And we thought the Danube in Germany was pretty! The first section in Austria is even better and the cycling is all anyone could want.
Friday night’s forecast thunderstorms passed by in the distance thank goodness although we did get some rain. But Saturday morning saw the return of blue skies and so the sun cream was called into action. We quickly passed through Passau and very shortly were crossing the border on the southern bank of the river.
We cycled this stretch of the river to Vienna with the children in 2000 as the first holiday without the car (have we told you this already? Sorry for repeating ourselves!) We had very fond memories of the hotel in which we spent the first night out of Passau and planned to stay there again. The only problem was that we couldn’t remember the name or where it was – just that it was on a sharp bend of the river on the south side and somewhere between 30 and 50 km away!
To start off with the route was on a separate path beside a busy road but the two soon parted and peace and quiet was restored. We could see black clouds building up behind us so decided to have an early lunch in the dry. Too late! Part way through the first sandwich the first spots appeared and so it was on with the raincoats and off we went. Thankfully it was only a brief shower and we were soon able to finish lunch.
To be sure of finding the hotel we stayed on the southern bank ignoring the solitary bridge and the five ferries (only one of which takes cars!) we passed. This meant that we were on the road for a stretch which was not particularly pleasant as it was busy and undulating. We looked enviously at the main cycle route on the other bank which looked to be flat, right by the river and traffic free. On reflection we decided that we must have taken that route 15 years ago – not least because the children (including the two large ones) would have enjoyed the ferry rides!
Coming to Schlögen, the river “convulses” in a meander turning through 180 degrees. At this point the road decides that it will climb the hill out of the valley and the main cycle route crosses to the southern bank via another ferry. We were back on track! And the next part was just heavenly! Words cannot do it justice.
Passing through a cluster of two or three houses we turned a corner and there it was! The hotel was just as we remembered it! As we stopped so did a family of four and so Stephen rushed in to ask if there was room at the inn. “Yes” and only €25 per person including breakfast.
Waking the next morning to this view
and to a beautiful blue sky was simply glorious. In some ways we didn’t want to leave but we knew there was some lovely cycling to be done. The route was just as wonderful as the previous afternoon – right up there with the best days’ cycling we have ever had. The gorge Co tinted fir another 15 km to Aschach where the landscape opened out a little and there was a pretty town with many cafes and ice cream parlours lining the cycle path. We decided it would be rude not to stop!
The route continued through more gentle countryside to Ottensheim where we took our first ferry since the Channel. It then became less pleasant as, while still a separate path from the traffic it was beside a very busy road with incessant vehicle noise. The alternative on the opposite bank was no more appealing -the road looked less busy but there was no segregation
This took us into the city of Linz where thankfully the cycle path left the road for the river bank and took us to the campsite near a lake well patronised by the locals on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
With time to spare before meeting Alaric and Annabelle in 6 days (and also because the campsite is a very reasonable €13 per night with free WiFi provided by the god burghers of Linz! ) we decided to have another rest day to see what the city had to offer. To be perfectly frank it is not a huge amount. That’s not to say it is dreadful but there isn’t a lot to see. Still it was relaxing and we came to the campsite for an afternoon of reading which has was very pleasant.