We had a real leisurely start to the day – 08:00 alarm; who even am I?! I successfully negotiated Bikey out of the building without being seen by the scary German matriarch, and come 08:45, we were back on the road.
Today was entirely spent following the bike path to Passau. A very easy ride today. As usual, the bike paths were pretty empty to begin with but after a couple of hours of riding, they were becoming noticeably busier. To my disappointment, they were filling up with bikes of the electric variety.
We were tracking alongside the Danube, but for most of the day it was obscured from view as there was a tall bank that rang along the length of the river as well. This meant the ride was a little boring to begin with; what with no one around, and really not much to see.
After 20 miles I was hankering for a coffee stop. A slight detour into Vilshafen was unsuccessful on that front – a combination of Sunday trading (lots of places shut) and later openings (11am seems to be the earliest), I had to settle for my banana on a lone park bench.
By now, it was getting busy. To pass the time I started playing a new game (I still play the “make up a life story” game as well); this game was called “bike or ebike?” The rules are pretty simple: as you come up to overtake someone on the path, you have to decide are they cycling using a “proper” bike or are they on an e-bike. That kept me entertained for a while.
Not too far outside of Passau, I stumbled across a cafe right on the bike track. Bingo. We’re stopping for coffee. By having a much shorter ride, it gave me the luxury of stopping often and just enjoying the slower pace. The coffee was great and much needed.
After a quick lunch stop and wander around Passau, we started on again for Neuburg Am, which is where the accommodation is for the night. Its about 5 miles south, which is the wrong way for the trip, but when I booked it I did realise this, and booked it anyway just so I could stay in a Bavarian castle for the night. Yes, that’s right – an actual castle! I love castles. My all time favourite being Bovey Castle in Devon…
It did dawn on me that a castle would probably be on a hill. And yes, my friends, it was right at the top of a big, old hill. I saw 16% gradient pop up on my Garmin, as I was struggling to push Bikey up. At points, I was literally horizontal, pushing as hard as I could on the handlebars, sweat dripping off me. Some people did pass me in a car; they must have been howling with laughter! But we made it. And it was totally worth it. The castle and the grounds are incredible and the views over the Danube are amazing. And I get to play Queen for the night.
It’s these kind of experiences along the way that really make these adventures so good. I could have quite easily stayed in Passau in somebody’s Airbnb flat, but the experience of staying in a Bavarian castle was just too good to pass up. Yes, it adds ten miles to the journey, and a massive great climb up a hill, but so what! I get to stay in a castle! Can you tell I’m excited by it?!
So, normal procedure again tonight: eat, wash clothes, pack up for the morning. Tomorrow is another pivotal moment: we make it to Austria! Across the border we go, and into a country I have never been before. One more to tick off the list. We only have three days of riding left, as Tuesday is a final rest day. It’s crazy to think we’ve been on the road for two weeks now. Where has the time gone…?
755 miles down…241 miles to go!