Day 15: Kelheim to Wiesent - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

April 2, 2019

Day 15: Kelheim to Wiesent

Dodie had again landed us in a great old town spot in Kelheim. One advantage was that I could dash out to the eis cafe across the street, just for a single scoop (kugel). The price was the "correct" amount of  1.20 euros. I chose a flavour not seen before - "Mozart". This is styled on the "Mozart Kugeln" chocolates that we will find in Vienna. The eis had chocolate pieces and green marzipan. So good!

Except for the eis, it was a bit of a waste being in the old town, since we did not go out for a walk or cycle in it. We did spare it a snapshot as we left in the morning, and also a glance backwards at the Befreiungshalle. 

The Befreiungshalle (Hall of Liberation) is a monument built on a hill behind Kelheim. It commemorates the war against Napoleon in 1813-15. There is another one like it in Donaustauf - we are coming to it. 

This monument makes a dramatic appearance as you come through the Gorge and arrive at Kelheim
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A quick look back at Kelheim. The store on the left with the red signage is Nah Kauf - a convenience grocery. We almost went there, but ended up not. So far we have not used a single grocery on the trip, subsisting instead on squirreled breakfasts, bakery visits, tortes, and a few restaurant meals.
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Sue PriceHealthy eating! Especially all that jam!
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2 months ago
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Kelheim is the spot where the Altmuhl River and the associated Main-Donau canal join the Donau.  This is all special to us, since we know there is the Altmuhl radweg, and of course we want to cycle it.  We are serious, we already ordered the Bikeline for it - Rothenburg to Kelheim!

Right now, though, maybe because of the rivers joining in, we were finding that the usually reliable green bicycle direction signs were sending us astray. Our route was simple - just trying to get downriver to Regensburg- but the signs were sending us in all directions. We had to resolve to ignore them and to follow our GPS track, which also had a simple message - stick to the river and follow the water.

Crossing the Altmuhl
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It's about 25km to Regensburg, but over that distance we found very little to remark on. Sure, one house had a lot of gnomes on a ledge, and we came to a parking lot with about three hundred identical Hyundai's, but that is about the extent of the excitement.

Most excitement in 25 km
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Excitement - second place winner.
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We were looking forward to Regensburg, which while not a large city by any means, is large for this area. It is the fourth largest in population in Bavaria. We planned to find a great restaurant meal and some advanced tortes in this regional metropolis. Actually, when the sign said Regensburg .4km we were still looking for where is it. Of course one minute later we spotted the twin spires of its 13th century cathedral. "Well, you can tell this is not L.A.", I remarked.

As we entered the town, we were prepared to be wowed by cafes vying for our attention with lunch specials, and conditerei's, with patrons stacked up, ordering the tortes.  But as we cycled in, Dodie said "Aren't you going to take any photos?", and I said "I'm waiting to see the main blockbuster town".

We penetrated all the way to the Munster. I had already taken one photo, that kind of looked ok. It was of a cafe. But then, almost all the tables were empty.

Well, it IS a cafe.
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I dutifully recorded the front of the munster, left Dodie, and ducked inside.  Here are the shots:

Munster, ok outside, but crowded by infill buildings, and not commanding a lively square.
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Inside - a huge mostly empty space
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We continued our Regensburg exploration, and hey, we did find the Ratskellar restaurant,  we did find the torte experts, and we did find more than one eis cafe. But these did not gell into a town that rocked. Sorry, Regensburg.

The Ratskellar restaurant had a long and proud history, as illustrated in photos on the walls.  And certainly, Dodie's roast duck and my roast pork were excellent. We did find the service indifferent, and did not appreciate being prompted twice with the information that the bill did not include a tip.

