Day 204. Bad Schandau – Dresden, 56 km.
The day starts gray and cold, some rain, some headwind. There are lots of Polizei all over the place, on the roads and the river.
I had to stop 2 times to dig out more and warmer clothes from my bags, it’s really cold today.
The rain gets more and more intense, it’s hard to see anything as the rain floods my glasses. I have decided that I wanted to go and visit bike24.net as I sometimes buy stuff from them over the Internet. I spend a good while navigating to their store, when I finally get there their windows are covered with posters so I couldn’t see my bike if I parked it outside. So I leave bike24.net and start to search for a hotel.
By now it’s very wet and cold so I just grab the first one I find in the GPS (Bike+Bett), it’s very expensive, the bike parking is across the street, there is one hour of free Internet. So in general that sucked, at least they had a heated towel rack so that I could dry all my clothes.
When I go outside to grab some dinner I find a nice small pension just around the corner but that was not on the GPS. The dinner was also mediocre.
When I watch the news I see that there has been mudslides just 20 km further down the river in Meissen, so stopping in Dresden was probably a very wise thing to do. I learn the most horrible German word I know *DER DAUERREGEN*.
Day 205. Dresden – Riesa, 46 km.
Not to any surprise at all the day started with wind, cold, rain. Wise from yesterday I have dug out my winter clothes and start the fully clothed for cold climate.
The rain and the headwind makes it really cold (about 4-5 C), the NiMh rechargeable batteries in my GPS dies, it’s to cold for them. I have to put the GPS in my pocket to keep it warm and operational.
I hate DER DAUERREGEN, long stretches of the bike roads are covered in mud from yesterday. It’s as slippery as ice and snow, luckily my new mudflaps keeps the mud off me and the bags.
There are lots of floodings of the bike roads and some bridges are closed since the mudslides yesterday. There is really nothing to do but ride through the flooded areas, going back and ride the road with cars is not really an option. Some of the small lakes are deep enough to submerge a bit of my front bags. After crossing a few deep pools of water I have to stop and change in to my Sealskins socks to keep my feet dry and warm.
After 46 km of this I have had enough, I spot a big Landgasthof style hotel and they have a room, beer and food, much nicer than DER DAUERREGEN.
I also try the Schwedeneisbecher mit apfelmus, eierlikör und sahne, I have never even heard of this crazy combo but it was better than DER DAUERREGEN.
Lately there has been lots of public holidays here in Germany, since there are at least 80 585 712 Germans and probably some crazy foreigners all accommodation and transport gets very overloaded whenever there is a long weekend or more. I decided to book my ferry back home just to be sure that I wouldn’t have to wait around the harbor for a week or two.
I spend some time on planning the rest of my trip, my guidebook for Elbe ends in Magdeburg but I can bike almost to the ferry on the Elbe and the canal to Lübeck. Since I now have a fixed date for the ferry I have to ride more than 85 km/day to make the ferry by bike, or I can cheat and ride the train some.
Day 206. Riesa – Dommitzsch, 66 km.
Sunshine and blue sky, looks to good to be true. It was, there was a really cold northern headwind.
I made slow progress today, there were lots and lots of cyclists going south but hardly anyone going north. Perhaps they changed their plans after seeing that the forecast for the next days was wind from the north.
Except for loosing and finding one of my mudflaps the day was uneventful and after 66 km I gave up and found a small Pension, very cheap and nice. They had a fridge with cold 0.5L beers which they sold for just 1.50 Euro. Supermarket next door so dinner was also cheap.
I am already behind my 85 km/day plan so I guess it will be the train once I get to Magdeburg.
Today I noticed that there were many different Elbe radwegs, I think I am following the “International” one but my guidebook says Elbe radweg 1. It doesn’t matter much as the bike lanes are just next to the river.
I think of the German I met on day 32 in northern Finland, he was just very tired of traveling, I feel the same. It’s bad weather induced travel burnout.
Day 207. Dommitzsch – Dessau, 82 km.
