It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels, -Heinz Stucke
Linz to Ardagger Stift -39 miles
Today the big concern was weather. Mike’s weather app was not very optimistic about the day at all. It was anywhere from 60% chance of rain in the AM to 100% chance overnight. We also knew it wasn’t going to be a short-mileage day either. So, unlike the past two mornings when we took it easy and left when we left, we decided to get up and get going. We were on the road by 8:30.
It was a chilly, overcast/gloomy day for sure. We both were wearing tights and several layers on top –at least until we warmed up. The good news was that today’s wind was at our back. The bad news is that we weren’t going to dilly-dally along the way, so there aren’t many pictures. It was only around 60 degrees when we started. We were pretty bundled up.
We made our way out of Linz – a quick getaway over the bridge we crossed over on yesterday and off down the N. bank of the river. It was a nice long path through a lot of park and recreational areas until we broke out into relatively “wild” (no civilization) bike lanes.
We were flying this morning! We were going slightly downhill with wind pushing us and fresh energy – for a long time we averaged nearly 14 miles an hour! After about 15 miles, we came to a series of small, quaint villages that the trail wove through –sometimes on a bike trail and sometimes on the road. This slowed us down a bit, but I liked it because it was like taking a slow break before we hit the pedals again.
I’ve been joking with Mike that this is becoming the “We almost did that” tour. Last night we were too late to really check Linz out. Today –because we didn’t want to ride in rain any longer than necessary, if and when it came, we weren’t stopping much. One of the towns we passed through was Mauthausen, the site of a WWII concentration camp. If we’d had time, I would have liked to stop at the marker and possibly the museum.
We also missed seeing a site called the Spielburg Ruin. No it wasn’t some
Hollywood director’s movie disaster – it was a 12th century castle ruin originally located along the river, but left high and dry when the river changed course in the late 1700s. And so it went… Heads down, pedals flying. We did see the lovely scenery -just didn’t stop or go out of our way..
After the series of smaller, picturesque towns, we were back out on the river bank with good pavement and nothing to do but go. We finally arrived at the Wallsee-Mitterkirchen Hydro Electric Dam. This was where we were to cross over to the S. bank to reach our hotel for the night. Later, I found out that Mitterkirchen is the site of an old Celtic settlement from as early as 700BC. Another thing we “almost” got to see. We did stop at the little rest area on the Mitterkirchen side of the dam.
I almost got locked in the ladies room. It was interesting because there were two blue porta-potty looking things sitting on the side of the parking lot (about 25 yards away from where Mike is sitting in this picture) and I was thinking… River Rumble flashback!…but upon entering I found a fully functioning ladies room hidden behind the blue door. The lock was tricky and while I was twisting it back and forth trying to exit the building faster than Elvis…I was also wondering how to yell HELP in German! After just enough time to make me feel a bit panicky, the door finally opened and I flew out like I was shot from a cannon. I told Mike that I’m bringing my cell phone into the restrooms with me from now on!
That was our only real stop for the day. After we crossed the dam, we followed the bike path out away from the river and into the countryside for a while.
It was really pleasant riding – not much traffic and no hoards of bikers (we’d gotten the jump on them!) Unfortunately, our hotel was situated out of the way and in the wrong direction away from the river again. Plus we’re getting spoiled by the relative flatness and were a bit put out that we had some hills to climb to finish the day. Our hotel is at the top of a nice short steep one! I admit it- I had to walk (but did so looking appropriately repentant -which was doubly appropriate because the hotel is across the street from the village church –I can see it out the window in front of me as I type this). Mike didn’t walk – he never does. He’s a hill climbing monster. We were happy because we beat the rain (by several hours as it turned out).
Of course the hotel wasn’t expecting us that early. They said our room wouldn’t be ready for a while. We understood that. What really killed us was that their restaurant wasn’t open for lunch and we were hungry. I said…”Oh, while we’re waiting for the room, we’ll go have lunch.” She said –“Sorry, our restaurant is closed at the moment.” “OK, I said…then we’ll find something in the village.” “The village?” she replied, “There’s nothing in the village.” WHAT??? She continued, “You can go back to Ardagger Markt if you like.” I DON’T LIKE! It’s back down that hill plus a couple of miles! I was polite, but probably looked like she shouldn’t mess with me and she offered to put something simple together in the kitchen, which we gratefully accepted. It was basically some thin meat and cheese slices, a basket of bread, a bit of butter and another mystery item that was sorta green –and looked like it could have mayo or mustard as an ingredient –but we couldn’t figure out what was in it. No matter – to us it was manna from Heaven! Then we got the outrageous bill for it. 🙁
The hotel, called The Landhaus, was actually a really nice hotel in a not so great place. There really wasn’t anything to see (and us with hours to spare) except the church (steps away –and visible out of our hotel window) and the hotel itself.
There was a huge language barrier too. We aren’t expecting to be completely catered to in English –but it is pretty hard when you can’t communicate at all. The staff was completely befuddled by us for some reason. When we went to dinner, they handed us a menu –and we wanted to ask how they were handling our meal –since it was included in the hotel price. The person we asked couldn’t understand us and went to get someone else to help and THAT person couldn’t understand the problem and ended up getting the chef, who spoke some English, out to our table to discuss the meal situation. He ended up giving us a choice between a veal dish and a fried chicken dish. We thought everything was sorted out until they brought us our check and the dinner was on it in addition to our drinks (which we do have to pay for)! Here we went again.. the first person we told couldn’t understand the problem…so went to get a second person who also couldn’t figure out the problem …etc…etc. It was starting to feel like a Saturday Night Live skit. The meal was very good though!
After that there was nothing to do except head back to the room and get ready for the next day. It will be the longest day of the trip and the weather forecast doesn’t bode well at al
And for those left hanging, the meal was eventually taken off our tab!
Categories: The Danube Bike Trail 2014