Category Archives: Germany

Deggendorf to Passau and the Austrian border


Well, it is Mayday and it is  just one month since we set off from the rear of our home in Chester on NCR5…. and today’s destination will be the last night we spend in Germany before we enter our third country on our journey… Austria.

IMG_20160501_111807Today wasn’t so sunny, but at least it was dry as we made our way out of Deggendorf eastwards on a quiet Sunday morning in Southern Germany. Our route took us across the Donau, but this time on a ferry, our first on the Donau.

We had a little rain in the afternoon, but we’re not anywhere near as soaked as we have been.

IMG_20160501_170239As we approached Passau we saw a barge just entering a lock; both were massive.

We watched for about 40 mins as it glided in, fixed to the side, gates closed, and the water let in

We arrived in Passau and found our accommodation near one of the bridges. Looking up, we could see some splendid old buildings high up overlooking the town. One of them was the youth hostel we thought about booking, but decided against it when we realized the location. Very glad not to have to get the tandem up that hill!

The view towards St Stephen' and the Aldstadt from our hotel
The view towards St Stephen’ and the Aldstadt from our hotel

After an excellent Indian meal, we took a wander around the town,

The "Dom" (St Stephen's Cathedral) at night
The “Dom” (St Stephen’s Cathedral) at night

the streets were quiet and we wibbled about for an hour or so. It was lovely wandering through history.

Nerd’s Corner

Deggendorf to Passau : 46 miles

Distance travelled do far: 1195 miles

Regensburg to Deggendorf


Starting in such an historic city as Regensburg we just had to have a bit of a wander before starting off for Deggendorf, some 60 miles away down the Danube.

IMG_20160430_095917Lots of cobbled streets, attractive old buildings and oodles of history.

Unfortunately the Old Stone Bridge across the Danube was being restored with lots of scaffolding shrouding the stonework. However as we crossed the river we noticed, for the first time, shipping that used the Danube for navigation… The river had become wide enough and deep enough for larger vessels to use the river as a waterway.

The view downstream from Die Alte Steinbrucke at Regensburg
The view downstream from Die Alte Steinbrucke at Regensburg






One of the nicest things about travelling by bicycle is that you notice lots of little details that you would miss if you roared past in a tin box on four wheels…

Allotments with a view ... on the banks of the Danube
Allotments with a view … on the banks of the Danube

for example we passed some lovingly tended allotments that were right next to the riverbank… lovely to see in the sunshine with the flowers echoing the colours of the German flag.

The Walhalla memorial building - conceived in 1807 by Crown Prince Ludwig, it was built between 1830 and 1842
The Walhalla memorial building – conceived in 1807 by Crown Prince Ludwig, it was built between 1830 and 1842

We also passed the huge building in classic Greek style,  a bit like the Parthenon, that you could see for miles in any direction.  Called the Walhalla Memorial, after the old norse god, it is a hall of fame for all German speaking peoples and houses busts of suitably famous people. It was very high above the river and we had 60 miles to do that day so didn’t walk up to visit it.


Our route took us through a town called Straubing. We almost decided to cut a loop out and not go through this town, but it was a warm day and we wanted to fill up our water bottles……

The town was bustling and busy, with several cars driving round tooting horns loudly – seems it is the thing to do for a wedding.

In the town centre we came across some traditional dancers, all in costume.

As we moved on through more rural areas, we saw many villages had these decorated poles up, rather like huge IMG_20160501_114800Maypoles – we were told it was to celebrate “Frühe Fest”  – a sort of spring Oktoberfest.IMG_20160501_152418

At one point along the Donauradweg (the cyclepath we are following) it was very blocked by a craft market. We enjoyed walking through and looking at the stalls. A few folks asked us about our tandem and we had some conversations in a mixture of English and German.






A few kilometers before Degendorf we stopped for a water break, and a friendly resident started to give us the run down on the history of his village. He urged us to go inside the rather pretty church that was close by, and also told us about the massive floods that occurred on the Danube between Passau and Deggendorf in 2013.









We arrived at Deggendorf after a long day to scenes of merriment as the town had it’s own Frühe Fest activities well under way, with a fun fair set up not far from where we were staying.

Nerd’s Corner

Regensburg to Deggendorf: 64 miles

Distance travelled so far: 1,149 miles


Ingolstadt to Regensburg


We spent the morning being shown around Ingolstadt by Svetlana our Russian Airbnb host. IMG_20160428_203810

We saw inside the Münster , a very spacious and lofty building.






