Thursday, 9.21.00 Passau, Germany to Linz, Austria
We didnt realize until we wound our way down to the bike path on the Danube again that yesterday was a rather lackluster day. Whether we were a little physically tired or possibly mentally fatigued, the scenery just didnt seem to excite us as much. Today was great! Judith remarked for the entire day that this was by far the best biking day of the trip.
The path along the Danube was just unbeatable. The surface was very smooth and the terrain was artistically irregular. I could just imagine someone painting the scene and creating the hills and curves as part of a grand composition. There is actually a competition between the people on each side of the Danube to make their side the most beautiful and desirable for bicyclists. And there are ferries and locks with bike paths to entice bikers to cross to the other side.
For much of the journey there were just enough trees on our left to form a canopy with the trees on our right, but still allow us to see through them and observe the river. For quite a stretch, it was raining fairly hard, but the trees protected us from getting wet. As we looked out at the river we reveled in the sound of the drops hitting the water and delighted at the scene being created by the fog and mist. At times we felt like we might even be on another planet.
We didnt just ride today; we played. It was totally fun. The bicycles were a means of transporting ourselves from one glorious setting to another. As the path wove in and out of the forest, across bridges, around lagoons, and through villages, we just enjoyed the fantastic journey.
At one point we decided to go down to the boat dock and see if we could observe any of our friends. We knew that some of them had chosen to take the ferry, and we wanted to say hello. We spotted them and waved. Then, the next thing I knew, Judith decided to try to keep up with them on land.
By the time I figured out how to get back to the bike path, she was history. I chased her for quite a while before she let me catch her (sounds like an earlier time in our lives deja vu?). We then both raced along the water until we realized that we were relatively easily averaging 35 kilometers per hour (thats almost 24 miles per hour). Thats right! We were finally experiencing TAILwinds.
Since we were both in our full rain suits, we immediately stopped and stripped down to shorts. We were soaked inside from perspiration by that time. We indeed spent a lot of time putting on and taking off various clothing items as the conditions changed during the day. After adding or subtracting vests, and jackets, and legwarmers and armwarmers, and helmet covers, and shoe covers, and various rain items, we would then get back on the bikes and go by the same people on the trail (many German bicyclists) again. We wonder if they realized that we were passing them over and over.
Back on the trail we noticed that the ferry was about to go through a lock. So we biked out on the lock and watched the folks sink down to the new water level and chug out underneath us. It was really a fun day.
We arrived at Linz at 3:00 PM just as it started raining again. We then changed into street clothes and toured the pedestrian section of the city until dinner.