It's day two on the bike, and thankfully I'm not aching anywhere. After a hearty breakfast of pretzels, cheese, ham and cake we were ready to set off. Our ride today would take us to our next hotel, and for me that gave it more significance than yesterday's ride. I mean, there was a bed at stake in this ride!
We headed out of Füssen and along the shores of the Forggensee on the first stretch of the Romantische Straße (Road), passing the smaller Bannwaldsee and through a string of traditional villages.
The highlight of today was undoubtedly our visit to the Wieskirche or Church in the Meadow, and it really did seem to appear out of nowhere.
But anyway, let's start at the beginning; we got another glimpse of the Neuschwanstein Schloss as we left Füssen, there was still some mist but less than when we visited, and it still looked very fairytale.
We cycled over open rolling hills and through woodland tracks and at one point we found ourselves cycling through a field of horses and cows. I planned to stop and get a picture but in the end I didn't as the horse below was advancing towards me. I'm not sure if he just wanted his photo taken, or was walking that way anyway but I'm quite proud of this photo which I snapped as I wheeled past him!
We left the field and headed up the track - we needed to get a move on too, as the farmer who'd opened and shut the gate for us was coming up behind on his tractor - no pressure! We spotted a passing spot and pulled in as he chugged up off the hill, and as we were stopped it was a good opportunity to take a shot or two and to put the camera away safely. Much better than having it dangling from my wrist as I cycled.
This was where we stopped for lunch, not a bad view is it?
It was just before lunch that I did the incredible. That was to overtake someone while going up hill! MOH had blasted by this couple just moments before as he's not so good at going slow, and initially I hung back as I wasn't sure if I would make it. But it turns out I couldn't go that slow either and rather apologetically overtook them. Definitely a cycling highlight for me, and one of (understandable) shock for MOH too.
We realised as we ate our lunch that we weren't far from the Wieskirche, as there were people wandering past us into the forest not dressed as you would be for a walk in the woods. And sure enough it wasn't long before they were walking back past us again.
The church itself was amazing, you can read more and see photos from our visit here - Wieskirche: ornately decorated and completely unexpected. Although it would have been nice to spend more time here, we were conscious that we still had a fair way to go before we reached Bad Bayersoien so we headed off through the car park and back onto country lanes. It was turning into a day of horses, as at a map check stop we found ourselves being watched by this sad looking one.
The route notes gave us two options further into our ride; one was along a very narrow track parallel to the main road and the other was slightly longer and avoided the narrow track. Well I thought, how narrow can that track be so we headed for option one. It turns out it can be quite narrow!
About a bike wheel narrow.
I'm sure it wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't've been raining, and the knee-high grass either side of the narrow track wasn't wet. But it had been raining and at the end of the narrow track I wasn't very popular with MOH as we were both a little wet...
But it was great fun!
It was after the narrow track that somewhere we got lost. We didn't realise at the time just how lost, and so we carried on regardless. Like you do. And mostly we were able to spot things that tied up to the cycling notes we had. The photo below - where I'm not looking very sure about things at all, let alone the German cow behind me - was MOH's attempt at placating me and persuading me to cycle up a very steep hill. I think I was actually hoping to find an ice cream stall nearby, it would have been a perfect spot - but sadly I was disappointed.
Well we went up that steep hill, I'm pretty sure I didn't cycle most of it and on we went still unsure. We reached a crossroads and headed straight across, swayed by the group of walkers that had just emerged from the path. The track took us down a steep and muddy hill, neither of us were convinced this was right, but still on we went. We emerged from the woodlands after a while and going up yet another hill there was another crossroads. We ummed and ahhed and chose to turn right; but that was wrong. We knew it was wrong when we ended up back at the top of that muddy hill again!
At the bottom of the muddy hill again, this time we chose another direction. We weren't convinced we should have gone down the muddy hill once, let alone twice but there was no way I was going back up it on my bike or otherwise, so on we went. We ended up on a circular route spotting more and more of these German cows, each time MOH was convinced we'd been here before - but we hadn't. My German was good enough to determine that it was a circular route, but he wasn't convinced. In the end we found a bench, sat down and turned on our mobile phones to find out where we were. We were that lost and the map we had was too high-level to be of any use.
Google gave us the good news that we were only 3km from Bad Bayersoien. Phew. Our challenge was to correctly identify which way to cycle! We made our choice and headed off and then quite soon oddly found the cafe mentioned in the cycling notes, and it was here peering into the rabbit hutches or actually over the top of them that we spotted the Echelsbacher Brüke - the largest single span concrete bridge - over the Ammer Gorge below. You can't imagine how pleased we were.
Now we just had to work out how to get down there. There was a footpath along the edge of some fields and we headed off that way; it was fine to start with as the path was enclosed but as it opened up into the field the rain on the grass made cycling tricky. With our target in sight and not wanting to go back uphill we carried on on foot and made it down to the main road.
Across the bridge and we were back on track; it was slightly hairy being overtaken on the bridge by a tanker, but no worse I'm sure than cycling in London traffic. Soon though we were back on the cycle paths and heading towards the hotel - they couldn't have known just how much we needed this welcome drink. Cheers!
So the stats:
Scheduled cycle distance: 39km
Actual distance recorded: 45.3km
Cumulative distance recorded: 90.7km
Times Google Maps consulted: 2
Number of horses encountered: 2
Number of German cows encountered: numerous
Number of people overtaken going uphill: 2!!
Number of sparkling wine consumed: just 1 glass... sadly!