Fuessen, Germany: Pedaling through this corner of the Alps where Switzerland, Austria and Germany meet, I ponder the age-old question: Is the grass greener on the other side?
I have had four excellent Alpine cycling days to consider this lingering issue, going up and down the Rhine valley to Liechtenstein, and winding through Bavaria for the past two days, surrounded by green all around. I have cycled past enough grass to develop some authority on the subject. My conclusion, after very careful consideration is yes, the grass really is greener in the Alps.
My trip through the Rhine valley sparked this question. I cycled to Liechtenstein principally on the Swiss side of the Rhine, and for a change of scenery left the valley on the Austrian side. Which side is greener, I wondered? By the time I reached Germany I had an answer. I recognize the high controversy of my conclusion, but perhaps, just perhaps, Bavaria has the greenest grass of all. It sparkles in the sunshine, which I have enjoyed in defiance of the weather forecasts. Until today.
This morning (Wednesday, July 13) I discovered why Bavaria may produce the greenest grass: because when it rains, it rains. I am only 100km away from Munich but getting to Bavaria’s capital may be delayed by a day due to inclement weather. After nearly a week of threatened thunderstorms, Mother Nature finally got down to business.
A former colleague who grew up cycling in these parts suggested the route for me from Lake Constance to Munich, and it’s a worthy recommendation. After skirting through Switzerland’s valleys last week, it’s refreshing to do some climbing and get up in the mountains, which are skied down in the winter. My cycling has alternated between secondary roads and the Bo Ko (Bodensee – Konigsee) cycleway. I’ve been to Bavaria in all the other seasons, but this is my first summer visit and I love it here — the small farms, the towns , the food, the dress and ornamentation which are unmistakably Bavarian. On my first night in Bavaria I stayed in Oberstaufen, an iconic village that is a hopping winter destination as well.
In Fuessen, where I am presently grounded, I made a small detour to check out King Ludwig II’s fanciful Neuschwanstein castle. The eccentric King only occupied this castle for 172 days before he was arrested on insanity charges, that he was unfit to rule. A room in the castle fitted as a cave was cited as evidence. Personally, I thought the grotto room was pretty cool. I wouldn’t mind having one at home. The castle was not yet completed at the time of his arrest, and he died the next day at Lake Strandberg in mysterious circumstances and in debt.
The trek to Neuschwanstein felt like going to Disneyland. It had similar crowds and this castle is the inspiration for Cinderella’s in Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Daily and Trip summaries:
Days 38-39: Vaduz, Liechtenstein – Oberstaufen, Germany – Fuessen, Germany via Austria
Distance: 96.34 km (Day 38) and 67.05 km (Day 39)
Ascent: 1,209 m (Day 38) and 514 m (Day 39)
Weather: blue skies, contrary to weather forecasts
Total Distance: 2,977.81 km
Total Ascent: 21,579.28 m
Rest Days: 6
Police interactions: 1