Feels like groundhog day, same as yesterday, blue skyes and cold. The wind feels like biking in a wind tunnel, it does not matter if the river bends 90 degrees, it’s still the same headwind.
Today I ride many “Hochwasserschutz Anlage”, many look new and some are in progress of being built, I guess they are a result of last years floodings.
Today is some kind of public holiday, most things seems closed and when I start to look for accommodation it’s full.
In Dessau I am starting to think that I will have to sleep outdoors tonight, but I decide to give a few more places a try. The third pension I try opens the door and they have a room, YES! The place is an old apartment that they have turned it to a pension with a few rooms. It’s and old beautiful building with more than 4 meters high inner ceiling.
I rush to the supermarket and buy lots of stuff to last me over the weekend.
The room had blinders so that it was totally dark at night, I slept very well.
Day 208. Dessau – Pechau, 65 km.
Today is the same, sunny, cold, headwind from hell.
I meet lots of cyclists that are going south, they bike insane fast due to the wind and they can ride in summer clothes. Going north on the other hand is cold and hard.
The ride goes along many dikes today, most of the time the road is absolutely straight to the horizon, also straight in to the cold wind.
I start to look for accommodation early, but everything is full, I miss my tent. After a while I find a Gasthaus/Dorfkneipe/Pension and I have some beers while they ready my room in the basement.
Day 209. Pechau – Schwerin, 15 km (190 km by train).
I have decided that I have had enough of this wind, so today I bike the 13 km to the Hauptbahnhof in Magdeburg and take the nice trains to Schwerin.
Getting to the station was uneventful, no-one complains when I bring the bike in to the ticket office and lean it against the counter whilst buying my tickets. As I have prepared a note with my demands the transaction is done in less than 1 minute.
The staff tells me that I can go outside the building and use the handicap ramp to get up to the platform so that I don’t have to lift the bike up to the platform.
The train is late and the platform fills up with cyclists without bags, perhaps day tourers that have had enough of the wind. The train arrives and I board the train, the staff tells me it’s the wrong train, the signs on the platform are wrong. I hurry off the train and wait for the next one.
I only had 14 minutes to change trains in Wittenberge and the train is very late now. I hear the other cyclist talking about that they are worried about missing the next train.
Once in Wittenberge there are only minutes left before the next train departs from another platform, I use my roll-bike-down-stairs super-skills and get ahead of all the other cyclists that are waiting for the elevator to take them down from the platform. Then I use the elevator to get up to the next platform and just rolls through the doors as they are about to close. I was the only one that made it.
Once in Schwerin I start to bike in direction Lübeck without any plan, just when I am about to leave the city I spot a small hotel and decide that I have done enough travel for one day.
Since I am ahead of schedule I try to change the ferry to Thursday instead of Saturday but it was full, so I will have some days to kill before I sail home.
Day 197. Rožmberk nad Vltavou – Hluboka nad Vltavou, 66 km.
I wake early, the room is flooded in sunlight. Breakfast opens at 8:00 sharp. I am the only foreigner, I try to listen to the Czech language but it is impossible to understand a single word. It’s great that German seems to work just fine for simple tourist conversation.
I had a look at the map yesterday and the track looks very hilly so I decide to ride along the river on the normal road instead.
The traffic is very sparse, less than 30 vehicles in 1 hour. When I get closer to Český Krumlov I ride through Větřní, it looks well dodgy and not the place a tourist want to be.
I see some local cyclists taking a smaller road on the other side of the river, I stop and have look at the map, an older man on a bike stops and talk Czech to me, I choose to interpret what he says to be that the small road indeed is the way to Český Krumlov. It was and the road was almost completely free of cars.
Český Krumlov is a very nice old town, I start to look for an ATM, I get completely derailed from the GPS track and once I have found the ATM I try to take some shortcuts to get back on track. I thought the Czech-dollars I had would be enough but I guess I got confused by the exchange rate to Euro (1 Euro = 25 Kc) and Swedish krona (1 SEK = 3 Kc).
