Tuesday, 21 August 2012

23. July 18th- Waltzing along the Danube.

July 18th

Apologies-had real trouble in cutting and pasting Fred's entry- when saved, his entry wouldn't open due to my aged and temperamental computer- therefore I had to go way beyond my skills to try to rescue what he had sent but the end result is that the photos and the captions are somewhat distant from each other- sorry Fred [ and, of course, to our army of readers].

We had eaten a restaurant meal and I for one slept well and felt that the sunshine which greeted us when we awoke was no less than we deserved.  However, the sun was weak and eventually lost out to the grey cloud which looked down on us as we set off.  A fine drizzle set in and became more persistent over the next hour and a half as we made our way to Aschach.

Our route took us along the Danube on a winding but level road under trees which offered effective shelter.  It was 16 miles to Aschach, but the fact that Dave’s rear tyre was worn through and needed replacing gave the journey an extra level of excitement.  We counted the miles down and found a small cycle shop on the outskirts of Aschach, which avoided a lengthy and confused search in the town itself.  The owner was a real craftsman and the tyre was replaced in no more than 20 minutes, which gave us chance to talk about the forthcoming Tom Jones concert advertised on the outside of the shop.

Ashach itself was on the bank of the Danube, and resembled a sea side resort.  We enjoyed a good breakfast and stocked up on fruit and breakfast bars before setting off again, this time for Linz.

The riding was good and we kept up a good pace, noticing that we had left the mountains behind.  The Danube had become broader and more like its muscular cousin the Rhine.  We stopped at Offensheim, intrigued by a view of its castle and the unique design of its ferry, and enjoyed a good salad nicoise lunch – a rarity.

By the time we set off again, the sun had come out and the afternoon became increasingly hot.  The Danube even began to look blue rather than the brown/grey we had become used to. We paused briefly at Linz, which had an Eastern European look and some impressive public sculptures on the opposite bank.  It was reminiscent of the industrial German towns we had passed through, and we rode past slag heaps on a long, long cycle path following the bank and used by lots of other cyclists and joggers.  It was not always easy going, with a headwind and long straights which ran the risk of sapping interest and enthusiasm – how joggers run straight, featureless paths for so long was a topic of more than one conversation.

However, we kept up the best pace yet and arrived at a busy and friendly campsite at Au in the late afternoon, putting the tents up on the sunshine for the first time in days.  We had time for laundry and a shower before eating – another first – and rigged up the Birkett/Saunders patented cycle washing line that has already featured in photos.

Offensheim – scene of a salad lunch

 - in trying to make things better I have now made things worse- no surprises there then. I attempted to move the photos around and put the captions nearer the photos but, as you can see, I have only succeeded in putting the same caption in twice and I can't get rid of the one below. I could argue that that is what gives this blog its own peculiar charm. 

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