20160501_085938She also took us to a Catholic Church, the Maria de Victoria Church, no longer used for worship it is now a museum and a performance space.

This had the most spectacular painted ceiling. Viewed from a specific point on the floor, all the perspective of the trees, fountains and pillars was perfect, but as you moved about the church the images no longer appeared as they originally did….wonderful. And as you walked about the space, one of the characters on the ceiling always had his eye on you!

Ingoldtadt from the Donau
Ingoldtadt from the Donau

We set off for Regensberg our next destination  at midday and left to the sound of a symphony of bells as various churches marked noontime…. the deep sonorius bells of the Münster mixed with the soft tuneful musical chimes of several other churches, each of which played their own tunes on their bells.

We followed the Donau for some way, but turned South here and there away from the river. Much of our ride is through very rural countryside.

Goats by the road.
Goats by the road.

We had been recommended to see Walensburg, a small town further along the Danube,  by Svetlana. But on looking at the contour lines nearby, and the lack of a riverside path we decided not to visit. Steep hills and a loaded tandem are not a good mixture.

However, we still managed to find some hills on our way into Revensburg. We had some difficulty with the chain jumping off when we were in a low gear ….. so more pushing the tandem up hill.

The last 3k into Regensburg were good – a lovely wizz downhill, we got up to 40kph (that’s 25mph in old money). In fact Simon’s hat blew off as we were speeding downhill,  which then hit Diana in the face and disappeared behind us! Thankfully we were able to retrieve it safely.

Here our night’s stop is a hostel.

Nerd’s Corner

Ingolstadt to Regensburg: 44 miles

Distance travelled so far: 1085 miles

Donauwörth to Ingolstadt along the Donau

Lunchtime picnic on the Danube
Lunchtime picnic on the Danube


After a bizarre overnight stop in a motorway motel, with our tandem safely stored away in the stockroom we set out in bright sunshine to follow the Danube downstream.

Today’s ride was relatively easy, following for the most part well maintained paths on the riverbank – sometimes freshly laid gravel made the going harder work.IMG_20160428_170908

We occasionally cut off the odd wiggle in the course of the river to head off down quiet country lanes and cyclepaths, crossing attractive agricultural landscape.

Stopping for lunch at a crossroads of decently surfaced narrow agricultural tracks we thought it would be a peaceful spot…. however we were passed by several tractors with trailers, walkers and other cyclists. One of whom stopped to have a brief chat about destinations and starting points. Benno, we discovered, had set out from his home in Freiburg on a year long journey on his bike to get to China! He told us of his blogsite , so we gave him our card’ with our blogsite address on.

A sleety windy squall that suddenly arrived in the space of 10 minutes and broke up our chat. So we dressed up in our waterproofs and headed off again, fortunately being blown along by a brisk, icy cold westerly wind.

One particularly attractive detour cutting across river bends, went up and over beautiful woodland on a recently constructed gravelly cycle path…. unfortunately it involved a bit of climbing and our long ride yesterday meant we both had some difficulty peddling up the uphill required ….. after a bit of walking and several breath-catching pauses we reached the river again.

Neuberg an der Donau

We passed through various historic looking settlements, often characterised in the Bavarian manner, by a substantial entrance of a gatehouse leading on to cobbled streets and amazingly ornate old buildings inside.

At one of these towns, Neuberg an der Donau, we stopped to have a very nice coffee, rooibosch tea and a beer, before having a quick wander around the ‘Aldstadt’ beyond the gatehouse.

The 'Aldstadt' at
The ‘Aldstadt’ at Neuberg an der Don





We passed yet another one of many hydro-electricity plant built to take advantage of the waterflow from the river. Each of these formed a lake in the river behind the low dam walls which invariably provided a home to broods of geese with lots of little goslings in tow (usually we were hissed at by the parents to keep away!)

We also observed lots of other birdlife swooping and darting to catch the insects over the water – usually, swifts, swallows and martins. Hearing a few Cuckoos in the woods suggest spring and warmer weather is not far away.


We arrived at the beautiful old town of Ingolstadt on a chilly but sunny evening to meet our Airbnb host Svetlana who showed us our interesting and attractive apartment for the night.

Ingopstadt is the northernmost point on the Danube as it wends its way eastward  to the Black Sea.


