Day 16: Wiesent to Deggendorf - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

April 3, 2019

Day 16: Wiesent to Deggendorf

Wiesent is really just a suburb of Worth, with only a few businesses in evidence. We quickly passed over to Worth, which itself proved to be a very small, neat, and clean place. At least it seemed that way because there was no one about. We did spy three street cleaners. We snapped their photo because we have long noticed the great quality outfits of anyone doing a manual job in Germany.  These cleaners had it all - reflective colours, pants with reinforced knees,  stripes on the ankles, and in this case - identical caps. Costume requirements like this do not just apply to professional workers - we have seen great outfits on farmers, and at the very least if grandpa goes out with grandma to prune roses, he will be wearing  blue coveralls.

Worth is clean, or maybe just empty.
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These guys are dressed to keep the town in shape.
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Mike AylingOccupational health and safety requirements -probably an EU directive!

Mike
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Mike AylingWe really like the work clothes here. Much more functional and attractive than what is worn at home. If it is an EU directive, it is one we approve of.
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2 weeks ago
Noreen BreSome slightly nerdy information on the cleaner topic:
After some research, I came to the conclusion that the German garbage collectors dressed in grey until the 1970's and then changed to orange for higher visibility. Indeed there is a EU legislation (first implemented in 1989) requiring them and other occupational groups working 'outdoors' among many others (even 'highest possible comfort'!) to wear high visibility clothes, but the exact color/shape is not given - though I don't think I've ever seen a collector not dressed in orange in Germany in the past 20 years.

Regarding costume requirements:
It is quite a fun to guess which country a tourist is from based on what she/he is wearing (an admittedly somewhat stereotypical tip for a German 'outdoor adventurer': zip-off trousers +/or Jack Wolfskin jacket) - hit rate can be quite high ;-)
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Noreen BreThanks for doing the research. Nerdy info is always welcome but usually there is not enough time to do the research while on a tour.
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The radweg in this area runs close to some big autoroutes, lining up on the Frankfurt, Nurnburg, Regensburg, Passau run. Of course we never need to come very close or deal with these, but seeing all the trucks and traffic makes us think of I-5 in the U.S.  The thought is that while Germany has a lot of small roads, and a wealth of long and short distance bicycle ways, and trains all over, it is still not immune from using fuel guzzling busy highways.

Bavaria is crossed by major truck routes, not just cute radwegs.
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Jacquie GaudetThe nice thing is that you don't have to ride your bike on the same roads (like in most of BC)!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie GaudetAnd that is exactly why we keep coming back to Europe to ride our bikes.
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Jacquie GaudetTo Steve Miller/GrampiesYup, me too. Though I hope to ride across Canada some day...
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Steve Miller/GrampiesOur first really long ride was a more or less cross Canada. It was super and we might like to do it, or bits of it, again. But Europe is cycling fun on steroids compared to that first time out.
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Disturbing thoughts like that are just transient for us, as we soon plunge back into our favourite types of routes anywhere.

But routes like this are everywhere, and are the reason we always return.
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Unlike at home, we don't see or feel the presence of a lot of mammals as we travel here. But here is something we never see at home - hares. They are amazing to us, as big as small dogs, and really fast. Oh, we did see geese in the fields today, and pheasants. So if we had a hunting castle, we could have a reasonable selection of wild game on the table.

These guys are really big.
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We guided ourselves slightly off route about mid morning into Straubing, to see what they might have in decorated churches, but most particularly to find a cafe where some tortes might be lurking.  Straubing does have a creditable old town street, with cafes, a tower, a fountain, and so forth. We stopped at the first bakery, which turned out to be Wurm Stadtbacker. Inside, we found a nice selection of tortes, and chose one that looked interesting.  Actually, part of that interest was the fact that the layers were vertical and not horizontal, something I thought could impinge on the designation of the thing as a torte (Dodie was having no part in such legalistic thinking, I must say).  I could not catch the name of this torte as the counter girl gabbled it to me, but I think it might have been something like fruit salad torte. Anyway, although it had a lot of layers (however vertical) it was not totally satisfying because the actual cake component was rather plain and light weight. 

To avoid starvation on the trail within the next hour before lunch, I also bought a slice of ... something, and had it bagged. On the way out, I thought it would be good to know what I had, so I snapped a picture of it name tag, to translate later.

