It was the coldest May day in 30 years, some other shivering cyclist told us. I doubt it got further than 8 degrees, with a vicious wind chill factor.
We were very lucky, however. The icy wind was at our backs for most of the 50 or so kilometres we rode and the rain didn’t set in till we could watch it sweeping across the lake from our hotel window.
It was a day for riding on the Swiss side of Lake Constance, between fields and farms, rolling on the cycleway beside the railway line (putting the bikes on the train was always an option if things turned nasty), and passing through half-timbered villages.
We stopped in Restaurant Schiff, Steckborn, for kaffee and snuff. As you do when cycling in the cold.
No, really they had a snuff machine for use by customers. I thought nobody had actually taken snuff since the eighteenth century, but in Steckborn they do it all the time, apparently.
You put your nose on the wooden thing on the right, release the hammer and it falls on a little seesaw and slams snuff up your nose. Then you wipe your nose with the brush. Mevrouw T tried it. Why this is considered fun is mystery to both of us.
We rode on, snuff-, kaffee-, bratwurst- and wind-assisted, and took a ferry across the water to Uberlingen.
The first thing anybody would notice arriving by boat is the fountain by sculptor Peter Lenk. It depicts local writer Martin Walser, wearing ice skates and riding a horse, supported by mermaids. His most popular book is called Runaway Horse. Herr Lenk has intrigued us.
We had to keep moving to beat the rain. It’s only a couple of kilometres back into Uberlingen, so tomorrow we’ll go and see more of the town.