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Thursday, August 16, 2018

June 29th: Chur to Lindau

Hoping to avoid as much of the headwind as possible, we ate the 6:30am breakfast and got on the road at 7:50am. That early in the morning, the bike path was pretty and we even found a zipline pretty early!
Bowen complained that we weren't doing sufficient climbing, but I told him that this was where all the ziplines were. Also, that if we got to Lindau (which wasn't required), we'd traverse 4 countries today, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Germany! That got him to perk up, which was good, because otherwise, there's actually very little to recommend this ride. I've done it far too often, and usually it's in circumstances like this: escaping from the mountains into the low lands in anticipation of poor weather.
At the intersection with Landquart, I saw the sign for the climb up to Davos for access to the Fluela pass: it would climb 800m over the next 34km, very gently. But Fluela was out of the question (and if anything, the descent down to Landeck from Zernez would have even more headwind), so we kept going down river until near the border with Liechtenstein the Rhine river opened up and granted us what would be the same scene for the next 50km.
The nature of the Rhine river bike path is that it's pretty for the first 10 minutes and boring for the rest of it, especially in the direction of the headwind. At the Liechtenstein border, we switched sides of the river so that Bowen could say he'd traversed the country.
We tried detouring into Liechtenstein to try to get our passports stamped, but somehow missed all the signs to the tourist information office. I was under the mistaken impression that the post office could do it as well, but no, only the tourist information could stamp our passports. We gave up and kept going down river, against an increasing headwind, which bogged us down to a speed around 10mph.

At the border with Austria, we found another zipline playground, which Bowen thought was a lot of fun.
While Bowen played on the zipline I tried looking for hotels in the direction where we were going. Since our goal was the Lindau train station the next day, we could potentially stay in either Switzerland, Austria, or Germany and still be well within striking distance of the train station. Switzerland was so expensive it wasn't even in consideration. To my surprise, Bregenz was also really expensive, so that left Lindau, which wasn't much cheaper, it being a Friday night. We ended up at the Best Western in Lindau, mostly because it had AC and had really good reviews that claimed that it was nothing like any other Best Western you'd stayed at.
By the time we were at the Bodensee, Bowen was thoroughly bored, and didn't even want to take a picture. We rode through Bregenz, and saw a zipline playground, but it had as many as 5-6 kids sharing the zipline, and Bowen decided that wasn't even worth getting off the bike for. The headwind had died down by now, but we both had 70 miles in the saddle and just wanted off the bike, so we beelined straight for the hotel, stopping only to take a picture with the Bavarian coat of arms when we entered Germany.
The hotel wasn't very far from the border, in fact, and it was in a part of the neighborhood that didn't have access to the little island of Lindau. In fact, when we asked about places we could walk to for dinner, it was a 15 minute walk to anything except the McDonald's, which was practically next door. The number one rated restaurant in Lindau happened to be one of those, though, so we showered and walked over only to discover that the place was fully booked for the night, and even though no one had showed up for dinner yet they were not going to seat us, no matter how quickly we said we could be in and out.

We ended up at Restaurant Meblo's for dinner instead, which was attached to Hotel Nagel and served gourmet burgers. The hotel looked very well appointed and had a crystal clear swimming pool. If we'd known we would have stayed there instead, but perhaps it was already all booked on a Friday. This experience made me realize that I should look again at hotels in the Salzburger Lakes and Garmisch since tomorrow was a Saturday, and if we were going to stay at the Salzburg Lakes we'd have to ride from the Salzburg train station, and you do not want to arrive on a Saturday without a prior reservation.

The Salzburg Lakes proved to be surprisingly expensive. I double checked the weather, and the forecast was for it to start raining in the afternoon the next day, which would be exactly when we'd get out of the train station and would have to start to ride. Garmisch, however, turned up a guest house that would put us up for 3 nights for about 90 Euros a night, and had the benefit that a return to Munich was easily accomplished from there. I discussed it with Bowen and his preference was to stay in Germany anyway (for whatever reason he didn't like Austria except for Hahntennejoch and Landeck), so I booked the guest house in Garmisch. I remembered spending an off-site with Google Munich 10 years ago there, with a combination day hike with gorge walk and then a river rafting trip that was fun, so I knew there ought to be enough to occupy us for 3 days. And even if not, we could easily do day rides from the area!

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