Travel.P #56 – The calm Rhine to the Bodensee

“Those who wish to control their own lives and move beyond existence as mere clients and consumers — those people ride a bike.” 

Wolfgang Sachs, German author and academic
Tour guide as professional as he is.

After litter picking at our camping spot, filling a whole plastic bag, we decided we actually didn’t want to sleep there and continued a bit further when we cycled past our first Salmon friendly dam. A gentle river got gradually raised until it was level with the dam. Things like this are just amazing in my opinion, when humanity is making a big effort for nature, to still be able to function fine after a strong influence through something like a dam. Well impressed, we continued est, further and further. Over the power station Ryburg-Schwörstadt, zum Wasserfahrverein Ryburg-Möhlin. We heard a party from the other side, it was getting dark, so we decided to cross and have a look around. Crossing the very impressive power station, just in time, shortly before it closed, we were well scared of the tons pouring down under our feet. Water masses are something that always fascinated me. It scares and impresses me. Water is so fascinating, so powerful and beautiful. On the Swiss side of the Rhine, we got a bit lost in a forest in the dark, but finally made it out. There were actually beautiful camping spots, just next to the Rhine, very chill. Once we arrived at the party, that was atually quite boring, as we thought, we were very impressed by the impressive bikes that simply didn’t get locked. The trust in the place was huge, and there were quite a lot of people, probably around 80 or 100. After a bit of sitting, listening to music and watching people dance, we left the party, saddled the metal donkeys and cycled into the dark swallowing forest. It seduced us so much that we decided to camp in it, on a cliff over viewing the Rhine through the forest, having a little fire and dinner. Way better than our first choice camping spot. While having dinner we realized that there was another party somewhere on further up the Rhine. Very surprisingly it came from the chill out side not from the party side of the Rhine.

The Rhine now was only a wide river, not a dangerous torrent that would carry you away and probably somehow drown you in its currents and whirlpools. Loads of little boat houses were next to the river, some only fitting a boat, some as big as a small house, possible to life in. It was strange to see the Rhine like this.

Rhinefall was kein Reinfall
I never imagined myself swimming in the middle of the Rhine

After a peaceful night, we continued east. Strong wind blowing against us and hilly landscape off the Rhine we decided to hop in the train and see how far we will get. We didn’t have tickets, but we did, we were chatting and enjoying the feeling of making a long distance in a short time, with nearly zero effort. When suddenly we couldn’t believe our eye. A massive, probably the biggest waterfall I have seen so far shooting tons and tons of water down a hill. Behind it a massive pool. To our luck there was just station, a few hundred meters next to it. We left the train, took an elevator down and cycled to the shores, where we had our lunch watching the impressive nature phenomena. It was very touristic, but that was not to worrying. The Rhine Falls is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. They are 150 metres wide and 23 metres high. In the winter months, the average water flow is 250 m3/s (8,800 cu ft/s), while in the summer, the average water flow is 600 m3/s (21,000 cu ft/s). The highest flow ever measured was 1,250 cubic metres per second (44,000 cu ft/s) in 1965; and the lowest, 95 cubic metres per second (3,400 cu ft/s) in 1921.The falls cannot be climbed by fish, except by eels that are able to worm their way up over the rocks. During the Wuerm glaciation, the Rhine was pushed far to the south to its present course, over a hard Late Jurassic limestone bed. As the river flowed over both the hard limestone and the easily eroded gravel from previous glaciations, the current waterfall formed about 14,000 to 17,000 years ago. The Rheinfallfelsen, a large rock, is the remnant of the original limestone cliff flanking the former channel. The rock has eroded very little over the years because relatively little sediment comes down the Rhine from Lake Constance. Today, the falls are still under consideration forhydropower projects. If the full water flow were used, the power generated would average approximately 50 MW. The economic value of the falls as a tourist attraction may be greater.

