Leaving Buchs, we left the canonical Rhine route. The steep Alpine Rhine valley receded behind us as we cycled north heading into more open farmland east of the river, somewhat parallel to it. The route was a combination of paved and gravel secondary roads. Both the weather and scenery remained stunning.
We continued, to the intermittent sounds of cow bells, through a few small villages. As midday approached the cycle path was filled by small children heading home from school for lunch. The kids seemed so small, probably about 4-5 years old. They didn’t appear to have any adult supervision but they were all perfectly happy, chatting amongst themselves. We discussed how this sort of independence didn’t seem possible in Australia anymore and that our children would most likely not have this opportunity. Is that because of an actual statistically significant risk to kids or some sort of growing irrational societal fear for kids safety, which we have bought into? We weren’t sure.
After a nap, our own children woke and began to make noises about food, playgrounds and escaping the confines of the trailer. In Oberriet we found a nice one and prepared a lunch of bread and mackerel for mains, followed by bread and jam for desert.
Wet washing became a constant problem to be solved on our journey. Since Emilie and I had only two pairs of knicks each, we needed to wash every night so that they would have time to dry the following day before wearing them again the day after that. Added to this, our children have a habit of smearing almost as much food as they ingest onto their clothing. We used “ocky straps” and threaded clothing through them and then stretched them across the handle of the trailer. This system worked quite well with the added benefit of displaying our drying clothes to anyone we passed. When in Oberriet, we took advantage of the warm sun and breeze to hang the clothes across the fence to the playground, along with the tent and ground sheet. A late middle aged man appeared on the balcony of his apartment which overlooks the park, he stared at the sight before him, hands on hips. Minutes later he reappeared with, I assume, his wife. She also looked down at the sight without any change in facial expression or gesture. We looked up and I waved. Nothing. They walked away. Airing your washed clothes in a children’s park in Oberriet does not go down well apparently.
We rejoined the Eurovelo15 route along the Rhine just after the town of Au, at about the 43 km mark and then just before the river empties into Lake Constance (Bodensee) we headed east into Austria for Bregenz. As we came into Bregenz we headed towards the small cluster of campsites which are close to the lake. The first one we rode past was basically a dusty oval with loud “doof doof” music playing and loud young Austrians drinking. It didn’t seem like it was for us…we rode on. We came upon Seecamping Bregenz, with some glimpses of the lake from the sites at the front, and found a nice spot next to the play equipment. We set up as quickly as possible and headed over to the “beach”. It was another warm day and plenty of people were out enjoying a dip and sun bake on the rocky shore. The water was cool but refreshing after a day’s ride. We enjoyed both the dip and the people watching. Europeans will strip down to their underpants in an instant for some sun.
To see the route, elevation profile, etc., click the link to Ride with GPS below (it should be able to be embedded but WordPress does not allow this).