CYCLING LAKE CONSTANCE, DAY 5 – a wet finale in Konstanz

On a day like this, all colour is welcome.

On a day like this, all colour is welcome.

Sometimes it’s better not to know what’s ahead until it’s behind you. On a cycling tour we check the weather forecast several times a day of course. The past two days have been perfect, but today: “Konstanz – rain, max 10 deg, headwind strength 3.” Not ideal cycling weather.

Thanks to my correspondent Ken for reminding me of an excellent story about Lake Constance that is vaguely relevant here. It’s worth a clumsy segue to tell it…

On a dark, stormy and snow-swept night, a lost and disoriented rider arrived on his horse in the town of Konstanz. ‘Where did you spring from?’ asked the gobsmacked townsfolk. The rider pointed into the blizzard swirling behind him. ‘Impossible!’ said the people, ‘You’ve ridden across the frozen lake. Nobody has ever survived that treacherous crossing!’ The rider, suddenly understanding the danger he had passed, clutched at his heart and fell dead from shock.

Peter Handke turned the concept into a play, The Ride Across Lake Constance.

So, back to our ride…

The rain looked set to stay for the day, but hardy Australian cyclists we met at breakfast were strapping plastic bags over their shoes and hoping for the best.

"If you're going to be out and about today, take the brolly."

“If you’re going to be out and about today, take the brolly.”

Mevrouw T took the wiser option – putting the bike on the super-efficient Swiss train and meeting me 30km down the road in Romanshorn.

The trains have bike spaces. Maybe I should just...

The trains have bike spaces. Maybe I should just…

If I'd taken the train, I would have missed the rain, but also this work by Hundertwasser.

If I’d taken the train, I would have missed the rain, but also this work by Hundertwasser.

By the time Mevrouw T and I were reunited in Romanshorn, the rain was easing off.

The day was grey, but there was a splash of colour in Romanshorn's gardens.

The day was grey, but there was a splash of colour in Romanshorn’s gardens.

And when we rolled into Konstanz itself, the sun was making an effort to break through.

Sun on Konstanz cheers everything up considerably.

Sun on Konstanz cheers everything up considerably.

Once again, sculptor Peter Lenk has been at work in Konstanz. His nine metre high Imperia dominates the harbour, and has become the town’s most recognisable symbol.

Imperia at the harbour.

Imperia at the harbour.

The powerful prostitute, holding the king in one hand, the pope in the other.

The powerful prostitute, holding the king in one hand, the pope in the other. You have to love it.

There were just a few kilometres to put in to reach the end of the journey…

...just one more hill, and then...

…just one more hill, and then…

...a celebratory glass of local wine.

…a celebratory glass of local wine.

The writer was the guest of Freedom Treks and was assisted by Bodensee Tourismus.

22 Comments

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling

22 responses to “CYCLING LAKE CONSTANCE, DAY 5 – a wet finale in Konstanz

  1. I would of loved to have joined you on this jaunt!

  2. I thought your disoriented rider story was going to be the shaggy dog story that ends, “I wouldn’t let a knight out on a dog like this.”

    • Excellent, Duncan!

      Teutonic folk stories often lack good punchlines (being invented by folk, rather than professional wordsmiths like you and me). Though dropping dead isn’t a bad ending – it sort of says, ‘story over’.

  3. Carla Baas

    After the rain, climming, the powerful prostitute with the king and pope an nice glass of wine! what a day! thanks Richard for this nice blog, please don’t stop with this nice daily stories.

  4. You certainly choose a bad week for the weather. That Hundertwasser did some strange stuff – I once walked all over Vienna looking for one of his creations.

  5. Hazel Jeannes

    Weather or not, Richard and Mevrouw T had a jolly good time, well done to you both and all the other jolly cyclists. Love your blog. Look forward to the next adventure.

  6. steven

    Richard, I love Imperia and all Peter Lenk’s work. I was in Konstanz in May last year… and got sunburn!

  7. Thank you for all of your posts. I have really enjoyed it, and I will be in Konstanz in a month (but not on a bike).

  8. Nice little adventure. Where to next?

  9. Georgia

    Hey Richard, the photos look fab! Very Jealous. I received an email from my parents yesterday and I believe the hardy Australians you met were my parents and another couple. Love the blog will definitely be following your next adventures!

    • Well, Georgia, it was very nice to meet your parents – the only Aussies we’ve bumped into in these parts so far. They seemed to be having a good time and coping with the variable weather.

  10. anne hunt

    Hi Richard, enjoyed your article on Konstanz bike path in Saturday’s Traveller in The Age. It brought back many great memories!! I am one of the shower cap clad, soggy aussies you road with!! Wondering what your next project is? Have read about all of your accomplishments since our meeting on the bike path!

  11. Congratulations on your successful circum-lake-ution!

    Seeing that Hundertwasser house brought back some memories of another one of his houses that we saw somewhere in Germany – they are sooo unusual. I always wonder what it would be like to spruce up our own house like that…

    • Reggie, I’ve used Hunderwasser’s toilet in Kawakawa New Zealand, and drunk kaffee in his haus in Vienna. They were both tricky. In the toilet you’re interrupted by tourists with cameras. In his haus your kaffee threatens to slide off your ricketty table. My advice, don’t do it!

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