Day 12: Gunzburg to Donauworth - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

March 30, 2019

Day 12: Gunzburg to Donauworth

As I ferried our stuff to the bikes, going up and down the three flights of stairs repeatedly, I noticed that it was no big deal. Or at least, I did not notice that anything was happening, which is how it should be. So that means the night under the fluffy quilt did its magic. Poor Dodie was not so fortunate, and is still feeling like her spring is slowly winding down. Hopefully that will change soon.

I did cling to one complaint, which is that there is a strain on the right side of my right foot.This is causing me to limp a little and to wince when I use the foot to move my stand. Being so terribly stoic, I would normally not be mentioning this, but it does figure in today's narrative, so that's why!

Our budget hotel ( I guess having a goldene traube does not always connote wealth) did not offer breakfast. But they did offer a note that essentially said "You are situated in a market square. Go out and you are sure to find something".  Taking no chances, I gobbled up all our stored torte from yesterday. This earned some demerit points from Dodie, who had handed me the container just for a nibble, until the promised breakfast would be found down the street. She did not expect me to vacuum the whole thing up.  I was slightly vindicated when we found nothing open in the street, and had to just peddle off to the next town.

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Our route actually returned us immediately to the shore of the Donau, and we found it broad and very peaceful. The impression was helped by there being no wind at all today. 

The Donau was calm today.
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On the calm surface we also had a lot of water fowl, and notably the always graceful swans. Swans are so cool, and so photogenic, that I always try to limit the number of swan shots during a tour ( a rule that strangely does not seem to apply to bread, pastries, buildings, churches, traffic, cows, or all the other things I am incessantly shooting.). Swans always attract a photo, though, when they do that thing tucking their wings up behind. Having decided to put in a swan, I could not decide which photo is best, so I put two. You could "like" the one you think is best!

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Not happy with the swans? How about a heron?
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Our route was not complicated today, but the terrific bicycling direction signs are always appreciated.  The Donau is such a popular and central valley that we noticed a very large number of "routes" that are using it. There are a number of those tags beneath the main sign that we have really never heard of.

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These seven or eight routes at least run along the Donau. It is also true that pretty much any time a tributary flows in, there will be a radweg along that. At Gunzburg, three rivers flow in from the south, each being 70-100 km long. And yup, three named radwegs.

When we enter a biggish city we normally run in to traffic and a selection of unattractive service businesses, before hitting the lovely old town.  But with smaller towns, you run in to suburbs, containing solid and beautiful relatively new houses. I often photograph these, usually exclaiming "Wow, that will outlast our house by a couple of hundred years!".  But usually I don't put the photos in the blog, because after all they are just suburban houses.

It was the same this time as we entered Lauingen. Solid, but I guess boring suburbs. Until, boing! Right in the middle, like, surrounded on all sides, was a partially reconstructed Roman temple to Apollo-Grannus. The name of the temple is based on that of the Roman god of healing Apollo and the source and bath god Grannus of the Celts . This seems to have be built for Emperor Caracalla, with Wikipedia mentioning the year 212, but materials on site saying 160. Ok, it's old.  The temple is one of the largest Roman temples north of the Alps. As we cycled away, we did see signs on which the town identified itself as famous because of this major find.  But for us the find was to stumble on this in the middle of suburbia.

Not sure which parts are original and what is reconstruction. The group of people visible at the open air museum bit had a tour guide who babbled in German for the full time we were there. Where did he get all that information?
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What the complete temple looked like.
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While I am going on about suburbia a bit, it is a good time to mention that at least in southern Germany, solar panels are a major feature of a lot of  otherwise ordinary houses, and also farm buildings.  I believe this came about from a subsidy program, and I think I have also heard that now there is a surplus of power here. Anyway, to us it looks great.

Solar panels are a common sight.
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While the Celts may have had Grannus as their god of spas (hot tubs, and swimming pools?), a more relevant one for us here in Bavaria  is Sebastian Kneipp , who lived in the 19th century. He was a  priest and one of the forefathers of the naturopathic medicine movement. He is most commonly associated with the "Kneipp Cure" form of hydrotherapy, the application of water through various methods, temperatures and pressures, but actually he had a complete system of herbal essences and healthy living. We first became aware of Kneipp from German bubble bath products that we often buy, but when cycling you can run into little Kneipp  installations, featuring cold water that you can walk in or dangle your arms in.

We encountered one of these today by the Donau, near Blindheim. So what? So the sore foot! I dangled it in the ice water for quite a long time. It helped a lot - even after the foot thawed out.  I guess we don't really need a 100 years ago priest to advise icing something that is swollen. But Kneipp is to thank for the facility being there.

The Kneipp installation at a cold spring.
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Soaking the bad foot.
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Each of the medium sized towns we passed through today - Gunzburg, Gundelfingen, Lauingen, Dillingen, Hochstadt, Blindheim, etc., had a old core with really beautiful buildings.  Here is a small selection of what these were like:

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This really is a fairy tale beautiful region, and we know it will continue for 200 km more, to Passau, and then 300 km beyond that to Vienna. Hang on!

Today's ride: 68 km (42 miles)
Total: 494 km (307 miles)

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