We have reached the end of our Eurovelo15 Rhine cycle tour. The Bodensee, Lake Constance on the Swiss/ German border is the source of the Rhine River. It flows 1700 kilometres or more to empty into the North Sea in the Netherlands, where we started.
For me the river exists as a metaphor for life; feeding the body while nourishing the soul. We start out as a trickle, gather strength, travel through turbulent waters, the constant flow is the movement of life etc. The possibilities for alliteration are endless and like a river, cycling allows you the opportunity to reflect.
This week my mother, who was almost 94 years of age passed away. As I have continued my journey through Switzerland and up to Germany along scenic hilly paths in warm conditions, I have thought a lot about my mother.
Mums legacy is the many skills she taught me: Self reliance, humour, patience and persistence which unsurprisingly are the very ones I need to call upon most of all now as we continue cycling.
After leaving Luzern we cycled up into the Swiss countryside through picturesque forests, fields of corn, budding sunflowers, cabbages and wild flowers to stunning historical towns like Aarau, a gated old town with its 15th century frescos and a few modern touches such as traffic lights and a Mcdonald’s with free wifi.
It was heating up as we pushed on down to Rhine fell (Switzerland) and the biggest waterfall in Europe where the power and beauty of the Rhine is most evident. Here I was energised enlivened and wet, baptised by the river. Drying out we cycled along gravel paths through farms to Stein am Rhine, an architectural jewel, with its medieval houses, ancient castle and cobblestoned marketplatz. The whole environment is dripping with history.
We visited the delightfully named Museum for Bourgeois Domestic Culture. Who would have thought such a way of life was deserving of its own museum?
Camping by the Rhine for the last time we watched a hot air ballon drift silently over the walls of a nearby castle.
Yesterday was another hot day of climbing along the Swiss German border region, it’s not uncommon when cycle touring, to forget what day it is, however stopping in a tiny village for coffee I had to ask “Deutschland or Swiss?” “Euros or Swiss francs?” We crossed the border 5 times that day !
The heat and the climbing has been challenging. Hot and exhausted we stumbled across a farm stay- Lochmuhle at Eigeltingen an historic mill and farm. The property had old sleighs, grindstones and farm equipment around the place and a great assortment of farm animals on show.
Today we woke up to the roosters crow and got an early start. It reached 35 degrees but we were cooled cycling in the deep dark forest, natures air conditioner. You can hear your voice echo through the thick pine and alder trees. We stopped regularly just to pinch ourselves and rest up before continuing on through forest and fields to the large town of Tuttlingen where we met the Danube on our next river adventure- Eurovelo 6.