Next big town is České Budějovice, the home of Pivovar Budějovický Budvar (Budweiser brewery), it’s a bit messy to get in to town but once there I find bike lanes and ride through town in a jiffy.
Today has been a very hot day, lots of sunshine and only some hills. From my guidebook I can see that the hills will start again after Hluboka nad Vltavou so that town seems like good place to stop for the day.
The countryside has been magnificent today, drivers drive slow and reliably, it’s very clean everywhere. The countryside is extremely clean, no trash at all anywhere, much cleaner than Sweden.
I’m tired and overheated when I get to Hluboka nad Vltavou, the last bit in to town is a small hill. The hotel I ended up in was unnecessary expensive, but once I had gotten off the bike and in to the cold and nice hotel I just gave up and checked-in. The room was great, Internet was fantastic, there was a big heated towel rack so I could do a big batch of laundry.
I practice some Czech from my dictionary “Víteje na rozmezí tří zemí!”,
Máte volný pokoj
Day 198. Hluboka nad Vltavou – Zvíkovské Podhradí, 73 km.
Wake up early from the sunlight. Breakfast at 7 is not a problem. The sky is blue and the weather looks nice.
Today will be many hills, much up and down. The uphills are the long slow type and the downhills has so bad surface that I have to brake all the way down.
The day becomes very, very hot, my handlebar thermometer show 45 C.
I spend much of the day riding in a wide circle around the Temelín nuclear power station, I see it’s massive cooling towers on and off for a great part of the day.
There are quite a lot of forest roads on the track, I doubt that they would be cyclable if there were any heavy rains.
In Albrechtice nad Vltavou I hit double jackpot, there is an open lunch restaurant and a supermarket with the familiar name Coop. The menu is in Czech but the staff speaks some German so I manage to order some lunch. It was great to sit indoors and eat. After lunch I went to Coop and did some shopping. I did not recognize any of the brands they had but it worked out OK.
The nature reminds me a lot of Sweden, but a lot cleaner.
The day was very hot and hilly, I think I biked more than 3000 meters up and down, I am totally exhausted when I arrive at Pivovarský dvůr Zvíkov which is a hotel/bar/restaurant/brewery and more.
After some cooling down in my room I have dinner and taste their own beer, it’s very good. Prices in the Czech republic are like in Spain, the food in Spain is a bit better but all in all it’s equally great.
Day 199. Zvíkovské Podhradí – Zvíkovské Podhradí, 0 km.
I wake up early from the sunlight. I have my breakfast, it’s very good with fresh bread.
I did some service on my bike, the rear brake pads were worn out, that only after 2300 km. It must have been lots of downhills with the brakes engaged. The rear wheel seems OK, no more broken spokes since I re-tensioned the wheel.
When I am done with the bike I take a short walk in to the village, I had seen signs with Coop so I wanted to do some shopping at the supermarket. I spent a while looking and it seemed like the Coop store was inside a hotel. I went inside and asked, as it turns out Coop also runs hotels in the Czech republic. So the hotel was Coop, there was no supermarket.
In the afternoon there was a severe thunderstorm passing by, nothing much to do except drinking some beer.
Day 200. Zvíkovské Podhradí – Davle, 88 km.
Cloudy and some light rain. I really didn’t want to leave this place, one of the greatest places I stayed in.
Once I get going there are lots of muddy roads and some rivers to cross, I have decided to stop before Prague as I don’t want to end my day in a big city.
All day is up and down, up and down, I think I accumulate more than 2000 meters of up and down. It is Saturday and it’s hard to find any restaurants and shops that are open, the closer I get to Prague the more deserted it feels. I had hopes for accommodation before and around Slapy but no luck. So I have to descend a crazy downhill that ends in a summerhouse area, I have to ford two creeks to get out of there. One was to deep to risk going through so I removed all the bags and led the bike over a small rickety bridge.
Now it feels like I am in the suburbs of Prague and the nice countryside is gone, I bike towards Prague and just stop at the first possible accommodation. The Hotel is really worn down and it smells of many generations of smokers. The room is tiny and the beds are not really beds. But I was tired and fell asleep quickly.
