The day started well for us - breakfast with Markus at a nice bakery in town. Markus is exceedingly camera shy, so Sue's pose with her Austrian pin-up has had to be adjusted, as the pin-up took fright, and with a look of panic insisted on being behind the camera, not in front of it. (See top picture - I couldn't even fix it to get his reflection!)
We were then deposited at a bridge over Dornbirn Ache, one of many rivers that accompany the Rhine in dumping their contents into nearby Bodensee (Lake Constance). That lake then feeds the mighty Rhine on its journey to the North Sea.
We had hoped that Markus could join us for a day on the trail, but he had to take Silke to a Swiss railway station to start her journey to Lischana Hütte in the Engadine, where she will be cooking for the visitors for the next couple of months, and then he had to go to work, and also resolve a technical problem involving fuel.
Despite an overnight storm, the atmosphere was sultry, with rain in the air, but not enough for waterproofs. It was evaporating on landing.
A pleasant stroll took us through woodland inhabited by Dornbirn's fitness fanatics before crossing a bridge and entering open countryside leading to the northern fringe of Lustenau. On Schwatzer Ried a farmer ploughing his field had attracted a colony of storks, and large birds of prey floated overhead, whilst long-tailed tits and a variety of warblers fussed in the trackside trees. Sue is pictured en route near here. We were annoyed to have left our binoculars behind today - our loads had been culled, just for one day, given that we would be returning to Wolfie's flat.
An interesting covered bridge had been passed en route, and now a new bridge under construction over the Rhine caused a minor detour from our planned route. But we soon found a somewhat overgrown path beside the Rhine that led eventually to a bridge across the river, where we rejoined the (not waymarked) E4 and E5 routes.
Whilst there was little evidence of the path being used as a walking route, it's clearly a popular cycling route, as we discovered for the rest of the day's walk. But first we ambled into the village of Fußach and enjoyed lunch on a long bench under the church eaves, whilst it decided whether or not to rain.
The sun scored a decisive victory, resulting in further diminution of our increasingly meagre stocks of sun tan cream.
We then entered a nature reserve that runs to beyond Rohrspitz, where a campsite café provided welcome cold drinks. The view from here forms today's bottom picture.
It was hot and humid again today, and as yesterday care was needed at times to avoid picking up melting tar from the soft surfaces.
A call to Markus gave a slightly ambitious ETA at Rheineck, so the pace was stepped up for the last few kilometres alongside Lake Constance and then south along a pleasant lane to the bridge into Switzerland and on to Rheineck station, where Markus lay in wait to whisk us back to Wolfie's flat and later join us for beer and pizza.
Dot - the hard days are over. We are entering the 'ice cream' phase of the trip - the home run...
3 August 2012
24km in 7.5 hours with minimal ascent
Flower of the Day - Great Burnet
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
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