Day 17: Deggendorf to Passau - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

April 4, 2019

Day 17: Deggendorf to Passau

The way out of Deggendorf, like the way in, features traffic and not very lovely surroundings. I was kind of dozing through this when Dodie pointed out that there was actually a traffic jam.  Much as I might grouse about traffic outside cities on this tour, cars are in no way as present or as problematic as back home. So any kind of traffic jam is newsworthy. Here is my traffic photo:

Not so serious of a jam.
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A little more serious for us was when we ran into a detour on the radweg. It is always a tossup about whether to believe that the way is truly blocked, and if you take the detour, you are relying on whoever dug up the route to not drop you in the forest somewhere. If I have time tonight I will map the detour against the original route, and see if objectively it was as much of a problem as it felt like.

It felt like a problem because then, and for the whole day, we had reasonably strong headwinds. The detour was all on gravel (which is not to say the main route might also have been gravel) and the result was that Dodie began to tire quickly. Before long she was just going on grit, but then Dodie has a lot of grit.

We did arrive in Niederalteich (which any which way is no more than 15km from Deggendorf, so why all the whining?). Niederalteich has a large Benedictine abbey. Like many, this has had many ups and downs, and today houses mainly a school and a conference centre. But the church part has been well restored, and is very beautiful, with more than 200 ceiling frescoes.  A weird feature of the church is that it has at least a dozen installations along the sides of the nave, each containing  a reliquary with bones. These are the bones of Christians who were buried in the Roman Catacombs, about 200 a.d. and brought here around the 17th century.

Neideralteich abbey
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Lots of bones like this, scary!
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Coming out of Niederalteich it was not quite obvious where the radweg was, so we paused to look at the GPS. That almost always attracts a helper, and in this case it was a man riding a two wheel recumbent. He tried to explain which way to go, but ended by saying "Follow me".  In past years this has been a bit of a problem, because local riders almost always take off at more than twice our usual speed. We then are faced by the decision of sending me off to keep up with the person, or having us both proceed at Dodie speed, hoping the helper will realize that there is no sense in jackrabbiting ahead.

This time it was sort of the same, because Dodie simply does not use higher assist and/or higher gears on her bike. However she ventured enough into the higher numbers to somewhat keep up with our helper. Fortunately before ling he stopped, and from that point supplied Dodie with a long account of what we would encounter next. He had just ridden out here last week, so it was all fresh in his mind.

Eventually we also had to recite our route,with all the Prague and Dresden and Nurnburg stuff, which always seems to bring gasps of admiration from the many questioners. These gasps are the second most common reaction. The first is to confirm that we rode all the way from Canada. We have never heard that suggestion before!

Our recumbent helper. For the keen eyed, "anlieger frei" means that local residents can bypass the road closure.
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Because of the high cost of breakfast at the hotel in Deggendorf, we had only had a nibble from our mostly empty food bag. So we dropped into a bakery in the little town of Winzer. Using my good eye for things that are not at all portable, I went for the item pictured below:

This would appear to be a "torte"
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It was pretty creamy, and the cake was quite nice, so I was thinking not too bad a torte. But when I asked the baker the name of it, she said it was a tiramisu.

That was too bad, because it got me started on what properly could be called a tiramisu. Of course it was poor Dodie, not the baker, who received this discourse. That is, of course, until she shut me up. I think torte definitions are as much as Dodie can listen to on a single trip.

The rest of the ride into Passau really did not have much to enliven it. There was the good path, and the river, but not a lot more. OK, from Winzer to Vilshofen there is something called the Donauplanetenweg. This features little installations along the way, showing a planet in our solar system to scale (making the Sun a big beach ball and Earth a tiny ball bearing, with something like Uranus the size of a tennis ball.). The other part of the scaling is that the installations are spaced in relation to the distances between planets. Because of that, the inner planets are just meters apart, while it is 4 km out to Neptune.

If this intrigues you, you can learn more, of course, on the Web.

Dodie is about to make it to the sun.
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What else do I have to show for the trip into Passau? A really cute lamb!

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Keith KleinHi Steve,
Just kidding?