Lunch. Actually this was more worthy of a Thanksgiving dinner. We dragged our butts for the next 25 km.
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The torte specialists  (Prinzess Cafe) had some exciting varieties. One which particularly caught my fancy, just because I love (but cannot pronounce) mohn, was the bananen -mohn sahne torte.  We have had a lot of experts mentioning cream filling as a torte "thing", and layers are needed to make a torte. But here we have, like, an inch of cream in a single layer, and cake that could be called more chunks than layers. But hey, these folks say pastries have been made in this location since 1676, and their specific company is since 1978. Probably, they know what they are doing!  (p.s. Dodie comments that those "chunks" are legitimate layers).

A challenge for torte definition.
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Suzanne GibsonWow, that was one creative Konditor!
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2 months ago

The last time we bought torte at a cafe, there was a procedure that seemed a little convoluted to us. You could look at the tortes in the display case, and you would be handed a slip of paper denoting your choice. Then you would give this to the server out at the tables. This is what it's all about: There is a significantly different price for a torte slice as a takeout vs. served at the table. At the table it's about 25% more. And at the table you would normally also be ordering a drink. 

I got my torte as a takeout. That way it cost only 3 euros, and they packaged it, on a plastic base with fancy paper over the top. When I showed up back at the bikes, I had this giant fancy package of cream torte, that I was proposing to jam in my handlebar bag.  This plan did not seem to find favour with Dodie. She did some magic with the food bag and handed me some in-compressible pretzels to squeeze into the handlebar bag instead. OK!

Regensburg is a good spot to take stock of our general location. Although we are putting in the zoomable maps daily, a simplified view can be quite instructive (to me, anyway).

Where are we, anyway?
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See how close we are to the Czech Republic!  And we are a decent distance east of that Nurnburg-Munich north/south line. Passau is coming up in not too long, and then we will be back in Austria. The map also clearly shows the line the Donau draws across the middle of Bavaria.

Beyond Regensburg, near Donaustauf (trying zooming the map above to see) there is an installation called Walhalla. It's a classical styled building erected by Wilhelm I around 1830-40. Inside are busts of famous Germans of history. The idea was to generate some German cohesion, since it had a history of warring small states. 

Last time through (2012?) we declined to climb the hill to see the thing, and instead copied the picture of the main hall from a poster down by the main road. This time - we did the same thing. I have not yet had the courage to compare the quality of my faked photo from then with the one from now. Anyway, here it is:

Walhalla, up on its hill.
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Valhalla "inside"
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Although our general destination for the day was Worth, the guest house that had been found was in nearby Wiesent. Naturally this was by the (small but nice) downtown schloss. It's a pleasant spot, called the guesthouse Liebl. Of course there are fluffy quilts, but not so fluffy. I have spotted a spare in the armoir in the hall, so I am looking forward to a pretty cosy night.  Today started out at 5 degrees, and though it ended at 25, there is a little chill going into our bones daily. Rain may also be in the forecast. So warming up now will be a good plan...

The guesthouse and the schloss
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Today's ride: 69 km (43 miles)
Total: 685 km (425 miles)

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Tricia GrahamWhat an amazing ddifference the time of year makes. Last year we were in Kelheim and Resenberg in early October when Octoberfest was on in Munich. Both places were alive. There was a massive festival in Kelheim alsorts of fun things happening in the Main Street and we were part of it with our hotel right in the centre. In Resenberg it was the same and getting a seat in a cafe was like a treasure hunt. Best of all in Resenberg we found a fantastic bike shop with a lovely man who fixed my ailing steed in no time
I do like following routes we have done recently
Keep safe
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonIt’s pretty quiet where we are also and it is suppose to be a warmer climate but we’re having a cold snap and cold winds. We haven’t biked along the Danube since 1999 and it’s great reading about it. We plan to bike in Germany and Austria next year in early fall. Hope it doesn’t get to cold and wet for you!
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesHi Rachael and Tricia, being here in the early spring has its own challenges. The towns are much quieter since the tourists have not arrived. Especially, though, the weather is unpredictable. So far we have had no rain but the mornings are cold and it takes awhile to warm up.
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2 months ago