After being a tourist ourselves and enjoying our lunch as much as our view we continued to cycle again. No more trains. We cycled until Büsingen am Hochrhein through Schaffhausen, where we looked for a sleeping spot and found one just behind, on the property of a little boathouse, where we met the boy that can talk to the gods, or is a god, or what ever. Fact is he seemed quite nice in the beginning and we invited him for dinner. He shoot home and brought us loads of food from his family, when he started to talk about that no one likes him, he lived here and there but no one wants him, quite sad, than suddenly a mood change, he became very aggressive and told us that the gods are going to kill us and stuff. He didn’t want to gave us any food anymore and left us. Telling us about karma and all kind of things, when I started telling him my opinion and he finally left. In the end we gave us all a hug. Max and me were shocked to the bones, we actually considered moving our camp spot further up the Rhine. Well we didn’t and feared to be killed by him in the name of the gods, haha. Holy crap he was weird, like really and we met a lot of people. During the night there was actually a loud splash and I thought oh my god, we are doomed, he came to kill us, but it probably was just a big fish, I checked anyway, went to bed again and slept alive until the next morning.

We started the new day with a lovely swim in the clear water, it was very refreshing and reviving. We left our little German corner in of the Swiss, left into the Swiss, into Germany, back into Swiss, and until Konstanz stayed in Germay. Konstanz was very impressive and extremely cycle friendly. They even had a bike bridge over the Rhine that connects the Untersee and the Obersee Bodensee. It counted the amounts of bicycles that crossed it. Non stop, all day, one bike after another crossing the bridge. Loads of people hanging out in the park next to it, some swimming in the Rhine. This was probably the last proper bit of the big Rhine, afterwards there was nothing of the Rhine to see, but a massive lake. We had a little stop in Konstanz, got a bit lost and had another Kebab in Allensbach, not as good as our first one tho. We sat down overlooking the Untersee on a lovely little green bit that went a bit further into the lake s it was nearly completly surrounded by water. We watched other people and the lake, the whole atmosphere change to a calmer and more relaxed one. Constance is a city with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the far south of Germany. The city houses the most southern University of Germany and was the residence of the Roman Catholic Dioscese of Konstanz for more than 1,200 years. The first traces of civilization in Konstanz date back to the late Stone Age (700 BCE and 2000 BCE). During the reign of Augustus, the Celts living south of the Danube were conquered by the Romans. Around 40 AD, the first Romans settled on the site. This small town on the left bank of the Rhine was probably first called Drusomagus and belonged to the Roman province of Raetia. Its later name, originally Constantia, comes either from the Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus, who fought the Alemanni in the region and built a strong fortress around 300 AD, or from his grandson Constantius II, who visited the region in 354. The remains of the late Roman fortress Constantia were discovered in 2003.

The Altstadt looked very old an little streets were leading your zigzag around the houses. After a short look around, we climbed the bikes and continued to cycle along the Swiss side of the lake, simply because it seemed less long and more beautiful. Wind was blowing against us but we really enjoyed our cycle. It would be better if the cycle would actually lead you along the shores of the lake but some very wealthy people seemed to get these spots all around the lakes in the alps. In the distance we were able to see the first real Mountains raising slowly and growing with every meter we came slowly closer. Bacause there was not much to see we paced all along the Bodensee and made it with the sun setting to the head of the lake, from where we watched it setting over the lake. It was beautiful. We used the rest of the days sun to find a good place to sleep and chose the shores of the lake in Altenrhein, on a little island at the entrance of the small harbor, a lovely camp spot again. It was a fresh windy night and we listened to the waves while we made a little fire and had a little BBQ. Afterwards we went under the tarp, into our sleeping bags and passed out into the land of dreams.

Biggest treasure we found. A fold able grill tray.

Next time, read about us entering the Alps, further up the Rhine and getting swallowed by the massive mountains appearing to our sides, swallowing us in its valley. About first real tests, boiling weather, berries, and how natures stunning beauty is being destroyed by human settlement.

Windy vibes at the head of the Bodensee

How about no bread, no pasta and no potatoes (except sweet potatoes). Whole meal bread and pasta is as bad as normal pasta. It is just a marketing strategy to keep you buying processed carbs.

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