(This is being written on Wednesday offline because we are without Internet again!)
After the rain of Monday evening and night, Tuesday looked more promising with patches of blue sky when we woke that seemed to be increasing. We had a leisurely breakfast to allow the tent to dry before setting off through Regensburg on a mixture of cycle paths, painted lanes on quiet streets and separate cycle ways beside busier roads. Crossing the river we were soon back in the countryside and heading in a south easterly direction.
After about 10 km we arrived at one of the few cultural attractions that was definitely on the To Do list – Walhalla which we had both first heard of (in this context) when listening to a series of BBC radio podcasts about German c. It is a “temple” on top of a hill overlooking the Danube valley (a stunning view) containing busts of Germanic speakers who have made significant contributions to world history such as Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe, Catherine the Great and Einstein. Also there was Alaric, the king of the Visigoths who sacked Rome and was the inspiration for the name of our son (it’s a long story involving the bump, a weekend in Exeter and a Michael Woods book!).
A short afternoon’s ride (in keeping with the new slow regime) took us to Wörth an der Donau (not to be confused with Donauwörth where we stayed about a week ago) where we found a very reasonable and comfortable hotel that offered (wonder of wonders!) WiFi. We spent 3 or 4 hours acting like teenagers hunched over screens with Christine sorting out photos on Facebook and Flickr and Stephen getting his new phone set up like his old one.
The next morning saw us undertaking a shopping expedition for food, wedding anniversary cards and stamps for upcoming family events (not the food of course – that was for our lunch and dinner!) before setting off again. Initially it felt quite warm with the sun trying to break through the clouds but it seemed to get chillier as the day went on. Perhaps it was the north westerly wind for which we were very grateful despite the old as it was very helpfully behind us for most of the day and made for very easy cycling.
The first part of the route was not up to the usual peaceful standard that we have come to expect as it was away from the river and beside a motorway/autobahn but after about 10 km “normal service” was resumed thank goodness. As time was not pressing we took the longer of two options on the route into Straubing as the town got a good write up in the guidebook – justifiably so – and we stopped for Kaffee und Küchen (or, in Christine’s case, hot chocolate and cake!) to warm up a little.
The afternoon proceeded pleasantly and quickly with the tailwind and by 4 o’clock we had done nearly 70 km without really trying and reached our most optimistic target for the day of the campsite in Degendorf. However, it was rather scruffy and nobody was manning reception (closed from 12.00 to 15.00 allegedly) so we decided to try to find a cheap hotel in town similar to the previous night. It was not to be! There were two nice looking hotels out of our price range and a couple of unappealing B&Bs that were thankfully full. So, with the wind pushing us along we set out for the next couple of villages beside our “old friend” the autobahn and soon found a gasthaus that fitted the bill – apart from the lack of WiFi! (We are very much creatures of the 21st century I’m afraid!)