Cycling through Bavaria brings with it serious rolling “hills”, cool Bavarian style homes covered in flowers, lots of Bier (beer) gardens, cows, and random other alpine attractions like when I made a wrong turn and happened upon a cool alpine slide down the mountain (think roller-coaster with goat nibbling around it). Cycling has become popular in Germany, and well, as a result the cycle paths are great and well marked. I never turned on my gps, and even if I end up on a path different than I intended, it took me a lovely route. It was also my first time ever seeing “Bike & Breakfast” signs, as opposed to “Bed & Breakfast”…so cool!
I had planned to have a non-cycling writing day the following day, however, I wandered into a hotel at about 7 am and was provided a full pot of coffee, a plug, and a wifi connection (forget McDonalds in Germany- Hotels are the way to go). I was wired after about 5-6 cups of coffee and got a a lot of writing done, so I felt the urge to go, go, go. Steel and I did not launch until sometime after noon on what turned out to be an enduring cycling day. About three hours into the ride, it started storming and I ducked under the cover of a barn where I found a family on bicycle waiting out the rain too. Mom, dad, and two boys about age 10 and 12. They were on a three day bicycle holiday – their longest as a family. Ah ah!…finally time to break out the art supplies I’ve been carrying and see if any collaborative efforts might come. Sure enough we made postcards of our experiences, and each person added to one another’s artistic endeavor. We each kept one. I thought surely I’d see them again down the road, but that never happened. I was left with just our rainy art moment to savor.
Turns out I had about 8 “hills” in me and 8 “ups”. This is how I figure things…”hills” are big enough that I sing the “Twelve Days of Christmas” in my head slowly as I proceed up. “Ups” are up-hills but not long enough to require mental focus and singing (as an aside, I never needed more than 6 days of Christmas to get up a hill – okay, with a few re-starts. I must re-start each time I loose focus and screw up the song). On about hill 7, I stopped four times. I never walked Steel, but I knew I was getting close to done. When I saw some forest up ahead on the next hill, I knew I was going in. I was relatively exposed, but it was still rainy and thus, darker than normal for 6:30 p.m. I still had some brats and spatzle left from the day before, so I was good on food.Unbelievable timing in the morning — I no sooner packed up and was at the top of the drive looking to turn out when someone, I presume the owner, turned in. We are talking a matter of seconds and I would have been discovered. A short cycle ride landed me in the town of Fusen at about 7 am., famed for the Neuschwanstien Castle (or Cinderella Castle). However, it was rainy and my tummy felt queasy and I had developed some sort of rash on my face which was making my right eye especially puffy. My body was telling me, “time for a break.” The next morning, I was up early and cycled to the base of the castle. I was still dealing with nausea but hiked up to the castle. It was nice to wander alone through the misty forest up to it before the mobs of tourists descended. An impressive structure in a beautiful setting indeed!