1 June - Munster, France – Freiburg, Germany
Shortly after breakfast I set off with Alf
and Evlyn on a beautiful ride past stunning villages. A short
ride brought us to the Rheine River, where we crossed into
Germany and immediately found a cycle path. We cycled along
through farmlands and the difference in architecture was
Our hotel in Freiburg turned out to be very
fancy. I was rather ill-prepared for such a fancy place and I
tend to feel half claustrophobic in a room where one can’t open
the windows. That comes from living in a tent for too long - I
can’t even enjoy the good life anymore. I shared a room with
Alice (from Canada) who turned out to be a very strong cyclist.
She did not however feel well at all and was in bed very early
that night and had no problems with the claustrophobic room.
12 June - Freiburg
We spent the day in Freiburg (situated on the
edge of the Black Forest) - a very charming village with
cobblestone streets, trams, pavement restaurants, street
musicians and plenty of old buildings. Kids were floating their
boats down the water furrows and everybody was out enjoying the
Just by looking at the variety of beers
available, one could tell that we were definitely in Germany. We
wasted no time in sampling the local brews. There was also no
shortage of cuckoo clocks, as they originate very much from
this part of the world. I was amazed at the number of bicycles
in town - there were literally 100’s of bicycles and just about
everyone seemed to travel by bike.
13 June - Freiburg – Donaueschingen - 75km
We had an amazing breakfast spread, after
which we saddled up and cycled through the village of Freiburg.
The road led us through a part of the Black Forest with amazing
scenery and small villages. Dense forest lined the small road we
cycled on and a musty wooded smell accompanied us all the way.
The wood business is in full swing here and most houses are
therefore timber homes. The ride was not without the customary
climb up a hill or two, but also came with some really good
Donaueschingen is the official start of the
Danube River and sits at a surprisingly low altitude for such a
mighty river. This is also the start of the world-renowned
Danube cycle trail. We cycled along the trail for a few km
before reaching our campsite at Pfohren. The campsite was packed
with other cyclists and I met a very interesting couple (Tamar
and Keith from the UK) cycling on a tandem recumbent bicycle.
Keith even gave me a “lift” around the campsite, quite an
unusual experience, but one I think I could get accustomed to.
14 June - Donaueschingen – Sigmaringen - 86km
We had an excellent ride along the Danube
cycle way and experienced our first sunshine on the trip. The
path is very popular and we came across many families (with
small kids) cycling along the path. The cycling was easy and
followed the river on a dedicated cycle path.
We passed castles, forests, villages and
stopped numerous times for coffee along the way. It was a very
social ride and everyone ambled along nicely, without any rush
to get to the campsite.
Miles is an excellent chef and once again
cooked up an amazing meal. A drizzle set in and sent us to our
respective tents quite early.
15 June - Sigmaringen – Ulm - 115km
The Danube cycle way is a bicycle trail along
the Danube River (as they call it here). It runs from the source
at Donaueschingen to its mouth into the Black Sea. It is a
dedicated cycle path for most of the way and the terrain is far
more varied than I had expected. We crossed the Danube several
times as the path followed the river in an easterly direction.
What an absolute pleasure to amble along a dedicated cycle path!
We arrived in Ulm, after stopping many times
for coffee and pastries. That evening we all took a walk into
town, looking for a proper German restaurant. We had no problem
finding one and pigged out on Wiener schnitzel, sauerkraut and
Swabian noodles, washing it all down with the local brew.
16 June - Ulm
We had a rest day in Ulm and did the normal
rest day chores i.e. laundry, internet etc. Ulm is known for
being home to the church with the tallest steeple in the world,
and it is also the birthplace of Albert Einstein, so there was
plenty to explore in this very interesting city before setting
off down the river again.
17 June - Ulm – Eggelstetten - 104km
There is nothing like a breakfast buffet for
a cyclist! We filled our stomachs from a large spread of
fruit, cereal, bread and cheese before ambling down the Danube
We must have impressed the owner of a coffee
shop with our “Paris – Istanbul” bike signs, as he offered us
freshly baked pretzels, which came out the oven piping hot a few
minutes later. He also generously offered us a sample of the
local sausage before we set off through the forest again.
Although the path is clearly signposted, we
still managed to pick (I think) the wrong route. Not that it
made any difference - all the routes are scenic and you
eventually seem to land up on the one you are looking for.
18 June - Eggelstetten to Kipfenberg - 100km
Everyone seemed to be up early in the
mornings due to our early nights, so there was no sleeping in. I
however seemed to be rather slow at the getting up thing.
After breakfast we all set off together but
soon the group split up and people did their own thing along the
way, taking photos, drinking coffee or sampling the local
cuisine. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as our days
rolled nicely along and people got into their own stride. The
weather however did not want to play along and it drizzled for
most of the day. The town of Eichstatt seemed rather interesting
but I kept going as by that time I had lost the rest of the
group and it was drizzling. I enjoyed the ride through the
forest on my own and arrived at camp fairly early.
Soon the others arrived and tents were
pitched in the constant drizzle. Fortunately the showers at camp
were piping hot and the rain abated as the evening wore on. The
cold seemed to encourage the consumption of an unprecedented
amount of red wine and chocolates! The red wine fueled
in-depth discussions of the world’s energy crisis. As with most
good discussions, we all went to bed content that we had solved
the world’s problems.
19 June - Kipfinberg – Regensburg - 100km
In a constant drizzle we continued down the
cycle path, which also meant that we had a good excuse to stop
for coffee and pretzels. It was once again such a pleasure to
amble along past all the small villages, through forests and
past farmlands. We watched barges maneuvering through sluices
and slowly moving downstream.
Somehow I managed to miss the lunch spot but
found myself on a nice cycle path along the river. So I
continued downstream until I reached the famous Regensburg where
we had hotel accommodation. This felt like the easiest cycling I
had done to date - downstream on a cycle path!! What an
absolute pleasure, I could get soooooo used to this!! That
evening we all went out to a German restaurant again so it was
back to schnitzel, sauerkraut and Swabian noodles - yummy!!
20 June -
Regensburg is a fascinating town with a
medieval centre which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage
Site. The old town is packed with old houses, churches and
narrow cobblestone lanes. It is apparently the only intact
historic city in Germany. The stone bridge over the Danube River
was built between 1135–1146, making it a pretty unique bridge.
21 June - Rederenburg – Straubing - 52km
It was a short but delightful day on the
road. Soon after we left, we stopped to inspect a very Greek-
looking building, the history of which is still unknown to me.
With it being such a short day, we stopped even more than usual
for coffee and pastries.
Chris was the only racer in the group and
normally arrived at camp hours before anyone. Francois (from
Canada), Michelle (New Zealand) and Jacky (Australia) are also
strong cyclists and normally set a good pace. Barry, Marion and
Alice are also experienced cyclists and so were normally right
on their heels, with the rest of the group trailing far behind.
22 June - Straubing - Passau - 100km
Our last day in Germany arrived and at last
the sun came out. We had a fantastic day on the road, except
that John (from Canada) had an accident and had to be taken to
hospital to have his leg seen to. Fortunately Barry and Marion
were there when it happened and could attend to his injuries
before the staff arrived with the van to take him to the
hospital. I can’t think of a better couple to have with you when
something like this happens as they must be the most caring and
compassionate couple around.
We stopped for coffee; we stopped for lunch
(no lunch truck today) and stopped for coffee again!!
There was no rushing and eventually we cycled on to the famed
Passau. Our campsite turned out to be extremely picturesque with
good showers. Supper was excellent (again) but then the rain
came down and sent us all rushing for cover. A few bottles of
red wine helped ward off the cold.