The world can clearly be split in to cycling nations and non-cycling nations. Scotland I’m afraid to say isn’t a cycling nation (yet) – bits are. The islands are great with cars and bikes seemingly co-existing peacefully, sharing the road space happily but as you move towards the bigger conurbations it all starts to fall apart. Too many cars trying to share road space with too few bikes.
But Germany/ Switzerland/Austria are different. They have a fantastic network of cycle paths (essentially on every road) and where there are properly segregated paths they aren’t just old railway lines, following the contours of the hillside, meandering through the countryside but proper arterial routes which actually go somewhere. What’s more everyone looks so cute on bikes, old people on electric bikes buzzing along cheerfully, children on their new bikes chasing after their parents and siblings, teenagers in love on elderly bikes with moustache handlebars. Cycling makes everyone look like an extra in a Richard Curtis romantic comedy.


We leave Konstanz early Sunday morning and have an idyllic cycle ride to our next stop at Uberlingen. We stop frequently by the lake to eat ice cream and have cold drinks, the weather is just perfect 25 degrees or so, not too hot provided we keep pedalling. However we are starting to look covetously at the sailing yachts playing on the lake so during a stop at a marina I start chatting to a guy from a sailing school about boat rental.


“Hi, can you tell me how I go about renting out a yacht?”
“Do you have a licence?”
“Yep. Even brought it with me.”
“Is it a Bodensee licence?”
“Better than that,” I reply, “it’s an RYA licence! We’ve all got them! Even the little girl!”
“Ah no. That is the wrong sort of licence.”
“No,” I say. “It’s an ICC equivalent.”
“Yes I know what it is, with that you can rent a boat on the ocean. But not here. You need a Bodensee licence.”
“Errm OK. How do I get that? Can I do a trial lesson, say for a couple of hours. Then never come back?”
“No! You must go to the library and do an exam! Or rent a skipper. 200EU a day.”
It must be the complete absence of tides that make it such a tricky place to sail. I heard later that they get ‘freak weather conditions’, or as we call it in Scotland ‘weather conditions’.


Never mind we have our bikes and we pootle along admiring the view and enjoying the day until we reach Uberlingen. We had only heard of Uberlingen for one thing (my holiday research is pretty minimal as I like to be surprised) but it is lovely, a City right on the lake and we check into the Hotel Ochsen for another 2 night stay. The consensus in the family is that the 2 nights stays are much better and give us a lot more time to explore.
The Hotel Ochsen is the nicest place we’ve stayed so far (and the nicest place we will stay) – traditional without being twee with helpful and friendly staff. Unfortunately when Suzy booked she had to book 2 rooms and forgot to ask for them to be adjacent, when we mention this they shuffle our booking around and move the double to be on the same floor as the single but they are still at opposite ends of the hotel… After a quick discussion Millie decides she will have her own room, which she is absolutely DELIGHTED about. She has a much nicer room too than us too with a balcony and a view of the lake.


We even manage a quick game of crazy golf before dinner which they let me win because it’s my birthday. Although  I am awesome at crazy golf (I once considered going pro).

Der Bodensee (early in the morning)

Hotel Ochsen (superfluous picture title)



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