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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

June 22nd: Partnach Gorge

It thunderstormed the night before, but no matter, as we didn't need things to dry overnight for a change! On our way to breakfast, we were treated to the sight of a "cowmute" --- shepherds driving cows to their feeding area through town. These shepherds used mountain bikes instead of walking, but it's all good!

After breakfast in the hotel, we got back onto our bikes loaded with the minimal raingear needed to negotiate the gorge. The ride to the gorge used a different path than what I'd done the previous year, thanks mostly to the switch from Komoot to Google for routing. As far as I'm concerned, I thought komoot did a better job but my wife didn't trust Google and you never argue with a woman about routing.

Riding all the way to the gorge was great, we passed hikers who would have to walk from the parking lot or the bus stop, and they would stare at us, since the triplet was unusual in Germany, as even tandems were rare. We stopped at the entrance where Bowen and Boen got to change shoes and then paid our entrance fee into the thunderous gorge. The year before, high water had rendered the gorge in-traversable, and you could still see the damage from the piles of gravel and other construction detritus clustered around the entrance.

The gorge walk wasn't as wild as the Hollentalklamm, and this being a Sunday foot traffic was continuous but by cycling to the start we'd beaten most of the hikers and so were less disturbed than on previous days. I knew of several routes past the gorge that would be worth hiking, but given that I had Boen and Xiaoqin with me I knew even the most trivial of hikes would turn into a challenge, so suggested the easiest one, which would complete a loop and even had the option of taking a cable car down to avoid completing the hike.

Sure enough, the complaints from Bowen started as soon as we left the gorge and started walking uphill. This wasn't because Bowen was incapable of doing a trivial walk --- this was a kid who was the veteran of multiple back-country camping trips and multi-day walks. The problem was that I was carrying Boen and the inequity of course got to Bowen over the course of the days. This was why I vetoed hiking trips, even though my wife much preferred hiking to cycling. On the bike, the two brothers would sing, play games, and by and large cooperate, but on a hiking trip when I only have a pair of shoulders things would degenerate into bugging daddy for a ride. The ability of children to self-entertain on a tandem or triplet always puts paid to the lies that many parents tell themselves, which is that their children cannot concentrate on anything like cycling for that long. One parent after another would tell me this, and then if/when their child finally got on a triplet with me and Bowen that same child would have no problem riding for more than an hour at a time and having fun to boot! The reality is that while I've yet to meet a child who didn't enjoy riding with their parent, for most dads, riding a tandem with their kid is a huge amount of work, and of course takes away from the me-time that cycling does represent for many parents. It's tough even for me, and I'm as dedicated a cycle tourist as you can find anywhere.

We hiked over the summit to Graseck where we had lunch. Bowen was convinced that he wanted to take the cable car, and no amount of daddy-suasion could talk him out of it. We took the cable car down and came back to the triplet to discover locals looking at it. A couple came up to tell us how wonderful it that we were teaching the kids to travel by bike at such a young age. We told them that the weather was a challenge, and they told us that this was the last day of rain but it was supposed to get super hot after this.

After the hike, we rode back to town for lunch and then I took the kids to the swimming pool again after. I was dismayed to discover that the swimming pool only honored visitor cards once! Fortunately, my wife's card was unused the previous day, so we presented that, and so only had to pay for Bowen to enter, as Boen was free anyway.

This time we were time-limited but it wasn't a problem for the kids. While we were swimming Xiaoqin had shopped for dinner and we could have a relaxing dinner with no rain for a change. After that, we turned in, planning a visit to Bad Tolz the next day which would set us up for a visit to Munich.

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