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Categories: Austria, Bike touring, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Prologue, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland | Comments Off

Day 210-216. Schwerin – Stockholm, 101 km (9856 km).

Day 210. Schwerin – Gadebusch, 27 km.
Sunshine! Since I had a few days to kill before the ferry home I had made a reservation at a nice and cheap hotel for 3 nights. So today was an easy day through the countryside. I slept late and started biking late.

Nature and buildings looks very like home here, this could have been a typical Swedish house.

Swedish house

Swedish house

When I arrive in Gadebusch the Zum Schwedenkönig is closed, but since there is an ice cream shop and a park bench outside I forgive them. I wait until the restaurant opens and I can get my room. It’s small but very nice.

Schwedenkönig

Schwedenkönig

I take a long siesta and then go out for supermarket shopping and dinner.

Day 211. Gadebusch – Gadebusch, 0 km.
Sunshine! I spend the day writing blogs, walking around, eating, sleeping.

Really central

Really central

As this is Pfingsten and a long weekend is coming up I start to fear that some of the 80 585 712 Germans and possibly some Scandinavians will go to the nice area around Lübeck and Travemünde, I make a reservation at a Motel near the ferry just to be on the safe side.

Day 212. Gadebusch – Gadebusch, 0 km.
Nothing much gets done this day. It is really starting to feel like the end of a long journey now.

Day 213. Gadebusch – Kreuzkamp, 65 km.
I bike the short distance to Travemünde. On the way in to Lübeck I recognize several places that I biked past with Jokin & Ainoa back in August (http://tomascarlsson.info/2013/08/20/day-56-63-stockholm-bremen/). I ride through Lübeck and in to the countryside towards Travemünde where my Motel is.

Bitte

Bitte

The weather was really nice and warm.

Lübeck

Lübeck

The Motel I booked was a bit worn down and not at all great, but at least it was on the ground floor so I could park the bike indoors.

Motel

Motel

Day 214. Kreuzkamp – at sea, 9 km.
Sunshine! I have a very short ride to the ferry. Once I get to the harbor I have to check-in at the Hafenhaus, I get my boarding card and a key card to open the unmanned gate to the harbor area. They say I can board the ship at 14:00 so I wait a while before I ride through the harbor, it’s dangerous place with lots of vehicles moving around.

Once I get to the ferry I ride to the front of the queue and the loaders let me board before all the cars. Once on the ship the staff tells me I have to wait for a long time before I can get my cabin, in their best Soviet style customer service.

I sit around and wait, the ship is slowly filling up with truck drivers, it seems that they start to drink the second they turn of their engines. Some are really drunk when check-in opens at 15:30.

The Stena Flavia was really dirty and worn down, not the way I remember it from the last time but perhaps they haven’t cleaned it in 9 months. I spend the 23 hours on the ship sleeping, eating, walking around, watching the severely drunk truck drivers.

At sea

At sea

Day 215. Ventspils – at sea
I wake up early, I go for a walk around deck before 6 in the morning. The truckers are still going strong, some have cuts and bruises, maybe they fought or fell over.

I spend a very long day at sea, when we finally arrive in Ventspils I hurry off, ride through the customs really quickly and bike to the ticket office. I get in line and very soon I get my tickets, I rush outside and ride back through customs again. I find the ferry and get in front of the line and board really quickly. 45 minutes, cabin to cabin, must be a record of some sorts.

Ventspils

Ventspils

Day 216. Nynäshamn – Home
I sleep well on the Scottish Viking, it’s much cleaner and less worn than the other ferry. When I wake up we are close to Sweden. I spend the last bit of my journey on deck seeing Sweden getting closer and closer. I get off the ferry and ride really fast to the train station and board the train for the last bit home. It feels very strange that it is over now.

Close

Close

End of the journey.

Categories: Bike touring, Germany, Latvia, Sweden | Comments Off

Day 204-209. Bad Schandau – Schwerin, 330 km (9755 km)

Route day 204-209

Route day 204-209

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.

Bike road long Elbe

Bike road long Elbe

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.

bike24.net

bike24.net

 

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.

DAUERREGEN

DAUERREGEN

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.

Flooded

Flooded

Still standing

Still standing

 

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.

