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 hundreds 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.
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.
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.
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