Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Tuesday 18th May, 2010
Distance: 69.59km (Total: 1,429.94km)
Time: 03:42
Average Speed:  18.7kph
Maximum Speed:  39.7kph

It chucked it down all day today.  Not much more to say other than that we made it to Passau soaked and fed up.

Passau is the start of the popular Passau to Vienna cycle route.  It’s also the home of the worlds second largest organ inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral .  We came here 4 years ago while on holiday in Austria thinking we might cycle to Vienna, but it rained the whole time we were here then too so we decided to give it a miss.  Unfortunately we don’t have the choice this time!

View of Passau but taken in the morning when it had stopped raining.

We decided to stay in a B&B rather than try putting the tent up in the cold and rain.  It will be nice to get properly rested, do some washing and dry out before the 3 long days to Vienna.  We chose a B&B out of town mainly because it was cheaper, but also because it had wi-fi advertised.  When we tried to log on we discovered there was an 8Euro per hour charge!  Alex went down and got angry with the owner who gave us a free 1 hour wi-fi card. 🙂


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Monday 17th May, 2010
Distance: 126.62km (Total: 1360.35km)
Time: 06:58
Average Speed:  18.1kph
Maximum Speed:  38.9kph

We couldn’t quite believe it but for the first time since we arrived in Germany we woke to blue skies and sunshine this morning! 🙂  We left the campsite after a breakfast of muesli with fresh milk from the farm.  The only problem is all our clothes, towels etc now all smell of cow!

We managed our longest distance yet today at 126km helped with the wind behind us on the Danube cycle path which has been flat all day.

We passed through Regensburg which was nice and we would have liked to stay longer but decided to push on with the weather being good for once.  Now we’re on the Danube cycle path and back on the tourist trail where there are lots of other cyclists.  Wherever we stop we get people coming to talk to us who are interested in the bikes and and why we’re carrying so much more luggage than everyone else!

Straubing where we stopped for coffee and icecreams.

We finally stopped at a campsite on the river in Deggendorf where we were greeted with a beer by a guy called Ingo who was heading to Croatia in his camper.

Alex had her second crash today!  It was on a muddy track and she just lost traction and went over the handlebars.  We forgot to mention the first when she wasn’t looking where she was going and rode in to the back of Mike and went over the bars!

So it looks like we’re going to make it to vienna on time.  We can almost smell the coffee houses and Sachertorte already and are looking forward to a well deserved rest.  It’s still going to be difficult though with 3 100km+ days from Passau, but if the weather holds we should be ok as we know it’s mostly flat.

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Sunday 16th May, 2010
Distance: 114.72km (Total: 1233.73km)
Time: 06:35
Average Speed:  17.4kph
Maximum Speed:  54.8kph

We left the campsite late on another cold and overcast day.  Stopped at a lake for lunch where a hungry dog tried to steal our sausages.  Then passed through Ingoldstadt which is quite pretty but we didn’t have the time to stop as we knew the next campsite was still a good distance away.

Lunch by the lake.

After lunch the cycle path turned into a gravel track alongside the danube.  There was nothing much to see and although we covered some good distance it wasn’t very exciting cycling.  We have no map for the section of the route to Passau as we’ll just be following the Danbube cycle path which is well signposted.  We arrived at Kloster Weltenburg in the  afternoon to find the cycle path came to and end and the only option was to take a ferry for the final 6km to Kelheim.

Happy to be on a ferry for the last few kilometres of the day to Kelheim.

The view back to Kloster Weltenburg.

Our campsite for the evening was on a working dairy farm at the top of a killer climb we struggled to turn the pedals on in our lowest gear!  We’re the only campers again and although it’s a lovely setting with a good view of the river it smells pretty bad as we’re in the field next to the cow shed!

Just a quick note on asking Germans for directions – instead of a simple “down there then first left” we’ve been getting on average a 10 minute description of the various route options and the advantages of each along with details of attractions in the surrounding area.  It’s often quicker to get lost trying to find the way ourselves!

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Saturday 15th May, 2010
Distance: 112.49km (Total: 1119.01km)
Time: 06:37
Average Speed:  16.9kph
Maximum Speed:  52.9kph

We got an early start again this morning and were both surprised to find we’d managed to do 70km before lunch.  We had one big climb early on then took an off-road track deep into the forest.  The weather has turned really cold today and we had some long, freezing descents.

We sat and ate lunch in Noerdlingen after which we joined the Romantische Strasse (Romantic Street) cycle path.

These signposts are on nearly every bridge we've passed lately. We're both pretty sure we haven't seen any tanks while in Germany.

As planned we managed to reach the Danube today at the town of Donauwoerth.  It took us a while to find the campsite shown on the map as there was no signpost.  It turned out after asking for directions that the campsite was in the grounds of the canoe club.  We were the only guests and were kindly invited up into the club house to watch the German cup final and drink beer with some of the club members.  No surprise most of the club were supporting Bayern Munich who trounced Bremen 4-0.

Enjoying a beer in the warmth with members of the Donauwoerth Canoe Club. They advised making the most of the beer now as it gets worse the further down the Danube you go!

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Distance: 93.59.km (Total: 1006.52km)
Time: 05:54
Average Speed:  15.8kph
Maximum Speed:  45.8.kph

We finally got an early start from a campsite this morning managing to leave for the first time before 9!  Even when rushing it still manages to take us nearly 2 hours in the morning to pack everything up, wash, make breakfast and get ready to leave.

We’re not sure why we were in such a rush to get going because it drizzled rain all day today.  The cycle path was up and down all day too which really drains the legs and made progress slow.  Although we’re following the river cycle paths they like to send you up the valley to visit every quaint little village on the route and tempt you with ice cream and cake.

