Day 5: Bregenz to Nonnenhorn - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

March 23, 2019

Day 5: Bregenz to Nonnenhorn

Lindau Island!

Bregenz to Nonnenhorn, with a lot of circling on Lindau island.
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This was the first normal riding day of this tour, and we planned it to be just a very gentle introduction. But before we rolled even the first foot, we went to do a mail back. That stems not from the normal reason of just not wanting to carry a bunch of stuff that has proven unnecessary or too heavy. Rather, we had things that were never intended to come on the ride, like our street clothes and down parkas from Montreal. It added up to a giant box, but shipped for the economical price  of 40 euros.

A giant mail back, so soon?
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In the  post office aside from stamp and basic cash machines we found one  that really made us feel old school. This was to buy and sell bitcoin. Now even if we might have a small clue about bitcoin, the machine referred to several other puzzling units? or currencies?

We are behind the times on currencies. What is all this?
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Suzanne GibsonLooks like 1 Bitcoin goes a long way!
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3 weeks ago

The ride began on the Bregenz lakefront, which is just a wonderful recreation and beauty spot. That notion of recreation and beauty just continued for the rest of the day. People were out enjoying the bike path and the weather, with the lake on one side and woods, small parks, and houses ranging from nice to unique, all along.

In many places we had car free paths, and otherwise it was ultra low traffic small roads. There was probably equality between bikes and cars, with most bikes being e-bikes. Whether car, e-bike, old style bike, or walking, everybody was drifting sedately along, and in no case did we see the slightest inclination to endanger anyone from speed or reckless behaviour. Even a peleton of racing cyclist seemed to just glide cautiously by. It all produced a feeling of peace and well being that we find lacking on a lot of other cycling venues.

The Bregenz lakefront offers kms of fun.
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The view back toward Hochst
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Everybody is out today.
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Although the buildings and environment are lovely around the lake, there are spots where it just goes over the top. The first of these is Lindau Island.  Lindau is a quite small island (though the second largest in the lake, after Reichenau) of 70 hectares (173 acres). It is just offshore, accessed by two short causeways. Mainly, it is a very dense town, comprising lots of artistic Austrian style buildings, many with frescoed fronts.

Dense buildings of Lindau (photo from the Lindau web site)
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This being Saturday, people have come from all around to stroll on the mostly pedestrian Lindau. All around are fine photo ops:

Everyone has come to Lindau today
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This is probably the most striking building in Lindau. It is the old city hall (Rathaus). (Disclosure statement: I have the exact same shot, but backlighting killed the contrast, so I borrowed this from somewhere on the web. Keen eyed observers might note the flowers are too advanced for March!)
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If you need a post card, this is the right place to find one.
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A couple of times during this first real riding day, passing cyclists gave us some kind of positive recognition of Canada. Then on Lindau a couple came up and the man reminisced about how he had worked in Ottawa for a year and a half, but decided reluctantly to return to Lindau. He loved Canada and was torn between the two places.  He showed us that he wore a maple leaf necklace. We gave him a keychain that illustrates the three main species of Canadian bears, and there was hand shaking all around. I could not help but compare this with Canadian- German relations 75 years ago, and feeling grateful for it being now and not then.

We hit it lucky in that Lindau was having its market day today. Very much in evidence at this market was various forms of "mountain cheese", or cheese otherwise designated as being  from the Bodensee area. These were all hard cheeses, very flavourful, and mild.  We bought some from one farmer, being careful not to come away with more than we could ever use. We have often experienced how much that big knife can slice off a wheel, when the seller is whipping it around.

The Bregenzer Wald is the forest south of Bregenz. This is designated mountain farm cheese.
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We got this just right small slice of great cheese.
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I took one photo not of any specific cheese, but of the colourful array in one vendor's case. Note that the "rahm torte" is definitely not a "torte" in the theme of this blog.
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If you happen to zoom way in on the map above, you will see the track of us circling and zig zagging on Lindau, while not really covering the whole thing. We did want to circle a bit more, but got flushed out the second causeway, and called it good enough. We did pass the scene below as we left.

A relatively recent (1989) portrayal from the Wizard of OZ, in a small Lindau square.
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Once off Lindau, the scenery returned to just great, from over the top. By just great, I mean we could look around and see things like this:

A community near the Lake
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Or houses like this:

Just in the foreground here was a bakery with really great mohn kuchen. Cheap too.
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Laurie MarczakI would live in this one
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3 weeks ago

Just off Lindau, Dodie was waiting for me to come up behind, and a young boy stopped to chat. This was Albert, who turned out to be 11. He said he really liked English, and appreciated a chance to practice. His spoke about his love of cycling, mentioned which days of the week were school holidays, and asked about where we were from.  We gave him the blog address, and found that he had his own handi (cell phone) with internet access. Helping him find this site, I was surprised to see it portrayed in German. Albert obviously had a good translate program running. He was so mature for 11. It sure was fun meeting him.

