Day 1 - Schärding to Kramesau - Downhill on the Danube Tandem Tour - June 2017 - CycleBlaze

June 4, 2017

Day 1 - Schärding to Kramesau

Some missing data because someone (me) forgot to turn the Wahoo back on after a stop. Oops.
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This was our first tour where our bags were being handled by someone else.  So we were a bit worried about how that was going to work out.  The instructions were to have the bags down at the hotel reception by 9AM.  That's pretty early for us, but with some help from our iPhone alarm, we made it.  There was a large pile of bags downstairs at the hotel, so obviously we weren't the only people on this kind of tour.

We had breakfast in the hotel, and rode back to Austria Radreisen to check in before leaving.  A  grumpy and overworked bike mechanic barked at us that we needed to move our car.  Sheesh - ok, whatever!   Like we were supposed to know what your "rules" are?  Not a great interaction after all of the positive experiences we'd had with them up to that point.

Still somewhat miffed, we hit the road under grey and cloudy skies.   First up was downtown Schärding, which we hadn't seen yesterday.  The colored buildings told us we weren't in southwestern France any more!

Beautiful Schärding on a grey morning.
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The bike path from Schärding to Passau runs along the banks of the Inn river.  It was a sweet path with almost no traffic at all.  If there were other riders doing this ride, we didn't see them!

The bike path along the Inn.
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Great views across the rather swollen-looking river.

Castle (or something) across the Inn.
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Along the way, we came to some surprising cycling infrastructure.

Yikes! 18%? This tour is only an hour old!
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As we approached Passau, we turned away from the Inn and climbed through some small villages - really suburbs of Passau itself.   The map worked great.  Only a couple of stops to figure out where we were and where we were supposed to go.

Climbing toward Passau
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Finally, we popped out across the river from Passau.  The old city sits on an island in the middle of the Danube.  We crossed over the bridge and poked around a bit. 

Passau across the bridge
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Passau
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There was music coming out of St. Stephen's Cathedral (it was Sunday morning).  Having the bike in tow and being dressed in cycling clothes made it hard to think about having a look inside, but Robin popped in and listened for a bit.  And grabbed a picture while she was at it.

St. Stephens Cathedral, Passau
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We told ourselves that we'd have to come back to Passau sometime unencumbered by a bicycle so that we could explore more.  We headed back over the bridge, made a left, and continued east/south down the Danube.  Random castles appeared on the clifftops above us.

Downriver from Passau
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And then the valley opened up to some lovely bike path riding.

Nice bike path!
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We stopped for lunch in front of a small church in Pyrawang.  That doesn't sound very Austrian, does it?

Lunch stop with rain at this chapel.
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A little rain started to fall but we sheltered successfully under an apple tree while we ate our cheese and apples.

Back on the bike, we passed by an impressive-looking dam crossing the river.  We didn't cross the river here, although we could have.

Dam on the Danube
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We stayed on the right bank to visit Engelszell monastery.  It dates from the 13th century, but the current abbey church is much more recent.  It's a rococo delight (or horror, depending on your taste).  Just a preview of the incredible amount of cherubs and gold leaf that was to assault our eyes during the coming days.

Engelszell Monastery
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Image not found :(
Engleszell Monastery Church
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After the church, we headed back upriver to the closest bike ferry.  Yes, a bike ferry!  How cool is that?  I was pretty excited - where else would you find this kind of bike infrastructure?

Our first bike ferry!
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Scott AndersonI’m with you - I think bike ferries are amazing. I’m always excited when I come to one.
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11 months ago

We rolled on and were across the river in a trice.

Robin making fun of me for being excited about a bike ferry.
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A short run down the left bank of the river brought us to Gasthof-Pension Luger, where we had reservations for the night.

Putting the tandem away in the hotel at the end of the day.
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We ate dinner in the hotel and slept well.  It had been an unexpectedly challenging day!

Today's ride: 47 km (29 miles)
Total: 47 km (29 miles)

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