People don’t take trips. Trips take people. – John Steinbeck
Saint Agatha to Linz – 40 miles
Mike set the alarm for 7:00 and we went from there. We had to pack and then put our suitcases in the lobby for transport (by 9:00 AM or else!). Once that was done, we went to the hotel breakfast –odd selections, but we found things to munch on.
Finally, we were ready to ride. When we’d been picked up the day before – it seemed like a long ride to the hotel, but I didn’t know how far we’d gone. I knew my trusty GPS would tell me on the way back to the river. I think I mentioned that it was pretty much all uphill as we approached the hotel, so we were looking forward to having a quick, easy trip back to the river. Turns out the ride back was about 5 miles –and my top speed was 30 MPH …without really pedaling! We did have to climb a couple of small hills right at the beginning, but it paid off. I doubt that I pedaled at all on the downhill parts. It was fun –but in all honesty, I didn’t like having to go 5 miles just to get back to my starting point for the day.
We got to the river in good time. The plan was to stay on the S. bank for a little bit and then cross over at a place called Inzell. Inzell turned out to be pretty small…and I did see a sign for a ferry, but also saw a group of men ahead of us standing on the bank…so I thought I was mistaken andthat they were at the proper ferry stop waiting to cross over. We rode to where they were standing (taking pictures) and looked around for a ferry sign to no avail. One of the men offered to take our picture and suddenly they all mounted up and pedaled off, staying on the S. bank.
We went back to the sign I’d seen (a short distance back ) and it was a ferry sign, but there was a problem. It looked like you needed to “buzz“ the ferry and talk to the crew –and we were both intimidated because between us we know about 3 ½ words of German. I didn’t think yelling BIER! would get us anywhere. AND, we had just seen a ferry going upstream (there were two routes in that spot -one a long stretch up/down the river and the other straight across) and thought that it would be too long a wait for it to come back to our point. We checked the maps and realized there was another point to cross over just down a ways – maybe a few miles. We decided to go there and check it out.
When we pulled up to that spot, there was a lot more action and a ferry sign without a “buzzer”… We lined up for that and were surprised to realize that when it came and we got on it was us and another obviously local couple with their dog. No one seemed to be changing over to the N. bank this morning. According to my information it was the better side to be on.
Once we crossed over, we had a nice ride on what was originally the towpath for the river. It was mostly rural, woodsy scenery. I knew that up ahead at a place called Untermul we would have to take a ferry downstream for a short distance because there wasn’t a workable path on the N. bank for that stretch. I was really excited about the opportunity to do that. There was also a castle overlooking that spot on the river.
Once in Untermul, a very sleepy little place indeed, we found a restaurant and stopped for some water and a snack before hopping the ferry.
Ohhhhh the language barrier! We sat down and Mike wanted both a bottle of water AND a coke. I asked for the same thing. About 5 minutes later, the waiter came out with one rather large glass of watery looking coke! He’d misunderstood and brought us one glass of coke mixed with water. We got that straightened out quickly enough. On the menu we recognized one word… Pizza. OK!
While we were there, Mike and I looked over the guide book/maps. I have poured over them many times in preparing for the trip, but Mike really hadn’t paid much attention – he doesn’t mind leaving that up to me. It was during our lunch where he suddenly had an opinion about the day’s route. He said he thought we should be on the S, side of the river… It was true that the path on the N. side did take some convoluted turns –but it was supposed to be better. Looking at the S. side, it did seem like it would be more of a straight shot… so when we approached the ferry after lunch –the one that would have taken us downstream- we realized he could take us across OR downstream and we said… “Across, please”. The die was cast. …and I think he made a good call.
