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Posts Tagged ‘Sigmaringen’

Day 3 started out really, really cold. I practically flew down the hill on which the youth hostel was situated to get to the river. I stopped every 500m or so; to make sure my bags were securely fastened, or to take a picture, or to look intensely of something. See the gallery below for some of the products of my attempts to avoid freezing to death.

I also saw my first non-captive swan.

Yes, I barely avoided frostbite. Nevertheless, I soon starting sweating under the jacket. What a strange sensation! Finally, the weather cleared up and I’m glad to report that the rest of the day was fairly sunny.

Cycling lets one see pretty much all the smaller cities along the way. Needless to say, this results in a criss-cross pattern rather than a straight line – this day leaving me with 30km more on the odometer than planned. (On arrival at the youth hostel, my odometer stood on 230,66km). Trouble is, too, that I tended to lose my way whenever I reached a city. The bigger cities proved to be more problematic, of course, but even small cities could throw one off the track. I lost my way in Riedlingen (which is, apropos, a breathtaking city) and this resulted on me having to drive on the highway.

Driving with a bicycle on the highway in Germany is not a good idea.

In fact, it is as scary as it is dangerous. Luckily the stretch between Sigmaringen and Ulm wasn’t that busy, but it was a hair-raising experience nonetheless; especially around the numerous sharp bends in the round. Finally, by chance, I stumbled upon the marked trail of the Donau Radweg again. From this point on it was thankfully mostly downhill. That is, until I got to Ulm, where the youth hostel is situated – oh, why! – on a hill. I struggled up this one, but threw in the towel when I was not even a quarter of the way up.

As we say in South Africa, I was totally paste. Yet, I wanted to see Ulm – so I bought a bus ticket and ventured into the city. I still had an hour or two of daylight left, so I walked around quite a bit. I stayed until after sunset, fighting off the urge to go sleep in the youth hostel – I was here, after all, to see places. (See the gallery below for some pictures of what I saw.)

I might have had the fitness of a relatively relaxed tree sloth, but I was as hungry as a wolf. My post exercise fuel intake included a Döner, a McDonalds burger (Fail!) with a big packet of chips (Fail!), a big packet of chocolate raisins and – I can’t remember what I still had left in my bag, but that was definitely consumed as well.

Exhausted, I managed to make my way back to the youth hostel and totally snubbed the people I shared a room with by going straight to bed – and falling asleep instantly.

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Thankfully, it didn’t rain on my second day of cycling. This isn’t to say it wasn’t wet – I was carrying my own little portable ocean in my shoes – and I had to negotiate some pretty awful terrain. Well, OK, saying I “had to” is in fact a disguised way of seeing I got pretty lost. Of course I had Google Maps to guide me, so I at least travelled in the right direction, but I wasn’t really following any road as such. Which kind-of led to this:

Somewhere between Singen and Sigmaringen

(In case you were wondering, that’s a corn field just next to a golf course. And yes, I was under live fire.)

The Google Maps application, when set on “roads”, also does not take into account any canals, or streams. Which meant I either had to ford it, or drive along one until I found a bridge – which sometimes took quite a while!

Finally, I got back on a tarred road – after about 20 kilometers of bundu-bashing. And got lost again, spectacularly:

At last I got to a point where there pretty much was only one road leading to Sigmaringen – and was, of course, confronted by a yellow sign reading “Umleitung“. I had a vague idea of what that meant, but decided to ignore it – as if by claiming linguistic ignorance I could avoid the blocked road. But my metaphorical bucket didn’t hold any water, unlike my shoes. So I had to take an even longer “Umleitung” – which resulted in me cycling about 15 hilly kilometers more.

I took two long breaks: one break to eat lunch, which I bought the day before (bread and cheese),Lunch break!

the other break because I was totally tired and simply couldn’t cycle any more. I simply got off the main road, stretched myself out on one side of a side-road running parallel to the main one, looked up at the sky, and dozed off. At some point a car passed; I turned my head and there was it’s wheel, close enough for me to touch it – don’t know what the people must have thought. If they thought I was dead – they were not far off.

When I got up, finally (at least I had only about 15km left, and about 3 hours of sunlight), I was rejuvenated enough to at least reach Sigmaringen – but quite unprepared for the fact that the youth hostel was pretty much situated on top Mt Everest. There was no one there, too; everything was locked, so after just sitting around for a while, I went back to the city, to see one of the most amazing castles:

Schloss Sigmaringen

After panting my way up The Hill again, I pretty much passed out in the youth hostel. Luckily, I was the only guest in the whole hostel, so I received a leader’s room with my own shower and everything!

My odometer was standing on 116.18km. About 25km more than I expected to cycle that day. The next day was supposed to be 80km – but at least I was done with hills, for the moment.

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