Cheers,
Keith
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2 months ago
And something else named for Amelia - the first Donau long boat cruise ship sighted.
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The outskirts of Passau are, oh, oh, really plain.  I could amplify that by saying really, really, plain. It was not exactly ugly and not exactly freeways, just.. nothing - like this:

Outskirts of Passau
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Things did not really liven up until we reached our hotel, which is 1/2km from the Cathedral.  By the hotel, we did at least have a lively cafe type street scene.  Our hotel is called the Weiser Hase - the White Hare - which is a great name, and one we didn't include in our list of typical animal and fruit based hotel names. 

Our hotel (on the corner) dates from 1512. 2013 it was severely affected by the flooding of the three rivers (Donau, Inn, and Ilz). There is a high water mark in the lobby that I will want to go see. There is a lively street scene in front now.
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We like the name
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Keith KleinHi again,
"Hase" had a slang connotation when I lived in Germany, oh so many years ago now. Slightly naughty way of describing a hot looking female if I remember correctly. So, maybe a good name for a hotel?
Cheers,
Keith
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Keith KleinHot female, brand of bicycle, hotel name? Tomato, tomahto.
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2 months ago

We stashed out bags at the hotel and cycled off for a look at Passau. The main attraction is the St Stephen's cathedral, famous for its free noontime organ recitals (but not now - too early in the season).

We actually found St. Stephen's in quite a bit of disarray, with a lot of construction going on inside. There is no way they were ready for any recitals. We don't know what the schedule is going to be.

Even with the construction, the beauty of the place was evident, and Dodie keenly pointed out all the cherubs and/or angels holding up the paintings in the side galleries.

St Stephen's still looks great from the outside
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But there is a lot of construction inside
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Interestingly the sounds of wood sawing were from handsaws, not power tools.
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The place is still beautiful:

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Cherubs!
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One of the many ceiling paintings
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Quirky statue at the very front
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The famous organ, largest in any cathedral
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High up toward the ceiling, this guy was holding a scroll that I was sure would read "No Photos", in Latin.
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As I am sure our GPS track will show when zoomed in, we then diddled around and around the town. I never did get my bearings, such as by fixing on one street that I could always recognize. The town is quite medieval in layout, with alleys and tunnels, and so a bit hard to get a grip on. The architecture too was sort of hard to recognize. So here unfortunately are some quite random images. They are a good representation, though, of how things looked to me.

Passau - some typical streets
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Passau is at the junction of the Donau with the large Inn and the smaller river Ilz. We came out at one point, along the Inn, and found a very pleasant riverside where people were lying about on the grass.

By the Inn
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Around the time of our bakery visit in Winzer, Dodie was saying that after two weeks she had had too much of bread and cheese, and really needed to find more fruits and vegetables. So we shifted our search from bakeries to grocery stores. We did locate an Edeka, but unlike in France where you can find all sorts of prepared salads and fruits, there was nothing like that. Dodie was hard pressed to come out with two apples.

With this background, we were thrilled to trip over a salad restaurant in Passau. It was called Dean and David, and is a franchise health food restaurant that started in Munich in 2007 and which has spread across Germany. The salad we got was just great, a good break from standard German fare.

Yum, this was the "Oriental"
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Now safely back in our room, we are eager to see where we really were today. Here is the track!

Don't forget to zoom right in on Passau, to watch us drunkenly stagger about the place.
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p.s. about that detour coming in to Nideralteich. The real track is the cool green line below. The agitated yellow thing is the hoops they put us through.

Detour on the Donau.
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Today's ride: 66 km (41 miles)
Total: 819 km (509 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 4
Scott AndersonAh, Passau. We’ve been there twice now. Both times, I brained myself on the same low beam of the same hotel: https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/prague1996/passau/. I’m a slow learner; if we ever return, I’ll likely do it again.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonI have the same problem. It is probably related to the fact that we book the cheaper rooms in older buildings, which means the attic.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonHey Scott, do you remember the name of the hotel?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesNo, but I think it’s one of the ones that faces the Catholic Church - perhaps the Konig. It’s one of the first ones you come to when you bike in from the east. Of course, this was 20 years ago though.
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2 months ago