|Day 40 – 42 June 6 – 8th
I'm afraid I have for a variety of reasons fallen well behind with Blog. I will when in Vienna backfill the stretch of the Danube from Regensburg to Passau.
Why am I behind? We have a busy life you know! First there is work, 70-80k cycling at a mean speed of around 16k/hr suggests 5hrs in the saddle. Then there is daily house building and demolition. Refuelling at regular intervals consumes time as does the purchasing and preparation of that fuel. Personal and bike maintenance is a regular necessity. Of course there is also socialising with other bikers and travellers something that Sue is very good at. See how hard we are at work. Another aspect is that Sue, understandably, finds my blogging annoying and finds it very hard not to distract me!
I will run through our 1st day on this stretch of the journey as an example.
We left lovely Passau early at 7.45 on a cloudy and quite cool morning for what turned out to be a wonderful day. Great cycling weather and beautifully smooth cycle paths along side the Danube. Crossed the almost unnoticed border into Austria, the only difference seemed to be an increase in the price of everything. The river now had quite a bit of leisure traffic on it, not the type you see on the Thames but the River's answer to the Oriana - you see them advertised in the Sunday papers - and the occasional mammoth barge. We crossed the river at one point on one of the fairly frequent cycle ferries - they’re many cyclists now. The weather cleared in the afternoon and we topped at a Penny Market to buy lunch and picnicked at a quiet spot and then moved on passed Linz and reached a small campsite beside a very popular lake. After erecting the tent we found a supermarket and bought supper and had a glorious swim in the lake and beer in the lakeside cafe followed by a supper of very tasty antipasta nibble then trangia cooked sausages and pasta (with wine of course) Had a chat with a few other cyclists including Bernard the Dutchman whom we seem to be bumping into and then to bed - no time for blogging! 99k
The next day, Tuesday 7th June, we set off early and in glorious weather but in slightly somber mood. In under an hour we were doing our next bit of sightseeing at Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Needless to say very moving. On leaving the camp prison and interrogation block you were presented with perhaps the only view the prisoners had over the Camp's granite walls. A stunning vista looking across a lush landscape of fields and woods, dotted with picturesque villages, with the Danube meandering through and in the distance the snow topped Alps. Hard to say any more.
After 2 hours we were back on our way sticking close to the river until Mitterkirchen. Massive flood protection walls and new levies were under construction following, I presume, the recent disastrous floods - were they last year? A significant deviation ensued for us, clearly signposted but very confusing at times. At one point we were stopped with 2 other groups of cyclists at a loss as to which direction to take. We were able to say no to one of the roads as we had just tried it. We had been stopped after about 3k and told by a local that the road ahead was blocked by construction work. At this point a van came up at speed from behind showing little sign of slowing, being of a cautious nature I moved myself further to one side only to discover that the grass I placed my foot on was in fact very long grass. Over I and laden bike went some 10' down a steep & nettled bank. Much screaming and consternation from above but I was fine, dirty and nettled but fine.
As we cycled on the valley narrowed again and the weather turned. We passed a damp night at Willersbach, a little village on the south bank.
The next day we moved into the Wachau. Steep forested valley slopes with vineyards clinging to the sides wherever possible - a major wine area. Visited the Benedictine Abbey of Melk and all seemed fine until we found that Sue's rear wheel sidewall was breaking up. Using my engineering knowledge we decided to carry on at a slow pace.
Made it to Krems and immediately found an excellent cycle shop that replaced Sue's wheel and fixed my disc brakes. The brakes had caused me significant problems for about 4 weeks, needing almost daily adjustment and then rapidly fading during the day. I watched an artist at work fixing them, not a mechanic!
Nice and very full campsite where Bernard again popped up. Turns out his wife has been relatively recently disabled and he has been sent on a respite break, as it has been quite tough.
Did 77k but some 13 of it was detour and lost way!