Monday, October 03, 2016

2016 Tour of the Alps: Bschlabs to Heiligenberg

Rain and wind blew through when I opened the window in the morning, forcing me to close it right away. "I guess this is not the day to ride Klausen pass." Looking at the forecast, it wasn't going to get better over the next few days, so our tour of the Alps was over.
Well, the good news was that there was a tailwind headed towards the Bodensee. As a result, backtracking Northwards didn't feel difficult at all. The miles that felt like a drag the day before flew by, and before long we were past Liechtenstein and in Austria, where we found a lovely zip-line along the bike path.
As we approached the Bodensee, however, the weather got better. The sun started breaking through, and we managed to have lunch along the lake in the sunshine!
We knew going in that the Bodensee typically has far better weather than the rest of the Alps. That's one of the reasons it's a prime cycling destination for the 3 countries that border it. Despite knowing all that, it was impossible for us not to come up with a conspiracy theory to drive us away from the mountains. We pictured Angela Merkel's German meteorology service: "Ve vill forecast rain all the time in the Swiss Alps. That vay, the tourists vill not spend their money in Schweiz. They vill come to Germany instead, and spend their money here! Bwahahahahaha!"

Well, at Lindau, a thunderstorm passed overhead and granted us a bit of rain, but it lasted for only all of 5 minutes. We found the bike path and rode along it until we got to Friedrichshafen, where the Zeppelin museum was. I asked Arturo if he wanted to stop here, but he shook his head: "The museum's closed for the day anyway, and it won't open until tomorrow at 10:00am. I doubt you'll have the patience to wait that long." He was right.

We looked at again, and the cheapest hotel that was in the direction we wanted to go was Heiligenberg. We booked the place and started riding. Within 2km we ran into a recumbent cyclist who said he was riding to Markdorf, where he lived. Since he was a local, we immediately followed him as he led us through winding paths at speed. At Markdorf, he gave us directions on how to find the bike path to Heiligenberg, which turned out to be fairly easy to follow.

With a name like Heiligenberg, you'd expect the place to be on top of a hill, and you'd be right. The hotel turned out to be a fancy place which was having a discounted rate for us for whatever reason. The restaurant was good, but after dinner we walked around and discovered cheaper restaurants in town that would have served just as well. We found a castle in town, but it wasn't open to visitors.

Looking at the map and the weather forecast, it looked like we should stay in Germany for a couple of days. Tomorrow looked like a nice riding day still, but the day after looked horrendous. Arturo had been to Baden-Baden a couple of times before, and thought that the baths might be a great day to spend a rainy day. So the goal was to head to a train station that would take us there in reasonable time tomorrow, and then we'd be in place for the baths. After that, I would head north towards Frankfurt while Arturo would take the train back to the Bodensee and ride back to Zurich to catch his flight to South Africa. It looked like a great plan. The last time I visited the black forest, I had no idea that Baden-Baden actually had baths!

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