Bring on the Hills! - The Long Journey East - CycleBlaze

July 13, 2022 to July 16, 2022

Bring on the Hills!

Day 13
Had a hearty breakfast with Pascal and David, stocked up on sweet treats at the bakery and said my goodbyes before heading towards the black forest (on my bike this time). 

I had a bit of self doubt before reaching the big hills as my map said there would be 1300m+ elevation with inclines up to 20% and my bike weighs 40+kg. I soon got into a rythm though and (with the help of a huge German pastry) I was flying up the hill, only having to stop a couple of times for some necessary "photo breaks". I actually found the climb really enjoyable and the view at the top was stunning. 

700 vertical meters and about a litre of sweat later
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When I reached the town I succumbed again for a final slice of my favourite Black Forest cake and continued up some more hills with more amazing views. The descent took well over an hour and felt awesome (even though I took a wrong turning and had to cycle back up 15 mins).

Stopped Donaueschingen where I cooked dinner by the source of the Danube, a river I will most likely see a few times up to Romania. Couldn't find a stealthy spot on the racecourse to sleep (although I thought this would have been funny), cycled on to find a quiet field instead 

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Day 14

The next day I reached Bodensee, a crystal blue lake and an evidently proper destination for many tourists. It was Sunday as well which didn't help with the crowds. Had some nice interactions with people who were curious about my bike as I stopped off in a beautiful little town up a very steep hill. 

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Later on I met Chris, Micheal and Jörn who were on a tour though the Alps. Chris' girlfriend was joining them each evening in their motorhome and could carry everyone's gear. I was a little jealous of this following them up the hills but they had some much bigger days than me. We ate a delicious meal together and camped out next to an orchard.

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Day 15

We all cycled together down into Lindau where we said our goodbyes and parted our separate ways. I wandered around the beautiful city for a while before setting off into the Alps.

Eating onion paste on toast thinking it was peanut butter
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Farewell amigos
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Lindau
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On the way out of the city I met Bianca, she was on her the first day of her first tour and had the same route to me. We decided to tackle the first big hills of the Alps together in the mid day sun. The hills were tough but not super steep so we could ride pretty consistently to the top, taking a few breaks along the way.

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Benefit of cycling with someone - you have someone to take your photo
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We were starving by the time we reached the top of the second hill and stopped for a long lunch of bread and cheese with the stunning scenery to enjoy. We relaxed some more and I whittled myself a rough spatula to use for cooking whilst Bianca read her book, it felt so peaceful.

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We rode on downhill to Großer Alpse for a much needed swim and cooked up tofu, cous cous and vegetables watching the sun set over the lake. 

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As enjoyable as this was we still needed to find a place to camp as a thunderstorm was creeping our way. We had a few options, we could push our bikes up a steep hill into the forest, camp by a river 5k down the road or camp in the garden of a man we just met. As soon as we saw the first flashes of lightning we quickly decided option 3 and headed towards his address in the dark and rain. The danger of the storm was very exciting but we wanted to be safe to sleep, I had a scary experience camping in a storm at the top of a hill before and didn't really want to repeat this. After cycling up the steepest hill all day we made it and he even invited us to stay inside, we were so thankful for this and could get some rest. The kindness of strangers once again saves the day.

Day 16

Bianca left early in the morning whilst I had a fairly slow start after being woken up by the thunder in the night. Eventually got going and cycled in the rain to an Aldi where I ate outside on the floor probably looking very homeless. 

Some more big hills today with gradients up to 20%. I felt pretty proud I never had to get off and push but it was a definite challenge and I was drenched in sweat by the time I got to the top. The view from the top was very worth it, as was the hour long descent to the next town where I could stock up on supplies and search for a spot to camp near the lake. 

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Was getting pretty late so I decided to first cook dinner and then cycle on towards a beach I spotted on the other side in the dark. The camp spot was perfect, there was no one around so I could enjoy the whole beach to myself. I only wish I came here earlier.

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Today's ride: 305 km (189 miles)
Total: 1,117 km (694 miles)

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Sandra LawnHi Ollie
Enjoying following your journal from my armchair in New Zealand. Keep up the cooking photos and great stories about the people you meet and places you ‘end up in ‘ by chance.
Top tip, if your stuck, good drinking water can be found in cemetery’s, they usually have taps for flowers.
Cheers
Kiwi Sandy
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1 month ago
Ollie SpaltonTo Sandra LawnThanks Sandy! Really appreciate it:)
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1 month ago