Uhersky Brod to Lindau, Lake Constance – 31st August to 11th September

Wednesday 31st August

Uhersky Brod to Dubnany

Distance: 54.72 km
Average Speed: 11.47 kmh
Top Speed: 46.25 kmh

Total Distance: 6915.62 km

Daz’s Ti-Fly.
Rohloff hub. 22/44 and 16 rear.
Son dynamo, Avid BB7 disc brakes. EWerk USB charger and cache.
Busch and Mueller lights – dynamo charged.
Ergomesh seat and standard pannier rack.
Handlebar bag mount, bottle holder, computer mount and computer.

Hels’ Ti-Fly
Rohloff hub. 22/44 and 16 rear.
90mm Sturmy Archer Drum brakes
Busch and Mueller USB charged.
Ergomesh seat and head rest. Standard pannier rack.
Bottle holder, computer mount and computer.
Short cranks

Today we’re heading off on our new trikes. I do suggest that we really need another rest day but Daz isn’t falling for that. So first things first. How are we going to pack everything? We’ve swapped our recumbent banana bags for back roller pro plus which come with handy back harnesses so we can carry them on our backs when we go hiking.

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Honza recommended these. He wanted to know how we had managed to go hiking with our last set of gear. Daz and I looked at each other (and thought ‘isn’t it enough that we’re attempting to cycle the world, now we’re supposed to hike too???’) The simple answer Honza, – we didn’t hike but we most certainly will in the future (Not!) .

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We’ve also got a really snazzy handlebar bag which is super handy. Daz can put his phone and camera in it and just flips up the lid. It’s fully waterproof and the lid is secured by magnets. We’ve also got a rackpack that sits on the top of the pro plus, a folding water bucket and 2 water reservoirs.

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Once packed and loaded we’re pretty alarmed. It looks like so much gear but since our tandem days we’ve only actually gained our cooking stove, fuel bottle and some cooking ancillaries. But there’s nothing for it, we’re going to have to give it a go.

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So off we go.

And today is another scorcher, blue skies and no clouds. We are soon sweating as we cycle up hills and coast down the other side. The route is on quiet country lanes with an occasional short section of busier road.

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It’s very pleasant and again thanks to the Maps Me app for picking it! We stop in a small village for a proper lunch in a restaurant as it’s still cheap in the Czech Republic. In a couple of days we will be in Austria, we hope it won’t get too expensive then! For the rest of the afternoon it’s more of the same until we get to our designated campsite.

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All in all it’s been a very pleasant ride, if a little hot, on the new bikes with no issues.

We are the only ones on the campsite, and as we approached down a side road, having seen not a single sign we were wondering… but thankfully it’s open and there’s a bar and showers and WiFi. All our needs sorted!

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The new trikes are definitely go anywhere kind of bikes, even today we were on gravel and sandy farm tracks. We had no problems even fully loaded where as before on the tandem we wouldn’t have touched that particular route! We are sure they will stand us in good stead when we finally leave Europe for some of the wilder roads out there.

Thursday 1st September

Dubnany to Poysdorf

Distance: 61.43 km
Average Speed: 11.34 kmh
Top Speed: 55.58 kmh

Total Distance: 6977.05 km

The campsite that looked so uninspiring, turned out to be a bit of a gem. We had the whole camp ground to ourselves, plenty of hot water, cups of tea from the bar and extremely strong WiFi signal so we could get the blog finished, published, Fb notification done, photo highlights and photos uploaded into the cloud.

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That’s the good news, the bad is it took us several hours last night and several more this morning. And the upshot we didn’t start cycling until 1030am.

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It’s another hot day but we cycle through beautiful countryside and we’re on a cycle path through the woods for a couple of kms. We stop in Mutenice to marvel at some wooden contraption. We can’t work out what it is. Then we spot one in each subsequent town and we realise we’ve been cycling through vineyards and these are the old village wine presses.

