Day 6: Nonnenhorn to Konstanz - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

March 24, 2019

Day 6: Nonnenhorn to Konstanz

Triumph of the Lady Mechanic

Nonnenhorn to Konstanz
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The Seehalde partially redeemed itself with a very respectable breakfast. Technically it was only a five jammer, but credit should be given for a thing like a flat out terrific apricot cheescake. I returned my key to what was lady #1 from yesterday, and was greeted with a doe eyed "Why is this happening?" type expression. Then she asked if I had paid. Fortunately I am a very patient person, and besides, I knew I was but minutes from leaving Seehalde, no doubt forever. "Yes, yesterday", I said sweetly. She may not have known if that was accurate or not, but seemed grateful not to have to deal with it.

As it happened my prediction of leaving in minutes was sadly flawed. We carried our gear around to the back where the bikes were stowed, and began to load up. I normally get the more careful Dodie to put the Ortliebs onto my rear rack. The rack is very sturdy, but the thick struts and general geometry make mounting the bags a slight chore. This time, mounting seemed a little harder and we decided to try shifting the Ortlieb fittings a bit to make it easier. We were both on the ground beside the bike, holding the bag down and gently nudging a fitting, when Dodie looked up - wtf! A main strut  on the front of the rack, making the connection to the seat stay, was hanging loose! It looked like a spot weld had popped. But closer inspection show the one on the other side was also waving in the air. The only thing keeping the rack from flopping back over the back wheel was the friction of one bolt, down at the chain stay!

Closer inspection revealed that these were not popped spot welds, but rather bolt and loop type ties that were totally loose, and had allowed the rack stays to slip from their grasps. Phew, all we had to do was to slide the stays back into the loops and tighten.

You can clearly see the stay adrift from the clamp. That clamp had been installed backwards, making it almost impossible to tighten.
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Jacquie GaudetYour racks are similar to mine and almost impossible to tighten when the bike has fenders installed. The rack in the photo looks like it was installed absolutely in accordance with the instructions, as is mine. I looked on the Tubus website to provide a link, but this part of current racks has been changed to a more serviceable connection.

I did have my rack flip over backwards once. I wasn't moving fast and no damage except to my ego--after all, I had installed it myself after reassembling my bike when we arrived in Germany. I will now remember to install the rack first, so as to have the wrench room to tighten this connection properly, then the fender, then the wheel (which must be off to install the fender).
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3 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie GaudetSteve did not exactly explain the solution correctly. We just turned the fitting that holds the strut in place 180 degrees so that the bolt heads are now facing outwards. Problem totally solved. No need to remove anything to tighten, or check for tightness. I really cannot understand why the thing would ever have been set up any other way. Dodie
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3 weeks ago

To say just that that was easier said than done is belied by the fact that we both struggled to get the pieces back in, aligned, and tightened for 45 minutes, and without success. I won't say we were ready to give up, or see if our BCAA (Canadian automobile association with bike rescue coverage) membership would have them flying out for a look at it. But a certain friction was developing between the "two mechanics" who were starting to get in each others' way, and to develop slightly varying desperate theories about how to do this.

That's when Dodie had the flash of insight. Whoever had installed this rack in the first place (the manufacturer? The original bike shop?) had put the struts on backwards - or more accurately, the right was on the left and vice versa. That made it impossible for anyone to ever tighten the rack properly. That is no doubt why it fell apart, and it certainly was why after 45 minutes we had made no progress.  After that, it took only a few minutes to be ready to go, and to finally bid farewell to Seehalde. The Lady Mechanic had saved the day! 

It turned out to be a day supremely worth saving. Spring has come to this region. The combination of reasonably warm temperatures (our day started at 9 and ended at 21), clear sky, sun, and flowers popping up, make it just a joy for us and for everyone else to be out an about.

This magnolia at Seehalde and the blue sky are illustrating what it was like to cycle today.
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Just down the road from Seehalde. Striking buildings like this are actually quite common. The small - but not bike path - road is also most typical of what we found.
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We passed along a lakeside that has a combination of cute guesthouses, orchards, parks, and beaches. All are tied by either bike paths or absolutely calm small roads, where as yesterday, walkers, cyclists, and motorists were floating along, each at basically their slowest comfortable speed. A feeling of peace, contentment, and enjoyment was everywhere.

We look at orchards like these and are always eager to trying growing like that at home.
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Friedrichshafen, not far up ahead, was the original home of the Zepplin airship. This is named after Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was brought up near Konstanz. He began development of the airship around 1874 and began building near Friedrichshafen around 1900. The airship tradition us carried on for tourists, so we began to see them floating overhead. They move slowly, contributing to the overall spirit I have been describing.

Zeppelins overhead.
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Another early technical development from this region was the cable suspension bridge. We passed over one near Langenargen that was built in 1898. It claims to be the oldest such bridge in the country, and certainly predates something like the 1933 Golden Gate bridge. The trailside plaque shows people standing just where we were, 120 years ago.

Suspension bridge at Langenargen
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Ghosts from the past.
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As we passed through Eriskirch, and drew closer to Meersburg, grape vines became more common than the ultra pruned fruit orchards, and often seemed associated with large buildings - like Schlosses, or maybe former monasteries.

Schlosses or other large buildings surrounded by vines began to appear.
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Just outside Meersburg
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We entered Meersburg, another super attractive small town, where we in an earlier year had bought tee shirts for grand kids, with the town name and embroidered bicycles on them. Just a week ago, we noted little Joe still wearing one in Montreal.

