Lisa had told me about the Bodensee-Konigsee cycle route across Bavaria so I looked it up and found out roughly the nearest section to Salzburg and headed that way. I crossed a river into Germany and wandered southwest until I saw cycle-route signs then started following them west. The signed cycle-routes I found in Austria and Germany were impressive. I look forward to the day the US Bike Route system is equally well signed. But of course relying on signage is always iffy. Miss one sign and suddenly you’re off in the weeds relying on your regular maps to figure out where the route might have gone. Eventually I stopped at a bike shop and picked up a map book of the route to help avoid those mistakes and to plan some shortcuts and detours.

The Bodensee-Konigsee route is lovely and scenic, but definitely not the shortest way across southern Germany. It winds up and down through the foothills of the Alps, around lakes, follows dirt roads and tracks through forest and narrow farmers’ lanes through wheat fields. I took a couple shortcuts to avoid some of the longest detours, but enjoyed wandering through the rest, wild camping in the forest with no need for a tent one night, waking up another morning to watch the sun rise over Neuschwanstein castle.

Near the end of the route I stayed a couple nights with Warmshowers’ hosts Sabine and Ulf who try to live an alternative, eco-friendly lifestyle in the middle of Bavaria’s conservative, small-town culture. I caught them in a moment of transition as they prepared to move to the northern city of Hanover, but they were gracious and welcoming nonetheless.

From Sabine and Ulf’s house it was a half-day’s ride to Bodensee (Lake Constance) at the border with Austria and Switzerland.