2 Day “Tour de Bodensee” (GER/CH/AUT)

Located in the south west corner of Germany lays the Bodensee, the biggest lake in Germany and third bigghest in Europe. It is a popular trip for a multi-day bike ride and for the birthday of my brother, I invited him to ride with me for two days. BRO TIME! 🙂

Facts:

  • Circumference: 273 km
  • Surface: 571 qkm
  • Deepst point: 254m
  • Last time completly frozen: 1936
  • Due the length and the curvature of the earth, you are not able to see the other side from east to west
  • There is no border between Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Every country has the same sovereign power
  • Six different regions are making wine around the lake
  • Every third apple from Germany is grown in the area

Itinerrary:

Since I live 35km south of train, we planned to start from my place. My brother came the day before and we set of in morning. The only overnight stop we did in Konstanz (GER), since we could stay with at a friend.
The second day, we rode till Lindau, stopping on the way at many great coffe shops and parks. My brother headed back to Munich from Lindau and I completed the tour.

As you can see on the map below, we decided to take the ferry to cross the lake at Konstanz. This is popular shortcut, depending how much time you have. The ferry runs every 15min and its 5,25€ per person&bike

Map

Day 1: 104km Salez (CH) – Rheineck (CH) – Konstanz (GER)

We left my apartment at 10am after a energy filling pancake breakfast 🙂 The bike path along the Rhein, which flows into and out of the Bodensee is perfect for the beginning. After 1,5h and 40km, we finally arrived the lake. With that, clouds were also rolling in from the south and it quickly started to drizzel and then rain. Good for us that I have planned our first stop at my favorite coffee shop in Switzerland: Maillardos What makes this place special is, that the owner roast his coffee himself and all the utilities are in the Coffee Shop. A real coffee expert, you can ask him anything!

With set out again with our rain gear on. It still rained down and we did our best to keep us warm by riding. My brother was not so happy about the current conditions and since we had time, we decided to take another break for a warm meal/drink an hour later. Sadly, the place we stopped has no food since they were preparing for dinner tonight but we could have tea and eat our own food 🙂

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While refueling with warmth and calories, we realized it got brighter outside and the dark rain clouds dissappeared with with every minute. The forecast also projected no more rain till Kostanz 🙂

With 45km more left, we went back on the road, which followed through 2 bigger cities at the lake and later through farm fields.

Since our snacks from before were not filling enough, we decided to plan one last stop before arriving in Konstanz. Passing through a little town, I heard brass music from a garden of a restaurant and I thought that might be a fun stop. Sadly, the restaurant didnt offered any food due the private birthday party but after a few minutes the waitress asked as to follow her to the kitchen. There were still left overs from the dessert buffet and for a reasonable price, we were allowed to take as much as we want 🙂

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Probably not the most filling meal but it definetly kept us going for the last hour!

With the sugar rush, the sugar train went back out on the road and after an hour we crossed the border into Germany. Konstanz is a popular tourist stop in this area. A big old city, the lake and many little shops gives it a great flair. My buddy Lars, who met on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), and have been hiking last year welcomed us and after a nice warm shower we had a fun night with a REAL meal, beers and billard 🙂

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Day 2: 100km Kostanz (GER) – Lindau (GER) – Bregenz (AT) – Salez (CH)

At 10:30am, my brother finally woke me up. He decided to head to bed after playing billard and Lars and I went into the old town for a couple more drinks. It was great to catch up and talk about our futuer plans since I am leaving Switzerland again. I guess we came to the conclusion to again hike the PCT, lets see when that happes 🙂

We thanked him for his hospitality and continued to the ferry. The 15min ride was perfect to have a quick breakfast and soak in the SUN! Yes, SUN! The forecast was right and we had beautifully sunny weather which made really nice to ride the last section.

On the other side at Meersburg, we biked relaxed through the cute old town, passing by many tourist eating icecream, sitting in the sun with coffee and, like us, enjoying the wonderful day.

