Day 5, 1 6 2014, Gengenbach to Furtwangen

We left the pretty town of Gengenbach today for one of the hardest rides we have done in Europe.  We thought yesterday was tough, but it was only a prelude for today.

The problem is that the hills are so steep, and we had not entirely expected that.  There were sustained climbs of over 13%, and I simply cannot ride that.  So we had to push our bikes up some of these hills until the slope dropped to around 11%.  We had a discussion about whether this was adventure tourism or a cockup.

We saw no warnings about the nature of these roads, but the locals obviously knew as we saw no trucks, campervans, caravans or the like.  So we don’t know quite what we missed.

We used TomTom throughout the day.  It took us on a set of forest trails that were extraordinarily steep, and eventually petered out due to the installation of a large powerline that obliterated the track.  So we picked our way through the bush hoping to find the track again, which we eventually did.  It was very hard work.

Enough of that. My recommendation is that if you wish to come to this area, study my Google map carefully and pick a different route.

We rode into the village of Triberg, promoted as being in the very heart of the Black Forest.  They have done a lot with not much.  There are a few buildings typical of the area but its main claim to fame is the sheer density of kitch.

Riding out of Triberg was also very hard work, but at the end of the day we rode along a ridge line through bits of forest and meadow, all of extraordinary beauty in the afternoon sun, before the steep descent into Furtwangen, a rather undistinguished town.

When we left the Rhine we rode through vine and orchard country at least the equal in beauty to the Alsace across the Rhine in France.  As we rode deeper into the Black Forest the scenery changed to upland meadow and grazing country, again of extraordinary beauty enhanced by human contribution in the form of the villages and huge farm homes.

Asparagus is an interesting vegetable. It forms a major part of the spring celebration in Europe. While I am partial to asparagus, and ate a particularly nice meal last night consisting almost entirely of asparagus, I would have been just as happy with parsnips.  Why asparagus? Asparagus is widely sold by farm kiosks, along with strawberries, and almost all menus make a feature of it.  Last night’s menu even had a special additional menu for its asparagus dishes.

We are back to three-star hotels and all is well, although tonight’s is a bit ordinary.

 66Km for the day.


Roz says that goals were achieved cuckoo clocks and cake in the Black Forest BUT OMG the limits were reached in the process!!  14% on rough gravel was not possible with panniers today, and even had to do portage with bike and bags when we ran out of track altogether!!  Great dinner and local beer and local wine and warm, all is good. 



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