Day 55: Feldkirchen to Passau - Grampies Go By The Books - CycleBlaze

June 23, 2014

Day 55: Feldkirchen to Passau

Today will likely rate among the best cycling days possible.That is, we have fine weather, a smooth perfectly signed bike path, a calm green river, fields of ripening grain interspersed with forests and hillsides, and many fellow cyclists - this time mostly polite!

If I were to find any fault with today's situation, it would be first that all you have to do is pedal, and appreciate the beauty all around. Sometimes, that can be boring unless you concentrate on it. By contrast, if things are going wrong, or are hard, you know about it and it can be exciting, no concentration necessary!

We spent some of our pedalling time thinking about how this route would play out if we could bring Avi and Violet here, in a couple of years. (And later, Amelia, Evee, and Joey). Aside from the level and safe path, it had lots of stuff that would be a big hit. Swans, for example, with babies. Then there are the long tour boats in the river, and even better, the cycle ferries. At two points we needed to cross the river to avoid cliffs or roads that interfere with the path. This is done with a little bicycle specific ferry. In one case, you call the ferry, if it is one the other side, by banging a gong. We could just imagine how much Avi and Violet would have liked that. One bong each, I guess. This time, I got to hog both bongs and do them myself.

I am having to bong this for Avi and Violet, who have yet to come here and do it themselves.
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We stopped before lunch at a trailside snack bar/beer garden, which was crowded with cyclists. It was at the landing dock of one of the little ferries, and the proprietor split his time between running the ferry and running plates out to the customers. The only other worker was waiting on the tables. When I went up to the counter and tried to ask for two of the coffee cake squares that were stored there, she indicated that I should have a seat and wait to be served. I did that, but it became clear that nothing was going to happen any time soon. Here is where Dodie came in. She went up to the counter and soon came back with the squares.. I am not quite sure how she did it, except she did talk to the man and not the lady. I think also she used some of our new, under development, program of acting less "Canadian".

At a cyclists snack stop. We had to be just a little pushy to get served in reasonable time.
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Had the squares not been obtained as soon as they were, we would not have starved - because we did find a grocery to stop at earlier. On the other hand, it had no real bakery within it, meaning I was still running my day on "birdseed" (oatmeal). (Ok, ok, there was a nectarine (maybe two) involved too). The failure of the grocery to have a bakery would never have happened in Germany. The town (Feldkirchen) too, did not have an obvious bakery. We used to think France was best overall for bakeries, but changed our minds. Then we thought Austria was best. But now we are pretty sure the truth is Germany takes the World Cup of bakeries. For the one morning, tomorrow, we will be back in Germany, in Passau. Then it's back to Austria as we head along the Austrian side of the Inn. Do you think its crazy to be worrying about the density of bakeries this side and that of a border that doesn't even really exist any more? Ok, yes, it's crazy. But I am still going to stock up in Germany!

We stopped for lunch in the shade of a roadside shrine or chapel. It's a type of little building that people seem to often put up. Commonly the little door is locked, and beyond it are some religious photos or artifacts. This one was mainly devoted to Mary. Strangely, though, a painting showed a Roman soldier extinguishing a burning house. There was no explanation about the significance of this. Sitting on the step of the building, and not cycling, we could appreciate our surroundings a little more intensely. In front of us was a field of grain, beyond that the green river, and on the opposite shore, hills and forest. What a nice place!

There seems to be a bit of a mermaid mythology along the river. Twice we ran in to large mermaid carvings. The second one had some explanation, but we have not yet been able to decipher the German. Anyway, Amelia, here they are - Mermaids of the Danube!

Mermaid of the Danube - one
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Mermaid of the Danube - two
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Dodie has been holding off mailing postcards and boxes of paper souvenirs because of the mail costs in Austria. A postcard to Canada costs 1.70 euros That's about $2.70 Canadian folks. For one post card! In Germany, sending the postcard is .75 - less than half!

It seems like we have been to Passau more than once before. I think the experience was so intense the one time, it felt like a double helping. As I write this, we have not yet gone into the town, we are just sitting at the camping outside - along the Ilse river. But even just cycling up to the camping, even setting up our tent felt so familiar. Every part of it is burned into our memory. What could be so great that we would remember it so well? It's putting our tents up with other cyclists (from other countries), it's being beside the river, and in Passau, it's the magical old city - something like Salzburg. To boot, last time uur friends from Leipzig - Jurgen, Birgit, and Oma Kate - came down and explored the place with us for a day. We had a wonderfully good time then.

Right now as this is being typed, we are sitting at one of eight long tables, under cover, with our supper almost cooked, looking out at the others' tents and at the river. Really, on a trip like this it doesn't get much better. (A little better would be if we could find an electrical outlet in here, though!). Tomorrow, morning anyway, it will be Passau. Passau!

The fast way from Enns to Passau is on the Donau. But how about the Romer Weg (Roman Way)?
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Aschau, across the river, is one of the towns along the way. There are not that many in this section, and none has a super decorated old town.
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Our typical path today. Actually, the river does not look so much like a canal as it does here, and the path is not exactly all that straight.
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Castle on a hill - but this is not like the castle section of the Rhine.
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One fo the cycle ferries
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There are no official toilet facilities along the route, so of course people use the "nature toilet". Here someone has posted some guidelines for that. They begin with a "use at your own risk", citing in part beavers and rock slide risk!
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In this strange shot, a green field blends with the green river. The roof of a ferry boat is just visible
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Europeans are hung up about beavers, but we are not sure if they have ever really seen one!
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Here is the beaver painting. It may be a painting because the animal is taken from mythology.
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The ferry arrives
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One of the long river boats. One day, with kids, we would like to cycle Passau to Vienna and take one of these back.
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The view from our lunch spot
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The mystery Roman painting
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Our lunch stop
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Giant bug carving, part of a display about local fauna
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The big boats do a turn around near Passau
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The Inn joins the Passau just off camera to the right. See the green water of the Inn and the Blue Danube?
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Passau - backlit shot - tomorow there will be better ones!
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Our camp site on the Ilse River. Passau is where the Donau, the Inn, and the Ilse join.
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Today's ride: 72 km (45 miles)
Total: 2,886 km (1,792 miles)

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