Day 201. Davle – Mělník, 91 km.
The first 13 km was along the big road next to the river, then there was a fantastic bike road with thousands of people riding bikes and inlines all the way in to Prague. In the city there was lots of cobblestone and it was hard to navigate. After a while I got back on the route towards Mělník, the route was hard to follow just north of Prague.
There was a massive amount of people out and about, the few lunch places I saw was severely overcrowded, on the countryside north of Prague I saw a few places that had signs from breweries but looked like peoples backyards, drying clothes and kids toys included, I never managed to figure out if they were restaurants or not.
Nearing Mělník I missed that I was supposed to take the ferry to the other side of the river and ended up in a dead end with two options, either backtrack 2-3 km or carry the bike over a bridge (actually a heating pipeline). I decided to lift the bike up and down the 10 meter high pipeline bridge, it was for sure faster than biking 4-6km and waiting for a ferry.
In Mělník I was a bit tired and missed the bridge to cross the river and ended up biking 2 km to far. Once in Mělník it turned out that the hotels were on top of a hill, I was very tired when I had conquered this final hill, I had some luck and found a really great hotel that was cheap and clean.
This concluded my journey along the Vltavou (Moldau) and tomorrow I would start the journey along the Labe (Elbe) towards Magdeburg and then home.
Day 202. Mělník – Terezín, 49 km.
I have breakfast early and bike to the Tesco supermarket, but it didn’t have any windows so I didn’t dare to leave my bike outside. I bike along the Labe, after a while I find a supermarket in a small town.
I have decided that I want a short day today after the last 2 very long days. I had my mind set on Ústí nad Labem but when I see as sign with “Ústí nad Labem 58 km” I decide to rethink and take a detour to visit the Terezin concentration camp a.k.a KZ-Gedenkstätte Theresienstadt. After some biking in the countryside I got there, but since they wanted money to see the inside and also even more money to take photos I stayed on the outside.
I biked the short distance from the Small Fortress (the camp) to the walled city (the ghetto) and looked around, while doing so I saw a hotel and decided to go inside and see if they had a room. Yes, they had a room, cheap,nice and clean it was. They also had a room on the first floor that wasn’t used so I could park my bike there. Just as I arrived there was a busload of Danish retirees leaving, they had had some buffet lunch in the restaurant. The staff in the restaurant said I could eat whatever was left on the buffet for free, the best meals are for free.
There is a small convenience store next to the hotel, it opens at 05:30 in the morning.
Day 203. Terezin – Bad Schandau, 80 km.
I wake up early and have breakfast at 7, there are about 10 of us having breakfast. I have not heard a single sound all the time I stayed in the hotel so the others must be quiet or the hotel well insulated.
I find my way back to the river and just keep biking along, the weather is OK and the roads as well.
I have lunch at a nice place just before the border, I celebrate and try to blow my last Czech-dollars and have a nice steak for lunch. Unfortunately the food was so cheap that I still had a bunch of money left. The restaurant caters for cyclist, there is a big bike parking just next to the veranda.
Crossing the border to Germany was uneventful, just a sign stating where the Czech republic starts.
It starts to rain, I look for the first place and find a Hotel garni. A nice place, twice as expensive as last night, the difference are the small things like high pressure in the shower, nicer looking and newer furniture, a distinct feeling of ordnung.
I go shopping for dinner at Lidl, when I am leaving the heaven has opened and the rain is massive. I get soaked walking back but it doesn’t matter since there is heating in the hotel and my shoes and clothes dry quickly.
So now my adventure in the Czech republic is over, I must say that I am very positively surprised by the country and it’s people. The nature reminds me a lot of Sweden, people are a bit the same in the sense that they are low key and keep to themselves. I missed my tent, I would really have liked to go camping. I saw some great looking campings and a million other spots that looked great. I will definitevly come back and explore the country more some day.
Day 192. Bogen – Bogen, 0 km.
