Monday, April 21, 2008

Eurovelo 6: The river Rhine

Rhine fall at Schaffhausen
I was supposed to meet Ursula in Basel but she cancelled in the last moment. I had not received her cancellation via email and waited around in Basel for an hour getting more and more worried about what had happened to her until I checked my email eventually. Shit happens, but I was not happy at all about that last minute bail out. Without Ursula I did not even have maps for the upcoming stretch, but luckily I could by the bikeline guidebook for the Rhine bike trail in Basel.

Stein am Rhein
After navigating through Mulhouse and Basel in one day I was fed up with big cities and continued straight on along the Rhine towards Lake Constance. All my romantic ideas of the idyllic river Rhine were awfully disappointed. The Rhine is heavily industrialized and stealth camping almost impossible. So were would I stay the night? I tried the German Dachgeber for the very first time - their American equivilant is Warm Showers. These are cyclists who offer a roof for other cyclists - there is a book with hundreds of addresses all over Germany. I called the first address and was immediately invited. I ended up in Bad Säckingen with a lady who normally rents holiday flats (Ferienwohnung) and she gave me one of them for free. We chatted the whole evening and a horrible day ended quite nice: In one day I got lost in Mulhouse and Basel, waited and worried for an hour for Ursula who never showed up for our meeting, ruined my brake and broke a spoke an my bike. At least it didn't rain too much that day. But after a nice evening with the Dachgeber people I went to the local bike shop, got my bike repaired, did a lot of sight seeing and life was good again. It didn't even rain that day at all.

Lake Constance
I continued along the Rhine passing the Rhine falls at Schaffhausen and pittoresque Stein am Rhein. The next day I met my former Swiss boss at Konstanz at lake Constance. It was quite a funny encounter. This guy only knows me from business life with me in a formal business outfit. And now I turned up with cycling shorts on a bike! It was a nice meeting anyway - he invited me for lunch and offered me a job. But after hearing about me future travel plans he realised pretty soon that I wouldn't probably take his job - and of course I didn't! The weather eventually became better that day so I decided to cycle around lake Constance (Bodensee) just for fun. It is not on the Eurovelo route, but I have never been in that area, so I just went for it!

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