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There are two main wine regions in the Czech Republic – Bohemia and Moravia. They are further divided into sub-regions. The biggest development of vineyards is connected with the period before the Thirty Years War. At that time, there was 15 thousand hectares of vineyards in Bohemia and 20 thousand hectares in Moravia. At present, the area of the vineyards equals 19 thousand hectares, most of which is situated in Moravia. The top quality of Moravian white wines is known worldwide, which is reflected by numerous international awards. Moravian wines win over such winery giants as France or Germany. Wine producers in the Czech Republic are very successful in wine cultivation, too – and there is living proof of it in, for example, the newly recognised types of red wine Cabernet Moravia or André, and in white wine e.g. the Muškát moravský.

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Making sileage.

 

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We’re heading for Lednice but the road signs tell us there’s a diversion. We’re not keen on doing extra mileage so we ignore the signs and continue. We find the road is being resurfaced and whilst the main traffic flow has been diverted this route is still open but with traffic light controls and only half the road useable. The upshot is we ride for several kilometres on a newly laid lane of tarmac and see about 2 cars. We also meet a guy on his home made trike.

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Hand-made Czech bales.  No bailers here!

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We come to Lednice and it seems really busy. We ask if there’s some event here but apparently it’s just a castle here. Oh look! Another castle, said Daz the Goldfish.

Lednice castle is a majestic, georgeous mansion, exactly the kind of a place you imagine, while listening to:“…once upon a time there was a magnificent castle…“

Landlords from Lichtenstein didn´t live in poverty. Majestic ground-floor spaces served as representative chambers, where guests and friends were invited. The first floor was furnished to live in. The second floor, where children used to rule, is a picture gallery. The Lednice neighbourhood has always been popular among people. First farmers lived there four thousands years ago. Hand-in-hand with the invention of money and the opportunity to show wealth, the original fortress became a castle. It was 17th century but it seems that owners sympathized with local prehistoric inhabitants, because they built an artificial cave with stalactites.

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It’s hardly believable that this marvel is only a summer mansion. Aristocracy used this monstrous fairy-tale ish building just as a cottage. They came here in early spring , but for winter they returned to central site in Valtice. Despite this, they had built in heating, luxury bathrooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and ballrooms.

We stroll around the castle and gardens. They are especially beautiful, full of colour and variety. As we walk through the grounds we see signs for a birds of prey show. We have missed the show but the birds are still sitting on their perches. In fact it seems they never cage the birds as it causes distress and injury to them. There are hawks, kites, merlins, eagles, vultures and even a peregrine falcon (and a Golden Eagle)! Mustn’t forget the owls too. We even see one of them being fed by its handler, using a bait on a long string that he twirls around and around until caught by the bird. Marvellous!

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After our sightseeing we have lunch and head out of town and over a road that cuts across lake Vcelinek so we have shimmering water either side of us. It’s another glorious day but as it gets later we find the sun is always in our eyes as we head south west.

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We reach Valtice, the last town before the border to Austria. Valtice, part of the Lednice-Valtice Complex is called the capital city of wine – sample the local wines in the cellars of this opulent chateau! The jewel in the crown of Valtice is its massive Baroque chateau, the former residence of the Lichtenstein family. Situated in the centre of a tradition wine region, the chateau was built in stages by thirteen princes and in the 18th century the residence, with its furnishings, collections and rich inventory competed with Imperial court in Vienna itself.

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It looks like a beautiful town but we cycle on after hunting for a book store in a last vain hope of picking up a copy of The Little Princess in Czech for one of our previous warmshower hosts who collects them. We climb out of town along more vine strewn hills and at the peak Daz spots a large structure off to the left so we investigate. It’s the huge Kolonada na Reistne.

Colonnade at Reistna near Valtice
Do you know where to get the best view of the landscape around the Lednice-Valtice Complex? We do: from Reistna hill over Valtice!