A whole day of doing nothing, the last 3 weeks of constant rain and cold had worn me out. Spend the day with breakfast, lunch, supermarket, dinner, Internet.
Day 193. Bogen – Seebach, 34 km.
Early start, cold and dark again. Just as I am about to leave there are two other cyclists that are riding the Donau to Wien. After using some of my best school-German it turns out that one of them are Swedish and we can talk Swedish instead.
After 17 km of cold and dark I meet René who has stopped to adjust something on his recumbent longbike, I stop and we have a talk for about 4 hours. He goes cycling for long periods every year and has managed to bring his costs down to 4 Euro/day, that is amazing. Unfortunately we are going in opposite directions.
So I bike on along the Donau, looking for somewhere to stay. I am guessing that it wont be so hard to find something since most people probably don’t go outside in this weather.
I find a proper Landgasthof, they have 70 rooms with 1-5 beds, it looks like their restaurants can seat several hundred people. I have my lunch/dinner and retire early. I think I suffer from travel burnout, the last 2-3 weeks of rain and cold weather has not improved on the situation.
Day 194. Seebach – Inzell, 96 km.
I wake up early, it is a little bit warmer and more light today than usual. I collect my bike in the garage where it spent the night with the tractor. I bike on, nothing fun happens, today has a god flow and before I know it I am through Passau and on my way to the border with Austria. At 63 km I have lunch at a place that I am not sure if it was in Bayern or Austria.
After a while the track ends at ferry station. There are two ferries, one just cross the river and one further down the river, I wanted to go with the one that went furthest down the river but the wait was to long.
When I look in my guidebook for the Donau I see that I can cross the river several times with ferries.
On the other side of the river I find a cluster of accommodation and decide to stop for the day. I find a room and dinner, the place had no Internet or mastercard but it was very cheap and nice. It was full of elderly (=older than me) folks riding e-bikes and smoking, that must be the reason why they invented e-bikes, so that smokers can get out of their homes and smoke.
During my first (1/2) day in Austria I noticed that things are slightly less organized, drivers show less consideration and there are many more signs with PRIVAT,VERBOTEN, DOBERMANKLUB, compared to Germany.
Day 195. Inzell – Hellmonsödt, 71 km.
For the last 10 days all weather forecasts have said that today and 4 more days should be summer. There should be sunshine and there has been talk about 30 C or more.
When I look outside there is fog and it’s cold, but I can see the sun behind the fog. I have my breakfast and get going, I am so hoping that it will be summer today and 4 more days. These last 2-3 weeks of misery has been depressing.
Today I hope to get to Linz and turn off the Donau and go north towards the Czech republic. Since I do not know what to expect I want to change some Euro-dollars to Czech-dollars, so I stop at the first bank I spot. I go inside and ask if I can change to Czech money, the clerk says yes and returns with checks. I clarify that I want the money they use in the Czech Republic not checks. Amazing that they still have banks with people in them and actual cash money, I am not sure that it would have been so easy in Sweden.
I have lunch on a square in a small town, it was not fantastic.
Going in to Linz was miserable, along a highway with heavy traffic. As I turn off the Donau and go on my own track north towards Vyšší Brod I notice that there are not much facilities for bikes here and that the people in cars drive like total lunatics. I have never seen people drive this fast, erratic, nervous, impatient and close. By comparison, post-digestif traffic in central Paris seem like well balanced, slow moving breeze. After trying to ride on the B126 for a while I give up, it is just to dangerous, I use the small roads instead. The small roads are of course extremely steep and I spend many hours walking and pushing the bike uphill.
At the end I have to ration water and when I reach Hellmonsödt I stop at the Shell station and buy liters of liquids and drink it. I don’t know if it is because I am exhausted (600 meters altitude gained in 10 km) but I can not understand a single word of what they are saying. Also it seems my German is void here, no one understands a single word of what I say. When I ask for a hotel I get directed to the supermarket.
