I managed to convince Dave that we should stay for hostel breakfast this morning, even though it meant a late start. Luckily breakfast was worth waiting for! And we got a lie in, which I needed. We feasted on everything that was on offer then got ready to set off around 9am. Dave has had a sore back the last few days. He got a bit of relief last night thanks to some postoperative drugs I’d had since having my wisdom teeth out 6 years ago! But this morning he was back to hobbling around and wincing when he mounted his bike. I feel bad that I can’t do anything to help, so I mock him occasionally for being old and crippled. I’m sure that helps a bit.
It was overcast all morning so not as hot as it has been, but still hot enough to get a serious sweat on riding on the flat. The guide said that today’s section was flatter than what we’d been doing, but that’s not the experience we had! We rode along the river for a while then through Schaffhausen, where we stocked up on lunch. The guide told us that after this town, we’d see the Rhein Falls, the biggest waterfall in continental Europe (we assume by volume, since it’s only 25m high!). But that’s also not the experience we had. We rode up a crazy steep hill on the gravel trail and were met with a ticket office. Hey, who wants to pay to look at the river? Not us. I wasn’t that bothered about making an effort to see the falls, but Dave was adamant that he was going. So we rode downstream, crossed a bridge, climbed up to join the road, found a car park and stopped there. I waited with the bikes and made sandwiches whilst Dave walked down to a little viewpoint. Then he came back, swapped lenses and I went off with his camera to see the falls whilst he ate his lunch. From the far side, we got a distant view of the powerful falls and all the people on viewing platforms and boats who’d paid to look at them.
Then we were allowed to carry on downstream again and rejoin our route. Up another hill, across the river, around the inside of a tight meander and we found the marked way again.
We spent most of the day in farmland or forest, sometimes on a path along the river, sometimes along a road, track or cycle path in the trees or fields. It was a nice route. Definitely not flat though. One hill even had a sign at the bottom warning us that we were about to gain 100m in 3km. On that hill, we passed two Italian ladies (for the third time that day), one of whom had decided that it was too much and she was pushing her bike. It was hot, I didn’t blame her. The only reason I don’t get off and push more often is that pushing our bikes is way harder than riding them because they’re so heavy!
At the top of the hill, we sat for a lunch break with a view of the river below and chatted to a fellow tourer. She’s 50 years old and touring alone for the first time, although she’s done way more extreme trips that this one! She’s crossed several deserts and toured in Syria, among other places. We shared stories, exchanged tips and waved each other off.
From then on, we were getting tired and hot and ready to stop, but wanted to make some distance first. So on we rode the last bit towards Waldshut, up and down past factories and farms until we reached the town. We crossed over to the German side for a cheaper campsite and rolled in with 80km done for the day.
It’s a nice site by the river and there are 10 tents set up, all occupied by touring cyclists! The crazy bastards don’t know they should be doing their short touring holidays in spring. And Spain for that matter!
Today was (only) 32 degrees. Tomorrow the forecast is for 38. So I think we’d better get to bed in order to get up before the sun!