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An impressive view over the Lednice-Valtice Complex and the town of Valtice, with its imposing Baroque chateau, will greet you from the top of Reistna hill. At this location, Prince Joseph I of Liechtenstein had a monumental Classicist colonnade, decorated with figures from ancient mythology, built. The inscriptions Son to father, brother to brothers in the centre of the north side of the colonnade and The only living son to unforgettable forebears in the centre of the south side, remembering the fact that, for the prince, the colonnade was a painful reminder, and memorial to, his deceased forebears. From Valtice a wine trail then leads from the hilltop, with the subsequent flat stretch serving as a viewing area.

Then finally around the corner after another short climb we reach the border and cross into Austria. Goodbye Czech Republic with your beautiful flower bedecked houses, towns and monuments. We forgot to mention, but a lot of the villages and small towns we have ridden through have had public address systems strung up on posts. Some will have music playing softly, some have announcements broadcast at random times, we wonder if they are a remnant from the days of the USSR and Warsaw pact countries.

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So hello Austria, as we start to head down the first hill I hear a screech of tyres and await the sound of a car hitting Daz and his trike. He’s behind me, but fortunately the car stops his crazy overtaking speed just in time and manages to avoid the other car coming up the hill. A warm welcome to Austria, Daz takes a few moments to calm his racing nerves and heartbeat!!

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More hills, more vines and finally a descent into our stop for the day, a campsite in Poysdorf. A quick shop for provisions and then we can rest at the campsite. Resting involves the following: setting up tent, blowing up beds, getting sleeping bags out, cooking, showering and finally lieing in bed writing the blog… I bet you’re knackered just reading it! Time for some zzzz’s, but first Daz needs to massage my back. Goodnight all, sleep well in your comfy beds xxx.

Friday 2nd September

Poysdorf to Vienna

Distance: 65.71 km
Average Speed: 11.60 kmh
Top Speed: 59.1 kmh

Total Distance: 7042.76 km

Today’s breakfast cereal is accompanied by red and green grapes stolen from the Moravian vineyards we passed through yesterday.

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A non-event today except as we approached Vienna (well we still had 20km to go but we could see our destination on the horizon), the grey clouds started amassing overhead. We thought we could stay ahead of them and the race was on!

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Unfortunately a few gentle rain drops started to fall and next minute we were cycling through a torrential rain shower. Daz shouted ‘ take cover!’ but I thought he was having flash backs to his Army days. We spotted a bakery and piled in, dripping wet. A perfect time for a coffee break! Once the rain had stopped and Daz had finished chatting to the biker girl on the next table(!!) we got back on the road and we were soon on the outskirts of Vienna.

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Daz then got pulled by the police for cycling whilst using his mobile phone (map reading), but it was just a telling off. We hit the Alte Donau, a semicircle of river coming off the mighty Danube and turned left, following the river to our campsite for the night. There are lots of rowers, some swimmers, and what look like rafts with settees and tables on sailing up and down the river. These rafts have people eating and drinking on them, how fab, one even had a big potted plant on it!!

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The campsite is by a main road but it’s the only one close to Vienna. We have noticed that both camping and shopping has leapt up in price since getting back into ‘western’ Europe. Where we were paying about £6 in Eastern Europe we are now paying £20 for camping. And food is nearly twice as expensive. If you want to live cheaply move to Poland or the Czech Republic people!! We’re also missing the beautiful gardens and flower displays of Eastern Europe ; so far the Austrian villages have been quite disappointing.

There are also lots of tents here and fellow cyclists on the campsite . We look around at the selection of tents pointing out tunnel tents vs dome tents and the virtues of fiberglass poles over alloy.

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Exciting times we have hey?!?! Actually we are on the look out for a good sized replacement for ours; 5 poles have snapped, 2 of the roof arches have snapped and we have patched 8 holes!!

After much deliberation we decide we should go into Vienna this evening and see how it looks against the night sky. We use the metro and 10 minutes later we’re in the town centre.

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First we head to Vienna’s Ringstrasse which is 5.3 kilometers long. Long enough to provide space for numerous monumental buildings, which were built during the period of Historicism in the 1860s to 1890s. Today, the buildings that stand there – from the Vienna State Opera to the Museum of Fine Arts – are among the most important sights in the city of Vienna.

