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Posts Tagged ‘Singen’

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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As the train rolled into the station at Konstanz, I finished reading the last page of the Terry Pratchett book that I was reading on my Kindle. Yes! I was about to embark upon my very first week-long bicycle trip in Europe – from Konstanz, on the edge of the beautiful Bodensee, where Germany rub shoulders with Switzerland, right to the other corner of Germany, where it touches Austria. Why? Simply because I had the exact amount of necessary time, a bicycle, and the required amount of Wanderlust.

In case my finishing a book at the exact moment of arrival at Konstanz Hauptbahnhof might seem like a wonderful auspice, I should introduce in the narrative two facts as counterpoint: 1) it was raining. 2) I had the chance of getting off at Singen (Hohentwiel) – I even considered this, but then again … what would be the point of traveling all this distance and then NOT seeing Konstanz or  NOT cycling?

Stupid mistake.

Except for about 20 minutes, the rain came pouring down the full 34,67km to the youth hostel. The little that I saw of Konstanz, though, was worth it – so too the road along which I cycled to get to Singen, although I had to stop intermittently and check my position on Google Maps to avoid cycling more than I have to in the wet cold. (This had to be done crouching with my upper body over my phone so as not to get it soaking wet.)

Still – I was there! I was finally doing it! Just me and my bicycle, fitted with panniers and a campus laptop bag (that doubles here in Germany as my … well, just about any use you can think of for a bag). The air was ablaze with promise – and, did I mention the rain yet?

I was thoroughly DRENCHED when I arrived at the youth hostel. By this time, I was pretty much transfixed by the water spouting up from my front wheel, which was visible in the glare of my bike’s lamp, hoping that there were no potholes in the road, which was not visible. My waterproof jacket was holding up pretty good; my waterproof shoes – well, they were waterproof, true, but they were filled up from the inside by the water streaming in through my socks, which pretty much served as water conduits. Moving around was pretty much accompanied by a slosh-slosh-slosh sound. The challenge now would be to get the water out of them:

Luckily, I had the whole room in the youth hostel to myself – so I could fully unpack everything. At least everything was in plastic bags – I did at least beforehand contemplate the idea that it could rain. By the way, this is what I took along:

Still, if this was going to be as wet a trip as this day would suggest, I was pretty sure to bail out. 30km isn’t that bad – but the next day, the plan was to do 70km. More about that in the following post!

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