Rain, rain, it went away - Swiss roots but no Large Hadron Collider - CycleBlaze

August 10, 2019

Rain, rain, it went away

Along the Rhine from Stein am Rheim to Rheinfall

Raindrops on rooftops
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I was awakened to the sound of raindrops on my windowpane. I love that sound until I remembered I had to ride today. I don't necessarily hate cycling in the rain and typically opt out of a club ride on a rainy day. Bicycle touring on an organized tour is a different story. You need to ride according to the tour schedule, and I did.

Diessenhofen across the Rhine
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My bike passed through the Stein am Rhein town gate with a light rain. The scenery continued to be quite nice along the Rhine. If you know me, you know I am an amateur photographer. I caught sight of a beautiful town across the Rhine about 10 kilometers out of Stein am Rhein. It was very photogenic. Better yet, my touring companions remembered that I pedal for morning coffee and pastry. They were game for a slight diversion. 

Diessenhofen, Switzerland
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Soon I was pedaling across the Rhine on that covered bridge and up the hll into Diessenhofen. This was another of those storybook Swiss towns. My bike hones in on the town coffee shop. It was a delightful shop full of locals with Swiss pastries and lattes. I loved that the owner placed a tray of pastries on the table for us to select our guilty pleasure. As he said, "This is how the Swiss do it!"

Schaffhausen, Switzerland
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The rain subsided as I pedaled out of Diessenhofen with a caffeine and sugar rush. I pedaled into Schaffhausen in about 10 kilometers. The cycle paths in Switzerland are pretty good. There is a mixture of paved and gravel trails. Most of the roads I cycled today had marked bike lanes and traffic that respected cyclists. 

First view of Rheinfall
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I veered off course for a couple of times in Schaffhausen. The tour provider maps lack detail in these larger towns. The Swiss bike route marking is pretty good. I relied mostly on the bicycle tattoos on the roads with arrows.  The route into Neuhausen was confusing and unfortunately described in text only in my tour packet. They need to add insert maps to the guide. It was not self explanatory. A Swiss local stopped his car and asked if we were headed to Rheinfall. He directed us on the final kilometer. 

Heading into the base of the falls
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Rheinfall was a worthwhile destination that I highly recommend any cyclotourist in the area visit on tour. The falls may not be as tall and expansive as Niagara Falls but they were amazing. The volume of water cascading over the falls was thunderous. I was fortunate that Radweg Reisen included a boat ride up to the falls, somewhat like the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. Even better, it was the deluxe tour that deposited me in the midst of the falls on a rock that had steps to the top with a  commanding view of the falls up close and personal.

Hell yeah! So worth it.
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My companions and I cycled back to Schaffhausen for lunch/dinner. We were disappointed that almost all restaurants in town were either pizza or Italian. We settled on a Tex-Mex restaurant, an interesting choice while in Switzerland. It definitely did not quite understand what Tex-Mex was. I ordered the deluxe enchiladas. I received a chicken burrito that had traditional Tex-Mex flavors but included broccoli and carrots. The server verified that it was an enchilada. Parsley was substituted for cilantro. It was pretty good.

Passing back through Schaffhausen
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It was an easy ride back to Stein am Rhein. The advantage of a round-trip is that you have found the correct path on the way out and just need to retrace it on the way back. This was another beautiful ride. The miles were short, about 20. I had no problem filling the day with fun excursions, coffee, pastry, and wonderful views. 

Parting shot from Schaffhausen, Switzerland
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I am going to close this post by talking about how helpful people are on a tour. I found myself looking at maps along the path/road. Usually, a local approached me and helped direct me the right way. Language can be somewhat of a barrier, but that is overcome in many ways. In Schaffhausen, an elderly lady was cycling by. She saw our group, most likely looking pretty tourist like and lost. She not only gave us directions, she cycled to the town's edge and showed us the way to the falls. People always amaze me on bike tours. Seldom are they mean or impolite. They are usually helpful, friendly, and love to talk to cyclotourists.

Tomorrow, I return to Konstanz on the opposite side of the Rhine.

Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 56 miles (90 km)

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