As we left our Warm Shower hosts, Christof and Elizabeth, in Austria, our goal was to cycle the northeast side of Lake Constance up to Meersburg, Germany, take the ferry across to Konstanz, Switzerland, and then cross the Rhine into Konstanz, Germany to find our next host.
The day before we cycled mostly on top of the levees racing the Rhine toward the lake. The river itself is actually a little boring and we found that diverting into the villages and the farmland on either side was prettier and more interesting. We found no recreational use of the river above Lake Constance and no homes or villages were on its banks. It seems that the chalky load of Alp minerals, the swift flow, and the relatively shallow yet flood prone waters keep people away. The governments may have something to do with that also as they are trying to build levees to withstand a one-hundred year flood. It is a huge undertaking and they are lucky they have a hundred years to get it done.
Traffic increased as we came into the denser areas of Dornbirn and then Bregenz, Austria on Lake Constance itself. Just as suddenly, the Rhine dumps it’s minerals into the huge lake and discharges clear and inviting at Constance, about 40 miles to the north- west.
The cycling on bike paths up to Meersburg kept us in sight of the lake most of the time. Finally, Tom could take it no more, pulled over, took off his shoes and walked into the lake. Ginny and I joined him for a refreshing swim.
After the ferry ride, we stayed at the apartment of Robert, a Constance University student studying physics, specifically how heat is transfered in a single molecule. We joined him and some other students for a barbecue but not before stopping in that wonderful German invention, the Beer Garden, for a liter of Polaner.
We were out with Robert’s friends a little later than we are used to because we were enjoying talking politics about the USA, Germany, and Europe. The students provided us an interesting viewpoint that is impossible to get back home.