“It is my will…” – with these words, Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the building of the Ringstrasse in 1857. Nobles and rich citizens hurried to build pompous palaces along this magnificent boulevard. Many of these former private homes can still be admired today (mostly, however, only from the outside). The style in which the buildings were built went down in history as the Ringstrasse style (a type of Historicism). It is marked by a pluralism of styles: numerous architectural forms of previous epochs were imitated.

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The most noteworthy buildings are not the palaces, but rather the large buildings such as the State Opera (built in the style of the Neo-Renaissance), the Parliament, City Hall (Flemish Gothic), the Burgtheater (New Baroque), the university (Neo-Renaissance), the Museum for Applied Art, the Vienna Stock Exchange, and the Votive Church (New Gothic), which were all constructed in the second half of the 19th century. Especially worth seeing are also the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum, both of which were built in the Neo-Renaissance style. They not only hold awesome art and natural treasures, but are also architectural masterpieces.

Then we wander past St Stephen’s Cathedral where a street musician is playing his cello.

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The imposing Stephansdom, located right in the heart of Vienna, is the best place to start a tour. Whichever way you choose to walk through the Innere Stadt most inevitably gravitate towards the cathedral at some point. For more than eight centuries it has watched over Vienna, enduring city fires, Turkish cannonballs and German and Russian shells. Part of the Stephansdom’s charm derives from the asymmetry of its steeple, set to one side. Affectionately known as Steffl, it is 137m (449ft) high. Count 343 steps to the observation platform at the top, where the view extends northeast to the Czech Republic and southwest to the Semmering Alps.

Karlsplatz and its imposing baroque church
The square is dominated by the huge Karlskirche, the most important of the city’s baroque churches. It was built by Fischer von Erlach for Karl VI, fulfilling an oath made by the emperor during the plague of 1713. Sunset offers a spectacular view of the big dome across Karlsplatz. The cool, sober interior has a subdued marble decor and spacious oval ground plan similar to that of the Peterskirche. The oval dome’s ceiling frescoes are by Johann Michael Rottmayr, the trompe-l’oeil by Gaetano Fanti. In front of the church, Henry Moore’s sculpture Hill Arches provides a striking contrast.

As luck would have it the 26th Wiener Film Festival on Rathausplatz is on during our visit. It’s a top- class, open air cultural event with free admission and is accompanied by a wide range of fine dining options. We sit and enjoy ‘Idomeneo’, a Mozart classic revolutionised by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Saturday 3rd September

Vienna to Klosterneuburg

Distance: 33.07 km
Average Speed: 9.32 kmh
Top Speed: 27.29 kmh

Total Distance: 7075.83 km

We are up a little earlier this morning, but not by much! The plan is to pack up and cycle the 8km into Vienna and see the sights in daylight then later head up the Danube Cycle Path to our next camp.

As we are leaving camp we stop at reception to book out. When Daz comes out I am surrounded by an extended family of Poles who have walked over to see our trikes. They are very animated and we let them have a ride, Dad, Mom kids ‘n all!

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They love them and ask us loads of questions. It takes about 20 minutes to extract ourselves, but it was fab chatting with them. Then it happens again, about half way to the city we hear an Englishman calling out and we stop. He has lived in Vienna for 20 odd years and wanted to say hello and look at the trikes. As we are talking a group of four English also wander along and start chatting with us!! Another 20 minutes goes by!!

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We finally cross the Danube and start cycling around the inner ring. We marvel at the beautiful buildings. What’s really fab is that the place is crawling with bicycle lanes and is very easy to navigate.

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We visit the Naschmarkt: The Naschmarkt is Vienna’s most popular market and a real hot spot. Whether you want to go out for lunch or after work-cocktails … one of the many bars/restaurants will suit you for sure. You can also buy yummy fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world, exotic herbs, cheese, baked goods, meat and seafood.

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As part of the final day of the film festival there is also a street parade with open top buses and lorries carrying dancers and music.

