Self-guided Biking around Lake Constance (11-nights) – August 2017
This trip is rather unique in the sense that it starts and ends at Konstanz, Germany going around the whole Lake Konstanz over 11 days. Lake Konstanz (or Bordensee in German) is bordered by three countries : Germany, Switzerland, and to a lesser degree, Austria.
For most parts you would be crossing borders between Germany and Switzerland many times over the first 3-4 days (tips on that later). The only time that you know you are crossing the borders are small signs on the roads and that your cellular roaming keeps changing providers. Please also keep in mind that when you are in Switzerland, you need to use Swiss Francs while you need to use Euros while in Germany and Austria.
This tour was arranged by a German firm, RADWEG-REISEN, that is based in Konstanz. https://www.cycling-holiday.com/lake-constance-cycling-holiday
We flew into Zurich and took a very convenient one hour train directly from Zurich Airport to Konstanz, Germany. When we got to Konstanz Train Station, we had a bad case of brain freeze !!! We were trying to get from our platform to the station building and all we can find were very steep steps down to the tunnel under a track and up again when we got to the main station.
We had to haul all our stuff down then up again. We were curious why there were no escalators or elevators in such an advanced country. Well we found out on the way back that should we looked 50 meters on either side, we would have seen that at each end of the platform we were on, has a flat section that we could just simply roll our bags over to the station !!!
A tip when you visit the Rhine Falls ( https://rheinfall.ch/en/ ): When you take the boat ride out the the waterfall, there are 3 different routes. There are signs clearly showing which boat going on which route, but we had our second brain freeze attack and got on the wrong one. We wanted to go out to climb the rock in the middle waterfall but we got on the wrong boat that just went around circling the fall.
When we returned to Konstanz after 2 days of riding out around the Untersee (small western branch of Lake Constanz), we went looking for a tapas bar for light dinner and wine and we found this great, small, friendly family run place called Sabores ( https://sabores-konstanz.de/ ). It has the most amazing Choriso sausage that the owner said is from her home town in southern Spain.
It was so good that on the last night of the trip back in Konstanz, we had to go back there again and bought some to take home. Unfortunately she only had two left and was planning to get more when she goes home for the winter. We would have bought all she had and we are now inspired to go biking in southern Spain one day soon. They also had really nice Spanish wines that got me hooked on it.
Speaking for food and drinks on the trip, we found that food in Switzerland is quite a bit more expensive than the same things just across the border in Germany so, as much as we can, we tried to time our lunch breaks to be in Germany. The one main drawback about that (beside not eating lunch right around noon) is that the Swiss has this one really good Falken’s Weizen Bier (wheat beer) that does not seem to be available in German restaurants. So twice that we had beers in Switzerland then have lunches in Germany.
Along the way, we looked for restaurants that have either Raclette or Cheese Fondue but we were told that not only that they are Bavarian food not common in Konstanz area but they are normally only available in the winter. Finally we found one very good restaurant in St. Gallen called Fondue Beizli ( http://www.fonduebeizli.ch/ ) that has very good cheese fondue and we went there twice.
Two members of the gang are Cahtolic so we always try to find a church for Sunday mass for them. It was also a nice way for the rest of us (Buddhists and atheists) to sit in and experience Catholic ceremonies performed in various languages (on subsequent trips we also witnessed the ceremony in French, Spanish, and even in Latvian).
Speaking of St. Gallen, the tour arranged for us to stay two nights there. I think there is not enough to see or do to justify the two nights. The trip can either be cut down by one night or the company can arrange a ride to a more interesting town for the second night. We ended up riding up to this Wildlife Park Peter and Paul ( https://www.wildpark-peterundpaul.ch/ ) which was nice but not really worth staying an extra night for and the lunch there was rather expensive.
My Big Foot Tour Grade B