Silk road stages 4 and 5 – from Switzerland to Germany


After spending a full day resting and enjoying the company of Rolf, it was time to keep moving. Being already being schedule, I couldn’t afford to spend too much time stalling.

Rolf was kind enough to join me for the first 30km of my rather short ride to Zurich. He guided me through the rolling hills of his country saying that is what Kentucky would look like if it’s inhabitants cared about where they live. Farmland, pastures, neat and spotless little villages : it sure was different from Kentucky.

As soon as Rolf left me, I got lost. Despite the fact that I use two GPS (a Garmin edge touring and a Lezyne macro). My goal was to get to Zurich before 5pm to beat a storm that was supposed to hit in the evening. This is why I had picked a route with the least amount of climbing possible. The other reason was that after the three first stages, my legs felt horrible. I felt like a beginner cyclist who had pushed too hard, ignorant of his own limits. Off course, since I got lost, I ended up climbing a lot more than I was supposed too. I won’t complain though, because the biggest hill on my way was a really nice one. Hard and steep but very quiet, through a forest. The descent was even steeper and pretty scary, but somehow I survived.

Around 5pm, a strong tailwind started pushing me towards Zurich. The storm that the forecast announced was on its way. I took advantage of the wind and pedaled fast to my friend’s Sandro’s house. As he welcomed me in, the first raindrop fell from the sky.

The next stage was a big one, all the way to Munich. I was a bit nervous the night before and went to bed at 1am. A couple hours later a mosquito woke me up. I managed to kill him but it took me forever to get back to sleep. When the alarm went off, I had only slept for three hours. But when it’s time, well it’s time.

I left Zürich at 6:30am. It was very quiet and pretty cold despite the absence of clouds. I had a hard time finding my way out of the suburb where Sandro lives. Too many dead-end streets and my GPS were not helping. Still I managed. Onward there was a lot of climbing. Not long or steep climbs, but just relentless. Again farmland, pastures and small villages, all the way to the lake of Constance of, as the Germans call it, Bodensee. I followed a nice cycle path along the shore all the way to the picturesque town of Constance. I crossed the border without noticing it and then hopped on the ferry to the other side. There, a steep climb awaited and on top of it, was a pretty busy road which thankfully had a cycle path right next to it.

I spent about a hundred kilometers riding through fields, apple orchards and bits of forest, crossing mostly small towns. Again the terrain was quite hilly. Small gentle climbs but if you add them up it make for a fair amount of ascent. Being Sunday, pretty everything was closed and I found my only chance at resupply in a McDonald’s around 2pm. Needless to say, I was starving.

The last part of the ride was not the nicest. The road was following the Autobahn so noise was an issue. Not to mention the fact that said road kept crossing the motorway in an intricate system of over and under passes. I got to Munich around 8pm after a 290km journey fueled only by a Big  Mac meal and running on just a couple of hours of sleep. So yeah I was pretty tired. My friend François Xavier and his girlfriend Valeria welcomed me in their nice flat and we shared a few good Bavarian beers. They were at a wedding the day before so I was even treated to some nice cake after dinner.

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