After a good while of searching I find a map of the town and I can see the gasthaus on it, then I have to search for a while more to find it, they have disguised it as a restaurant. I get a room, it is expensive, not clean, the hotel has faint smell of cigarette smoke and cat piss.
Once my brain is cooled off and I have killed my thirst I look out the window, I can see the alps and Linz in the far distance.
I have dinner in the restaurant, it was excellent and expensive.
I so hope that Czech republic will be better than Austria, otherwise I will have to bike the shortest possible way back to Germany and go north there instead.
Day 196. Hellmonsödt – Rožmberk nad Vltava, 36 km.
Already at 5 in the morning the Austrians are up and driving their cars with screaming tires. Yesterday I made a new GPS track that will keep me off any big roads for the rest of Austria.
The hotel doesn’t offer any breakfast but the supermarket opens at 7 so I get my breakfast there. Today is the 1 year anniversary of my trip, I hope to make it a short day and drink some nice beer in CZ.
The day starts with a massive downhill, I loose 200 meters altitude in a very short while, then it’s a 30 minutes uphill and that is the way the day goes.
In Bad Leonfelden I find some information boards about trekking/biking routes to Vyšší Brod. There seems to be forest tracks without any cars, sounds great to me. There is even a restaurant/cafe where I stop for ice cream.
I cross the border to the Czech Republic and continue along small gravel roads. I stop in the second town and get a room and some beers.
The room is a bit cold and as more guests arrive the Internet slowly dies, but the dinner and the beers was excellent.
Just after a few hours in the Czech republic I can tell that it is much better than Austria. I will make an effort to never go back there again.
The weather has been great for two days now, really summer and no wind. Two more days to go before the nice weather ends.
Day 187. Ingolstadt – Ingolstadt, 0 km.
Ruhetag. Cold and rain on a Sunday in Germany. I did some blogging, reading, lots of reading/planning for the Czech republic.
I went to a service station and washed of all the mud from my bike. The last couple of days biking in the mud had left a thick coat of mud on my bike.
When the bike was clean and back at the hotel I installed my new bigger mudflaps, hopefully this will keep the mud of the bike. As the forecast for the foreseeable future is rain and cold I expect there to be more mud.
Day 188. Ingolstadt – Ingolstadt, 8 km.
Sunshine and cold. I walk to the Ingolstadt nord station which is about 30 minutes away by foot. I manage to buy a ticket from the machine and get on the right platform. The train is not very modern but they have an ambulating vending cart that sells everything from coffee to beer. At 17.40 Euro one-way the train is much more expensive than in Spain.
I arrive at the München Hauptbahnhof, it’s full of people and trains. I get out and start walking towards the SCHWEDISCHES HONORARKONSULAT, which turns out to be a room in a lawyers office. Lots of Swedes are here to vote, I stand in line and then cast my vote.
The rain comes and goes, I start to walk to the Globetrotter Ausrüstung shop, after a few rain showers I eventually get there. They have an immense selection of maps and guidebooks. I am looking for a map or guidebook for the Prague-Vienna Greenways Route, I want to bike from Vienna to Prague and this seems like the best way. Unfortunately there are not maps or books for this, there are free information on http://www.pragueviennagreenways.org/resource.html but as I don’t have a printer they are of little use. The clerk in the store can speak Swedish and has biked in the Czech republic so we spend a long time looking at many maps. Eventually I decide to bike the river Moldau to Prague end the river Elbe from Prag back north. I get the guidebooks and an overview map of the Czech republic in case I get lost.
I meet up with my old friend Winfried and we go for lunch at Weisses Brauhaus, excellent food and beer. Afterwards we go for a walk around München but we are constantly interrupted so we and up in a cafe inside the Haus der Kunst.
Afterwards I walk back to the station in the rain and take the train back home to Ingolstadt.
Once back at the hotel I grab my laundry and bike 4 km to the laundromat.
When I bike back to the hotel it’s almost dark and I am very tired but I have a bag of clean clothes so it was worth it.
Day 189. Ingolstadt – Bad Abbach, 65 km (Ferry 5 km).
