From Munich to Karlsruhe via train and a ride to Rastatt - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

April 25, 2024

From Munich to Karlsruhe via train and a ride to Rastatt

Finally, a little riding

And so it begins . . .
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This year our plan is to ride in France and Spain. We are meeting friends in Girona for an organized Trek Travel ride and then meeting other friends up in Paris to see some French Open tennis followed up by a ride in the Loire Valley. 

Since our bikes are stored in Munich this plan necessitates some train travel to get started. Our rough, delayed plane travel required us to get up on Thursday morning for a train to Stuttgart followed by a transfer to Karlsruhe and a ride to Rastatt.    Our 9:45 am train meant a bike ride to the Munich train station at 8:45 in 35 degree weather, which wasn’t great.  We had never ridden through Munich in so much rush hour traffic but the cycling infrastructure there is wonderful and the drivers are so polite that it didn’t bother us.  

We have a love-hate relationship with train travel which continued on this day. We found our platform but DB made a last minute track change and as I was staring up at the board trying to figure out the change a guy asked if I needed help- and confirmed that indeed the track had changed.  I obviously was exuding that common American cluelessness to which so many Europeans respond to so kindly.  He had a nice conversation with Dave — he had just been to NY City and Florida—and was excited to chat. We loaded our bikes successfully given it was a modern German train with only one step up and we had reserved bike slots.  Our train was a little late but we made the transfer in Stuttgart with the help of other kind disembarking  passengers who helped unload our panniers while Dave maneuvered the bikes out. The train from Stuttgart to Karlsruhe was a regional train, which means you don't have an assigned bike slot which simply added to our general train-induced anxiety.  Once again we had the usual confusion about which track our train was leaving from. (Train Travel Tip: you can never ask too many people whether you are on the right train.  On this occasion we asked three different people and got different answers) . When I boarded I more or less hipchecked a teenager out of the way who was slouched in the bike bay reading his phone. He gave me a minor glare but moved amiably enough. We sat across from an older German man who wanted to talk;  his English wasn’t good  (and our German is nonexistent) but we tried to be polite and were a little relieved when he got off at the next stop; otherwise it would have been a long hour's ride to Karlsruhe. 

People always start to talk to you about your trip when you’re on a bike and two different people asked Dave how old he was (he’s 74) — I think they asked in the context of being impressed with the projected trip. I hope so, anyway. 

At the Karlsruhe train station we stopped to find the bathroom and ate our sandwich which we had made from the breakfast buffet at the Novotel that morning. There was the usual minor drama at the bathroom — it cost a euro and we had no change and I couldn't get our credit card to work at the machine. It took three women helping me and finally the bathroom attendant to work through the problem.  Sigh.

  It took us 15 minutes to get out of the train station which sometimes just happens but we finally got on the trail for our 26K ride to Rastatt. The weather was chilly and windy  (high 40s F) and it spit a bit, but all in all not too bad. Today was a transitional ride with only a few beautiful landscapes — but we had a cycle trail most of the  time and pulled into our Ibis in Rastatt at 4 pm. We had the now-expected easy bike storage in the Ibis garage.  That night after cleaning up we walked across the cool Schloss Park to have dinner in the old town at an Asian place which was very good.  We split a spring roll and some sliced duck .

A few random snapshots from our ride through the Black Forest, on our way to Rastatt.
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  Today things went smoothly enough but we were tired and jet lagged all day and were glad the day was done.   Rastatt is not particularly noteworthy but made a suitable stop and tomorrow we have a bigger ride (60 k) to Strasbourg.    Onward.

On our walk to dinner in Rastatt.
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Today's ride: 31 km (19 miles)
Total: 36 km (22 miles)

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