Germany Ends and Austria Begins
After a hellish 150 km day riding from Ulm to Ingolstadt where Tom and Woody discombobulated their back wheel and I had a scenic detour alongside a hilly highway rather than the flat Danube River, we had a much lighter 89 km ride from Ulm to Regensdorf. We rode through Bavarian fields of hops that supply the excellent beer trade that exists in every town and citz in the region. The path dropped quickly from a forested hilltop to a limestone gorge below. Our choices: climb up over the cliffsides to the next town 5 klicks away or sit down for a dünkle weisse beer at Kloster Weltenberg made by the monks before boarding a ferry that took us through the gorge. Easy choice.
We zipped onto Regensburg, beating out the rain and found a bit of time to update the blog and catch up on happenings in the outside world. The next day was another long one. We had to make it to Passau at the end of Germany and we set off early making good time even with the need to stop for spare spokes.
For the first time, my hobbled knees which have been sending pangs of pain since day one started feeling really good. I was able to take off the tensor bandage on the left knee, letting the scabs behind the joint get some room to breath. The right knee still had to suffer but by now I have become used to the pain. Even with some mishaps at lunch, we made good time and used the winds forming from stormy weather to our fullest advantage.
Thirty kilometers outside of town, I decided to ride forth to try to get to Passau as quick as possible. Tom had to stop to use the bathroom. Number 2. A good five minutes or so. Woody, sat guardian of the bike as the rain drops started to fall. Small at first and then big globs of water. Try as they might, they could not catch up to me, riding right ahead of the rain and ended up soaked.
Just to make sure our day was filled with challenge, not withstanding the 150 kilometers we rode, we had to hike an incredibly steep, wet hill to get to our hostel in a castle. The achilles tendons stretched tight was we risked slipping on the cobbles back down to the bottom. We made it, legs screaming, and checked into our castle.
Dani (Tom’s girlfriend), Claudia (Dani’s sister) and Pete (Claudia’s boyfriend) drove into Passau from Austria and Pete took us to an excellent Bavarian restaurant where we ate hearty meals of sausages, snitzel, cream of mushroom and dumplings.
The next morning my disk breaks heated hot and smoked as I elected to ride down the hill rather than walk it. Tom and Woody didn’t dare test the tandem’s braking capabilities on the descent. Our three new riding compatriots met us at the bridge at the bottom of the hill and we took off to Austria. We rode through forested hills that reminded me much of certain Canadian countryside where the slopes slide directly into the river. We bended around a corn field and came across a very inconspicuous bridge, Schmüggler’s Weg (Smuggler’s Way). Lucky we stopped cause it marked the beginning of Austria and the end of our time in Germany. We snapped some photos (maybe we’ll even upload them someday) and continued riding towards the end of our day in Enns. Oh yeah… we also passed the 500 km mark that day!