't know what rest is when there is a swimming pool available.
Of course, getting JP out of bed to start with wasn't easy - it never is.
Most shops in Germany are closed on Sunday's but I managed to walk to a Baker's shop nearby during the couple of hours it was open and get enough food to last us for the day.
I'd made friends with a delightful German couple the evening before, Patrick and Michaela. Their tent was next to ours so that was how we'd got to know each other a little. They also had a ten year old daughter, Leonora.
One of the first jobs on this Sunday morning was getting our filthy clothes washed. There was no dryer so, once they'd been in the washing machine, I rigged up a couple of washing lines and hung them to dry. It was a scorching hot day so they dried quite quickly.
JP, as always, made the most of the day in the swimming pool:
I adjusted the brakes on our bicycles as the cables had stretched - hardly surprising in view of the use they'd had in the mountains.
Later, in the evening, we were invited to have a meal with Patrick and Michaela. What a lovely time we all had. As the sun went down the temperature rapidly dropped and we all ended up with jumpers and fleeces on.
Day Thirteen: Monday 8 August 2016
Day Thirteen - Monday 8 August 2016
I was up at 0700 hrs. getting our things sorted out. I'd completed most of this task by the time JP awoke and I managed to get him out of his sleeping bag.
It was a cold start but was starting to warm by the time we were ready to leave at about 0930 hrs. By that time I'd already been to the pharmacy and bought loads of sun block cream which we applied very comprehensively as I knew we were in for a hot day.
We said our fond farewells to Michaela and Patrick and Leonora who were continuing to stay at the camp site in Jestetten.
They continued to wave to us until we reached the exit of the campsite.
Before leaving, I'd borrowed a map from Robert, who'd left without a word to us the day before, and scribbled down some rough directions that would, I hoped, get us to Waldshut, our destination today.
We followed the cycle path that threaded its way through picturesque villages and fields of sunflowers and sweet corn in the by now blistering heat. JP struggled to keep up with his old dad today, as I knew he would after his day of swimming. He kept asking me to set a slower pace and stop frequently.
We watched fascinated as a flock of Black Kites (thanks to Keith for identifying the birds) gave a group of crows a hard time.
We stopped for a bite to eat in Hüntwangen and sat on the steps of the store to have our picnic.
We got to Waldshut at about 1600 hrs. Once pitched and a little rested we rode our bicycles to a nearby restaurant / bar where we bought ice creams before we set off up a steep incline in search of a Lidl supermarket. We stocked up on food that would feed us that night and for breakfast the following day.
Day Fourteen: Tuesday 9 August 2016
Day Fourteen - Tuesday 9 August 2016
Waldshut to Rheinfelden - about 44 kilometres
Our aim was to get as far as Basle today (66 km) but we failed in that attempt as we were so cold and damp and fed up with the weather that we decided to call it a day when we got to Rheinfelden. Still, 44 km wasn't too bad a ride for the day.
This was to be another day where we kept crossing the German / Swiss border - and the River Rhine.
The town of Bad Säckingen was well worth a visit. It has the longest covered bridge on the River Rhine
It was on this bridge that JP was able to experience being in two countries at the same time!
There is also a beautifully ornate baroque cathedral.
We eventually made it to the camp site near Rheinfelden, damp, cold and tired. JP soon headed for the swimming pool - never too tired to have a swim. I headed for a hot shower and change of clothes. We sat and ate a Pizza and chips together whilst I got busy on the computer.