The Mechanic and I are back from our European honeymoon, and a bit jet -lagged. It was such an amazing trip that it’s going to be hard to share everything I want to about it, and may have to give up at some point. I’ll give you some highlights, but first, a quick summary of where we were:
We started off in Zurich, Switzerland then went to Konstanz, Germany, where we started our Bodensee bike tour. Then we headed up to Dortmund, Germany, to visit friends. After almost an entire week there, we stopped in Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam, then squeezed in a few hours in Copenhagen, where we changed planes on our way home.
So, the highlights:
1. The bike tour around Bodensee was A-MAY-ZING! It was so well organized by Radweg-Reisen.com that we kept the catalog of their other tours. We booked ours through TripSite.com, but were definitely impressed by Radweg Reisen. We arrived at our first hotel and were given a huge packet of information, then jumped on a conveniently-located bus to the Radweg Reisen headaquarters, where we picked up our bikes. A brief adjustment of the saddles, a quick inventory of what came with the bikes (one pannier each, handlebar bags, seat covers, locks, first aid kits, tool kit), and off we went, just like that. Our luggage was picked up daily and was waiting for us at the next hotel. Although we picked the date we wanted to start our independent, unguided tour, there were plenty of others on the same route with the same branded bikes and panniers, and although we didn’t interact with them, we certainly got to know them. The hotels were all great, as well, and there was way more to see at every corner than we had time for! It did rain on us two of the days of long biking, but even then we still managed to have a great time. The bike paths were so well marked that we really didn’t need the provided maps, and every time we were unsure where to go, lo and behold! There was a sign, or a painted arrow on the road, or something. Biking in this area, and Germany/Switzerland/Austria is huge, so the signs and paths and arrows and detour signs, and everything were prevalent and put anything we have in this country to shame.
2. Bike infrastructure everywhere was amazing! I mean – it exists!!! And everywhere, not just in the wealthy neighborhoods. Streets are clearly divided – cars, bikes, people. Sidewalks were signed to show which side the pedestrians walk on, and where the bikes go, and then said streets would have stripes down the middle, or a different color brick bike lane in the sidewalk, or thoroughly painted bike lanes, even and especially through intersections. What?! We biked to Trader Joe’s today – not so much.
3. Germany won the World Cup!!! Woot!!! That’s my team, and we watched the game from Bruges. We also watching the amazing Germany-Brazil game in Dortmund – that was just unbelievable. All the Germans were going nuts that night as we walked home from the restaurant where we watched the game.
4. Beer and Chocolate. Lots and lots of both. Beer everywhere, and chocolate mostly in Belgium (of course), but the Sprungli chocolates in Zurich were dee-vine!
5. Not as much shopping as I’d hoped, but I did get some bike accessories.
And many, many more things….
We were so sad to leave, and return to urban sprawl, less-than-robust public transportation systems and bus infrastructure, and not getting to practice my German any more. Really, I’m still in denial that I’m back. I’m still organizing my photos (all 2288 of them), and I haven’t even looked that The Mechanic’s yet. So now is a good time to tell me what you’d like to see more of – bike stuff, hi-tech European stuff, historical buildings, the gorgeous countryside, our bike tour, what?