Day 4: From Straubing to Engelhartszell
I forgot the cleaning rag I used to dry the bottom of the tent at Neustadt, but while it's tempting to blame the late start on the extra drying time, it doesn't seem to be realistic. Let's just accept that I am unable to leave any campsite before ten.
The nearby Aldi doesn't sell anything in the quantities I need, so even the smallest fruit packs will last at least two days. Makes packing a bit more difficult, but well.
The road leads through either normal roads with virtually no traffic, or asphalted cycling paths, so for most of the day I averaged around 20 km/h. Having my backpack on the panniers too definitely slowed, but not having it on my backpack is priceless!
I met the first other touring cyclist today, coming in the opposite direction.
The weather had lots of sun, but of course it was still a bit cold, and it often got cloudy.
There were many crossroads where almost all options were marked as Donauradweg, so I'm sure that there could have been shortcuts, but only in Deggendorf was there a local cyclist (retired, doesn't do mounting biking for the last four years, only touring due to heart problems - otherwise he looks impressively fit, wanna be like that) who guided me through the city.
I pretty much blindly followed the road signs, and there were no problems, except that just 15km before Passau it turned out that I should have already crossed to the other side of the river, but I was too happy speeding. And occasionally stopping, when the view prompted me like. Like with the deer behind the fence. In addition, a small girl was busy gathering grass and feeding it to them through the fence :)
Luckily, the cycling road led to a ferry, which was already operational, so I crossed the danube in sunshine.
The last 15 kms before Passau had everything I hated in the roads before: gravel, dirt, mud, and climbs (ok, not many potholes), so I was quite happy. I chose to leave Passau on the right side of the Danube, which led me through narrow (and I mean it, passing another bicycle was out of the question, and pedestrians had to stand sideways to give us way) roads, and the had a nice, asphalt roads till the border, and for most of the remaining section till Engelshartzell.
Where the camping, which is supposedly "open from the middle of April" was closed - guess we do the math differently. Will call next time. The youth hostel is also closed, so I end up in a family pension. Old house, cold room. I turned all thermostats to max, and left for dinner after shower (at least there was warm water).
There isn't much choice, so I went into the first pizzeria I have found. It was surprisingly good, and there was a great cozy feeling to it - only me, the waiter, the chef and a friend of theirs (who is still learning German). I enjoyed their chatter.
When I got back to the room, it was still cold, so I called up the owner - turns out she forgot to turn something on. Duh! In theory, I should have a nice warm room in an hour.
Of course I didn't, but usually I sleep in a tent, so no big problems, though I am still upset.
Matters are worst in the morning: still cold, and while the breakfast table is ready, no sign of tea or coffee, and nobody is in sight at 8. And the breakfast is sliced meat/cheese/jam with bread and rolls. Not impressed, don't know why I was expecting scrambled eggs and the like.
Anyhow, I rode 130km in 6h 50mi (8h 30mi), and had a roof above my head for the night. Clothes haven't dried, but eh. Now I should push today and tomorrow, while the good weather lasts!