Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Days 10-15: a summary

Day 10. Zurich. Rest Day (15 km light ride)
Schwarzenbach, Zurich
Slept the same as previous nights, not too deeply but woke well rested. Used a foam roller on my thighs in an attempt to loosen them up - ouch!
Cycled into town from Jan's house and walked around town, generally being quite lazy today.
Spent the afternoon reading at the local swimming pool. Dinner was locally-sourced ham, homemade breadrolls, Swiss wine and homemade ice-cream.
Feeling very relaxed at the end of it all

Day 11. Zurich - Walensee (89 km)
Jan, my Zurich host, warned me that the temperatures would be rising this week, and this morning was the start of it. Luckily s
pent most of the day riding along the shore of Lake Zurich, but by lunchtime the heat was kicking in properly.
Beautiful scenery and campsite location not bad either. Not many people camping, but mozzies
out in force again. Nice sunset but missed the full moon, was asleep.
Went over the 1000 km mark today,  1011.6 km so far.

Day 12. Walensee - Lindau (92 km)
Hotter day than yesterday, stopped at Sargans castle before heading up the Rhine valley towards Austria and Lichtenstein.
A proper headwind was blowing and did I mention that it was hot? Jeepers.
Had lunch in the shade on the Austrian border and got an email from dad saying that his dad had worked in Varduz for a time, before heading to South Africa.
Lindau lake shore
Quite a boring stint on the Rhine today, nice mountains to look at, but not much else of interest.
Decided not to do a Cat 1 climb into the mountains, but instead opted for the beach and a swim in Lake Konstanz. Long weekend so campsite was absolutely rammed! Cycled into Lindau for dinner, saw another amazing sunset and came back to camp for another swim.

Day 13. Lindau - Fussen (103 km)
Tea and maps
Hotter day than yesterday, which was hotter than th
e day before. I am getting used to the heat now, but it is still energy sapping. Drinking loads of water.
Left campsite and went straight up a wall to the top of Eichenberg, which site close to 1000m above sea level. Sweat pouring off me on the climb, and it was only 0930!
Stopped at the top to admire the view, and to drink water, and was promptly invited to have a cup of tea by some locals.
I gladly said yes and was soon seated in the shade drinking tea and talking about Cape Town. I also got a map from them, which gave me some nice options for the day.
I left them and was soon rolling up and down the alpine foothills that reside in the region. Didn't have my climbing legs with me today, which was a shame, as there was heaps of it to be done. I walked a few climbs today, my legs just not having it, but I eventually made it to Fussen.
I left camp at 9am and arrived in Fussen at 9.30pm!
My longest day so far and another VERY FULL campsite.
Stats show that I climbed 1968m today.

Day 14. Fussen - Landsberg-am-Lech (73 km)
Interesting fact: Hitler was in prison here for a time.
Another hot day, and very tired legs from yesterday's climbing. Landsberg looked good on the map, so a shorter day was on the cards, with tomorrow being a rest day.
Stopped for lunch in Schongau, had a nice Schnitzel in corn flakes. Slightly rolling day on the road, but nothing compared to yesterday. Legs seem conditioned but are still very heavy on big efforts. rode most of the day along the Lech river and watched massive thunderclouds building all around me. Humidity is rising and the mozzies are back, braver too, as they are biting me while I am still moving! They got so bad I had to eat dinner in the tent.
The route I am currently on is called the "Romantic Strasse" and includes some of the oldest, and best preserved, towns and villages and castles in Germany. It runs from Fussen in the south to Wurzburg in the north.

Day 15. Landsberg-am-Lech. Rest day.
Rest days. I love rest days. Especially when they are nice and hot and windless.
I was at the local pool before 10am, paid my 4 euro entry for the day and was soon in the water.
It is quite nice to have no pressure to get on the bike, and to just laze about instead.
Have said I would sort out my Jekyll and Hyde pedals (they are dry and squeak when I clip into them, but only ever on one side of the pedal, spinning to the other side sorts the issue, they need lube) but that can wait, this pool and beach is too good. As is the book I am reading.
Watched the Champions League Final in an Italian bar, rain and thunder and lightning crashing outside.
Cycled back to the tent in a gap in the rain and watched a spectacular lightning storm from my tent.

Days 16-end coming soon...

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

An update from the road

It's has been an interesting past few weeks, and there has been so much seen and done and eaten and drunk.
I have met English, Australian, German, Swiss people on the road, and have enjoyed each meeting as they have come with the added value of helping each other at times.

First was the German, who appeared and disappeared in the same fashion - quickly and quietly. He told me not to take the 
main road to Koblenz, but instead directed me towards a quieter and more scenic route. "You will share the road with motorbikes only ". Which I did.
Maps and tea
Flowing streams, bird song and wind in trees for 25km downhill, passed only a few times by motorbikes. What a suggestion.

A few days ‎layer, as I was ascending from Lindau on Lake Konstanz to Eichenberg, I heard brass band music coming from around the corner. I stopped at the top of the climb (+-800m) and some locals explained that this was a high catholic holiday and that each town will have similar celebrations throughout the day. They then said I was having tea with them, which I did. Maps and sweets and chocolate come my way, as did their stories of their time spent in Cape Town. They sent me on my way with good wishes and a good map.

Thomas, Ali and Yoshi  -great company
This week I met 3 Germans on my way out of Nördlingen, who, like me, had spent the night in the YUTA hostel, drying out and warming up. The previous day had been crazy, lightning overhead, heavy rain and a cold wind. We got talking about Surly, and my route and why they were doing their ride.
They had 4 days off, and each year had gone cycling somewhere. I had met them on day 3 and stayed with them in a random shelter in the middle of nowhere. Beer stops every hour were required (with cigarettes). UK was nice to have company and local knowledge while riding through some pretty amazing countryside.

In Nördlingen as well, at the same hostel, I overheard some Aussies talking about their day, and where they were likely to be heading tomorrow. The guys were both wearing their green jackets, and we soon got talking about where we had been and where we were going, all the while being fed bread and cheese and cucumber.
I was heading north, they were heading south, along the same route, so we exchanged notes and set off. (I hope all goes well with the rent of the trip).

I have just parted ways with the Germans. They needed to go back home tonight, so I am now on a train to Frankfurt ‎in order to launch my assault on the Rhine tomorrow, heading up toward Köln for the weekend. 

As always, this is just a brief overview of what has been happening on the road‎, more stories will be told in the near future.