Just another normal day, cold, dark and rain. It was very easy to get out of Ingolstadt, just a few kilometers and I were back on the river. The route is flat and there is mostly tailwind so easy biking.
I manage to find a gaststatte along the river that serves an amazingly good and cheap lunch (8 Euros with drink).
At Weltenburg Kloster there is a ferry that goes on the river to Kelheim, I take this ferry instead of biking over the mountain next to the river. It was very nice to sit on the ferry and watch the canyon in which the Donau flows.
At the end of the day it starts to rain, I try to find accommodation in Bad Abbach, I guess the rain made people seek shelter early so there is nothing left but the most expensive they have. At 60 Euros it’s amazing value for money, but again I didn’t need that much value.
But it was warm and dry, the dinner was also very nice.
Day 190. Bad Abbach – Sossau, 73 km.
Cold and some rain. Headwind the first 20 km in to Regensburg. In Regensburg I manage to take a wrong turn somewhere and miss the whole town, I just follow the river and get out on the other side.
Strong and very cold wind today, it is a mix of side/tail/headwind. I see some other cyclists today, one has stopped for a small break along the river. I join him, he’s Australian and is traveling from Newcastle to Budapest, we talk for a while about how hard it is to keep going when the weather is like it has been for the last couple of weeks. After a while a German cyclist also joins us, he’s going from Berlin to Salzburg.
We end our meeting and the others speed away, they ride much faster than I do. I go hunting for accommodation, since I want to have a day of rest tomorrow I want something nearby shops or restaurants. I check some places out but they are closed until 17 and I am not going to wait for a couple hours to find out if they have rooms or not. After a while I find a proper Landgasthof in Sossau, the place is huge with more than 400 seats in the restaurants. different rooms. I will not spend a day of rest here since there are no shops, no mastercard and no Internet. But I stop for the night and at dinner I meet the German cyclist I met earlier today.
Day 191. Sossau – Bogen, 13 km.
It’s very cold, the sky above the hotel is blue, I heard that the staff had to remove ice from their car windows this morning and that it’s snow at 800 meters altitude (I’m at 300 meters now).
I eat breakfast with the German cyclist and then I slowly pack up and get going. I have to stop and get cash, lately food and accommodation has gotten cheaper but no one accepts Mastercard so I have a constant need for cash.
I bike around for a while but I cant find any accommodation that is open, then I spot a pension, they have a room, Internet, nice price and shops and restaurants nearby. Perfect. I decide to stay two nights and have a proper do nothing at all day tomorrow.
I spend the afternoon in my room and make final preparations for my Czech adventure. At the moment the weather in the region I am going to travel is 4-6 C, rain, rain, wind, wind. There is also talk about a storm that has created severe flooding in Serbia, it is moving north, not ideal for my river and mountain route. But according to the forecasts the storm will be gone before I turn north in Linz.
Day 181. Immendingen – Beuron, 41 km.
My first day of biking along the Donau river. The morning is very cold, there is even frost.
The river meanders is in a deep valley and it’s mostly flat or downhill. But the wind is coming up the river, so I have to pedal all the time, even downhill.
As the day gets warmer I see lots of e-bikes swooshing by, it looks so easy. As I am getting further away from France and Switzerland my phone stops roaming and I get fewer SMS with offers from my providers.
It’s very nice along the Donau river, at one point the bike road goes through a farm, as they have a cafe there I stop for lunch. I have some homemade sausages and bread. After lunch I have a chat with some of the goats.
I feel like I have a cold or pollen allergy, drained of energy and running nose. I decide to make it a short day and stops in Beuron. It is a small village, no 3G coverage, no shops, no Internet, feels like a third world country compared to Spain.
I have a apfelstrudel mit vanillesaus and practice saying Grüß Gott.
Day 182. Beuron – Beuron, 0 km.
Some computer-stuff, service on the bike, washing in the sink.
As I am pretty sure I will follow the Donau to Wien I am starting to look at routes to get to Berlin/Lübeck from there.
