The Rhine Falls were just as spectacular as I remembered, and definitely the highlight of today’s trip for me. The cycling was varied – hardly anything flat till the last stretch before we arrived at the hotel tonight, as there are rolling hills surrounding the lake and the Rhine, and the route twisted and turned along a mixture of roads, paved paths and gravel paths. I lost count of the times we crossed and recrossed the same railway line.
I also quite spectacularly lost track of crossings of the Swiss-German border and was completely bemused to come to a border control point crossing into Germany a few kilometres before we arrived at our hotel. I thought I was in Germany already, having somehow failed to spot the last border crossing into Switzerland a few kilometres earlier. And if I point out that we are spending the night in Switzerland, you will get the general idea about frequency of border crossings. Also, although there are customs checkpoints at the borders, nobody has ever seemed remotely interested in us and we cycled straight through them. The ones we encountered late in the day were not even manned, so I assume the officers had gone home for their tea. I have been asked for my passport several times in hotels but not yet at a border. All of which adds to my confusion about which country I am in (Switzerland, Eleanor, you are in Switzerland).
The country confusion doesn’t help when you want to pay for a coffee or new pack of tissues: am I on Swiss Francs or Euros? I have notes and coins mixed up in my purse in spite of best efforts to keep them straight. Fortunately waiters and shop assistants have reacted so far with amused tolerance when the foreigners have had to ask which currency they are supposed to be using.
While going up and down and side to side on bikes, we passed through some really beautiful medieval towns. Diessenhofen (in Switzerland – checked the map) was setting up for some sort of festival and had lots of tables and benches set out in the historic town square. The incongruous touch came from a PA system which was belting out ‘Harlem Shuffle’ as we passed through. All looked set for a great night, though.
Even more lovely medieval architecture in Kaiserstuhl where we are spending tonight (in Switzerland). We were very lucky to find that the hotel was holding a musical evening and we had traditional Swiss music on accordion and strings while we ate a delicious dinner. This was very welcome as it had been a long day: the persistent cold was making me rather slow today, both to get going and my overall pace. Worse yet, I appear to have generously passed it on to Bruce. Still, it is not affecting our appetites and we are managing to pedal.
Tomorrow we are heading to Basel, with a plan to spend two nights to allow for sightseeing and some rest time off the bikes. I hope that will get rid of the cold for both of us. Basel is obviously in Switzerland, but I expect to be in and out of Germany a few more times tomorrow. Really will try to keep track!