We only did 64km in all today, from Scharding to Falkanbach (outside Freyung), but it was an exhausting due to the nature of the terrain and roads we traversed.
After much debate, we had decided that we would not follow Eurovelo 7 into Czech Republic, but rather stay in Germany and head north towards the Bavarian woods. The obvious bicycle route from here is Eurovelo 6 along the Danube, but we did that on our last cycle tour.
The first part of our journey today was straightforward – from Sharding to Passau, along established bike paths and alongside the river. Morning river rides are always special, with a magic quality to the light on the water. Look at the reflection of this monastery on the river.
We kept pace with a short couple on electric bicycles most of the way to Passau. The man seemed very keen on overtaking us early on, on the gravel path. Once we were back on sealed paths closer, we overtook them on a couple of downhill runs. Electric bikes had an automatic shut off once they reach a speed of 25km in Germany. So we made it into Passau just ahead of them!
We stopped at tourist information at Passau, but they were not particularly well informed about bike routes going north (all the tourist are on the Donau!). However they did provide us with a map with some cycle routes outlined through the Bavarian woods area that has been quite helpful.
I was taken with this statue to a woman poetess, that I hadn’t seen two years ago when we passed through Passau.
We rode alongside the Danube for only about 100 metres, before we made our way to the Ilz river, avoiding the big roads.
The main route north was on a busy road so Kris’s idea was that we could follow the banks of the Ilz river up north. This worked, although some of the routes we took were walking trails not bike paths.
This interesting trail took us through a tunnel that cut through the hill between S-bends in the river – some water was running through it. The stairs on the other side were so steep Kris had to carry my bicycle up.
Once we were out of the little nature reserve, we moved away from the river and Kris navigated us through very small rural roads and villages – Eggersdorf, Rhornbach, Harsdorf. Our route was much longer than you would take with a car, as we kept skirting around the bigger road. This part of the ride was hard as it took us through foothills leading to the Bavarian Forest – so there were constant hill climbs and it was also getting really hot.
Our final hill climb before Freyung was through the forest on unsealed roads. Jenny was not happy having downhill runs on loose gravel again.
We finally reached Freyung after 3pm and did a big shop at the supermarket. The accommodation we had booked was an apartment a few kilometers out of town, without any dinner, drinks or breakfast available. We enjoyed shopping in the German supermarket again and finding some old favorites from previous trips.
We circled the town and then did the final few hill climbs to the accommodation. We were very shocked when the lady who answered the door rudely said we couldn’t stay there and that booking.com should have contacted us. We were sweaty and exhausted. We just insisted to her that we had a booking.com booking confirmation. She looked on her computer and phoned around a bit. She finally got into the car and asked us to follow her. She led us a kilometer up the road (more uphills!) to two more accommodation providers. The one was deserted, with no one at home. We knocked on the other one and thankfully it had a place available. It was above our budget but we didn’t care, and in the end booking.com reimbursed the difference in price.
So we stayed a wonderful Gasthaus, der Danibauer (www.danibauer.de) – a historic house – it has been run as a guest house by the same family for more than 100 years.
The woman running it is an amazing attentive hostess. There were people drinking and eating beautiful food in the historic courtyard. There are only a few rooms upstairs, the main business seems to be the restaurant. We were just sorry we had bought all this food. We restrained ourselves to just having some Weisenbier and asparagus soup (Spargelsuppe). The woman said she could not afford booking.com as it represented a 30% overhead.
Booking.com had later sent me an email at 11am suggesting other accommodation, not very helpful. I claimed the price difference in accommodation from booking.com as a matter of principle and complained bitterly. (booking.com refunded the money without argument). We are looking for alternative booking channels.