June 3 – Biberach to Kißlegg
Today was beautiful, stunning, glorious, splendid…sunshine, scenery and snow!
We rode out of Biberach, continuing on our route towards Bodensee (Lake Constance) with a route plugged into our technology and route markers for extra guidance as well and we were on stage two of the suggested four stage ride to the lake. The sun was shining, we knew where we needed to go and we were off. Until…we stopped. Oh, the déjà vu of the day. A barrier blocking our path. Oh well, been here before, know what to do, just find another path to get around the blockage, no problem. Take 2…
We continued on, found another bike path and we were on track again. Until…we stopped. Yet another barrier blocking the path. Come on! This is stretching the friendship! We looked at the map, Steve consulted the GPS and said there was another bike path up the road, so we decided to ride to that and see if there was a route marker there to help us find the way. Take 3…
I rode on, saw the path, saw a route marker pointing towards the the first town we were heading for. “All good!” I called back to Steve, as I wheeled around the corner onto the path and, once again, we were on track and pedalling past some fields and on our way. Until…we stopped. Would you like to fill in the blank here? Do you know what happens next? I think you do! Yes, indeedy, there was another barrier across the path! This one wasn’t totally blocking the path though, so Steve didn’t even slow down and just said, with barely concealed frustration, “We’re going through this one!” And so we did.
All was fine on the other side and we actually passed a woman on a horse and a man on a bike, so I guess we weren’t the only ones to bypass the barrier!
Because we had detoured several times, we were now off course from the route in the GPS and mine was beeping at me madly, telling me to turn, then u-turn and then it gave up and just resorted to a slow, even beeping like an annoyed metronome, a bit peeved at being ignored. I left it to have its tantrum and beep away and we continued to follow the route markers and made it to the town we were aiming for. It was a lovely ride, on a quiet road, past fields, forests and the sun twinkling through the trees.
The guides for the Danube to Bodensee Route that suggest a four stage ride, give the end of stage two as Bad Waldsee. Well, we had arrived…at 10:30! Clearly a little too early to stop, so we decided to push on and do stage three today as well, but not before pausing in Bad Waldsee for a look and some elevenses. What a gorgeous little town. It was peaceful and quaint with cobbled streets and lanes, those lovely buildings and, we discovered, lovely people too.
We walked along the street, I’d stopped to take photos and I saw Steve up ahead in conversation with some men at a table outside a cafe. I heard Steve say “Bodensee”, so the men had obviously spotted the loaded bike and asked where he was headed. The older man, who was wearing traditional lederhosen and a cap with a feather, pointed down the street to indicate the direction we should head. By this time, I had arrived, in time to add thanks for the direction and the looks on the men’s faces when I walked past, said it all…”There’s two of them!”
We sat on a bench to consult accommodation options for riding on to another pit stop and while we sat there, an older couple came over and spoke to us. I apologised, gave my German explanation, that we don’t speak German and we’re Australian, but that didn’t bother this lovely couple one bit. They continued to talk to us in German, chatting away and we did our best to keep up. We obviously couldn’t understand all the words, but we got the gist of what they were saying and picked up a word here and there. It went something like, “Something, something, something, something, kilo, something, something, mountain bike, something, something, something, e-bike, something, something…” From this, we gathered they were commenting on the size of our load and the weight we were carrying, which we laughed and agreed, that we were indeed carrying a lot of weight. We think they were telling us the man used to ride mountain bikes and either they now ride e-bikes or they were telling us we need e-bikes. We agreed with them on that too, that a motorised bike would be very handy at times. The lady put her hand on my shoulder, in a kind gesture of encouragement for what we were doing and continued talking to us, at which point we weren’t able to grasp any of the conversation, so we apologised again. She smiled, said something that sounded like, it was alright, they understood and they both smiled and wished us well, which were words and gestures we could grasp and they continued down the street. It was another lovely encounter with friendly people, who are not put off at all by the fact we can’t communicate, they simply communicate for us and continue to be friendly and chatty. I just love it.
We then settled in for elevenses and as I was setting up the tripod for the daily photo, a man saw me, came over and through gestures and German, asked if I would like him to take the photo. I thanked him, showed him to what to press and click on the camera and so, today’s elevenses photo comes to you courtesy of a friendly, helpful resident of Bad Waldsee.
Because we’d been off course riding into Bad Waldsee, we’d ended up on a bike path beside a road, so for our ride on, we found our planned course to see if following it from now, would take us back into the countryside. Yes it did, and how! It was beautiful. We rode through rolling farmland, with green forest and fields and the blue of the sky and it was absolutely glorious. Of course “rolling” countryside also meant there were some hills for us to climb, but it was so worth it. It was hot, the sun was blazing and I was back in long sleeves, not for warmth but sun protection, because it was a scorcher and we were seeking shade whenever we could. It was brilliant! I don’t think we’ve ever ridden in heat like this and I think this is the longest stretch of fine weather we’ve ever had. It was SO GOOD!
We continued through farmland, then up some more climbs and we came to Wolfegg, which was another nice little town, that just happened to be at the top of a hill! We paused there for some lunch beside a pond, in the shade and we both said what a beautiful ride it had been so far.
Lunch over, on we went and the scenery continued. The green fields spread around us, rolling and waving and we could see the snow capped mountains in front of us. It was magic. All that was missing was Julie Andrews spinning her way towards us, with dress and apron twirling, in full voice, with the green hills around her and the snowy peaks behind. It was truly like riding through a postcard and we couldn’t help commenting aloud, “That’s pretty special.” It really was, it was definitely worthy of a classic musical number. The scenery was beautiful, the colours were vibrant, the sun was beating down, the snow on the mountains stretched across the horizon in front of us. I mean, it really turned it on for us today, it really did! If Dame Julie had been there…oh how perfect it would have been!
The roads we’d been on were quiet, single lane country roads with no traffic save for the farm trucks, machinery and ten foot hay wagons that passed us. The road wound its way like a thread through the patchwork landscape and we followed it, up and down, over hill and down valley and then into another forest.
As we came through the shade of the forest, we were again in bright sunshine and could see our pitstop for the day appear in front of us, the little town of Kißlegg, nestled beside a lake. We had completed stage two and three of our route and it had been absolutely magical.
What a super day. It took some grunt at times, with some climbs, but it was fantastic. We had glorious weather, beautiful scenery, more friendly people, quiet roads or traffic free paths, rolling countryside and snow capped mountains. It was so picturesque and stunning. Simply splendid. Tomorrow we ride on, aiming to reach Lake Constance, with more sunshine forecast…we are utterly beside ourselves!
With today’s hills and Alps and beautiful scenery, we dedicate today’s ride to the incomparable Dame Julie Andrews. Everything is ready and waiting. We have the back drop ready for you, we have the green hills to twirl on, we have the snow capped mountains to rise above you, we have the meadows to swish and spin through. It’s all yours. You’ll make it totally first class. It’s over to you. We’re ready for your close up Ms. Andrews.
Distance ridden: 55.1 km
Time in the saddle: 4 hours 1 minute
Weather: sunny, hot, 27C – we can’t believe it!