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Finally we decide to head off and we follow the Danube canal and then the Danube to Klosterneuburg. We see some fabulous street art along the way, the colourful waste incinerator beautified by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and a barrage designed by Otto Wagner.

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The cyclepath is well signposted but extremely busy with weekenders. It’s not long before we arrive in Klosterneuburg and find our campsite.

Sunday 4th September

Klosterneuburg to Traismauer

Distance: 56.87 km
Average Speed: 11.30 kmh
Top Speed: 35.62 kmh

Total Distance: 7132.70 km

We did our laundry last night but failed to buy a drying token so drying our washing delays proceedings this morning as does a flat rear tyre on my bike. We do take the opportunity to check out the Klosterneuburg monastery whilst we wait though.

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Then we’re off along the Danube. Unfortunately the prevailing wind along the Danube is generally West to East so I guess it’ll be a headwind all the way to Passau. On the Danube there’s all sorts of pleasure boats and people swimming or just enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

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In Tulln we head off to visit the Tulln gardens but an entry fee of 12.50€ each is a huge deterrent, we’d have to spend ages here to get our money’s worth. So it’s back to the Danube. We stop for our picnic lunch and then for a couple of cokes before finishing in Traismauer for the day. Oh yeah and my back tyre has gone flat again.

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An American couple join us on the campsite, they’re from Maryland. They’ve ridden from Passau. I have a little chuckle as I admire the division of chores. Roman has the trailer with all the kit. He puts up the tent and unpacks, whilst she showers. Then he cooks her dinner. She does sweet FA. I suggest that the same labour division might work well for us. Well perhaps delete ‘us’ and insert ‘me, myself and I’ (lol).

Monday 5th September

Traismauer to Melk

Distance: 53.84 km
Average Speed: 11.92 kmh
Top Speed: 38.49 kmh

Total Distance: 7186.54 km

There were some light rain showers yesterday evening but then it’s rained most of the night. At 8am it stops so we can get up. We head off once again staying on the south bank. We admire the Abbey in Durnstein which is on the north bank and the castle at Ritzling and another at Hinterhaus.

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We keep umming and ahhhing as to whether to swap to the north bank and there are bridges and ferries fairly often but we’ve got great views from here.

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We cycle through extensive orchards and vineyards and Daz does a little scrumping. There are ominous grey clouds ahead.

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A couple of times our shower jackets go on but then the light showers abate. At one point we do have to take shelter in some sort of rock sculpture to avoid a heavy shower but for the next big rain front we’re less successful and get drenched.

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We finally take shelter in a hotel restaurant in Aggsbachdorf but we feel about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. We order coffees and Daz has the beef soup. We think it’s been heated in the microwave at ultra plus larva temperature as a punishment for daring to enter such an establishment, dripping wet, and with no intention of ordering a proper meal at their exorbitant prices. Thank God the rain quickly passes so I can escape the rarefied atmosphere.

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We decide we just need to get to Melk and a campsite so we can shelter from these rain showers. We get to the campsite and just start setting up when there’s another downpour. We abandon our kit and run into the cafe.

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The rain passes and we go out for another go. This time we’re hit by thunder and lightning and a torrential downpour. Bugger and the tent is still wet from last night. Hopefully the rain will pass and we can dry the tent out before tonight.

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We wander into town, which is very nice with a huge abbey overlooking the town from a large hill. We didn’t climb the large hill but instead had pizza for dinner then walked 2 km to some shops and then back so we could have food for tomorrow. When we got back the tent had dried enough and we settled down to some quality reading!

 

Tuesday 6th September

Melk to Ybbs

Distance: 26.48 km
Average Speed: 12.99 kmh
Top Speed: 29.44 kmh

Total Distance: 7213.02 km

Rain, rain, rain. Rained in the night. Rained after we had packed up. Rained all morning. Stopped raining, started cycling, it rained again, so we stopped cycling!! And that’s why we only managed 26km today. On the bright side the weather forecast for tomorrow is great.

