Heidi vs. Mad King Ludwig - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

March 4, 2019

Heidi vs. Mad King Ludwig

Since a very early age, Heidi has occupied a special place in my world view. To me she symbolized the spirit of the Open, of fresh air and green grass, high mountains, and wooden huts. These things, combined with unpasteurized milk, I guess, would bring health and a zest for living.

Although I knew that Heidi lived in Switzerland, I had no more specific idea about it. Then a couple of years ago I learned of a Swiss tourist region called Heidi Land, but did not really nail down where it was - somewhere near Zurich? Then later I learned that Heidi's home was at "Maienfeld", wherever that was.

That's where things stood until Dodie calculated that we would have some spare days after doing our loop out of Hochst, 3000 km to Leipzig, and back. I had also come to the slow realization that Hochst is basically on the Rhein (Rhine), just where it enters the Bodensee. Being on the Rhein means that you are on a Bikeline Rhein route, so I suggested following that for a bit back up river.  Dodie grabbed the map book, and quickly exclaimed "Hey, Maienfeld is right on this route, right on the Rhein!". 

So the idea was hatched of cycling up to Maienfeld. We learned that there is a little "Heidi Village" there, and that you can walk up "Heidi's Alp" as far as you wish.  I could feel my health improving already!

Interestingly, Heidi's Village has already been discovered by hoards of Japanese tourists. We read about this, but could also see it in the goods being offered in the online Heidi store, and in photos of the gift shop on site. In the original Heidi book, Heidi indeed has dark hair - contrary to the blond one might expect. But in the gift goods, she not only has black hair, but has become a Japanese looking "anime" character. Those Swiss are wily business people!

One image of Heidi, Peter, and goats in the Alm
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Anime Heidi chocolate!
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The Heidi-Maienfled adventure had another magical hook. Somewhere in my head, not far from the Heidi region (science has yet to actually localize these spots) lies Andermatt. This Swiss village has the distinction of being in the title of not one but two Bikeline books. That's because it's position in the mountains sets it as the source of two of the world's great rivers - the Rhein and the Rhone - each of course with its devoted bikeway. We have never quite been in Andermatt, though we have reached Goshenen, six kms south. So now maybe we would cycle over the Oberalp Pass once or twice, as a sort of side show on visiting Heidi? I think  Dodie sensibly thought this was going a "bit too far" this time around, and with the available time. I could agree - the elevation profile looks like this:

Andermatt is in a "hole"!
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Even with this in mind, we scanned the necessary maps and loaded the gpx files, for this "Ausflug" (side trip). And we were happy - for about a half day. Then something else dawned on us. (One advantage of a long life when equipped with a slow brain is that things have time to dawn on you.) At Hochst we would be sitting at the start of yet another Bikeline book.  This is the Bodensee-Konigsee Radweg. It runs from Lindau (near Hochst) east across the region known as the Algau, 400 km to near Salzburg.  We have done this one before, and actually did plan to do it again in the Fall. But the revelation was that just 130 km along lies Fussen, the site of the Neuschwanstein castle.

Neuschwanstein was built .around  1878 by Ludwig II, the Bavarian king who was totally taken with the music of Wagner and the mythology of ancient German heroes. The castle looks like the model for the Disney version, and certainly is a real "fairy tale" structure. Inside, Ludwig had the walls covered with heroic murals. These are so dramatic and large that is seems the guy wanted to live inside a comic strip. It's the kind of thing the grandchildren would really adore.

What's more, we know that Fussen has a really great bakery, and it lies by the Forgensee, a really picturesque lake.  Though not quite like the Oberalp Pass, the Algau is pretty hilly. But we could not have mountains and foothills without some actual hills, right?

Both Fussen and places like Andermatt were already on our list for the proposed Fall tour. What we were doing here was trying to take a few spare days and jump the gun! We flipped a mental coin, with Heidi on one side and Ludwig on the other, and came up Ludwig!

So now we have to put aside our maps and tracks for Heidi and Andermatt, and start scanning the route to Fussen. But we have lots of time, right? No! It's ok. If you use night as well as day, you get pretty much double the time! So here's the added route bit:

Switch to "Map" in the upper right corner for a clearer view.
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Bill ShaneyfeltWe were stationed near Kaiserslautern, Germany for 2 years, and took almost weekly trips to visit dozens of tourist areas while we were there. (1976-78) My favorite castle is Neuschwanstein! It is a real, steep hike up the road to its doorstep! I loved all of the intricate woodcarvings as well as the "fairytale" design. You will be covering a number of places we visited. Looking forward to your tour.
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3 months ago
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Scott AndersonOr, you could bike just a few miles north, see Munich, and check in on fellow CycleBlazers Susanne Gibson and Janos Kertesz.
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonMaybe next time. Did you forget the whole Hotel Bookings all the way around? There will be no deviations!!!!!! Dodie is hating this method. She feels locked in and trapped.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesOh, no! It’s been interesting reading all the discussion about how hard and constraining this sounds to folks. It’s not too late - if you think you’ve made a mistake, just cancel them all or most of them. Very easy to do, unless you opted for any that weren’t cancellable.
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3 months ago
Tricia GrahamAnd if you doas Scott suggested and call in on Munich you could go to My Place Self Storage and day Hi to our bikes!
Tricia
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonIt's true that the Booking site makes it easy to cancel, and clearly shows which are free to cancel (until a specified date), which will charge a fee, and which are tough luck. That's almost the easy part, because we have also marked the locations and details on our maps, complete with distances from one to another, and we have put markers in the GPS, based on the stated latitudes and longitudes. Even those markers are not fast, because the lats and longs are given in Booking in a system (Degrees and decimal minutes?) not recognized by Osmand - requiring conversion on the side. Yikes, my head is swimming already!
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Tricia GrahamYes, your bikes will be getting pretty lonely by now. While we are away from home we are stashing our four North American bikes in our bedroom, where we hope they will be the most comfortable. Together with our photo albums, books, and musical instruments, they are our most treasured possessions.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesThat’s interesting too. I’ve never thought much about how others use their GPS. You must use it much differently than we do. I draw out the day’s route on RideWithGPS (the same route I post to the journal), and draw it to end at the hotel. We never add waypoints to build a route from or navigate to, and we don’t actually use the navigation system itself. We just follow the yellow brick road.
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3 months ago