Thursday, 6 September 2007

Sunday 3rd September (Day 48): Hopfen See to Rettenberg (46km - overall total to date 2,128 km)

The climbing, it has begun! Well, the climbing, the descending, the climbing, etc ad infinitum...we dropped from an average speed of 20+ kilometers an hour in a day to 13 kilometers an hour. Bad Tolz was at 650 meters, and today we´ve dropped as low as at 600, and topped out at nearly 1,000 meters. An INTERESTING FACT :-) Apparently each kg cycled above your body weight takes an extra 1% of effort to haul up the hills. Given that, with our luggage + food + water + bikes (all of which varies depending on other factors of course) we are cycling between 35 to 50kg...that´s quite a lot of extra effort. However, it does make for more cake eating to fuel the hill climbing, so not really complaining too much. (Did I mention the 20km head wind and the rain that started at 3pm, and temperatures that dropped to 10°???)

We had a couple of fabulous hours climbing through steep sided valleys with tiny well-kept villages, all with the wooden chalets, red geraniums galore spilling over balconies, cow byres, and neatly stacked wood-piles, all with a mountain backdrop. Coffee and cake (a large, seed-filled pastry, with a light custard filling) was indulged in overlooking these self-same misty mountains..´sigh´...

At the beginning of the day we had said goodbye and thank you to our cycling expert friends from Denmark and had another chat about cycle touring with Brompton folding bikes. One of the guys had just bought himself a Thorn bike (like ours), and is hoping to drum up more interest in them in Denmark as an ultimate touring machine. We had nothing but praise for the bikes, apart from a couple of tiny quirky points, most of which were with the Rohlof hubs.

Our luck was in. The first town of the day had a cycle shop (Martin´s Cycles) which stocked spokes of the correct length for my rear wheel. So, no longer did we face a marathon push to try to get to a bigger town to get spares. There was also an excellent bakery around the corner where we were able to pick up lunch and other refuelling necessities! (By the way, we don´t survive entirely on pastries and bread, there is a healthy amount of salad, cheese and fruit consumed alongside, but the former is much more interesting.)

There was a splendid 12th century wooden church with an onion shaped dome in one of the little villages on the route. Rather weathered but very different to the white, square-towered churches prevalent in this region.

After our second cake stop, and another climb back up to ski-lift height, we decided to look for a guest house, especially as there were huge, bruised rain clouds heading our way. The rain started with a vengeance just as we got into Rettenberg. After booking into a rather non-descript pension, we showered snoozed, and headed out for käse späetzler (sp?) - potato noodles and cheese - a salad, and a couple of beers. The landlady informed us that the rain was going to continue the next day, that the temperature would remain below 10°, and that there would be snow...we thought she was joking!!

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