We were woken early by the sound of about 5 humongous river cruise boats tying up and disgorging a multitude of tourists to awaiting buses for their day trips in the area.

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We managed to get packed up, but this was our first mistake. Because it was dry and the skies looked relatively clear (well light grey clouds rather than the ominous dark clouds) we thought the weather forecast of rain for all of today was wrong and we got up. Daz had said if it’s raining tomorrow morning I’m not going anywhere. Unfortunately this was probably the only dry spell of the day. An hour later when we’ve dried the tent in the breeze, eaten breakfast and packed and are ready to leave the rain starts to fall.

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We decide to get a coffee in the Gaushaus by the campsite in the hope it blows over. A while later it’s still pouring and we get chatting to two German cyclists who have taken shelter as well. One is a student on summer break and he’s heading to Budapest, but has done lots of other rides around Europe.

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The other is riding a recumbent bike and they met last night after sharing accommodation at the same place. By 12 it’s only spitting and so we set out. And for a while the going is good, it’s gray and dark but dryish.

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But then after about 20km the rain falls in earnest and after another 6km as we enter Ybbs we decide enough is enough and book into a hotel. Budget blown!! Oh well we’ll just have to wild camp in the Alps more!!

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Wednesday 7th September

Ybbs to Ottersheim

Distance: 95.72 km
Average Speed: 14.68 kmh
Top Speed: 32.89 kmh

Total Distance: 7308.74 km

Last night we had a wander around the historical town of Ybbs. Ybbs an der Donau is a city in Austria. It was established in 1317. Throughout the town, from the intersection of the important trade routes and along the Danube the town has preserved a site that already had great economic importance during the Middle Ages.

This morning we’re up for breakfast by 7.45am. An early start for us.

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After breakfast we head off and joy of joys we’ve got a tail wind. On the north bank we see the round tower at Sarmingstein, the Werfenstein castle at the perilous Struden, the 16th and 17th century houses of Grein and the Greinburg palace.

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In Wallsee we head to the centre which is unfortunately up a big hill. But Wallsee has one of the most beautiful market squares along the Danube with its 17th century facades and monuments. There is also Wallsee castle built by Heinrich VI between 1368 and 1388 on the site of a Roman settlement. Today it’s the permanent residence of the family Salvator-Habsburg-Lothringen.

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From Wallsee we pass the hydroelectric power station and then cross over the barrage to the north bank.

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On the north bank we’re overtaken by 5 men but we tuck in behind them and draft for the next 15km. It’s great! We try it a few more times and we make great progress.

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We pass through Mauthausen. The quiet landscape of the Mühlviertel section of the Danube once housed Mauthausen concentration camp. It is estimated that between 1938 and 1945 about 123,000 people were murdered here. We’re soon in Linz but we stay on the north bank and don’t bother investigating. Another 10km from Linz and we find a campsite. It’s like a Municipal camping / park area and we can camp for free. There’s toilets and showers and a supermarket only 400m away. An excellent find Darren.

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Linz, the capital of Upper Austria and the country’s third largest city after Vienna and Graz, lies in an attractive location on both banks of the River Danube, which widens here after emerging from its narrow passage through the outliers of the Bohemian Forest into the Linz basin. Famous for its fine churches, museums, and cultural activities, the city was home to many of Austria’s most famous creative types, including novelist Adalbert Stifter, composers Wolfgang Mozart and Anton Bruckner, and the famous scientist Johannes Kepler. One of the most picturesque Austrian cities, its position on the Danube makes it an ideal spot for a river excursion or exploration of the surrounding countryside and attractions.

Overlooking the Danube, the imposing Linz Castle (Linz Schloss) has dominated the city for centuries. Records indicate the site has been home to a fortress since the early 9th century, the remains of which can still be seen around the old walls and the Friedrich Gate, while the present structure dates predominantly from the 16th century and was rebuilt after a fire in 1800. Now home to the excellent Schlossmuseum, the castle houses important art and historical collections along with displays featuring artifacts from the prehistoric, Roman, and medieval periods, including paintings, sculptures, arms, and armor. The more modern South Wing contains permanent exhibits regarding nature and technology as well temporary exhibits.

