Easy cycle across flat farmland in France today. We started off in the rain and took a detour through the docks in Basel to see the Dreiländereck monument which marks the spot where the thee borders of Switzerland, France and Germany meet (well, almost – they actually meet in the middle of the Rhine and the monument is nearby on the bank on the Swiss side).
Somebody turned the heat back up. It’s hardly been cool these last few days, but this afternoon in Basel it has been well over 30 degrees once again and I am cooked. I am deeply grateful not to be on the bike today and just to be doing some gentle sight-seeing instead.
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.
Round the north side of the lake today, stopping first at the amazing stage in the lake where they perform the concerts and opera for the Bregenz summer festival. The stage set for Carmen looked stunning. I couldn’t get a good angle for a photo to show how the stage is fully in the lake but the effect is dramatic when you are there. The summer festival is something you might enjoy another year, Janet, if you are reading this?
A very flat route today along the Rhine valley, and crossing international borders three times. First stop was an old church in Fläsch which has a colony of mouse-eared bats nesting in its roof. They have set up an infra-red camera with a screen outside but we couldn’t get the live feed to work. A video of the bats from earlier worked just fine, though. They are very cute!
Another net downhill day, but with a fair amount of climbing along the way – 380m of ascent and 735m of descent according to Bruce’s Cyclemeter record. The main climb was in the heat of the afternoon up the side of a stunning gorge but I confess I was more preoccupied by the pedalling. We did stop at a viewpoint so I could admire it while giving my legs a break.
Feel the fear and do it anyway, as the saying goes – but I didn’t think they were talking about holidays. I was quite nervous about the first part of the day’s cycling down a steep main road with hairpin bends. All my real cyclist friends would have loved the descent on beautifully smooth tarmac, but I am not a happy descender on anything steep with sheer drops and very minimal barriers.
This will be a short blog update as we are very tired and sleep beckons. All five train trips successfully completed. The overnight train from Duisburg to Basel was booked out for bike places so we got the last two – which took quite a bit of manoeuvring. Unfortunately no sleeper berths = night spent trying to sleep sitting up = little sleep.
Nice, easy ride from the docks at IJmuiden to Amsterdam this morning, with only one route-finding error leading us onto a path not designed for bikes(take a bow, Google maps). Sunny and warm here with not much wind. A very Dutch scene above: windmills turning lazily and the wide, twin-lane bike path shaded and screened from the main road by trees.
We are off again, this time aiming to cycle the whole of the Rhine route. We’ve seen two sections before – around the Swiss/German border and into Liechtenstein in 2014, and north from Cologne to Emmerich in 2015. Both were great, but very different. Hoping this time to see all the many contrasts along the whole route.