At the far end of Meersburg is the ferry that hops across to Konstanz. We planned to take this, since we did not recall anything unusually zippy to be found should one continue north by Uberlingen and around the arm of the lake to reach Konstanz.

The ferry cost was 11 euros 20 for us both, with bikes. This is a reasonable charge for the approximately 30 minute ride. As is becoming common, someone approached us as we stood with our bikes, and reminisced about past trips to Canada. This particular man had been 10 times, which allowed us to get into more abstract details - like how far in advance to book at Num-Ti-Jah lodge, near the Bow Glacier, and where to get the guide about the Juan da Fuca trail on Vancouver Island. The man, who was from Tuttlingen, also mentioned that where he lives, about 1000 feet up, there is still snow. Ugh.

Meersburg
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In Meersburg
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Cyclists ride onto the ferry.
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A typical Bodensee ferry.
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The first Bodensee car ferry, 1930
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The ferry lands you 3 km from Konstanz, which is reached by a road that at first rises and then falls. The slopes are not great, and the road, as always, has provision for bikes.

Dodie really scored this time, with a booking at Gasthaus Centro, which is almost in the centre of Konstanz. After yesterday, I went in with some trepidation, wondering among other things if my Visa card would work. But hey, I was out in 5 minutes, with the key and receipt in my hand, the knowledge of where (indoors!) to put the bikes, the time of the included breakfast, and the map of the town. 

Our room was truly wonderful, looking out at the lake and the famous "Imperia" statue in the harbour, and with high ceilings and tons of space. We may chirp about all we need is anything bigger than a tent, but in truth a spacious room with a view, window and breeze, and good pillows, can make a big difference.

Our large room offered this view.
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Soon we were back out on the street, for a walk by Imperia, the inner city, and the Munster. Dodie has mailed back her "cane", and a one to two hour walk like that is no problem.

Through this walk, we continued to be in tune with the people all around, who like us were absorbing the pure pleasure of the natural surroundings, the beautiful buildings, and the weather. They were also absorbing a lot of "eis", something we also joined in with - more on that later.

Walking by the harbour at Konstanz
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Pruned plane trees are a big part of the landscape
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"Imperia" is the statue that has become iconic of Konstanz, since its creation in 1993. It commemorates the Council of Constance, that took place between 1414 and 1418.  Imperia shows a woman holding two men on her hands. The two men represent Pope Martin V and Emperor Sigismund. Martin V was elected during the Council while Sigismund was the king who called the council. Both are naked except for the crown and papal tiara, respectively, they wear as symbols of their power. The statue refers to a short story by Balzac, La belle Impéria. The story is a harsh satire of the Catholic clergys' morals, where Imperia seduces cardinals and princes at the Council of Constance and has power over them all. The historical Imperia was a well-educated Italian courtesan named Lucrezia de Paris who was born 1485 in Ferrara, well after the council, and never visited Konstanz.

Imperia, with a powerful (but naked) figure in each hand.
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The King
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The Pope
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Do you think she is using a chastity belt?
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The Konstanz catherdral (munster) was built around 600 a.d. This is one of the largest Romanesque churches in southwest Germany, while it also has Gothic and neo-Gothic revisions and additions. I did not find it to be totally immense or over the top in terms of decoration (two attributes we like a lot), but it was certainly extremely nice.

The cathedral of Konstanz
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The main chapel
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Nice carving at the choir seats
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Stained glass is standard - telling biblical stories style.
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Extremely old frescoes, are very faded.
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Walking back through the town, we found we had time to look in store windows and assess local fashions and offerings. Ever since buying our "fluffy quilts" from Ikea and finding them wanting in quality and correct sizing, I have been talking about finding some real ones in Germany. It's a good thing the shops are closed this Sunday, or another mailback could be in the works.

How does this style strike you?
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At first I thought this wedding dress was made of feathers, but it is chiffon like stuff.
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Our final "chore" before heading back to the Centro to take a break from relaxing, was to get some eis. There are shops on every street, or on all sides if it is a square. We chose one, and noticed that major inroads had been made in almost all the trays. It has been a hard day!  

A hard day at the eis cafe
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The available flavours are quite wonderful and Dodie chose zimt (cinnamon) while I got panacotta.  One website claims the top ten German flavours are 

  • Vanille (vanilla)
  • Schokolade (chocolate)
  • Erdbeere (strawberry)
  • Stracciatella
  • Joghurt (yogurt)
  • Zitrone (lemon)
  • Haselnuss (hazelnut)
  • Himbeer (raspberry)
  • Sahne-Kirsch (cherry with cream)
  • Latte Macchiato

Interestingly, just as in Canada, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry top the list. Maybe we should start at the bottom, and work our way up!

Tomorrow, Reichenau, which had an erdberen schnitte that I still remember after 7 years.

Today's ride: 44 km (27 miles)
Total: 106 km (66 miles)

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Kathleen ClassenKeith never noticed the guys in Imperia’s hands. What could he have been looking at?
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3 weeks ago
Marvin PaxmanIt was fun to reminisce while reading the last few days as this was the very area we spent our last week in last summer. We explored the lakefront as far as the Meersburg ferry but did not take any crossing at that time. What a beautiful place it is. It was August when we were there and we camped on the lake for 2 or three of the nights that we were in the area. We spent a whole day exploring Lindau.
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3 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Kathleen ClassenGee, I dunno. Could Keith have been focused more on Imperia,s "assets"?
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3 weeks ago