Beilngries - Kelheim/Saal (Saal - Munich by train): The End of the Altmühl - Spring Tour in Bavaria 2009 - CycleBlaze

April 9, 2009

Beilngries - Kelheim/Saal (Saal - Munich by train): The End of the Altmühl

A hotel I can recommend
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Our hotel offers an excellent and abundant breakfast buffet served in its glassed-in breakfast area, cheerfully decorated with Easter knick-knacks. The sun is streaming in and seems to be telling us to hurry up and get going. We snap a few pictures in Beilngries and are on our way.

The main street of Beilngries
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Much refurbishing of historical buildings in Beilngries
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Beilngries: Freshly renovated
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After the morning haze burns off, we have the best weather so far
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Our first stop is in Kottingwörth, not too many kilometers down the road, to have a look at its church St. Vitus. The main attraction of St. Vitus is the baptistry, the walls of which are completely covered by frescoes from the early 14th century. I hope children aren't allowed in, as not all Christian legends are edifying. The depictions of the martyrdom of Saint Loedegar, whose teeth are bing bashed in, and of Saint Willibald, whose entrails are being cranked out of his living body are dreadful.

St. Vitus in Kottingwörth
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Frescoes in St. Vitus depicting some gory Christian legends
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Although the valley itself is still beautiful, today's ride isn't as flawless as the previous days. Near Dietfurt the Altmühl flows into the Main-Danube Canal and we now cycle along the canal and partially along what is surviving of the river's old course. The necessity of constructing this section of the canal is controversial as it has caused several ecological problems - probably foreseeable. Reports on its economic success vary according to your source of information.

A last bit of the Altmühl before it becomes canalized
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Here we are on the path between canal and road, not as attractive for cycling as the previous stretches, but still plenty of cliffs and castles to admire
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Not much traffic on the Main-Donau-Kanal
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The bicycle path passes through the newly created Altmühltal Archaeological Park with educational exhibits along the way - an attempt to further spruce up this section of the valley and heighten its attraction for tourists.

In the Mühltal Archaeologic Park: Educational exhibits
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Today's path entails much more bumpy, gravelly stuff than to date. We see work crews out preparing the paths for the summer season and dumping on fresh gravel which will later be tamped down. For now it's a pain to ride on. Here the little wheels of our Bike Fridays don't do so well. In their defense I must add, it has been the only instance where we felt bigger wheels would be better.

Course gravel surface on much of the remaining path
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In Essing an interesting 189.9 meter (623 ft.) pedestrian and cyclist wooden bridge spans the canal: Up until 2006 it was the longest wooden bridge in Europe
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We finally tire of the loose gravel and take the bike path along the main road leading into Kelheim, where the Main-Danube Canal connects up with the Danube. We pedal through town and out the other side since we have been in Kelheim before and are now heading for the train station located in Saal, ten kilometers farther.

Another bridge for pedestrians and cyclists at Kelheim
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It's all over: Waiting for the train
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There's plenty of room for us and our bikes. We don't even bother to fold our folders.

On the way home, just the two of us
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Today's ride: 54 km (34 miles)
Total: 329 km (204 miles)

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Zelda MekSuzanne -- I think this might have been one of the first journal entries I read on that other site. Or maybe it was another one of yours. Here's what I learned: folding bikes work, Germany is approachable for cyclists, and there are resources everywhere. I remember carefully not closing the window because I wanted to be sure I read it all before the site shut down (it always appears to be on the brink).

You inspired me to get a folding bike and get on with traveling -- not wait for others to be ready to go. That same year I did the Donau and a ride around the Black Forest on my own. Germany delivered with stellar routes even in poor weather. People worked to understand my limited language skills and I was never stuck.

This all seems obvious now -- I have done plenty of rides and in many places. Yet it was you showing me how, through your inspired writing and photos, that helped me take that first step.

Thank you.
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11 months ago
Suzanne GibsonTo Zelda MekZelda - thank you so much for your kind comment! How wonderful that you got into cycle touring on a folder and I am happy that I was able to contribute to the beginning of your bicycle adventures. That was 12 years ago and much water has flowed down the Danube since then, but we are still touring. So good to see that you even made it to Italy this year in spite of Covid. I just took a peak at your journal, will now go back and read it.
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11 months ago