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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

June 14th: Tutzing to Fussen

When I first thought about doing this trip, my thinking was that we'd spend the first few days in the Salzburg Lakes, getting acclimated to jet-lag, and then maybe make our way over to Landeck and the Alto Aldige area. Bowen completely upended this by telling me that he wanted to visit Neuschwanstein, despite showing absolutely no interests in castles the year before. The Neuschwanstein area is completely impacted by tourism, so I scrambled and booked a hotel in Fussen. The nice property about Fussen was that if the weather had turned horrid, it would have been a fairly cheap and easy train ride to Fussen.

Unfortunately, I was suffering from severe jet-lag, waking up at 2:00am and then tossing and turning. I'd might have slept for another hour or two, but finally gave up and started packing panniers and otherwise getting ready for the morning. Bowen, on the other hand, did not have any jet-lag at all, waking up only at 7:00am.

My plan was to take the S-Bahn down to Tutzing and then ride directly to Fussen. The S-Bahn did not allow bikes before 9:00am, but by the time we were done with breakfast and gotten the bike ready it was already past 9:00. Getting the bike onto the train was actually a challenge: the tandem was just a bit too long to fit in the elevator, so I had to unload the panniers, bring them down to the subway, and then fetch the bike separately. Fortunately, I knew I only had to do that once, as the scheduling algorithm for the S-Bahn allowed me to change trains by getting off at a platform and then waiting for the next one to arrive at the same platform, and once at Tutzing I had all the time in the world to get the bike out to downtown and start riding.
The initial ride from Tutzing was pleasant, but we soon found ourselves routed down B-2 in Weiheim. I looked and saw what looked like a perfectly decent bike path, and then realized that I had set my Komoot routing for "road cycling", which apparently means to use the same roads a car would. We immediately stopped at a nearby supermarket for lunch, and proceeded to reroute to Fussen using "touring bike" settings instead, which resulted in a much more satisfactory route.
The route took us along an  old bridle path and some farm roads, and while there was occasional dirt, there wasn't anything that would require us to get off and walk. I remember being concerned that the touring path was a good 5 miles longer, which would eventually make this a much longer day than I'd wanted, but Bowen was a lot stronger that last year, and didn't complain about the riding.
We stopped at a fruit stand for raspberries, and then started a series of climbs as we approached the foothills of the alps. Around 4:00pm, the bike path suddenly dumped us onto a major road, though one with a bike path on the side so we weren't riding in traffic. The road also started descending. While in town, I spotted a bakery that was open so we stopped for a snack before riding on.
Now, the scenery started opening up and we got glimpses of the hills near the Austrian border with Bavaria. The scenery got better and better, while the path remained straight through the plains with a lovely tailwind behind us.
Near Bannwaldsee, I finally spotted a playground with a zipline and of course we had to stop and let Bowen make several runs at it. By the time Bowen was satisfied that he'd done enough zip-lining for the day it was 5:00pm, and we made the mostly flat run to the hotel, passing through Schwangau along the way, granting us far-away views of the Neuschwanstein castle. Hordes of mountain bikers (most of the on electric assisted bikes) were finishing up their ride as we finally crossed the Lech river into town and found the hotel.
The hotel gave me 2 options for bike parking: either park outside with a lock, or bring it downstairs into the basement. It was awkward, but I opted for the basement. Whenever I've toured with adults in the past, I've often contended with "The Curse of Piaw", where I was always given the room on the top floor in any hotel, no matter how far I'd ridden that day. Riding with Bowen seems to have eliminated that curse, as we were given a ground floor room.

At this point, we settled into our regular riding routine: take off all our clothes for soaking, take a shower, and then dry off. Then use the towels to wring our clothing dry so that that's a chance they'll be dry the next day. Then we wandered off to dinner downtown, taking note of the bakery's hours the next day since we were planning to eschew the hotel's breakfast and beeline it for the ticket office at Schwangau first thing in the morning.

We went to bed early, knowing that an early start was our only hope of getting the tickets for both castles the next day. The forecast looked good, and I figured we'd have a good day of riding even after spending all morning at the castles.


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