Day 10: Sigmaringen to Ehingen - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

March 28, 2019

Day 10: Sigmaringen to Ehingen

It was fun to look down from our window this morning and see that a market was being set up below. On the other hand, there was no reason to be buying anything, because of the great breakfast supplied. We rated this one 8.5 on the "revised" Jammer scale. It achieved this despite having only three large pots of jam. But it did have most everything else, including scrambled egg made to order, and yogurt just stuffed with either sour cherries or strawberries.  There was packaged yogurt too, and in fact I am just about to open a "chocolate" one that somehow migrated to my handlebar bag.

Sometimes as a tourist it's easy to forget the effort and expense that has been put in to making the facilities we use so great. The hotel Traube here is beautiful, but some photos on the wall show the effort needed to get it this way:

The hotel before renovation
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Lots of work to get it the way it is today
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We breezed out of town, with a glance back to the castle. Only on a longer tour might we consider actually going inside. In fact, we might be too superficial of visitors to ever do that. 

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Once out of town, we confronted a head wind that was to challenge us for the whole remainder of the day.  Although to be sure we are using e-bikes, we chose ones that offer only the bare minimum of assist. I like to say that their effect is to convert a loaded 60 pound bike into something like an unloaded 35 pound bike. Riding a 35 pound bike into a wind and up hills for six or seven hours is still pretty tiring!

The map of our route shows a lot of towns along the way, but really the photo below represents best what the ride looked like. Of course, you need to add in the invisible brisk and cold wind.

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Even though it did feel like the day was spent out in the never never battling wind, there were of course those cute towns. Take Mengen, for example - what a lovely place.

Mengen, so beautiful
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We broke for lunch in Riedlingen, another town with lots of great fachwerk houses. Sitting by the rathaus, I had the chance for a closer look at one of these things. Since it was downtown, with a bank in it and not a private house, it was on the large side. Large means it was about 60 feet on a side, giving it 3600 square feet per floor. The first few floors of the seven in total were full size, after which the building tapers to a point. I would guess its overall square footage at 15,000. That's a big, big house!

Between the towns, once again, there was not so much of interest, although it's always fun to watch the swirling Donau, and to try and guess if Passau or other downstream towns are being flooded. Don't want to bore you, but this photo below is also a good representation of our day:

No, I did not lift this from Grampies in Saskachewan!
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I am not being totally fair, because there was some action on the bird front - mainly storks. The storks must have a pretty wide range, since they are also much in evidence as far away as Koln, where stork dolls are much sold.

Storks are iconic German birds.
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Stork nests are found on top of many buildings
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On the edge of many fields we noticed blinds - little huts you climb up into. We were speculating on what one would spot from such a thing when we noticed the pheasant pictured below. Could that be it?

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Little snacks salvaged from breakfast were helpful in keeping up our strength in the wind. There was one little chocolate cake in an annoying static-y wrapper.  But I noticed it had layers, so I asked "Is this a torte?"  "Yes", replied Dodie, "A pop-torte".

Half a pop-torte!
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Laurie Marczakzinger - nice one mom.
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3 weeks ago

One other topic from along the way concerns "bibers" (beavers). We feel that Europeans are obsessed with bibers, both claiming there are a lot more than we think there are, and warning about the dangers of falling trees, or undermined roads. As Canadians, we have no fear of beavers. In our heritage,am fond of saying, we will turn them into coats and wear them to a football game, and then we will eat their tails!(especially at Byward Market in Ottawa).

Beaver habitat along the Donau
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Where did they go to hire this model?
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Scary?
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Ok, here was at least one beaver!
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We'll eat his tail! (With chocolate and banana).
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The outskirts of Ehingen, as with many towns, are not so pretty and often have quite high traffic roads. But even in this case, we were not really on road duking it out with trucks. Dodie again scored a hotel right downtown, but it may be that Ehingen does not quite have a great old town. We will see more tomorrow, though we may just bolt out the other way. We hatched a plan to leave the main Donau route and to follow the Blau Tal - the valley of a small stream that heads over to Ulm.

Our hotel, the Stern Platz, anyway seems really good, at least in that the room is very big and with many plugs, and the check in was lightening fast. We're glad, because it will allow us to collapse and recover from a pretty tough day!

Outside Ehingen - a bit tough to navigate
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Downtown may turn out to be plain
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A long sleep is just minutes away.
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Today's ride: 76 km (47 miles)
Total: 354 km (220 miles)

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Jacquie GaudetWe weren't impressed with the section of the Donau Radweg we rode in 2015, from Günzburg (which looked interesting, but we didn't stop) to Donauwörth.

Prior to that, though, our friend in Ulm took us to Blau Topf, the "blue pot" source of the Blau River, which is actually where the river emerges from an extensive underground cave system. (He also took up to Schertelshöhle, where visitors can descend into the caves. That would be a detour for you.)

In any case, I think I'd detour to Blau Tal if I were you. I haven't ridden it, but I don't think the Donau Radweg gets interesting for a while.
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3 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie GaudetThanks Jacquue. Our plan is to ride the Blautal route which goes between Ehingen and Ulm. We will do it all tomorrow and stop tomorrow night in Gunzburg. One of these trips we need to slow down and do the interesting side bits, but that does not seem to be our style.
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3 weeks ago