Day 6

Itinerary: Schonwald to Radolfzell Weather: 22, cloudy
Distance KM: 110.8Ave KmH: 16.6
Highlight: amazing downhill over patchwork countryside
Fav Food: another fine fish dinner


City LocationItemLocal
BraunlingenBackereirhubbarb pie, danish, 2 coffees13
BlumbergHong Kong Restchicken chop suey, noodles n veggies, hot tea, juice33
BlumbergVelo Shopnew frame pump, bike computer38
RadolfzellStrand Terrace2 fish dinners, beer, radler, desert79
RadolfzellHotel Iris am Seeroom with balcony, calculator190

Smart Exit
Even after a full day of rest, we were really not in the mood for much more climbing, so we asked at the hotel about a easy yet safe option out of town. The main road through this side of the ridge was much too busy, so we would basically cross to the backside again, but only through a bit of a shortcut. The woman's directions were quite detailed, but I doubted myself at the wrong moment and left us on a gravel road halfway up the backside of the ridge. For a while we were riding parallel to this beautiful paved road down below, but we had no safe way to descend. Eventually, we found a washed-out connector road that made us feel like mountain bike downhill champs. From this point, our descent from the Black Forest was all pretty easy.

Coasting into Braunlingen
The map indicated that there was a pretty major bike path alongside the road through here, and sure enough, we were able to follow a couple different bike paths in our descent to the south, then the east, then the south again. Much of the way was packed dirt, which made the riding a bit slower, but we were still cruising at a pretty good gate. I much prefer a long, steady like this to one where you have to waste the incline on constant breaking. We coasted into Braunlingen and settled down for a drink and a danish at the local bakery. I also decided to air up my tires a bit for the gravel riding, and that's when I noticed our pump seemed to be broken.

In Search of Bike Maps and Bike Shops
Aside from the constant search for the best bakery, there are two things that are important to a bike trip: maps, and occassional supplies. And, if you have a good bike map, it will tell you where the nearest bike shop is. According to my ADFC map, there is a bike shop in Braunlingen, but since it was still morning, it was not open. After asking aroaund a bit, people pointed us on to the next town. Since my tire was flat, I decided to just ride on it and pick up a new pump as soon as possible. Our next chance came at the city of Blumberg. We found that the bike shop there was not opening for another hour yet (why do these places only open in the afternoon?), so we decided to have lunch in town. The town did not have a cute square or anything that would be considered a traditional European tourist site, so we thought it fitting that we eat at a Chinese restaurant, which was one of the few lunch spots around. I am still amazed at how many Chinese people there are living out in the smallest towns of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. This family joint served up a lot of food for a little money and really hit the spot for us bikers. A brief visit to the bike shop scored us a cheap pump and a speedometer for my bike. The owner of the place was way too helpful and his English was so good that I was embarassed.

Navigation to Bodensee
Although we had left the Black Forest area, we were still at a much higher altitude than we had started over in the Rhine valley. And there were still a lot of smaller hills around here and there. So, I was trying to use my navigation skills to keep us away from big ascents, yet on the bike path. After Blumberg, I took us through one stretch of road which was not the exact bike route, but I found that this bike map was so exact that I could tell our location on the road by comparing the outline of the surrounding trees and meadows to the alternating green and yellow shading on the map. We went through a couple little villages with only about four houses, but these places had names. We didn't really avoid any hills by this route, but I was amazed not only that such small back-country farms exist, and that such a map could take us there.

Rolling Countryside
After a brief uphill, we found ourselves staring at a wonderful expanse of rolling hills leading into the trendy Bodensee Lake area. The remainder of the day was truly a treat, offering plenty of screaming downhills and panoramas of green farmland to put us at ease. As in other places with fields and farmhouses, we continued to see a number of roadside crosses at random points along the road. We see occassional small crosses along the road in the States, where people have died in car accidents. But the crosses here are much larger and more permanent, and they are meant to bring luck for good crops. Or rather to invite God's blessing on the amazing landscape that some god has clearly blessed already. Very interesting phenomenon.

Radolfzell am See
After one more failed attempt at buying the next set of bike maps that I have been looking for, we rolled into Radolfzell around seven or so in the evening. Not knowing much about the area, we thought it was best to look for accomodations straight away. Up to this point, each night's hotel reservation was arranged by using the Charming Hotels series of books and making some phone calls before we left home. However, from this point on, we just picked out a spot as we went. We were able to find the clean and bright Hotel Iris, sitting right on the park that leads all the Bodensee. The price was the same that we had been paying so far, and just a bit of a walk down the park was a fabulous terrace and meeting place where they were serving dinner that night. The man at the desk at the hotel spoke English perfectly, and he was happy to give us the hours of the Strand Terrace as well as their basic menu for the night: asparagus buffet. We ended up having asparagus soup with some fish, but the whole evening made for a great reward for another long day.

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