Monday, April 14, 2014

Danube Bike Trip - The real Day 1

I woke early this morning, at 6 am, to a chilly, grey day, a rainy day. I had not checked the weather report because I was committed — what was I to do about it if it was bad? I've paid for the entire trip, my next hotel is 25 miles away, and I have the bike. Rain will just have to be dealt with. It is spring after all and it rains in the spring. April showers ... etc.

I decided not to get too bummed about it and went to breakfast. The accommodations that come with this tour package, which is Eurobike's mid-priced tour, are all 4-star hotels and the Hotel Weisser Hase certainly met my expectations in that regard. You can pick a full-board or a half-board tour. Half-board is cheaper and with that choice you get breakfast only along with the room. Well, the buffet breakfast at the Weisser Hase is something to brag about. It is a huge spread with assorted pastries, cereals, fruits and juices, eggs and bacon, breads, croissants, and because it's Europe, there are big trays holding various cold cuts and cheeses. The tables are set with Germanic precision and everything is spotless, impeccable.

By the time I got back to my room and divided my stuff into what I was taking with me on the bike and what I was leaving for the Eurobike staff to shuttle to my next hotel the overcast had lifted. A little later the sun glinted brightly out of the heavy overcast. It only showed itself for a moment but it made me anxious to get a move on. I attached the handlebar pack holding my cameras and other ready access stuff and the single pannier holding my raingear and extra dry clothes to the bike and off I went.

As I left Passau behind and hit the bike path I started to get excited about the ride ahead. The path follows highways sometimes, other times it's unpaved, but most of it is a smooth asphalt path that you have all to yourself. And it's easy pedaling. After only 5 km the Danube Cycle Path, or Donauradweg in Germanenters Austria. The border between the two countries follows the Danube here with Germany on the north side and Austria on the south. It's nice to be able to hop back and forth between them with no border crossing guards or immigration officials to contend with. Hell, since 9/11 Americans can't even go to Canada without a passport.

Leaving Passau, south side of Danube

A little further on, the pavement stops for a short stretch
For a few miles the path runs alongside of route B130, a major 2-lane highway, but it was Sunday morning and there was practically no traffic. The Donauradweg crosses a languid clear water brook on this little covered bridge.

Almost before I knew it I came to the power project where we were to cross back into Germany. I rode across the coffer dam and stopped for a cuppa in a small cafe. Half the total distance for the day was in the bag already and it was only 11 o'clock!
My ride — a nice 21-speed tourer from Eurobike 

Not a bright day but a day without rain

Old building along the way
Before long my hotel swung into view on the Austrian side of the river. I hitched a ride over on their little shuttle ferry and when I stepped off its deck had reached the end of Day One of the tour. I had biked a total 42 km or 26 miles and it was only 1 o'clock — a pretty good start.

The Hotel Donauschlinge - my home for the night

Tour boat on the Danube at sundown
Time for a movie or a little reading and then to bed.