Dodie chats with a fine young man.
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Cycleblaze in German
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Suzanne GibsonExcellent! I didn't know that existed!
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3 weeks ago

Of the 60 or so places Dodie booked for this trip, the first, Seehalde, caught my attention just because it was the first. This first booking fired my imagination of water views, fluffy quilts, and 10 jammer breakfasts. I mentioned it to our German friends Marius and Sandra, and they thought it strange a bit, since "halde" can mean "heap" or "landfill".  Bernie added the possibility of a "hollow" or "drop off", which might be found in a lake. When we got to the Seehalde, it was indeed a nice little hotel, with the added advantage of an attached eis cafe. I went in to deal with the very routine matters of where to put the bikes (we had notified them in advance of needing storage), where is the room - so we can carry up the bags before storing the bikes, and paying with the credit/debit card, the amount which we already knew was to be 71 euros, breakfast included. It's the same every single day, and takes about 10 minutes.

But not this time. Two women kind of tag teamed on our case, asking previously given information about my name, Dodie's name, my birth date, and hemming and hawing over a computer screen. Then there was a whole story about an included free rail pass for the region, and reduced entry fees at regional museums. The room given by the first lady was countermanded by the second, who insisted on taking me to see both. She claimed the second room was an upgrade, but both were tiny. Next on the price, all sorts of numbers were tossed around, with and without breakfast, and different if I agreed to breakfast now, as opposed to tomorrow. With that I tag teamed Dodie in (after 30 minutes) and Dodie wanted to pull up the online Booking record. But, the hotel wifi did give me an IP address, and the lady (#2) said something about the password slip #1 had given me being different from info that would be in the room. Finally #2 conceded that the price Dodie had thought was actually correct. So that got us to paying. The credit card machine spat back our trusty French VISA, with a "Vorgang abgelehnt" - transaction refused. A debate ensued as to whether this was the fault of their machine or our card. The lady claimed it was her machine, which she seemed to say preferred Mastercard.  But the concept of a main tourist area machine that did not like VISA seemed unlikely to me. And if it was a machine fault, why was the lady trying to direct us to a cash machine in town, rather than having already rung all alarm bells to get her thing working properly. We just slapped down the 71 euros in cash, to move on to storing the bikes. The bike storage was down a set of unusable stairs, so we were invited to lock them outside in the back. I hate that.

We spent the next little while frazzling, and tripping over each other as we passed at a section with 12" space between the bed and the wall. Finally we made our way down to the eis cafe, and ok, the eis was great and only 1 euro per scoop. We returned to our room, now beat, by a hyper easy 20 km ride but 60 minutes tag team in the ring with two dippy hotel ladies. 

Dodie is fast asleep now, admittedly under that much anticipated fluffy quilt. But wait, they made the pillow from the same feather or down filling, and she has had to crudely fold it 4 times to get her head raised the necessary bit off the bed.

Listen, the place exceeds my lenient "is it at least better than camping" standard.  But with that in mind, I might just use the old ploy of putting my underwear and spare clothes into a stuff sack, to form the old standby (and firm) camping pillow!

Ok, lights out. (Actually easy, because neither bedside nor desk light works!)

Today's ride: 21 km (13 miles)
Total: 62 km (39 miles)

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Suzanne GibsonReally like that you are enjoying cycling in Germany so much. I agree, I think we are very lucky here. For many it's not just a sport but a way of life.

As for the pillows in German hotels, I agree there, too. They're terrible!
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3 weeks ago
Marvin PaxmanIt seems you did get working wifi out of the deal. Sometimes that is not a given. As a result I usually carry my own wifi with me by way of some kind of data plan.
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3 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Marvin PaxmanYes, so far each place has had acceptable wifi. So I have not had to think about a possible Vodaphone SIM, or to activate a data package with my existing Onesim SIM.
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3 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Suzanne GibsonWe adore cycling in Germany. The many safe paths and interesting things to look at make it a pure pleasure. The pillows are hit and miss. On Sunday in Konstanz the hotel room was large, the pillows comfy and the breakfast excellent. It seems to be hit and miss.
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3 weeks ago