It was already 1pm but we were not in a rush, since the section to Lindau is only 50km long. We stopped once to ride out on the pier, that I can take my time to meditate 🙂 and of course another stop at a quiet restaurant, which have been recommended by a friend:
The “Eulenspiegel” is social model club and restaurant, where members get together for events, local products are being sold in a shop or used for the restaurant. Off from the main sqaure of Wasserburg, it is a little oasis where you can peacefully sit in the garden and enjoy a homemade apple-ginger-drink and tasty cakes.

 

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We were almost at the end of our trip together and let it roll for the last kilometers to the Lindau Island, my favorite town during my tiem spending in this area. The island is party of the city and around 75% of the buildings are built in middle age style. Beside the Mediterranean flair, the views over the lake with the moutains in the background, you will find as well small homemade stores, a high quality of food and friendly people. Since it is as well a popular tourist spot, I prefer the “second row” of the town, away from automated coffee shops and mass baked cakes.

And it would not be my favorite town if there werent a one of my favorite coffee shops I have been so far in my life, the Cafe Collodium.

Are you looking for an oasis for a short or long while? In between on vacation or in well-deserved free time.
Read the newspaper or a book in peace, meet with friends, philosophize about life.
An oasis for connoisseurs who seek the real. Far away from the hustle and bustle, a loving atmosphere awaits you. Small and comfortable!
We are passionate about caring for our guests and offer carefully selected coffees, chocolates, teas and home-baked cakes. In addition, we bake freshly prepared Dinnete in the stone oven before your eyes.
Guaranteed everything in loving hand and fresh ingredients prepared with high quality ingredients!
With a warm “Grüß Gott” we welcome you and promise you enjoyable moments here with us in the Café Collodium in Lindau.

(Cafe Collodium)

It was the perfect finish of our trip together. We enjoyed our coffee and a delicious tarte Flambee (a type of pizza) and let pass by our memories of the past two days.

As I went inside to pay, I thanked the owner of the shop for all the times I had hear and his enthusiasm for coffee and dedication to give the guest a memorable experience. (I just remember the one cold fall Sunday, where I took the train to Lindau, walked in my warm hiking gear along the pier, watching over the the rough sea and retreat into the warm cozy coffee shop for hours. He asked my about my plans and later told me, that this part of his life is also going to end by next month. His health has suffered from putting to much from him into this shop and someone else is going to take over the coffee shop. What a coincidence that we both are moving forward.

It was already late afternoon and before saying goodbye to each other, my brother and I went to the pier for a last picture. I am really proud and thankful of my brother to come with me and share the memories of this trip 🙂

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I wasn’t sure if I take the train or bike back home till then but I knew, I want to finish and complete the circle. So I got back on the bike and went south. I had no rush, I had still around 50km to paddle but I told myself to enjoy every meter. I stopped for a while to sit in silence and thoughts at the shore, listening the small waves breaking and feeling the sun on my skin. I asked a person with a big backpack if he is on a long distance hike and it turned out he walked from Munich to Lindau on the Camino the santiago. It was his first time on a multi day walk and I asked about how he is feeling taking time it. He answered in joy about the quiet times, being aware of the nature but also in pain of his feet (I could feel him so much). I offered him an apple as trail magic but he declined kindly.

I continued and reached the intersection where my brother and I turned left the day before. In quietness and positive solitude, I congratulated myself to the correctly circuited the lake. But this was never the goal I thought, my joy and minutes sharing it with my brother was a thousand times more life-enhancing. I thought back to the PCT, where the huge goal of truh-hiking it is constantly in the conciseness of each hiker. For a few it is the main goal but what you are earning and developing mentally is so much more.

The sun is already hiding behind the mountains in the west as a keep riding south. I passed my old apartment, where I lived the first year in Switzerland and am on the way closer and closer the my actual, temporary home. The mountains get closer as the blue sky turns to a salmon pink due the sunset. As the sun sets, the moon rises. I looked to the east, wondering for a second what bright light lies behind the mountains. I was already biking a bit fast to get home and finally change in warm comfy clothes but as I get the first glimpse of the moon, the whole word froze and I stopped. Everything was still, I ignored the sound from the highway nearby, ignored the cold temperature on my skin and just watched the moon slowly rising over the mountains.

In thoughts about enjoying every moment, every second of my life, I started on again, slowly and without like and let the light of the sun reflected by the moon lead my way till I reached my home.

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