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Day 17 : Three passes

In the morning it was dry. We had breakfast in the village, on a bench in front of the bank. Afterward, Bram went back to pay for the campsite. The old lady there had said she trusted us to return. There were three passes on the program for today. We weren't sure how tough it would get exactly. Until now, all climbs had been challenging, and we also had encountered three passes that weren't even on the map. The first climb was on a busy road that wasn't very steep. A kilometer before the top, a lorry had flipped over and there was a long traffic jam. Some people waved at us. What people in Austria and Switzerland say when they overtake you is not clear to us yet. In France, it was 'Bonjour', 'Allex', 'Bon courage' (my favorite), or 'Salut' when you got close to Spain. Here I couldn't understand anything. In one part of Austria they also spoke some strange, incomprehensible dialect of German. There was so much traffic on top of the Fernpass that we couldn't take a nice photo.


The Fernpass.

We were both tired from the past few days. Luckily the first pass was easy and we only descended a little after that. That was nice because it meant we needed to climb less for the next one. Instead of a main road we followed a bicycle path. The length of those was always indicated wrong. A sign said it would only add one kilometer compared to the big road; it turned out to be at least 5. Nonetheless, it had some excellent views.


The next climb was not more than a hill. We could tell by the type of cyclists. Most had a hybrid bike and no real cycling clothes. That was nice for us as it meant today might turn out easier than anticipated. We stopped for lunch. The entire trip we had been eating chocolate. Chocolate spread, granola bars with chocolate, snickers, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bars, and much more. We didn't want to eat chocolate ever again. Eventually, we still bought two chocolate Magnum ice creams and cookies covered in chocolate. We always tried to buy the food with the most calories. An average person needs around 2000 calories per day, but during our cycling vacations we eat about three times that. The cookies, which were only part of my lunch, already contained 700.


Today's third pass was also simple. There were no signs on top, which was a pity. Today we both felt exhausted which resulted in some very poor jokes. The amount of rain we had really made the whole trip much tougher.


Just before Isny.

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Pringles with cheese get stuck behind your teeth.

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Gravel road

We ate Pringles and Tuc-cookies with slices of cheese. That was a surprisingly good combination. In Isny was a campsite. If we stayed there we would get behind schedule. If we traveled 150 km over the route each day for four days the last day would be 200 km. Cycling 150 over the route usually meant cycling 165 km in real life because of unavoidable detours. If we cycled less on one of those days, it would get very hard to be home in time.


Completely worn out, we continued. We spent some time searching for the right road before passing through Isny. It would be 30 km to Ravensburg. That was a big city that might have a campsite. As it was already late we knew we probably wouldn't reach it in time, meaning we would have to camp in the wild. We found a map in Wangen. There turned out to be a campsite closer by. I felt very energetic again but Bram was nearly asleep. Of course the kilometers to the campsite were all uphill. I can't remember a campsite this vacation that wasn't on top of a hill.

The campsite was pretty full, but still had some room. The showers were horrible. We didn't like that we had to pay for them, although it used 50-cent coins, which was somewhat better than tokens, as it made us not dependent on whether or not the front desk was staffed. I had to walk back to our tents to get some. Back in the stall, I organized all my stuff to prevent them from getting wet. I put in the coin. The shower gave ice-cold water. There was a knob to adjust the temperature, but it didn't seem to work. Suddenly I got water with a normal temperature, which a second later changed to near boiling. Then it turned cold again. I tried to adjust the beam but was only unscrewing the shower head. I washed myself under the, now again boiling, water. Usually, you can only shower for about 5 minutes for 50 cents, but this one was still going after 15 minutes. There was no way to turn it off.


Bram also had lots of luck while showering. The first one didn't give water at all, while the second only let him shower for 3 minutes with lukewarm water. We wanted to go to sleep but there were many sounds around us. Someone was playing the harmonica, someone else the guitar, and next to us was a baby that didn't stop crying the entire night.

Distance cycled : 158 km.

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