I didn’t sleep much last night so I spent some time writing blog updates instead and made sure I hung my tent and sleeping bag out to dry. The next day Marianne, one of my hosts, showed me around the city a little, which she was able to do because she was a teacher and on half term. It was a very colorful city and had a castle, massive church and, most importantly, a brewery which brewed tasty Furstenberg beer. During my tour of the city we decided to take a closer look at the church which was full of great marble sculptures and a huge organ, which looked new. I was surprised by the amount of buildings that were associated do with the Castle such as tradesman houses, stables etc. I spent the rest of the day working out possible routes towards Vienna. Vienna was my next ‘milestone’, which I was aiming to reach by the 8th of November. Once there I was planning on meeting my parents and spending a few day resting before the next leg of my trip.
*Doneshingan Church Organ
Doneshingan to Danube River (40 miles)
Day 18 / 03.11.2015
Today I left Doneshingan, with a plan to follow the Danube River. I made sure I had plenty of ‘fuel’ on board before leaving, having 2 bowls of cereal and a coffee. I said goodbye to my excellent hosts Daniel and Marianna, who had taken great care of me in my short time staying with them, and then left (reluctantly) on time at 10:00am. After a bit of confusion I found my way onto the Danube bike route, and it was a nice change to ride on smooth level tarmac. I still struggled to find the Danube signs though. The day was quite uneventful but the weather was beautifully sunny which made for a nice day of riding. I stopped at 4:00pm and put my tent up inside a wooden hut I found. I boiled some pasta in milk (tasty if a little messy) and settled down for the night. My aim is to be on the road everyday by the earlier time of 7:30am, rather than the late start of 10:00am I had this morning, and make an average 80 miles a day so I can reach Vienna in time.
Danube River to Erbach (95.57 miles)
Day 19 / 04.11.2015
I left my campsite early as planned and cycled away intending to follow the Danube signs and make up for the missed mileage yesterday. To keep me going during the day I managed to eat three cakes, a large slice of pizza, a coffee and a Capri Sun! In the end I did more than the 80 miles I had planned and ended up biking 92 miles instead. However this included a few ‘detours’ where I had to back track to find the Danube cycle route signs. These were normally easy to find but I missed a few. There were a couple of hills during the day and, frustratingly, a few road closures which I normally just walked through with the bike. Tomorrow I want to up my average mileage even more, if possible, for two reasons: A) to make up for the lost miles yesterday and B) so I don’t arrive late in Vienna on Sunday.
*Beautiful French Countryside
Erbach to Passau (76.43 miles)
Day 20 / 05.11.2015
What started off well following the Danube ended frustratingly, as I ended up following the signs back west instead of east for part of the day. It took me so long to find the correct route, which lost me precious time during the day. During the day I met a German man who told me that the Danube route from Dillinger to Ingolstadt is in poor condition and hard to ride on. This would make it difficult for me to get to Vienna in time and with this information I had to make a hard decision. As much as I want to bike the entire journey, I had known before leaving home there could be a few (rare) occasions where I might need to get some ‘help’ along the way. With this in mind I headed to the train station and got the train to Regensburg, Platting and then Passau. This enabled me to miss the bad section of the route and helped make up some time. Once in Passau I found a McDonalds and, using the Wi-Fi, worked out a route back to the Danube trail. I cycled for an hour before picking up the trail and then biked on before finding a place to stop and sleep at 12:30am!
Passau - 10 miles from Linz (89 miles)
Day 21 / 06.11.2015
After backtracking the Danube again, wasting 40 minutes this time, I eventually found the route and started heading in the right direction. Once I was on the right track I stopped for a meal and coffee which cost me €7.50. On top of the €62.50 for yesterday’s train I was worrying as Europe was turning out to be rather expensive! During the day I found part of the route was diverted, so I used my GPS to plot a route directly to Linz over nice (undulating) roads. When I finally reached my camping spot for the night I had ended up biking 89 miles. A big improvement on yesterday! This distance, and a belly full of pasta, renewed my faith for tomorrow that I would make it within striking distance of Vienna. I hope all goes well!
Linz - 5 miles from Füllen (125 miles)
Day 22 / 07.11.2015
As soon as the tent was packed up it started to rain! I motivated myself by picturing the hot food and drinks I would be having in the hotel tomorrow. During the day I stopped many times, either for coffee or to buy pastries. Each time I didn’t stop for long because I wanted to get relatively close to Vienna (Wien) by the end of the day. Today was another day dealing with the usual diversions etc… and I didn’t make much progress to start with. Part of the route was excellent and I managed 19mph through the vineyards of Grein which was great! After this I pushed on to Füllen, which couldn’t have been the correct distance stated on the sign. After half an hour it showed I had only covered 2 km? When I finally stopped for the day I’d covered a larger distance than originally planned, and ended the day drier than when it had begun. I had left my previous night’s camping spot at 7:30am, reaching my nights camping spot at 9:30pm……14 hours and 125 miles later!
Fullen - Vienna
Day 23 / 08.11.2015
Today was a shorter day of cycling thanks to my mammoth effort yesterday. I wasn’t far from Vienna now and I was in the lobby of Hotel Arcadia by 11:00am. My parents weren’t due to arrive till 2:00pm so I immediately got a beer, relaxed and waited for their arrival. When they finally got to the hotel I had got through 2 beers, a coffee, a bottle of water and 2 apples. It was great to see them. I then checked into my room, showered, sorted out my wet kit and then spent a while chatting to mum and dad. I caught them up on everything I had been up to and told them that, for various reasons, I was struggling more than I thought I would. Their advice was great telling me ‘it’s your trip’ and ‘do what you want’ and that I need to do what was best for me so I actually enjoyed it. So with the advice in mind I started to work out a new plan for the rest of my trip.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for future updates!