Day 19: Aschach to Sankt Pantaleon - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

April 6, 2019

Day 19: Aschach to Sankt Pantaleon

We never did go into the main part of Aschach. That was about 1/2 km back up river, and frankly we were too entranced by having the Spar market across the street to be interested in a distant town centre.

Aschach downtown, from the bridge
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Over the bridge and back along the river, there were only a couple of towns on the way to Linz. The road did have a bit of excitement and this was the one day of the year when they go and dislodge rocks overhanging the road, to keep them from later falling on their own. Traffic was stopped while the rocks fell, giving us a chance to chat with the signalman, and mostly to observe again the great costumes of the road workers, and the climbers - who had a slightly different couturier. 

Roadworker in costume
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Up on the cliff
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We approached Linz on the left bank, and crossed a big bridge into the main town, which is on the right bank. The bridge leads directly into the main square and the main street beyond that. The square and the street are a strange kind of pedestrian zone, which is occupied by pedestrians and fast moving train like street cars. There is no place for bikes, though cyclists normally took the space just beside the tracks. When a train comes, that space is filled by train. It's nerve wracking.

The main square was filled this day with a large rummage sale. It added a festive aire, but also crowded us away from any cafes that fronted the square. We proceeded into the main street, that exits the square, and it too had a busy, big city, kind of crowded look. I thought it was interesting, but the people and especially the trains freaked Dodie out. She began to long for the vast empty expanses of trail by the river. 

The main square of Linz, right by the bridge
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Rummage sale today
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Deeper in, an interesting downtown street (but no room for bikes).
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What Dodie actually did was to hang a sharp right, at least to escape the trains. This turned out to be a good move, because it landed us in front of Cafe Jindrak.

Our number one reason for coming into Linz was to track the local torte, which of course is the Linzertorte. Dodie's move was good because it turns out Cafe Jindrak is the original home of this torte. Jindrak admits the torte has been known since 1696, while they were established only in 1929. I think that at 90 years old, their cafe is the oldest living practitioner of the torte, not the inventor.

Good move, Dodie
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"In front of cafe Jindrak" is surprisingly not such a simple concept. I first walked in one door, and was disappointed to find only a small display case of baking. Still, I asked for "eine stuck" of linzer torte, "fur mitnehmen". It was this last that triggered the ladies to direct me one door over. Actually, I was ejected to the street, where I reported failure to Dodie.  She patted me on the back and pushed me into door #2. In there was a large array of many kinds of torte, causing temporary dazzlement. I did however photograph a few of them.

Holy cow, I have never heard of any of these!
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I recovered enough to say my bit about the Linzertorte, and the lady asked me what size I wanted. Say what? Behind you.  There, was a display of Linzer Tortes, in about 6 sizes, from a little bitty one for 8.40 euros to bigger, but not huge ones, with prices more like 25 euros.

Oh golly, I thought, this is going to be like Sacher Torte, where you really can not afford a sample if you are in the real Sacher cafe. Clutching my meagre handful of euros, I mumbled something to the lady and ejected myself back onto the street, to report failure to Dodie.

As you might have predicted, Dodie went in herself and came out in seconds with a slice of Linzer torte. "How did you do that?" I will leave it to you to imagine her facial expression.

The Linzer torte is not really a torte, even by Dodie's liberal definition. Rather it is a spice-short bread base with raspberry jam filling on top. It was very good, just not a torte. 

Just as the torte got opened on a table in front of the cafe and I was making my photo, a local lady came up and began the usual run of Usual Questions.  As always, we answered sweetly, but I had been waiting about 7 years to sample this torte (last time in Linz we had found all bakeries closed). I did take advantage of this lady being local to confirm that Jindrak was truly accepted as the original and main Linzertorte cafe.

Official Linzertorte, on Jindrak napkin
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And the torte ? .. was good. It was the type of "kuchen" that is good with coffee. Fortunately, we had our thermoses right there on the bikes. So we sat at one of the  outdoor tables (all of which were empty) and picked at our Linzertorte, sipping from the thermoses. 

That triggered a lady to issue from door #1, and to ask for our drink order. We sort of got the jist of this, but it did not make sense to us as we had lapsed back into being North Americans. We had our torte and our thermos, so we were fine, right? Well no, had we re-read our own blog from a few days ago we would have been aware of the drinks orders at the tables, kuchen choice written on a slip of paper to give the waitress, drill. And "fur mitnehmen" means take your parcel and beat it, entirely off the premises.

