Brezel, Bier und dicke Schlitten

In Tuttlingen, we spot for the first time our long-to-be-valid roadsign: 'Donau Radweg'. Here, just around 35 km after the spring, we join the longest river in Europe and plan on following it at least to Belgrad, maybe also to its end, Constanza, where it pours itself into the Black Sea. Picking this way is not by chance, but by calculation: by following the flat and smooth landscapes we are hoping to build up our stamina without burning out too quickly, get our behinds used to sitting in the saddle for days and days, get to know our equipment better, drink a decent Weizenbier or two and eat a Kaiserschmarrn or a Knoedel in their place of origin. This means for the next couple of weeks its Rita, Christian and at least 2000 Km "Donau Radweg"!

In Tuttlingen, the Donau is more a creek than a river - yet. This creek winds its way through the hills of the schwaebische Alb, on which peaks uncounted numbers of castles have been built in the past centuries. The landscape is incredible with its high chalk walls, the green gras and the river in between. Just amazing!

The area around Ulm refreshed many of Ritas teenage-hood memories from her time in Germany with stops in Oepfingen, Oberelchingen and and Lauingen.

We had our first longer break planned for Ulm. Suitable to give the "hospitality-club" a first shot. And see: shortly after putting our first requests through, we get a call from Flo who later on warmly welcomes us on (!) the city walls of Ulm. In his old student flat we get a room to stay for 2 nights and are immediately integrated in the household by Flo's friend, Mathias. Fantastic! They tell us about Ulm, invite us for a big brunch on the next day, present us to all their buddies and challenge us in dart and table soccer. One really feels welcome here, idealism at its best, blessed be the hospitality club!

After a day of sightseeing in Ulm and meeting an old friend of Rita from back in the days, we contine with fresh legs and cut immediately into Bayern. Brezel and Bier at every stand of the Via Danubia, too many to try them all. The landscape opens up after Ulm, gives room to huge corn fields (we thought Popcorn-valley more suitable than Donau-valley) and great, blue skies. A real refreshment for eye and mind!

This ends again in Kloster Weltenburg and the Donaudurchbruch after many hours pedalling. A nice place popular with tourists travelling there mostly by boat from Kelheim. In the Biergarten where we sip our well-deserved Weizenbeer, the noise level is kept high by - a group of swiss pensioneers, a sympathetic bunch from Basel! After a night of camping almost on the football field near the Kloster, we buy our bread for breakfast in the Klosterrestaurant, at a rather unholy price. Though: 'The bread here is blessed' is how they quickly justify the price. Time for a reformation maybe?

We start the day by a 15 minutes boat ride through the Donau Durchbruch to Kelheim and reach Regensburg soon after. Both stunned by its beauty, we decide to stay there for an afternoon and night. Remarkable: Rita decides to donate her hair, check also the pictures - in goes a lady, out comes a boy ;-)

Passau and thereby Austria is now not far anymore. Once more up with the tent - due to a lack of alternatives on the airstrip of the Segelflugverein Vilshofen. In Passau we invest first money in an improvement of our equipment and buy some carrying straps for the pack bags which increase their resistance to rainwater. Then, off we go, Germany is behind, Austria ahead of us!

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