[ blog » 2020 » 08_Tour-Alps ] d14: Feldkirch to Tübingen (by Philipp Gesang, location: my armchair)

The Austrian Intermezzo

After Switzerland, France, Italy, and Liechtenstein, Austria was the fifth country that this tour passed through, albeit only for a rather brief one night stop. Riding along the extensive embankments of the Alpine Rhine was relaxing, no wonder considering it’s downhill all the way to Bregenz and Lake Constance. The familiar sight of the Pfänder looms over the Lake like a beacon indicating its easternmost extent.

Continuing on into Germany I almost rode past the international border which in that direction is marked by little more than a whimsical “welcome to Bavaria” sign while the Austrian authorities actually took care to install the proper EU themed signage. Lindau at half past nine in the morning was a positively hilarious showing of rich housewives dressed in pastel tones driving their convertibles onto the island to have coffee and cake. It could not have gotten any more clichéed than that. Oh, and the traffic diversions were horrifically underindicated. GPS is of little use if the traffic signage actively works against you.

Bike Trek 14: The Voyage Home

With Austria and Bavaria behind and it still being around 10-ish in the morning I finally sealed the deal on an improvisation that came up the day earlier when I studied the weather forecast for Saturday. That should have been the final day with only 77 km from the Danube to Tübingen, but the forecast was as grim as the Friday weather was splendid. So why not use that one sunny day to the full extent and spend the rainy Saturday inside?

Passing through Ravensburg near the 100 km mark around noon I the legs were still feeling fresh, probably because up to that point they were rather underused due to the lack of Real Mountains. At the Danube I made a brief visit to the Heuneburg open-air museum with its spectacular reconstruction of an Iron Age brick fortification. There I switched to the GPS track for the next day and tried to find a more direct route connecting my location to it.

Hills and Hills. And More Hills

Turns out if I had followed the original planned route I would have been far better off. My shortest-distance optimization ended up a blatant pessimization instead. The original plan was to seek the Danube again and travel downhill in the flat valley for like 30 km. Whereas my improvised “direct” route went orthogonally across multiple river valleys that all unload into the Danube. Until I met with the planned path at Hayingen I had given my legs that intense work they have come used to during the last two weeks in form of a series of pairs of steep climbs and downhills. At least one good thing came out of this debacle in that I discovered the beautiful limestone rock valley leading down into the tiny village of Zwiefalten.

Those final sixty kilometers were more or less a routine afternoon ride, just with extra baggage. I had picked the Eningen descent down from the Alb because of the panoramic view it offers over the Achalm, the Georgenberg, and the Albtrauf in general. A worthy conclusion to a long day and a two weeks voyage.


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