River Danube Tour Day 2: Finding the source of the great flow

Today we got up early and had breakfast as 0800.  The weather forecast is stating 32 degrees everyday whilst we are cycling but on the bikes the breeze makes it feel bearable.  We were on a bit of a mission to find cooking camping gas.  But we also wanted to go up and see the highest waterfall in Germany the entrance to the walk was literally just across the road, 4 metres away.  The waterfall walk once you go through the gates is about 30 mins.  We did not go up as far to see the 160m drop but we did see the seven cascades.  This was not through any other reason other than we did not know you had to go higher to see the big one! doh.

Once we got on the bikes straight away we were on a 1100m mountain climb and it felt good.  I love nothing better than getting in to an easy gear and pacing a way up a mountain full with luggage.  The bikes handled it superbly and I was so impressed at how easy it was even though in places they were advertising 20%.

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Once on the top it levelled out to nice meadows and beautiful tall trees.  The only thing you could hear at times were the cow bells.  It was just magical!

There has been some disputes over the years as to where the Danube actually starts and the villages of both places have come to a solution.  So there is the start of the highest stream which feeds into the Danube and they class it as the head water of the river.  We were there first as that is the highest point.  This area is called Bregquelle then after 40 odd km’s we came to Donaueschingen.  Here they have a Roman wall where they built a wall around the spring where the streams and river surfaces again, this is called the official start.

It has been one hell of an amazing day of cycle touring.  If you have not been to the Black Forest in Germany you need to get here.  I am having such a beautiful time, if it continues like this it will be a tour that will stay in the brain cells for many years.

 

River Danube Tour: Day 0

Tomorrow we set off on our tour of the River Danube.  As we are restricted on time we are doing half of the official 1800 mile long route.  So we are doing 900 miles from the Black Forest in Germany through Austria, Slovakia then finishing in Budapest the capital of Hungary.  The route goes through many beautiful villages and cities including Vienna.  You can see the official website for the route here:  https://www.danube-cycle-path.com/

An image of some of the gorges we will be navigating

gorge

The plan:  We have our bikes and bags packed up in boxes and tomorrow we make our way to Manchester Airport.  From there we fly to Stuttgart and the get a train to Triburg.  Triburg is a very attractive village in the Black Forest about 12km from the start of the route.

We have about 500m of climbing to do before we reach the route.  As we are starting at the source in the mountains the route generally follows a downward slope, but as we will want to get to the top of some of the gorges for views and villages there are bound to be some hills which will keep me happy 🙂

We are camping along the route with a couple of hotels in the cities even though you could if you wanted to camp in the city as well.  I have also got in touch with some hosts on the cycle hospitality site WarmShowers.  I used these in American and Canada and the hosts were amazing.  If you are looking at doing some touring and want to try staying with a cycle hosts the website is: https://www.warmshowers.org/

We are doing the route on Bromptons.  I will have a rucksack that will sit on the back rack vertically and attached at the seat.  Images of this will follow once we get to Triburg and set up the bikes.  I got the idea to pack this way off another cycle touring site, ‘Path Less Pedaled’ www.pathlesspedaled.com/  It is a good site full of reviews and touring tips.  I have weighed the bags and the front bag is about 15kg the rucksack is 20kg and the bike is 13kg and I weigh about 75kg.  So a total weight of 123kg I will need to drag up the hills.  If you have seen my previous tours you will know that this is quite a lot less than what I have hauled in the past.  The fully loaded tandem with trailer plus 9 year old from Spain springs to mind 🙂

An image of a Brompton set up like ours will be is below.

brompton with bags

I have the Bromptons on a three-month hire as I wanted a long-term test to see if they were able to join the stable of bikes I have.  I can say we are both very impressed with the bikes and we will be getting some of our own.  As they are hire bikes they do not have the full touring spec that I will get on the ones we will buy.  The ones we will get will have the -12% gearing, dynamo lights and the touring P type bar with a raw finish.  Like the one below but with dynamo lights.

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So we are excited by the trip and we are getting the last of the bits together.  I will try and keep a daily blog update of the trip with images and hopefully some video (depends on wifi and data limits).  So our boxes and bags are nearly packed.

 

 

 

Austria Skiing

We set off by coach from Halifax to Innsbruck where we stopped in the Hotel Dollinger.  It is a three star hotel but has lovely rooms and facilities.  The food is beautiful and there is plenty of it.

The drive took about 24 hours, but did not seem that bad.  Most managed to sleep fine during the night so in the morning everyone was perky, but that could also of been the excitement of seeing the mountains and the anticipation that we would soon be on snow.  When we got to the hotel we sorted our bags and rooms, had showers then we had a walk around the beautiful city.  There were a couple more nights when we would have a wander into the old town and it was nice seeing it in different sunlights.
On one evening we went bowling which was good fun and the students had some time in a swimming pool when we had finished on the slopes.
But the main event, what we were there for!  The skiing.  The slopes at Seefeld very much cater for the beginner/intermediate skier which was perfect for me and our group.  We had three instructors distributed between the thirty of us which worked out fine even though some groups were bigger than others.  The slopes are mainly blue and red with a couple of black runs slung in.
Weather wise we had one day of drizzle a cloudy day and a couple of days when it was blue sky glorious.  It was warm.  The snow was good though, it froze during the night which made the first run a bit tricky but after the first hour it started to soften and confidence would build again.  On the last night we had snow fall so we arrived on the slope to powder which made a lovely change.
Innsbruck is about a twenty minute bus trip to Seefeld but you can stop in the town of Seefeld if you wish.  When we drove through the town looked lovely and traditional and there was plenty of accommodation if available if you think it is better to be nearer the slope.
It was an amazing trip and Andrea my instructor brought my skiing on once more so I am looking forward to my next ski trip which is over New Year and we are going to Trysil, Norway, bring it on!