Liebfrauen Münster in Ingolstadt
Liebfrauen Münster in Ingolstadt

Ingolstadt is also the home of the car manufacturer Audi… and we noticed quite a high proportion of the cars locally were of this luxury car brand.

After a really nice meal at a vegetarian restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host Svetlana called “Swept Away”  we had a lovely wander through the attractive streets of the  Aldstadt in Ingolstadt

Nerd’s Corner

Donauworth to Ingolstadt: 43 miles

Journey so far: 1,041 miles…….. our first thousand miles!

Blaustein to the Danube at Ulm then to Donauwörth

The scene from our breakfast table ar Max & Lotte's home
The scene from our breakfast table ar Max & Lotte’s home


We woke up to a bright snow covered morning at Lotte & Max’s home, our wonderful Warmshowers hosts for last night.








We had our first view of the Danube ( or ‘Donau’ in German) at Ulm, some 5 miles away from Blaustein, down the Blau river.

The Münster at Ulm
The Münster at Ulm

The Münster at Ulm was very impressive and, apparently, according to Max, our host, it has the tallest spire in Europe (soon to be surpassed by La Familia Sagrada Basilica in Barcelona).





Bread on sale at Pano
Bread on sale at Pano

We had a nice coffee at a cafe/bakehouse called PANO in the Münster square which is run as a cooperative and specialises in vegan and vegetarian snacks. They had a great display of freshly baked bread on show.

One of the distance markets that show the distance in Km to the mouth of the Danube
One of the distance markets that show the distance in Km to the mouth of the Danube

The Danube is to be our companion for the next 1,000 miles or so before we turn away southwards in Bulgaria and head for Turkey.

Here at Ulm we are about 2580Km from the Danube delta on Black Sea.

Being along a river, our ride was characterised by flat fast stretches through riverside woodlands, nature reserves and arrow straight paths atop flood defence bunds.

We were fortunately  helped by a brisk Westerly wind – but, by a piece of erroneous navigational planning (!)  we managed to ride 67 miles (which did result in some rather cross words being exchanged) and arrived somewhat exhausted at a hotel/motel beside a motorway junction which offered the best price for a night in the area.

Nerd’s Corner

Blaustein (Ulm) to Donauwörth : 67 miles!

Journey so far: 998 miles.

Göppingen to Blaustein

Yes! A snowshower in late April in Southern Germany
Yes! A snowshower in late April in Southern Germany


We were greeted by snowfall as we were loading up our tandem at Göppingen…. a few miles from Geislingen an der Steige…. name meaning “Geislingen on the climb” which is the start of the Schwalbe Alb the Swabian Jura mountain range….. some climbing is ahead!

What a day it was! We set out in light snow from Göppingen towards Blaustein near Ulm.

We have peddled up the most hills of our journey today, climbing a total of some 577 metres! As we carried on, the snow got heavier until we felt as though we were in one of those snow domes you might shake at Christmas.


We passed wood stacks wearing snow caps, trees dusted with snow, steep slopes all shrouded in mist and snow.

On the tops of the hills I was looking for Father Christmas and his sledge! Luckily the snow wasn’t settling on the ground and the roads and paths we were following were just wet, not icy.


Woodland flowers in the snow

We managed to find a bus shelter to huddle in as we ate our lunch but we still  got very cold. Fortunately we found a little bakehouse/cafe nearby where we could  get a hot drink. Two hot chocolates each later, and we were then ready to carry on.

More and more up hill, then eventually some long downhill rides to Blaustein where we arrived at our Warmshowers hosts,  Lotte and Max who had a nice welcoming log fire burning as we arrived.

Having provided us with an excellent meal we were offered the opportunity to go for a swim at the local swimming baths. This was not just any swimming pool, it had a brilliant slide. One that twists and turns with no light in some places, and spirals of light in others …. excellent fun. I am sure the first ride was somehow longer than the others!

There was also a warm ‘spa pool’ that was outside fed by artificially heated natural spring water. I was not sure about this at all, I mean, outside, at night, on a day it had been snowing!

However it was quite wonderful. The water was as warm as a perfect bath, the sky had darkened to night and there were gentle flurries of snow on our faces. At the side of the outdoor pool there were strong bubble jets of water that came on intermittently, so that it was possible to massage tired muscles with them.

Altogether a wonderful end to quite a taxing day.

Our hosts told us that General Rommel, of Afrika Corps fame, came from Blaustein, and in fact, where we were staying was around 400 mtr from where he had his family home – which is now a private residence.