As it was, we just stared at the lady, who tried once more her German explanation, but then looked at these gormless tourists in frustration and retreated inside door #1.

Quite near Jindrak is the Marien Dom.  This might be the "New" cathedral, or maybe the old. We did not make much of a study of Linz, especially now having found the torte, anything else would just be a bonus.

New or old, the Dom was huge. The interior was truly cavernous. But size was about all the church had going for it. Except for stained glass. This seemed particularly bright and colourful.

Huge but little decorated Dom. The shot is blurry because of low light inside.
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Except for bright stained glass
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Bolstered by torte (and prayer?), Dodie had another crack at that main street. I had wanted to go see the yellow church, so that was as far as we tried to get.  You can see it here, protected by trains and pedestrians:

The yellow church
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The yellow church was an Urseline one, and was moderately decorated. We were eager by then to get on with our day's journey, so I just snapped a quick shot of the interior. Strangely, the thing that impressed me most was the fact that the church had fully automatic doors. The outer ones were sliding modern glass, but the inner ones were the original super heavy wood ones. They had some great motor system rigged up for these too!

Linz is the second or third largest city in Austria, being almost tied with Graz, behind Vienna. We could see this as we tried to leave the city behind, cycling down the Donau. There we saw lots of apartment buildings, and especially lots of heavy industry.

Outskirts of Linz
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Well, we also say kids playing soccer, which we expect will be of interest to Avi and Violet, and their soccer coach Mom:

Oh, oh - Austria has not qualified for the World Cup since 2002.
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Laurie MarczakYou’ll be pleased to hear that team Flash is currently 2-0 for the spring season!
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2 months ago

Enns is about 25 km further down the Donau, and is famous with us as the place where the Enns River enters the Donau. That makes it the terminus of the Enns Radweg, one that we cycled in 2014 and liked a lot.

We worked hard to find our way into the fairly small central square of Enns, but then did not stop at all.  We continued out of the square and found that the way to the river was not clear. Of course if you pause, someone will offer to help.  This turned out to be Gerwin, who was waiting by a drug store for his wife, minding the kids. Gerwin crossed the street and gave us some help and tips. He was interested in our trip, so he got one of our "business cards". Maybe he will see his photo here. He took a shot of us too, that he promised to send along.

There is always someone who can help.
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The trip to Sankt Pantaleon, our  chosen destinzation for the day, turned out to be quite convoluted, and not as short as it looked on the map. There were a lot of twists and turns, headwind, and unattractive industrial part lands.

The way to Sankt Pantaleon
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The reason we were on this side of the river, looking for Sankt Pantaleon in the first place was that we were avoiding Mauthausen, across the river. One time we did go through Brunau, Hitler's birth village, and found it ok. But Mauthausen? Not in this lifetime. (Between 120,000 and 320,000 people were murdered there.)

If you are into it, you can experience the melancholy of this with Maria Farantouri singing Mauthausen, by Mikis Theodorakis/ (Theodorakis is better known as the man behind the music for Zorba the Greek).

Sankt Pantaleon is a small hamlet, where the only real commercial venture is the guesthouse and cafe where we are staying. I walked in to the cafe, where about a dozen of the local men had gathered for a beer. They were being quite loud. The slightly harried waitress listened to my story about having a reservation to stay, and went off to consult with an older lady. The older lady came to indicate (German only) that she was working on my seemingly novel request, and disappeared into the kitchen. 

After a while, the waitress came to reassure me that they were working on it. Finally, a man came with the key, and also showed me the bike garage. It's funny how this daily routine can take from two to forty minutes, depending on I know not what. I do know that Dodie and I split being the one to go in and announce our arrival, and I seem to draw more of  the tough cases, leaving Dodie in the street wondering what happened.

Later, I ventured down to join the drinking boys, ordering an apple strudel to bring back to our room. While the waitress and the kitchen puzzled over this new request from left field, I answered UQ's. Even though no English was spoken, I can pretty much identify which UQ is on the table, and cogently answer  "Canada, Vancouver, West Coast", and "Yes, by Bicycle",  "Vienna, Prague, Nurnburg, Bregenz" and " 2 1/2 Months". Still, I was glad when the strudel appeared, and I could retire to upstairs.

The strudel was surprisingly not great. But I am not worried. Once I dispose of all the tortes in Vienna, I can check out their strudel too. I know it will be great.

Today's ride: 71 km (44 miles)
Total: 968 km (601 miles)

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