May 20 – Au an der Donau to Linz
Aaaaaand we’re back. After a short interlude of three days with fine weather, normal programming has been resumed. It rained. Again.
I got in a short, quick run this morning back along the Danube path. What an absolutely top spot to run. Having a path to follow, the river by my side, barges chugging along, just a fantastic place for a morning plod. Steve remained a resident of the Land of Nod, so no proper snap of this run, just a feeble solo selfie attempt with my phone, while hoofing past it propped up on a wall. Still, run done and any day I can fit in a run, even if it’s a short one, is a better day than it would have been otherwise.
We packed up and the rain came down. On went the slicks and we hit the Danube Cycle Route once again. We were heading for Linz, just a short 30km away, so we wouldn’t be out in the rain too long. Linz was planned as something of a jumping off point. This is where we need to do some research and decide which direction to head. We had a plan and then, when we spoke to Terry yesterday, we’re thinking our plans might change. It was a bit hard to do our research at the campsite last night, due to no wifi and a very weak signal on our phones, it took hours to get the blog post done, so we didn’t keep going with the research. Linz will be our spot for some intel and decisions about which direction to take after that.
The rain wasn’t too bad because at least it wasn’t cold. We’d hit double digits of 11C before we left, so that was OK. Rain is one thing, that’s bearable, rain and uncontrollable shivering is another experience entirely and I don’t like that one at all, I’ve had that one too many times. So…wet yes, but not cold and on a nice flat path by the river. Until…the nice flat path by the river became a path beside a busy highway. Not so pleasant. The rain and wet made it even noisier and the traffic whizzed past, as we pedalled right beside it.
We eventually got off onto a quieter street and saw a bench under a shelter and stopped for elevenses. We were soon joined by another couple, cycling in the opposite direction and they were heading for Grein, which we passed through yesterday. We all enjoyed our brief respite from the rain and then wished each other well on our onward journeys and we all hit the road again.
We were on a fairly quiet road, when we hit our first milestone. The odometer clicked over on the GPS and…we’d done our 1000th kilometre. It takes us a while to reach these milestone because, as we’ve already established, we are not speedsters in the cycle touring world, we are dawdlers, so after five weeks on the road, we have hit 1000 km!
At the half way point of the ride, we found the river again and had a nice quiet path leading into Linz. We could see the industrial landscape of Linz in front of us as we pedalled along…still raining..still wet. We still had a few cycle tourists coming towards us, in their multicoloured rain ponchos and they gave even more waves and even bigger smiles than we’ve had in past days. It was as if we were all in this together, this predicament of precipitation and gave each other understanding smiles and waves, with shared “can you believe we’re doing this!?” non-verbal communication. What I noticed today was how many all-women groups and duos there were. I saw quite a few pairs of women, who would have easily been in their seventies, pedalling along, doing this Danube cycle tour together. Brilliant. A huge “good on you” to them.
We found a hotel and we could see the sky becoming increasingly menacing and very, very dark. We thought we’d better get supplies while we still could before whatever lay in those clouds, struck with a vengeance. We pedalled off to find a supermarket, a couple of kilometres away and we didn’t make it. Down came the downpour and I mean DOWNPOUR! It absolutely pelted, so we backtracked to seek sanctuary at the hotel and hoped it might ease or pass. I was completely saturated, the waterproofs did nothing and I was soaked to the skin. The hotel stored our panniers and let our wet and dishevelled selves sit inside until the room was ready. I felt so squishy and sloshy and feral walking into that place. Although, I get the impression, being so close to the Danube path and by the look of the other bikes being stored in the garage, that perhaps they’re used to the likes of us and it doesn’t phase them. When we finally got our room, after a quick bite to eat, a change out of our sogginess, we managed to get back out and find supplies while the rain had eased a bit.
So that was it. That was the day. Just a short blog post today, because it was a short ride and the weather was so unfriendly that it was a bit tricky to take photos and there wasn’t too much to take pics of anyway. I would like to give a big shout out to the Austrian drivers though. They have been absolutely brilliant. Whenever we’ve crossed a road or the bike path crossed a road, even today when it crossed a road like a highway, they stop and wait for us. The have been nothing but patient and understanding and kind. I guess they’re used to a lot of cyclists around here, but I thank them heartily one and all, they have been tops.
So now we have to get down to some research and figure out our where-to-next. It’s supposed to keep raining for a while, so we might keep the distances short, wherever we go, but first we have to decide where that is! In our usual fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants style, we’ll make it up as we go and that could mean anything and anywhere! Whether we like ‘em or not, we have to learn to live with surprises, because we create our own all the time!
Distance ridden: 34.8 km
Time in the saddle: 2 hours 18 minutes
Distance run: 6 km
Weather: very wet, very grey, thankfully no wind, not too cold, 14C
Update on the knee situation: functioning at 98% now, so all’s good!