Two things absolutely plagued us today. First –there was a nasty headwind and nothing seemed to hold it back. We were definitely slowed down a lot by it –it just tires you out so much! It is a constant battle to push against it. It’s like climbing a non-stop hill. The second thing was that our bikes didn’t come with water bottles or water bottle holders. We are in a situation on this trip where we need to find bottled water to carry with us as a backup for when we can’t find a cafe to lounge around at. Unfortunately, little St. Agatha was closed up as tight as a clam for Sunday when we were there. We didn’t stop at their little grocery store on the way out of town because we both had assumed that we’d have no trouble finding a place further along where we could grab some fluids. NOT! That became a real issue for us on the way to Linz. The little café at the first ferry crossing had water, but the ferry was coming and I walked up to the counter in a hurry to buy some and the woman wouldn’t even speak to me… Eventually she said I needed to sit at a table and be served. I didn’t have time for that! I just wanted to buy two bottles of water!! So, we moved on. And we kept moving on – not the best decision. The odd thing is as the day wore on, we did pass some cafes that we could have stopped at for water, but for some reason (probably not wanting to lose time to the wind) we didn’t choose to stop… And we should have. We have an agreement on bike trips that we will find a place to stop every 10 miles or so whether we feel like it or not… so we were trying to avoid stopping unless it was at the 10-20-30-etc mile point, which unfortunately never seemed to line up with the locations of services. We need to stop thinking we’ll find what we need when we want it -instead of taking advantage of what’s available now.
Mike says we spent too much time on ferries today. Well he’s the one that changed the route! Anyway, we were dry as a bone and promised each other that as soon as we got to the other side, we’d hit a café and get some fluids. We had to wait about 1/2 hour for the ferry to come. This one was a car/bike/pedestrian ferry and much bigger than the cute little ones we’ve been riding so far. There were 3 cars waiting and about 25 or more bikes! The cars didn’t have a chance against the wave of bikes pushing and shoving their way onto the ferry when it arrived. The ferry wasn’t moving an inch until everyone was on and settled down.
Across the way the whole time we were waiting …and while we were slowly crossing the river… we could see two cafes along the riverfront in Ottensheim. We felt like we’d been in the desert and were seeing an oasis – oh the promise of hydration! …and just a mere trip across the river!
CLOSED…and CLOSED…. GAH! Finally about two miles later we stumbled onto a roadside café that was also closed …but this little old lady was in there cleaning and banging around. I crawled in looking like a desperado and asked for water and she very kindly poured a glass for both of us. The view from there was fantastic, so I got a picture too.
A few miles later we came across a gas station with a convenience store (not all of them have one) and I walked out loaded down with so many bottles, Mike was laughing at me. Well –we drank up and now have tomorrow’s starting supply sorted out. We rode for about 3 hours without water with us …too long,.. and yet –there was a river right next to us! Water water everywhere , but not a drop to drink.
Now, when we were approaching Untermul earlier in the day, I spotted the castle high up above the small village and yelled for Mike that I needed to stop for a picture. He was turning his head in all directions trying to figure out what I needed a picture of and finally, after what I thought was a really long time, he went…” Ohhh! Now I see”. The reason I point this out is that I’d heard that there are some areas along the river near Linz that are popular for topless sunbathing and sure enough we were just on the outskirts of Linz (on the N. bank…most of the town is on the S. bank) when out of the corner of my eye I saw an interesting sunbather. Being a good wife, I yelled to get Mike’s attention …just saying… “Hey Mike!” and he waved me off. He later said he’d spotted her right away and didn’t want to be obvious about taking a glance…. Later, when we talked about it, it became obvious that in his fleeting “glance” he took in a lot of detail…a surprising amount of detail. 🙂 I joked that I was amazed that he didn’t also get her phone number too in the 10 seconds it took for us to speed by!
We easily found our hotel:
By the time we arrived and got settled into our room, we had very little time left to do anything –much to my disappointment. Linz is a big city and there is lots to do and see. One of the main things I’d wanted to see was the Postlingbergbahn. It is a railway up the side of a high lookout point across the river.
It has been in operation since 1898 and climbs about 1,000 feet up to the top. We did walk about a mile to the town square and walk around there before returning to the hotel.
At the hotel, we had happy hour and our dinner, and settling in for the night. We found this on our pillows:
My first thought was ….why do they hate us? (Joking) Then I found out that Haribo gummies are made near Linz. My joke about them hating us is because there are some hilarious reviews on Amazon for the sugar-free version of these and based on their reported effect on people -we won’t even think about eating them -just in case!
Tomorrow is the biggest day mileage wise of the trip.
Categories: The Danube Bike Trail 2014