Just below Linz Castle, in Römerstrasse, stands quaint little St. Martin’s Church (Martinskirche), the oldest church in Austria to be preserved in its original form. Built on the remains of Roman walls that can still be seen in the building’s exterior, this remarkable 8th-century church is characteristic of the earliest Carolingian architecture. Highlights of a visit include an interior rich with 15th-century frescoes, along with the outlines of old doorways and windows in the sidewalls dating from the Gothic period. A Roman oven is visible, and many stones inside the church bear Roman inscriptions, while recent excavations have revealed the royal hall of the former imperial palace.

Thursday 8th September

Ottersheim to Passau

Distance: 86.06 km
Average Speed: 12.90 kmh
Top Speed: 41.65 kmh

Total Distance: 7394.80 km

We pack up and head for the supermarket to get provisions for lunch and we cycle into the town square and meet a guy on an Ice Adventurer but he has electric motor support as does his wife who’s on a normal bike.

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This is the first trike we’ve seen although we have seen a couple of normal tandems, one recumbent tandem and a couple of recumbents but mostly we’ve seen normal bikes with motor assistance. Beginning to wish I’d added that to the list of my requirements. We stay on the north bank and this time admire the scenery on the south. At Untermühl we realise we’re about to run out of cycletrack and have to call the ferryman. He does a dropoff further up the north bank and one on the southbank at Kaiserau. We decide on the south bank because there’s another section on the north bank where the cycle path stops. But on the south bank we get a lovely view of the Neuhaus castle.

 

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Schlögen loop.

Between Passau and Aschach the Danube takes a meandering course through the Bohemian Highlands. In doing so, the river did not follow the geological border between the Bohemian plateau and the Alpine foothills, but instead forged its own path through the softer soils of the tertiary basin. The result was a scenic and winding valley downstream from Passau. At Schlögen , however, the river encountered a granite ridge that turned th river back, forming the Schlögen loop. Geologists still speculate about how this was possible.

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We have decided on a campsite in Pyrawang but just our luck it no longer exists. So we push on to Passau. Just before Passau we cross the border into Germany.

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Friday 9th September

Passau to Kröhstorf

Distance: 52.03 km
Average Speed: 10.37 kmh
Top Speed: 51.27 kmh

Total Distance: 7446.83km

Our campsite was right next to the Danube and the ground was wet so I guess it’s no surprise that our tent is dripping this morning and that’s on the inside!!! So we lay it out to dry and get chatting to some New Zealanders who have been over for 9 weeks and tell us their favourite place was Slovenia. Eventually our tent is dry and we head into Passau. Our first stop is a bike shop to see if they can fix Daz’s Son dynamo which is no longer charging our electrical kit. No joy though but we do buy another Ortlieb bag; it’s a much neater way of carrying the tent and sleeping mats.

Then we cycle into town.
Passau in the southeast of Germany is located at the Austrian border. Situated at the confluence of the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz, Passau is worldwide known as “The Three Rivers City”. The earliest evidence of human settlement dates back to the Neolithic. Passau was part of the Roman Empire for more than 400 years. It became an Episcopal seat in the year 739 AD. Passau was an independent prince bishopric for over 600 years. Finally in 1803 Passau was annexed into Bavaria. The setting of the Old Town, created by Italian baroque masters in the 17th century, shows soaring towers, picturesque places, enchanting promenades and romantic lanes.

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In the heart of Passau on the Old Town’s highest point rises St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in which the world’s largest cathedral organ sounds. Sitting high above the rivers, the majestic fortress Veste Oberhaus on the Danube’s side and the Pilgrimage Church “Mariahilf” on the Inn’s side frame the city outstandingly beauty. Passau with its unique charm and its atmosphere is one of the most beautiful and spectacular German cities on the Danube.

