2012 Fero & Lois' Cycling Danube travel blog

We will be starting at the origin of the famous Blue Danube River, or the Donau as it is called in Germany, at Donaueschingen and make our way back to Vienna.

The route we have chosen is just over 1000 km and we have 12 days so we have our work cut out for us! I will keep you up to date as often as I can as I imagine we will have no problem finding internet access in Germany.

June 15/12 – 28C

Our day and journey to Donaueschingen begins with a 4:30am wake up! Lubo and Elena have a quick coffee with us and hand us a large bag of sandwiches and food for the journey. We walk to the train with our bike paniers and catch the 5:30am train to Bratislava, transfer and catch our 6:46am train to Vienna. Thankfully we did our dry run last week as we knew where ro get off and which subway to catch.

We arrived at Vienna Explorer where we rented our bikes from – they are top notch – at 8:30am and were at the train station (10 minutes away) well before 9am! Now that was fast!!

We loaded our bikes and left Vienna at 9:44am arriving in Salzburg at 1:30PM. We were 20 minutes late but thankfully our connection doesn’t leave until 5PM.

We managed to fill in our time at the Salzburg train station (we would have loved to look around but we didn’t want to chance missing our train). The system is so efficient here – the train arrives and within 2-4 minutes it departs again!!!

We positioned ourselves where we thought our car would stop and were off by about 4 cars. We ran pushing our loaded bicycles through the crowd and there where at least 10 of us trying to load ourselves and our bikes on to the same car. Talk about stress! Thankfully we have reserved spots for our bikes and us.

This train takes us from Salzburg to Stuttgart, Germany and takes 4 hours. We occupy ourselves eating our dinner that we purchased in the supermarket at the train station and conversing with the other cyclists when possible. Not as many people speak English and we know very little German. The final hour I spent stressing about our next connection as we have a mere 16 minutes to unload the bikes and paniers, set them up and get from platform 11 to 4. And to top it off we couldn’t make reservations on the regional trains, we are running about 10 minutes late and 7 of us all need to get off to make tight connections!

Thankfully we make up time and arrive on schedule. Surprisingly we all got off in an orderly fashion and in record time. Stuttgart is not as large as I imagined so we pedaled over to platform 4, rolled the cycles in fully loaded (nice) and even had time to run off and get bottled soft drinks. Whew! Now we just have to worry about our final connection which is exactly 6 minutes.

We are getting into the Black Forest area and it is beautiful, as has been the whole journey, I feel like I am on the set of Sound of Music. It is almost 10PM when we arrive in Rottweil for our final connection. We only need to transfer from platform 3 to 4 but as luck would have it we had to haul our bikes down a flight of stairs and then back up another flight to board the train. The stairs had a bike ramp which helped and the train was 2 minutes late. We just made it and did a sigh of relief – until it got dark and we couldn’t see the station names, and everyone except three of us got off at the second last stop.

We got off at Donaueschingen at 10:45PM to a closed station so we couldn’t get directions to our hotel. We made a few wrong turns but after several people’s help we arrived at the Precise Carlton hotel. We unloaded the bikes and locked them up, bought ourselves some wine and fell asleep in no time. More than enough excitement for one day I would say!

Keep on cycling!

Lois Tomlinson & Fero Kohucik

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