Day 183. Beuron – Obermarchtal, 81 km.
Gray and cold morning with rain.
I suite up in my GoreTex winter clothes and just pedal down the river, the landscape is beautiful, sunshine would of course have been better.
After 20 km or the rain almost stops. I find a bakery and sit inside for a while enjoying some energy-rich pastry and hot beverages.
The rest of the day is a mix of rain and wind, at very few times little rain and tailwind. I start to look for a bed but every place is full for the last 20-25 km of the day, so it became longer than I planned.
81 km along the river and 50km as the crow flies, following rivers is not a very effective way of traveling.
At the place I am staying the have the special bike maps for the Donau radweg that I have been looking for, they wont sell me one but they say that the bookstore in the next town for sure has them.
Day 184. Obermarchtal – Unterelchingen, 77 km.
Dark, rain, cold, just as usual.
I bike the 8 km to the next town and find the bookstore and they indeed have the maps. I buy part 1 (Germany) and part 2 (Austria), I would have bought the part 3 as well but it is 5 years old and I am not sure I will go any further than Wien.
I keep on biking, try to use my new map, it’s a challenge to have to keep track were I am instead of just looking at the GPS every 5 minutes or so. But practice makes perfect.
I stop at a bike store and ask if they have shoes in big sizes, they do not but they say that there is a shop in Ulm that might have. I have had my shoes for the whole trip and they are falling a part and stink, so I need new ones.
Outside Ulm I spot a clever info board where the bike shop is listed.
I navigate through Ulm (by GPS) and find the store, and they have one single pair of shoes in my size, thankfully they were not pink so I bought them. So some happy days ahead while my feet defeats the new shoes.
Also I noticed that I had 3G coverage in Ulm (population 120000) and could actually use my smart phone and apps and stuff, wow! It’s just like in Spain.
It seems like all accommodation along the Donau is very expensive, it’s is also very good, but 50-65 Euro per night is more than I hoped for. I blame the Swiss and hope that prices will get lower the further east I go.
Day 185. Unterelchingen – Donauwörth, 82 km.
Dark, rain, cold, just as usual.
The weather gets a bit better in the afternoon. I have tailwind all day, sometimes even a strong tailwind.
I plan to go to München and vote in the EU Elections and meet an old friend, as München is off my route I plan to take a day trip by train there from Ingolstadt. So I have a schedule with appointments, this is not fun.
The weather sucks and I am tired, if I didn’t have to be in Ingolstadt and go to München by train I would have found a cheap place and taken some days of from biking, this feels just like transport.
In Donauwörth I find yet another bunch of expensive hotels, but when I ask why the hotel is so expensive they take 5 Euro off the price. Maybe that will be my new strategy.
I find a bike shop and invest in some new and bigger mudflaps, judging from the weather forecast for the next 2 weeks it will be a good investment.
I start to look in to accommodation in Ingolstadt and for some reason it seems like all hotels there are made of gold.
Day 186. Donauwörth – Ingolstadt, 65 km.
The sun is shining and it is warm. Something must be wrong.
As I have made reservations for Ingolstadt I take it easy and bike slowly. There are some nasty uphills along the route.
My sunglasses has broken and I have fixed them with some duct tape, I have found that there is a reseller in Neuburg a/d Donau. After rebooting my phone I manage to get an Internet connection and navigate there. They say that they might be able to repair the glasses but they need to have them for at least one day to drill out the broken 1.5 mm thick screw that snapped off. I decide to buy new glasses and just move my lenses over to the new pair of sunglasses.
I have lunch at a supermarket bakery and ride on towards Ingolstadt.
As I get closer to Ingolstadt there are more and more people out and about in the sunshine, lots of people on their bikes.
I rush off to the supermarket and buy food and snacks for tomorrow as everything will be closed then.
Riding along the Donau is mostly away from the river, in the countryside or through small villages/towns. I was expecting more contact with the river. The river is starting to get really wide now. From the maps it looks like that there will be more river contact ahead.