OE Day 15 Passau to Linz 100k

A day alongside the Danube. Passau is the confluence of three mighty rivers: the Ilz, the Inn (as in Innsbruck) and the Danube. They continue as the Danube. Did they toss coins to decide? We crossed the murky looking (snow melt?) Inn, turned left and navigating done for the day.

After 3k Austria. Weirdly it immediately feels like it too. More wood on the houses, trees lined gorges and fine meadows. We are also on the Rommeradweg a cycle trail linking up Roman sites, mainly associated with Julius Caeser.

Very beautiful, like Scotland in sunshine. A stone marks stone historic flood levels. Given the existing volume of water, that’s a pretty scary extra volume.

Linz our destination. The third largest town in Austria. Famous for cake. Still active manufacturing, a legacy of its infamous “son”: Adolf Hitler considered it his home.

OE Day 14 Straubing to Passau 98k

Mainly on the North side of the ever widening Danube, we meandered to Straubing. Our last full day in Germany on this trip. Some of the route was navigated the old fashioned way using a map (but on a phone) with many river works diverting the path.

Every scrap of land is cultivated. No Ivor Williams trailers though. An opportunity. Saw two new things today.  A) First Amazon Prime van since we’ve started.  B) An e-tandem.

Passau is dripping with cruise ships and churches. The magnificent Baroque St Stephen’s 17974 organ pipes were in full throttle as we gaped at the over the top decor.

Tomorrow Austria. Germany without humour awaits…

OE Day 5 Plombiers to Munster 80k

We’re deep into Alsace Lorraine or Alsace Moselle as it’s now called. Heading for Munster, where I was hoping to see people serving mash potatoes (Monster Mash…). Have to be satisfied the people here are referred to as Munsterians. The historical truth including recent is rather murkier of course with the territory being fought over. 85% of buildings destroyed in WW1.

Now it’s a nice wee place to wander through. Route March to begin with to find Barbara some new cycling sandals.Temporary fix gives us time to explore the Protestant church. Entering Lutheran country so expect a laugh a minute. Most of the textile factories are now shut. The storks are a great sight.

To get here was over a col which has featured in a few Tour de France. I suspect they were faster and didn’t stop for photos. Skiing better in winter with supporting Infrastructure. Before that was a lovely rail trail path. Here theRoute. Almost alpine in nature. The ascent is for us like chinning combining the Bwlch and Rhigos into a continuous ascent of 600m in 10 miles. With a decent descent. Sweeping pay signs that say Ferme Schmidt hints at a change.

Tomorrow into Germany.

667-12 Llantwit Major to Swansea

Circle complete, so returning to the start with the same rant. Wrexham a City? Fine scruffy wee town it may be: it had some things going for it when I went there regularly with work, but City no. Chester, very nearby, is what you call a proper City. And it’s not until the Jubilee so 667 is correct, leaving space for future tours. (As an aside, Wrexham does have a Catholic Cathedral).

A nice tailish wind speed us through the leafy lanes of the Vale. To the outskirts of Bridgend and through Pyle towards Port Talbot. Familiar territory all this, nicely framed be the ever impressive scale of the steel works. The tide is in in Aberavon which alters the feel of the usually bustling sea front.

Neath Canal, and home. Been a lovely wee trip, time for the shed fairy to wave the washing wand.

Neath canal

667-11 Caerleon to Llantwit Major

Cities 6 Cathedrals 6 and a few more castles

Today’s musings. Llan once meant meeting place. So Llantwit Major? We’ve entered the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Heritage as distinct from non heritage coast? Who ever thinks up these definitions needs a good talking too.

The same can be said of whoever is responsible for the current mess that is Newport City centre. We’d reached there via a lovely cycle route along the Usk. Perhaps it was reaching traffic after so long which tempers views. Glassworks cottages: a clue to a former factory? Our last major puncture saga was in Newport, close to the spot today where a cyclist was mending his saying “careful glass”.

Newport City and St Woolos Cathedral, the latter at the top of a fine steep hill which must have killed a few horses drawing hearses in their day, then onto the Gwent levels. Here we stick to the minor road which weaves its way along the old Roman ditches. All too soon Cardiff.

The City Halls are those befitting a city, the civic buildings in Cathays a joy. The Llandaff Cathedral isn’t bad either. We follow the Taf for a bit though newish housing, cross the River Ely to go through Penarth. A fifteenth different county don’t you know: the Vale of Glamorgan.

Barry is interesting. The statue of David Davies reminds you it was the world’s largest coal exporting docks in 1913. 11.5million tons of coal. Yet more fascinating is its small ruined Norman castle just sitting there at the side of the road.

Llantwit Major (we can’t find the Minor) is our final stop on this mini tour. Wales’ oldest church (St Illtyd) watches over proceedings. Tomorrow the homeward leg.