We've been cruising the German countryside for a couple of weeks now; long enough that many of the little things no longer catch us by surprise. The bike routes are semi-intuitive here and, though not as totally straightforward and thorough as in the Netherlands, the routes are consistent and signed well enough that it's easy to make a nice route of bike paths and low traffic roads. The little villages are very evenly spaced, and still have a lively feel that has been all but lost in the rural farm country of the United States. We've learned that this is partially due to government programs specifically focused on making it financially feasible to live and work in rural communities in Germany. How strange and wonderful it is to bike through vibrant little rural villages with well-maintained structures and solar roofs. So very dissimilar to the delapidated rural scenes of the midwestern U.S. we've pedaled through over the past few years.
We had the rare honor of being found on the road by a local near Hochdorf a few days ago. We were shopping for groceries and looking, without much luck, for a place to stay or camp in the area, when a fellow named Markus rode up and asked us about our bikes. We had a nice conversation, and afterward he invited us to stay with he and his wife for the evening. We had a glorious dinner, and they took us to one of their favorite places to watch the sunset from a sub-alpine foothill. The views were magical.
Since Paul's first bike tour in 2012 his IT bands have caused some trouble, and stretching, rolling, icing and resting them usually becomes necessary at some point during each trip. Luckily, the issues have been manageable so far on this trip, and we've been able to make good progress even despite some small leg-related delays.
Google maps and Open Street maps are generally quite good, but sometimes a "road" looks something like this. :)
The Donau (Danube) through the rails.