06-15-2008, 12:32 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: northern Arkansas
Breakfast is at 7:30 but Iím up well before then. I load the cases on the bike and walk the side streets. The view from the driveway
A short walk away
Shortly before food time I look in on the family area. The wife indicates I can have a seat and breakfast is almost ready. I get my first breakfast of meat, cheese, and bread that soon becomes the norm. And my first ever soft-boiled egg. Soon after 8 I am on the road.
I go a few km north and turn west on a Ďblue highwayí to Reutte. The scenery is quite impressive and I havenít even made it to the mountains yet.
I decide to get my castle photo-op out of the way and go to Fussen (pop 15,000). I take a left and go through the center of town, certainly a unique place but crowded with many tour busses and visitors. I decide to circle the town, expecting to spot Schloss Neuschwanstein in the surrounding mountains. I donít.
I pull off the road at a place with parking to consult the map. A family pulls up. I indicate Iím looking for the castle. Though they are not very fluent in english, I can tell they donít see how I missed it. We take each otherís picture.
I return to town and soon see the signs for it. Had I continued another km instead of going through the center I would have seen it. Itís another 4km to the castle. Several years ago my wife and I received a 3D puzzle of it. You canít drive to the castle itself but must park and either walk or take a bus to it. I have to decide to either join the crowd or continue riding.
Cathy appreciated the (distant) pictures I took of the thing.
I go to Weibach, then through Vils and Reutte again. I have a Ďhot dogí and then on to Warth, Au, and Egg. In the area of Warth Iím in snow country. Two BMW riders tell me a road I was planning to take is closed by snow. I continue north to Bregenz.
I have at least thirty road sections pre-plotted on my maps, many from the Alpine Roads website. I knew going in I could only cover a fraction of them in the time available. I was getting a feel for what kind of distance I could cover and decide to write off the Swiss section. That must sound horrible. It looks bad in print also. But most of the mountain passes I had down in Switzerland were still closed with snow (often many arenít open until late June). I will hit them next time.
I ride a few km into Switzerland, hoping for a Checkpoint Charlie type crossing to stamp my passport, but they are a thing of the past (if ever). I didnít realize I had been half a day in Austria without any such theatrics. I backtrack and enter Germany, ready to look for another zimmer frei. I encounter a 6 1/2km tunnel, ride a few km more and exit at Sigmarszell. Itís more of a district than a town.
I see a zf sign but continue on, thinking Iím now too experienced to stop at the first one I find. I see a sign for another but cannot readily locate it so I return to the first. Two guys (brothers, as it turns out) are getting a charcoal grill going, beers in hand. The grandmother, mom, and two teenage kids are sitting at a table next to the house. I dismount and inquire about a room. The mom (Brijette) says she knows some English but that Simeone, the daughter, is quite fluent, so she handles my discussion with the grandmother (who owns the house).
We discuss the arrangement for a bit. Iím certainly ready to commit to stay so I use the only phrase I picked up from the Basic German cd, ďvas kostet das?Ē (how much does it cost). The daughter gives something of a blank stare but Brijette lights up and repeats it with a slightly different pronunciation. Then everyone is smiling and they show me the room. I unload my cases and head out for supper. A pizza place is nearby (the only seating is outside; most orders seem to be delivered). I eat half the pizza, drink a beer, and take one to go. I return and park in the designated shed.
Most of the family is still outside. As I walk up the son offers me a beer from a refrigerator in the garage. I offer to exchange it for the one I had just bought as it was not as cold as I like. I was going to head to my room but am invited to join them at the table. They open the bottle and give the son instructions on how to properly fill my glass. I soon felt like a long-lost cousin. The uncle has left but the sister-in-law and their young son Johann are there. Brijette is drinking a glass of wine. The dad is done grilling and joins us. They give me a braut and potato salad. We talk into the night. The dad gets a clear bottle of something that his uncle had made. His English is as good as my german. When I say schnapps? they discuss it a bit and decide that is close. We have a few toasts.
The father and I
I think if he could train his beard to grow like mine he might look like the younger brother I never had.
I sleep even better than the first night.