So the day started with rain - no surprises there. I took down the tent, and because the camping was rather empty, I took all my wet stuff into the showers building, where it is heated and got dedicated drying racks too. It meant a later start, but not cycling in wet clothes and having a dry tent is worth it.
It also meant I got time to repair the tubes from the prior flats :) the caretaker suggested to turn them into an artistic exhibit :)
And then I ran into one of those how-do-you-say-no situations: one of the retired residents, with whom we already discussed how "difficult" it is to answer the where do you come from question (Hungary or Crailsheim), came up and gave me money so that I have a nice dinner, 'coz he likes Hungarians. First, I wish the camping was not in the middle of the nowhere, so I could have told him to just buy me a beer. There are some flattering and less flattering explanations - I still look super young and broken; or my German is totally broken -, but nonetheless I couldn't get the message across that please, don't do this - least I threw the money in his face. And I didn't want to hurt him - after all, he could have complained about the smell of the wet cycling gear...
Once packed up, I got to the neighboring bike shop in Bad Göggingen, and got a Schwalbe Marathon for the front - no exact size match, but I had enough of the flats not to search for an exact fit anymore :)
There was a bit of a maze until I got to Weltenburg, but I have found the signs easy to follow. After a quick flat tire change (yay, new tires front & back now!). There was a slight confusion when I - like the guy who roamed the desert for long - hallucinated a Bratwurst (roasted sausage) sign instead of the actual "Blutwurz" (herb black liquor) that was actually sold there. The salesman suggested postcards as the most edible thing I could get there, which I politely turned down.
I managed to miss the boat to Kelheim, so that must see section of the Danube has to wait. But guess it's better seen together with my girlfriend anyways. And anyways, it's only 6 km! Ok, a bit hilly, according the guidebook, but so what?
So I ignored the road signs warning about the hard climbs. And I learned the lesson: won't ignore them anymore! The climbs are one thing, by now I don't have a problem pushing the bike instead of riding it, but what the sign didn't say was that this was in the forest, and not a dirt based cycling road, but just dirt hiking path, which turns out to be travelable by a bike. Less so after rain and with 20kg luggage. But it's beautiful though. Towards the end, I realized that going downhill is actually worse than up, and the relief when it was over is great (now, looking back, some pride is there that yes, I've done it!, but back then it was just a relief it's over).
After this I didn't hesitate for a moment when McDonalds Kelheim came into view :)
after the cheeseburgers, I saw the Altmühl (paddled a significant part of it) join the Danube, and was a bit touched. But pushed on the gravel road next to the river, thinking at this rate and road quality the question is not whether I make it to Budapest, but to Passau at all! :)
But it's possible to get used to these roads and keep going between 20-25 kmh, and it's a huge plus that it has no car traffic.
After leaving Regensburg (have I mentioned already how i dislike going through cities?) the roads have significantly improved, and there was a shortcut to the Donauradweg that the guidebook wasn't aware of, so I managed to finish that long (40-50km) stretch after Regensburg that had no camping. I even had tail wind sometimes!
I ran out of water halfway, and was pleasantly surprised how kind people are: when I asked a lady standing outside her house if she could fill my Flask with water, she actually offered mineral water!
Straubing is well marked, except for the camping, good thing I know it exists and can ask the locals about it, otherwise I would have cycled more. Though on the last two km it was marked well.
Luckily, i don't have to rush, there are still places (i.e.: I am the only guest in the whole camping).
Dinner was the perfect Italian restaurant: while I was looking at the menu outside the waitress came out and explained it (wasn't trivial) and invited me in. Nicely setup tables, jazz in the background, good food, good wine - a lovely end to day!
110 km, 6.1 hours net, 8.5 hours gross travel time.
P.s.: late blogging it because I spent the morning on the phone instead of blogging. Priorities, sorry. I'll blog today tomorrow morning, as usual, I am already in Austria!