After studying the map over lunch we decided to leave the scenic route we’d opted for and take the shorter more direct route to the Danube by continuing to follow the Jagst.  Actually, this decision was made after we missed the turning for the scenic route and Mike realised having just descended for about 5km.  We’ll now continue to follow the Jagst to the Danube.

The countryside is much the same today –  all very green with rolling hills and forests and  the smell of wild garlic.  We’re both overdosing on river cycle paths a little now so it was nice later in the day when the route got a little more hilly and left the river for a while.   The legs also feel like they’re now really doing some work.

Only 8,892km to Bangkok!

We finally gave up in Crailsheim after battling the hills and weather all day.

It looks now like we’ll continue without a break to Vienna so we can have a full weekend off the bikes with Alex’s parents.  We’re going to push on and hope to make it to the Danube tomorrow providing the weather improves and things don’t get too hilly.

We caught the final few km’s of todays Giro D’Italia stage while having dinner.  Tomorrow’s stage is 215km which makes our short distances seem a bit pathetic.  But then they’re not carrying their home and all their worldly belongings!

Oh, we broke the 1,000km mark today!!  We tried to celebrate with a couple of beers but were both falling asleep after half!

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Distance: 65.95km (Total: 912.93km)
Time: 03:45
Average Speed:  17.5kph
Maximum Speed:  44.9kph

We were woken by the guy next door this morning asking if we wanted him to get us bread from the baker who’d just arrived.  The hot water was back on so we were finally able to shower.  We didn’t leave the campsite until about 11 today thanks to the other cyclists on the site who were all interested in our trip and wanted to talk to us.

Mike updating our blog in the morning.

Our first destination was Bad Wimpfen, though being high up on the hillside we decided to push on and enjoy the view from the riverside.

Nice view of Bad Wimpfen. It would have been good to go and have a look around but neither of us could face the steep climb.

Today is Vatertag (fathers day) here in Germany so all the shops were shut and it’s a public holiday.  Vatertag seems to involve groups of men wandering the countryside with barrels of beer, drunk before lunchtime.  We can’t understand how this hasn’t taken off in England!

We stopped at a pretty little village on the hillside for a lunch of bread rolls and honey as this was all we had due to the shops being closed.  We’ve noticed that people have started saying Gruess Gott as we pass rather than Hallo now we’ve got further south.

After lunch we left the Neckar and joined the Jagst.  Again the cycle paths are waymarked, easy to follow and now pass mainly through forest which at the moment are filled with wild garlic which smells great.

Wild garlic growing in the forest. Smells fantastic.

We met a couple on the cycle path who suggested a camping place in Jagsthausen so we stopped there and it’s great – nice warm showers and friendly owners all for only 10Euros a night.  Unbelievable that the last place charged almost double and the facilities were rubbish.

We’ve found a great new alternative to pasta for dinner in Spaetzle.  German egg noodles that are great with cheese sauce.  We’ll be eating a lot more of this before we leave Germany!

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Day 10: Worms to Mosbach

Distance: 95.38km (Total: 846.98km)
Time: 05:55
Average Speed:  16.1kph
Maximum Speed:  55.7kph 🙂  Wooh-yeah!!  We’re sure we could have hit 40mph but Mike was worried about not wearing a helmet and had visions of his self-built wheels folding in half on a bend!

We started today on a great cycle path from Worms to Heidelberg.  It ended up being 50km to Heidelberg so it would have been 140km if we’d done it all yesterday.  Too much given Alex being ill so we were glad we’d stopped early.  Alex is feeling much better today though.

A quick stop in Heidelberg for lunch.

We had a quick stop in Heidelberg for lunch and to stock up on food for the evening.  We’d have like to spend more time here as it’s a lovely city.  We’ll definitely be coming back for a visit in the future.  After leaving Heidelberg the route turned to rolling hills alongside the river through green fields and forests.

Windows XP moment! A rare glimpse of sunshine. By the time we'd unpacked every single pannier to find the suncream it had disappeared again!

After studying our map Mike identified a shortcut avoiding a large bend in the river.  What he failed to notice was the huge climb involved in taking the alternative route.  So we had our first proper climb of the trip which took us about 30mins and i think we both now realize we need to get rid of some weight from the bikes.  Mike enjoyed the climbing though and sang his way up most of it while Alex cursed from behind.  The rest of the day was up and down and although tough, did give us some stunning views of the area which is covered in vast forests.

Alex reaching the top of the killer climb on our "shortcut". It's supposed to be a challenge, that's why they call it a shortcut. If it was easy it would just be the way.

We found a campsite on the riverside just outside Mosbach and after a tough afternoon in the hills decided it was time to stop.  Mike tried to take a shower after we’d put up the tent only to find out there was no hot water, but only after he’d already got wet.  He stood freezing while the campsite owners tried to rectify the problem but with no joy.

We cooked up a dinner of Bratwurst and pasta with tomato sauce.  Our first sausages since arriving in Germany!

We’re both now settling into the daily routine and just loving being outdoors the whole time no matter what the weather.  So long as you’re wearing the right clothing even cycling in the rain and cold is ok.  Sure beats sitting at a desk all week!

We’d hoped to make it to Bad Wimpfen today, but after the hills we didn’t feel like doing the extra 20km.  So we’re still chasing the illusive rest day.  Either we’ll have a short one tomorrow just to Bad Wimpfen and a half day off or try for a long one and continue to our next destination giving us a full day off.  The thing is when we get going in the morning we both feel good so want to continue onwards.

Mike enjoying a beer by the river after a tough day.

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