Konstanz, Germany: Today I took a break from the bike to hop on a few boats and criss-cross Lake Constance. After a week of going around lakes, I finally wanted to get on one. It was a pleasant morning of mellow lake cruising, visiting the over-hyped “flower island” of Mainau, and quaint but touristy towns including Uberlingen and Meersburg.
Lake Constance (aka Bodensee) is Europe’s third largest lake. It’s pretty, but in my view short of the wow factor that characterizes Lake Geneva (aka Lac Leman) where I spent some time earlier this week. Two things are missing at Lake Constance: dramatic mountains and Swiss Riviera elegance. Maybe that’s due to too many overweight Germans in plaid shorts wearing sandals and colored socks here. I don’t have anything against the Germans, against plaid, against colored socks, nor against sandals. But please, nicht zusammen (not together).
Back in Konstanz, the bells tolled. I got “trapped” on the observation deck of the Konstanz Cathedral tower, above the bells. Without thinking about the time, I climbed to the top of the tower just before the top of the hour and just before the 4pm bells started. The bells chimed for ten very long minutes. While I am sure the sound resonates beautifully several blocks away, the noise was head-splitting at such a close proximity. I took this as a divine sign that I should either a) spend more time in church or b) stop playing tourist and go do laundry.
My arrival in Germany completes the fourth stage of TransEuropa 2011. Weather-permitting, tomorrow I will detour to Lichtenstein. Here’s the wrap:-
Stage 4: Brioude, France – Konstanz, Germany
Highlights: Montreux Jazz Festival. Stress-free cycling in Switzerland. Some quirky-but-fun Swiss yard decorations:
Most beautiful church: The baroque chapel, the Kirche St Marien, in Mainau, Germany. Generous light. Beautiful artwork. Entrance to the church uplifts the spirit.
Most popular blog posting: “Rostigraben,” followed closely by “All That Jazz”
Distance: 2,707.32 km
Climbing: 19405.28 meters
Cycling days: 30 Rest days: 6
Police interactions: 1
Finally, the ease of cycling in Switzerland – beautiful bike paths, dedicated bike lanes and even bike traffic lights – contrasts with this hilarious video about a New York cyclist trying to navigate the bike lanes of New York. It’s the un-Swiss experience.