Saturday 23rd July
Last evening we sit mesmerised by the news about the Munich shootings. Christ, we only left there yesterday morning. As the (false) rumours about additional shootings in familiar places circulate, we just become numb. We get some messages asking if we are OK, so we let our friends and family know we are out of the city.
Truth is, we were never close to the mall where the shootings took place, but the fact that they happened a few short hours after we left the city is sobering to say the least. The knife attack on a train in Germany the week before also happened shortly after we left the town of Wurzburg. Our thoughts are with the people of Munich.
This somehow strengthens our desire to leave Germany; not so much to do with terrorism, more about the fact that we have been here nearly a month.
So this morning we set of down the Danube with the aim of getting the 50k or so to just short of Straubing. We hope to be able to get a gasthaus just before we get to the town. The plan is them to take a short ride to a train or boat to Passau on the German/Austrian border.
As we pick our way out or Regensburg we run over some broken glass; I hear it crunch under the front wheel and expect the worst. We escape a puncture, or so we thought as fully 8k later the front tyre develops a slow puncture.
When changing it, I cannot find what caused the puncture, which is a worry. Also pumping up the front wheel with a mini pump does not enable the kind of pressure required for a fully-laden tandem. We progress, but I am nervous about the pressure in the front wheel, although it does not start to deflate again which is a relief.
Generally, the ride is good, though hot. Mostly on Tarmac cycle paths or very quiet roads with little of the rough track we have experienced so far. Again, the way-marking is excellent.
We stop in a small village called Sossau and, for the first time on this tour, get a room in a small gasthaus which also has a bar and restaurant. It is also hosting a wedding in a marquee in the grounds, which makes fascinating watching. I still don’t get when and why the traditional dress of lederhosen is worn; it is worn sporadically by a number of the guests.
The plan for tomorrow is to move towards Passau; we aim to progress to just further on beyond Deggendorf and hopefully find somewhere similar than the place we have found today. We also get some info on the boat service beyond Passau; we want to cross the border into Austria on the bike, but may get a boat for a few stops on the way to Linz.
We have also have had a long conversation about where this tour will end up. Louise is still feeling somewhat homesick and we consider whether we should return home for a while after Budapest. We could then resume the tour perhaps by taking the car down to Spain. We would need to decide on the best option for Claud, however. Something we will continue to mull over.
Sunday 24th July.
We awake to rain and heavily clouded sky.
Breakfast dissolves my earlier Brexit egg theory as we are both offered a boiled egg. Well done Boris, you have obviously managed to gain this concession for UK tourists in early negotiations with the EU.
As we set off the coolness is welcomed but we have to sporadically stop to dodge the rain for the first hour and a half.
Again, long sections of the cycle path comprised of unmade and rough stone track. A waterlogged section forces us to stop and divert onto the road for a while; a heavily mudded track is no place for a heavily loaded tandem with touring tyres.
We make Deggendorf easily and have lunch after which we press on another 10k to a small town which looks a candidate for a decent Gasthaus. Unfortunately, the town we chose is bereft of anything suitable, so we decide to back track as we have passed a few likely candidates.
By this time, it is very hot and sunny and we could really do with finding somewhere quickly before we melt.
On our way we had passed a lake area, which had many people enjoying its grassy banks, cooking on barbecues or swimming. We had to pass this area again when we reversed our journey and we were confronted with the horrible sight of paramedics resuscitating someone on the bank of the lake. This was truly shocking as was the apparent indifference of those nearby who still appeared to be carrying on as normal. We continued in silence for a while.
We quickly found a decent Gasthaus that serves food. Louise was delighted, not only because the place had a skittles alley, but also because there is a square dancing event on this evening. Can’t wait.
Although the bar area has WiFi, is is cumbersome to say the least and is not even man enough to allow me to download the last two Garmin rides. I fear the blog will have to miss another evening.
We sit outside for dinner and get bitten to death by various flying beasts, despite a liberal coating of anti-mossie spray. We move inside, but still end up bitten to hell.
We go and have a peek at the square dancing. A small affair which included the cream of the local square dancing club. We watched the dancing for a while, with the caller shouting the instructions in an American accent. In truth, it looks quite complicated and is a series of different moves that get joined together based on what the caller tells them to do. We don’t have a go but we do have a chat with some of the club members who were really nice and clearly enthusiastic about their chosen sport.
Tomorrow we will head for Passau and the Austrian Border 4k later.
Monday 25th July
We both had quite a bad night. We continued to be bitten to pieces by mossies and it was boiling. We awake, however to another atrocity in this country; a suicide bombing in Ansbach. It is scarcely believable, where will it all end?
Over breakfast we decide to head straight for Passau, about 50k away, in the hope we can get a decent hotel.
Despite the heat, the ride goes well, the Danube cycle path remains generally good, but still with longish sections of gravel path. Also the ride today does not give you much of a view of the river until you get close to Passau.
A short picnic stop and we get to Passau at about 3:00pm. Once we have found Internet, booked a hotel and then found the hotel, it is nearly 5:00pm. This the trade off in larger towns, it is more difficult just to rock up and find somewhere.
We settle for a hotel on the edge of town as it is a good rate on booking.com. We are pleasantly surprised with the Dormero hotel; the rooms are very modern (including the biggest TV I have ever seen in a hotel – how am I going to chuck it out of the window later?) and we are happy to spend some time here, particularly as a massive thunderstorm hits us just as we arrive.
Tomorrow we will cross the border into Austria. We need to decide in detail where we are going, but we are likely to mix cycling with the odd boat ride over the next few days.
Germany it has been a blast – on to Austria!