Las Chicas arrive in Konstanz, Germany, excited to pick up our bikes for the self-guided Rhine Bike Tour.
Foiled instantly by bad directions from the Tourist Information Office, Las Chicas receive unsolicited help from a bearded young German who also gives them incorrect directions, then tells them about this amazing hip-hop festival, “the biggest in Europe” in a nearby town. Lisa asks “Are you going?” and he replies “Are you inviting me?” So charming, these German cougar hunters.
At last the bus driver gives Las Chicas accurate directions and eventually we find our wonderful ABC hotel, with half-filled bike rack, posters of famous German rockstars, and bamboo decor. Down the street, our tour company gives us a bunch of maps and hotel cards and extremely vague directions. But our Kreiter bikes are sturdy and fit us well and our super tough panniers and handlebar bags will hold our lock, maps, daily gear (swim suits and rain jackets, just in case) and snacks. What? No water bottle cages? German bike tourists are camels. We stash our water bottles in our panniers.
After catching up with Le Tour de France on TV, Las Chicas head for dinner taking a bridge across the Rhine.
Because of the warm evening, two boys jump off the rail into the river, but Las Chicas do not.
Konstanz has awesome bike infrastructure and we ride to the old city for an amazingly large vegetarian meal at an outdoor cafe. After dinner we explore the water front of Lake Constance, known here as Bodensee, and see a paddle boarder and the famous spinning statue.
The buxom “Imperia” spins around once every four minutes and commemorates the Council of Constance, you know something about the Catholic church and kings. The men she holds are Pope Martin V and Emporer Sigismund.
The next morning, we wait with other cyclists for the train to pass, then we’re off on our Rhine River bike tour!
We ride along the Rhine, past parks and fields and vineyards with mystery huts and we love being out in the fresh air.
Mystery huts on the hillside.
Not our bikes
Also not our bike.
Our first stop is the town of Stein am Rhein, a medieval town dating back to the 15th century, with many painted buildings and tourists taking pictures of same. We find a lovely cat fountain and even better crepe cafe for lunch.
We fix Lisa’s jammed chain, then off we go with some deviation due to the aforementioned vague directions, are we in Germany or in Switzerland, and we arrive in Schaffhausen! Yes, the Swiss town of hills and medieval towers and railroad tracks, and kind teenagers who give us accurate directions to our hotel, hidden in the trees by the park.
Our hotelier informs us “The elevator is broken. Do not use. Make sport,” and makes the motion of walking up stairs. Yes, because we really want to climb stairs after biking 50 kilometers. But climb three flights we do, and we enjoy the view of the river from our window, watch Le Tour, go to dinner, sit in the park and talk to a cat, then head back to the hotel for chocolate mousse.
An excellent first day of biking in the Rhine valley!
© 2015 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.