Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 4, Tuesday, The Wicked Wind of the North (Sea)

Today our goal was simply to "get north of Basel". We got through Basel in 1.5 hours with minimal frustration.

Skies were clearing following the rain of the prior two days. It was quite cool, however. We had a good breakfast and warm jackets to keep us.

Once north of Basel, the bike path along the Rhine was under construction. We did a little cyclocross and then decided to head back over to the road route north. The road route was pleasant despite the howling winds. We headed through a small town called Efingen-Kirchen. It was cute and cozy. It was about 11:30 am, and we decided to do the 20km to Schleingen before stopping for lunch, as we were not quite hungry yet.

As we turned out of Efingen-Kirchen, we pointed straight uphill at ~15% for the next 6-7 miles, rambling through vineyards, apple and cherry orchards. It was a mix of dirt and very narrow paved roads - Germany national route #13. We were pointing straight into a north wind, which made the hills even more demoralizing. At some point, it started blowing rain, too. So, we decided to eat lunch and call it a day when we got to Schleingen. We lunched at a cafe called Heitzman. We'd seen a couple of them along the way. It was a reasonable 10 Euro for 2 large coffees, 2 sandwiches and a pastry.

We spotted a hotel/restaurant "Gasthaus Sonne", which looked nice. No one was around, however, so we stopped in the parking lot to asses our options. We had a young boy yell down at us. He then came down to help us. He was the son of the owners. We arranged to take their one available room for 73 Euros including breakfast.  We also arranged to stay for dinner at 7:00.

Dinner was fantastic! Frau Grimm came and introduced herself and chatted a bit. We told her that her son had done quite well with his English skills. We had a 1/2 liter of a local rose wine, which was good. We also had the "Menu 1" feast with pork loin topped in mushroom gravy, white asparagus, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spetzel noodles and croquettes (fried potato goodness). It was the best German-style meal I've had.

Gasthous Sonne was another good find in a small town - highly recommended if you are in the area.

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