Monday, May 10, 2010

The start of the Danube

After first stopping at a T-Mobile store where Sabine (on the right) and her colleague were very helpful in selecting cel phones that will work in Germany, Austria and Hungary (a curse on SFR – une malédiction sur SFR) , I cycled up the Danube today from Tuttlingen to Reidlingen (95 kms). Tomorrow I will go on to Ulm where I am meeting Wayne Heuff, a friend of mine who will ride with me for 10 days. The weather today wasn't very good, cool with rain showers - since our first 9 days of glorious weather in the Loire we have not been very lucky on the weather front.

The Danube at this point is not very large, maybe 15 to 30 meters wide  it flows slowly east, and it cuts through hills with some pretty steep slopes (even cliffs) down to the water. The cycle route sticks close to the river most of the time, through fields and forests and some farms, although it rises into the hills from time to time, with some nice uphills and downhills. While part of the path was paved, parts were hard packed dirt, which would not normally be a problem (even for our road bikes) but with all the rain over the last few days parts of the path were mud fields, and by lunch I was covered in it. As well the road was slick and it was slow going (on one downhill I almost skidded out and ended up careening into a field – oh what fun!)

After a couple of hours of fairly hard going, I had lunch in a nice little restaurant in a small town named Beuron, white asparagus soup (locally grown) and lamb. The menus are all in German, and very few people speak English or French, so ordering involves a little guessing and hoping (for dinner in Reidlingen Serge had Schwabenteller auf Kasespatzle mit Pilzrahmsauce and I had Hausgemachte Maultaschen in Zwiebelsobe– followed by a complimetary schapps offered by Alexandra our server. So far so good.

During the afternoon I decided to avoid the mud and switched to small roads, which all had nice bike lanes or even separate bike paths – I made much better time, the going was easy.

When I was almost at Reidlingen I stopped at a pig farm and rinsed the mud off myself and my bike with a hose, the farmer seemed very amused to see me, I was so mud covered when I arrived he might have assumed I was one of his pigs – wearing a helmet and on a bicycle.


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