It was at this point that a staffer jumped on my case, with another of those "no photos" dictums. This time I found I had no patience for it. I said "Lookit, I am a tourist, and tourists take photos. Get over it. Besides, I just bought one of these things and I am trying to find out what it is. I am from Canada, how am I supposed to know what a "gewürzschnitte" is?"

She replied "Ich spreche kein Englisch". And I replied "Well try to focus on this: tourist, Canada!"

Some readers might think I was being a jerk, or disrespectful of the country we are visiting, but my position is that it was the clerk that was being disrespectful, and I do not put up well with being abused or accused, no matter where it happens.

The same thing did happen in Montreal, at Premiere Moisson bakery, and I put a strongly worded post on their Facebook page, demanding an apology - which they made. I will do the same here with Wurm Stadbacker, which turns out to be a chain.  It will be interesting to see their response.

Ok, here are the illicit photos. p.s. "gewürzschnitte" is a slice of spice cake.

Straubing walking zone. Looks like they could use more tourists, like me!
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Nice looking tortes
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Are vertical layers legit? (p.s. Note how the hot chocolate is delivered with the chocolate separate.)
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Industrial espionage photo!
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Deggendorf, our destination for the day, is only a quarter the size of Regensburg. Yet it did not put its best foot forward as we approached the old town, and our hotel, just on the edge. It's not that there was a lot of traffic exactly, just a lot of construction and not at all elegant buildings. Our hotel turned out to be in that category - totally inelegant, relatively new construction. Well, we did appreciate that it had a garage, and a lift there that opened right by our room. Yesterday in Wisent, for example, I was dragging our stuff up winding stairs, down corridors, and up more stairs.

One quirk of this hotel, part of the "NH" chain, is a proposed charge of 17 euros per person for breakfast. We had to double check the "per person" part - yes, it was true. Needless to say, "No Sale".

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We walked into the old town, finding it a little further than we anticipated. But our route passed the Maria Himmelfahrt church, which had a satisfying amount of gold trim inside, plus at least one cherub. Somewhat on the weird side was a relic labelled St. Felix, comprising a jewel encrusted skeleton.  Just after studying this, I found I could not open the door to get outside. Scary!

Well decorated Maria Himmelfahrt church
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Includes at least on cherub
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Scary relic
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Time for me to leave!
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Deggendorf turned out to have a very nice altstadt, several blocks long and with many bakeries, eis cafes, and restaurants. We chose a restaurant, and arranged to split a schnitzel. The waitress was very nice about this request, dividing the (as usual) huge two part thing across two plates. To drink, we tried using the magic terminology we have painstakingly learned in each European country to receive just plain old tap water, not bottled, not spring water, no minerals, just (free) tap water.  In Germany, this is "leitungswasser", which means exactly tap water.

But today there was a "gotcha" on this. We got exactly tap water, but were charged €1.50 each for it.  Looking at the bill, I see this was no accident, for leitungswasser is an official product in their system, and you get .5l for your €1.50. Dodie figured it out. It is not the water exactly that triggered the charge, but the glass. .5l is as much  a glass descriptor as a quantity, as each glass here is inscribed with its volume. Had we brought our water bottles to the table, we could have had them filled with all we could take, for free, we think!

A North American would never expect to see "tap water" as a product category.
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Noreen BreWell, you got German service at its best twice that day as it seems ... Sadly, it is very uncommon to serve free tap water. It is also considered severely rude to bring your own drink in a restaurant, but it is accepted (at least in the lesser distinguished ones), though probably not really approved of, to not order any drinks at all - I sometimes do this and drink before I enter the restaurant.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Noreen BreDifferent countries, different customs. Since we drink no alcohol it seems wasteful of money to pay for water that is already coming out of the tap. Fortunately we rarely frequent high end establishments so our water bottles will have to do.
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Deggendorf had a very nice and convenient town centre.
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Tomorrow is a bit of an exciting day, because we will reach the end of the German portion of the Donau Radweg, arriving at Passau, a town we like a lot.  But for now, inelegant or not, there is a feature of this hotel that needs a work out - something rare in this region - a bath tub!

Today's ride: 68 km (42 miles)
Total: 753 km (468 miles)

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