Nerd’s Corner

Göppingen to Blaustein : 34 miles

Distance travelled so far: 931 miles

Total height climbed today : 577 metres

Esslingen to Göppingen

A street sculpture we passed in Esslingen
A street sculpture we passed in Esslingen beside a bus stop.


We had planned our journey to Ulm in short hops, because we know there are hills to be climbed on the way –  however as it turns out, today there was not much hill climbing.

Also, finding somewhere to stay at convenient points is not always easy (and it is too cold to be camping right now!), so some stages are shorter than perhaps they could be.

We sat by a river for lunch watching lots of House Marten’s swoop and dive over the water snacking or feasting on insects over the water.

Although Stuttgart is reputedly the warmest part of Germany, it has become unusually cold for the time of year and snowed a little today!

Nerd’s Corner

Esslingen to Göppingen: 22 miles

Distance travelled so far: 897 miles

Leingarten to Esslingen am Neckar


Although this section of our journey towards Ulm and the Danube was relatively short we found today’s ride was rather more tiring than previous days; partly because there were several ups and downs but also because we had a few hailshowers and cold weather to contend with.

IMG_20160424_135004Our German based bike route planner helped us to find some lovely back lanes to reach our destination,  finding ways under busy roads and through woodland…. however some of the woodland tracks became paths …. then …. disappeared … in the middle of the woods … or suggested a path that just didn’t exist!

However, fortunately,  we managed to push our trusty steed to reach a track again and we eventually reached our Warmshowers hosts for the night, Frank and Ho Pheng their 6 year old daughter Inge and their little baby Jan.IMG_20160425_101621

Their home was in Esslingen near Stuttgart, a lovely old house fitted out inside with lots of woodwork and homely touches.

Nerd’s Corner

Leingarten to Esslingen: 42 miles

Distance travelled to date: 875 miles

Height climbed 267mtr


Heidelberg to Leingarten in the rain


We left Heidelberg in the rain along the Neckar for a few kilometers, then turned up another river valley following this for some way.

Although Simon asked the website he used to give us a flat route, we did encounter some hills. However we are skirting around the Black Forest, so what would you expect?

Glad to say we didn’t have to resort to pushing the tandem up the hills, but for one hill we did have to stop a while to catch our breath.

We found a little shelter to eat our lunch….IMG_20160423_130842







Then, later on, when we stopped for a hot drink, Simon wrung the water out of his gloves.IMG_20160423_135308







When we reached our Airbnb host, Susan, at Leingarten, there was a lovely fire going and lots of hot water for a refeshing shower.IMG_20160423_182349

Nerd’s Corner.

Heidelberg to Leingarten : 39 miles.

Distance travelled so far: 833 miles

From the Rhine to the Neckar – Worms to Heidelberg


We learnt from our welcoming warmshowers host, Angela, that the historic city of Worms is reputedly the oldest city in Germany. However  very little had escaped the intensive allied bombing in the latter days of World War 2 in 1945 so few historic buildings have survived.

Unfortunately the ancient Lutheran church didn’t survive the bombing, (Luther/Diet of Worms etc.) with its replacement being built in the 50’s.

The gatehouse on the Nibelingen bridge across the Rhine, Worms.
The gatehouse on the Nibelingen bridge across the Rhine, Worms.

Apart from the Catholic Cathedral one of the few remaining historic buildings is the impressive gate house on the Nibelungen bridge across the Rhine. We crossed this as we left the Rhine and headed for the Neckar River to reach Heidelberg.

Most of the bridge was bombed out but the gate houses survived, although only one is now remaining.

We left the Rhine at Km443 , so we have travelled along it for a total of about 300Km



Then our route to Heidelberg took us through a narrow path in a field……  thank you Google maps! At least there was no locked gate to negotiate this time.

Coming into Heidelberg we could see what an attractive city it is, especially the “Altstadt”.

Having found our airbnb host in a small village beyond the city, we unloaded our tandem and caught the bus in to the city for a bit of a wander.

An attractive building in the Heidelberg Altstadt
An attractive building in the Heidelberg Altstadt

We’re staying a couple of nights here before following the Neckar towards Ulm and the Danube.

The Universitätsbibliotech in Heidelberg - constructed between 1901 and 1905
The Universitätsbibliotech in Heidelberg – constructed between 1901 and 1905






Nerds Corner

Worms to Heidelberg – Just 33 miles

Total distance travelled – 794 miles