OE Day 11 Donauworth to Kipfenberg 96k

A pleasant surprise day.  Looking up was the theme. If it wasn’t a church or castle perched imperially on a tall rock,  it was May poles decorated with the local guilds.

After about 30k along the route we left the Danube cycle path, North and followed the Amper Altmuhital Trail. Which leads us along the Altmuhital River to our destination.

The landscape changes into limestone gorges cut out by the river. Popular with cycling families and drinking parties rowing uncertainly in the river.

“The Altmühltal Nature Park is world-famous as the “homeland of the Archaeopteryx”, because the fossils of the so-called “primeval birds” have been found only here. This is a particularly rich fossiliferous region, where many other extraordinary fossils have been uncovered, too.”

Rich farming too with a wide variety of crops. Which gives plenty of stopping places. What a relief.

OE Day 10 Ulm to Donauworth 90k

Gently down hill.  Rather arse shredding gravel paths down hill.  Lovely variety of crops and places hugging the Danube. Which is getting exponentially larger. The towns are immaculate and give the air of being prosperous.

One of the group had a tyre blow.  I’ll follow him for luck: they were less than 1k from a good bike shop.  New tyre and motoring. 

Today marked the crossover with the Athens to Amsterdam ride of 2019 at Dillingen and Hochstadt. No blue plaques yet.

Insects are happy: Dragon flies dance with butterflies.  Wasps are just annoying.

Tonight we’re near the Airbus factory on an industrial estate.  Very pleasant though.  Different from 2 July 1704 when 5000 French troops drowned in the Danube fleeing the British. The War of the Spanish Succession apparently.

OE Ulm

Another renovation project. Dec 1944 and 80% flattened leaving 700 dead, 25000 homeless and the Minster standing. It is stunning but is it more important than people?

This time the new blends with the new old in differing ways to Freiburg. The main part of the city centre is a thriving 1960s style thoroughfare. With that whopping big church standing in the middle.

A quiet place to explore. And not to prejudge. One old man spoke to us (there were more beggars than usual): so we tensed. He spoke very broken English and proudly told us of the good sights to see, including the state divide on the bridge. The other side of the Danube is New-Ulm a separate city since 1810. Where Mercedes Benz are built.

And a day looking at my Rohloff hub, or rather the puddle of oil under it. Nothing to worry about Mr Thorn has said, it’ll be OK on this [soft] trip. So tomorrow back to the Danube trail.

OE Day 9 Scheer am Donau to Ulm 90k

Moira: Adieu, Farewell, Vaya con Dios. 😢

Another day weaving in and out of villages and fields. Grateful for the shade when we got it. Arriving in a city is always a contrast with the countryside. Thankfully Ulm, Bavaria, is easier to spell.

Made good use of the honey honesty box icecream shop. The surveillance cameras were probably set to stun of you left without paying. The inner tube vending machines a nice touch.

The first major use of the Danube for power. Why don’t we have schemes like this? Solar panels aren’t as visible here.

Only two obstacles today to test problem solving. The first a triathlon closing a tunnel *it’d pass 90 minutes later. The young official new his job. So up n over we went and spoke nicely to his colleagues on the other side who lifted the tape. The other a building site. Lifted the fence.

Tomorrow a test day in Ulm. Luckily our room has no air conditioning, overlooks an active building site. So we might be out. And the minster has steps up it so they will beckon. Tonight a beer cellar. All in the name of sampling local cultures.

Highest church spire (not cathedral) in world at 161m

OE Day 8 Donaueschingen to Scheer am Donau 104k

So why cycle? We’re lucky to have the time and money to keep exploring, born of the opportunities our parents gave us. I was musing about this yesterday when it would have been my Dad’s 104 birthday. Today we learned our friend Moira, who I met in 1975 at University, has days to live. Not unexpected; terribly sad. Carpe Diem.

Be considerate.

Today we started near the [alleged] source of the Danube, Europe’s second longest river 2850km passing through 9 countries. Free of border checks. Then onto the start of the Danube cycle path which will be our guide on- off for a few days. It extends for about 1,200 kilometers from Donaueschingen in Germany to the Hungarian capital of Budapest.

There were a lot of places ending in ingen today. Perhaps where Michael Finigen came from. I’ll begin again.

A very Catholic area. Lots of wooden Christs withering on hot crosses in the heat. You’d think they world take them inside the cooler Churches which dominate the village skylines.

A very beautiful area with deep gorges giving occasional shade. We follow the river, then the trail, then wander through villages. Which provide a source of Backerie, so we boogied in to sample the wears.

Tomorrow Bavaria and Ulm.