Indoors

Indoors

Sumo XT is resting

Sumo XT is resting

 

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.

Schweden what ?

Schweden what ?

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.

Mud and wind

Mud and wind

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.

Sealed road and wind

Sealed road and wind

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.

Great Pension

Great Pension

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.

Internet Explorer ?

Internet Explorer ?

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.

Hochwasserschutz Anlage Überwachung

Hochwasserschutz Anlage Überwachung

Dike

Dike

 

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.

Old Building

Old Building

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.

Wind

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.

 

All relevant pictures

Categories: Bike touring, Germany | Comments Off

Day 197 – 203. Rožmberk nad Vltavou – Bad Schandau, 447 km (9425 km)

Route day 197-203

Route day 197-203

Route - Vltavou

Route – Vltavou

Route - Labe

Route – Labe

 

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.

Road next to Vltavou

Road next to Vltavou

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

Český Krumlov

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.

Zmrzlina

Zmrzlina

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.

Countryside

Countryside

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!”,

Dobrý den
Pivo
Kolo
Máte volný pokoj
Zmrzlina

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.

Temelín

Temelín

There are quite a lot of forest roads on the track, I doubt that they would be cyclable if there were any heavy rains.

Forest

Forest

Forest track

Forest track

 

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.

Coop supermarket

Coop supermarket

Lunch

Lunch

 

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.

Pivovarský dvůr Zvíkov

Pivovarský dvůr Zvíkov

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.

http://www.pivovar-zvikov.cz/

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.

Not supermarket

Not supermarket

In the afternoon there was a severe thunderstorm passing by, nothing much to do except drinking some beer.

Pivo

Pivo

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.

Mud roads

Mud roads

Small rivers

Small rivers

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.

Ford substitute

Ford substitute

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.

Road to Prague

Road to Prague

Road to Prague

Road to 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.

Lost in Prague

Lost in Prague

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.

Pipelines

Pipelines

Pipelines

Pipelines

 

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.

Mělník

Mělník

Room in Mělník

Room in Mělník

 

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.

Along Labe

Along Labe

Countryside

Countryside

 

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.

Terezín

Terezín

Terezín

Terezín

 

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.

Hotel in Terezín

Hotel in Terezín

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.

BROD

BROD

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.

Along Labe

Along Labe

Crossing the border to Germany was uneventful, just a sign stating where the Czech republic starts.

Nashledanou

Nashledanou

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.

Back in DE

Back in DE

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.

Categories: Bike touring, Czech Republic, Germany | Comments Off

Day 192-196. Bogen – Rožmberk nad Vltavou, 237 km (8978 km)

Route Day 192-196

Route Day 192-196

 

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.

Dark and cold

Dark and cold

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.

Landgasthof

Landgasthof

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.

Mermaid

Mermaid

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.

Donau

Donau

When I look in my guidebook for the Donau I see that I can cross the river several times with ferries.

On the Donau

On the Donau

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.

View from hotel

View from hotel

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.

Hope of summer

Hope of summer

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.

Small town

Small town

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.

Going up

Going up

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.

Distant alps

Distant alps

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.

Going up

Going up

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.

Map of peaceful tracks

Map of peaceful tracks

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.

Peaceful track

Peaceful track

Border

Border

Small road

Small road

 

The room is a bit cold and as more guests arrive the Internet slowly dies, but the dinner and the beers was excellent.

Rožmberk nad Vltava

Rožmberk nad Vltava

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.

Nice

Nice

The weather has been great for two days now, really summer and no wind. Two more days to go before the nice weather ends.

Categories: Austria, Bike touring, Czech Republic, Germany | Comments Off

Day 187-191. Ingolstadt – Bogen 159 km (8741 km).

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.

Clean

Clean

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.

Mudflaps

Mudflaps

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.

Munchen

Munchen

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.

Munchen

Munchen

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.

ZENTRALE

ZENTRALE

MASCHINE

MASCHINE

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).

Schnitzel

Schnitzel

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.

Donau

Donau

Yatch club

Yatch club

 

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.

Great room

Great room

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.

Walhalla

Walhalla

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).

 

Cold morning

Cold morning

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.

All pictures to this post.

Categories: Bike touring, Germany | Comments Off