Day 25, 21 6 2014, Passau to Sonnen

The idea today was to have a rest day, after a few long days.  We had a few things we wanted to do in Passau, including the organ recital at the cathedral, which boasts an organ with more pipes than anyone else, nearly 18,000.  It sounded great, but it does beg the question as to whether they could have got a similar sound with just 17,000 pipes. We also needed to plan the next stage of our trip, bearing in mind that we now need to think about how we get back to Frankfurt.

We decided to go to the Moldau River and follow it up to Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic, before heading west back to the Main River and Frankfurt.

Europe had some quite astonishing follds, as we saw in the Pyrenees last year, but the river systems in central Europe were particularly affected.  You would never guess from looking at it that the very crisp and clean city of Passau was very badly affected by these floods as the photo shows.  They have done a truly remarkable job of cleaning up.

So, by the time we cleaned all of the grit and accumulated forest debris off our chains it was 2.30, and we left Passau.

Of course we knew full well that it was an especially long weekend, coinciding with the first summer break and school holidays, and accommodation would be fully booked.  But we didn’t let it worry us.

Our plan was to get out of the Danube valley, which meant riding up and over a few ridges.  The ride was not especially difficult, and we only planned to go 20Km.  But the village was full, as were the next few as we rode progressively uphill.  We had first stopped at around 4.00pm, but found a hotel several villages on at around 5.30 after trying all of the hotels along the way.  It was all entirely predictable with hindsight.  We stopped at another gasthaus which I thought was closed, and I stood outside with our bikes planning to ride to Austria, when to my surprise Roz came out with the owner, who said of course there was a room, and breakfast, and dinner if we wanted it.  We seem to be the only guests.

The junction of the Inn and Danube is a bit surprising, as at Passau, the Danube is a nondescript river of an ordinary algal green colour, and the Inn is a much larger river of a pleasant aquamarine colour from its glacial debris.  The different colours of the waters can be seen from quite some distance downstream before they finally blend to create the blue Danube.  It still should be called the Inn.

I was surprised at just how much the bike culture has grown around Passau since we were first here nearly ten years ago.  On our first trip through here most of the bike tourists we saw were like us, carrying panniers, and doing it by themselves.  Now there seems to be a lot of business supporting groups of riders with buses and trailers, and the huge Danube tourist boats offer all sorts of options from an hour here or there on a bike, to a bike to use all day, using the boat as just an overnight stop.  There are bikes everywhere.  The electric bike boom has also hit this business, and there are large numbers of them on the road and for hire.

So this was a longer day than planned, but to my mind, longer days are for just this sort of eventuality.

42Km for the day, uphill but easy.


Roz says: Huge depth of beautiful sound in the cathedral. Supermarket bathroom spray and handy wipes  rescued the bikes from ghastly grit from yesterday.  Touring bikes have to feel and sound smooth esp as we had the long rolling hills to conquer this evening. 


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