Don’t push the river, it flows by itself. – Fritz Perls
Passau to St. Agatha -25.5 miles (before the hotel shuttle)
Mike is not excited about the bikes we have. They are 21-speed, but heavy. He has started calling them “the beach bikes” –meaning they are, for us, like riding the guest bikes we have at the cottage. Solid for short jaunts around town, but not what we’d choose to do a longer tour with. They aren’t really all that bad – I think they’ll be fine.
The morning was a relaxed flurry of activity. Last minute organizing…figuring out our timing…breakfast. It reminded me a lot of the River Rumble trip we used to do on the Mississippi – only instead of kayaks, we were going to be putting our miles in on bikes. We did our final packing, dropped our bags off at the luggage area (before 9AM or else!), ate breakfast and finally loaded up our bikes and got ready to go.
The official guide book for this section of the river conveniently started the route at the train station (which was across the street from the hotel). The information said that there was a pass-thru under an elevated road (behind our hotel) to access the path along the river. The night before we walked a block down from our hotel and peered down the street toward the river and could see there was a small tunnel with a path going under the road. I told Mike that was where we needed to go the next morning.
We loaded up our bikes with a few necessities and asked someone to take our “official” photo. Poor woman…she struggled with using my camera and it took several tries …with sign language and communication gaps… to get it sorted, but we did.
As we were getting ready, Mike noticed several people riding off down the street in the opposite direction of where I said we should go and got a bit suspicious of my route plans. When the time came, I hopped on and said..”follow me!” and we went down the block and toward the tunnel we’d spotted and we saw our first Donauradweg (Danube Bike Trail) sign.
We did it our way and rode into Passau along the river, seeing many cruise boats and barge tied up to the riverside. We found and passed over the same bridge we’d walked over the day before for the Veste Oberhaus –except this time we turned right at the end of the bridge and dashed through a small tunnel and immediately over a bridge for the river Ilz – the third river of the 3 rivers comprising the location of Passau. It is easily the smallest and unassuming of the three.
I felt like once we crossed the Ilz, the trip was finally happening! For the entire day, the route followed quite closely along the river. We wove our way through small towns and bits of countryside –all while watching the river flow next to us. There were a variety of photo ops – two different mermaids of the river, the first one made of wood.
There were towns along the way with very Bavarian architecture and a chance (missed) to see an old monastery. We stopped whenever I saw something that needed to be photographed for posterity – which means we stopped frequently it seemed. (Although, in consideration of Mike, I did try to control myself!)
I especially enjoyed the little bike ferries that ply the river along the way. We saw several of them today….and even used one to cross the river at the end of the day. *These are pictures of the first one we saw.
Another thing we saw was a large rock protruding from the river that is supposed to be the home of the river nixie Isa. What is a Nixie you ask? According to Wikipedia: The Nyx/Nixie are shapeshifting water spirits who usually appear in human form. These spirits have appeared in the myths and legends of all Germanic peoples. Isa is a sister nixie to the Loreley in the Danube River. It so happens that when Amy and I were in Germany a few years ago –we saw the Loreley rock. Now, I have met her sister!
When we’re doing longer rides or bike trips we have a loose rule that it’s best to stop and smell the roses at least every 10 miles or so. So, at the 20 mile mark, I noticed a little restaurant and told Mike it was time to stop.
Having literally no German language knowledge beyond “bier”, “thank you”, “please”..etc… neither of us had a clue about what was actually on the menu, but we recognized frankfurter and ordered that.
I don’t think the hotdog bun has made it to Austria yet!
After a nice rest and a good lunch, we got back on the bikes for what I thought would be about 6 more miles of riding. Imagine my surprise (and happiness!) when at the 25.5 mile mark, we found the Shlogen Ferry. Shlogen is the spot in the river where it makes a big u-turn due to the concept of water following the path of least resistance.
We crossed back to the S. bank there. The landing is more or less right at a nice hotel –but it wasn’t our hotel.
We had been instructed to call our hotel to arrange a ride up the “hill”. Mike was skeptical that we needed to bother with a ride –especially when they said they couldn’t pick us up for an hour and we weren’t excited about waiting – but when I saw where the drive took us, I was glad to not have to ride up that long, long, long, hill. We will be riding down it on our way back to the river though. Down is better than up!
Our hotel is quite nice – very nice grounds – pool, view…etc.
Our room is also quite nice –with sitting area, patio and big bathroom.
Mike was nervous because the bathroom is virtually a wall of glass –mostly see-thru- with a few areas of frosting so you don’t see all the way through the glass. There is a decided lack of privacy, which Mike isn’t excited about.
The day was nice enough and we were there early enough to enjoy sitting out by the pool and taking a dip too. It was a nice way to decompress after our first ride of the trip.
Our dinner was pre-paid/planned, so we were given a choice of two entrees – fish or beef. We both chose beef. It was a good dinner, we both enjoyed it.
We got a cherry/vanilla ice-cream/crepe thing for dessert that was great! There is no picture of this mythical dessert because we both stripped the dish clean faster than a demonstration of piranas stripping a cow down to it’s bones in the Amazon River on an old episode of Wild Kingdom. Oh –and I shouldn’t forget the cream of garlic soup –delicious!
After dinner, it was time to settle down and get ready for the next day’s adventure.
Categories: The Danube Bike Trail 2014