Then it’s time to head off. We follow the Danube to Vilshofen. We cross a barrage just outside Passau, the Kraftwerk Kashlet, and watch a huge barge in the lock. In Vilshofen we leave the Danube.

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The search for pearls in the Danube may have been relatively small industries compared to main activities like fishing, shipping and energy production, but they make interesting contributions to the river’s cultural history. The “pearl fishers” specially favoured the Danube’s small tributaries from the north. The best pearl creeks are streams with relatively low levels of lime. The clear as water to reddish green pearls grow in the approximately 10cm long river mussel when the mussel starts depositing mother of pearl on a sand particle. The process takes 10 to 15 years, and only one in 500 to 2000 mussels produce a single pearl. The Passau Diocese organised the systematic harvest of pearls in the region and for many years “Passau Pearls” enjoyed great popularity. The pearls were treasured not just in the immediate area – the Linz Bishop’s mitre is decorated with river pearls from the Danube.

 

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I had expected to follow the river Vils but instead we end up on a busy road and we climb a hill, sweep down the other side and then another hill and we can see the hills continuing in the distance . Blimey I was expecting a really gentle incline to Munich. We decide we need to investigate the roads and tracks by the river and find some lovely quiet cycle tracks and lanes which take us through beautiful villages. We realise the next campsite is too far so we stop by the Vilskanal for the night. Another dip in the river beckons for our sweaty, grimy bodies!!

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Saturday 10th September

Kröhstorf to Laim am See

Distance: 79.14 km
Average Speed: 12.8 kmh
Top Speed: 33.18 kmh

Total Distance: 7525.97 km

Daz for once gets up early and we are out of the starting blocks shortly after 8am. We had to pack the tent wet as it was soaking and there was nowhere decent to lay it out and we’ve realised that even in the sunshine, early in the day it takes an age to dry. The morning’s ride is beautiful with small villages with lovely buildings and floral displays. We’re either on cyclepaths or quiet lanes and it’s really enjoyable and we’re cycling through various crops; maize, cabbages, spinach and other we can’t identify. We see a tent in a field and it looks as if there are workers inside putting something onto a conveyor belt. We walk over to investigate and realise it’s a tractor with 2 suspended arms. On each arm are about 10 people lying down on mattresses picking cucumbers from the plants beneath.

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The tractor is gradually moving up the field. It must be a horrendous job. As the day progresses the heat starts to take its toll. Daz’s watch says it’s 35 degrees. We do a supermarket shop for lunch and when we stop to eat we unpack the tent and sleeping mats to dry.

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Then we continue along the river valley until it’s time to head for our campsite. Unfortunately the campsite requires a diversion from our river valley and there’s some nasty hills in store.

Sunday 11th September

Laim am See to Lindau

Distance: 74.58 km
Average Speed: 10.29 kmh
Top Speed: 48.40 kmh

Total Distance: 7600.55 km

We leave the campsite having dried our tent and enjoyed a couple of coffees. Having left the relative safety of the Vils river valley we now have more hills to deal with and again the temperature is in the mid 30s.

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It’s more rolling hills and farmland with the occasional town often with a blue and white pole adorned with various shields. Eventually we reach Munich and cross the River Isar and the klein Isar.

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It’s very beautiful and we pass some lovely buildings as we head to the train station.

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We buy our tickets for the Lindau train but the conductor doesn’t want to let us on. The train has bike compartments but she says they’re only for bikes with 2 wheels. Daz has already put some of our bags aboard and she doesn’t want to let him on to retrieve them. She phones her colleague who speaks some English and we say we can get the bikes on board by turning them sideways. With 2 minutes to go she decides to let us on. Then we need to change twice and at one change we have 3 minutes to get the bags and bikes off and onto the other train. Then at the next change we need to use a lift to change platforms and lift the bikes through the narrow train doorway.

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Hellish. Finally at 1030pm we arrive in Lindau. We discover Daz has a flat tyre! After emergency pumping we head outside. it’s time to find a camp for the night but Daz’s back light doesn’t work.  Finally at about 11.30pm we sneak on to a campsite!

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