Cycling Tour from Passau to Vienna…Day 2
Posted on: May 12, 2017 By: MG
Had an early morning as we had to leave for our 1st day of cycling. Though we have been here only for a few days and we have already started missing Indian food. And it's not about the European cuisine, although you have fewer options on the vegetarian side. It's just that the mashed potatoes, the white flour items & bland veggies can be had just a few times and then you start missing dal, roti & sabji. Let me not dwell on it more for we have another week to go without my favourite parathas and the more I mention the more I'll miss out on them. We checked out from our apartment and went to the market as we had to buy a few things which we forgot to bring with us from Pune. I believe it was more of an excuse to walk on the cobbled streets of Passau one more time before we depart the most beautiful town in Germany. We had taken the panniers a day before from the cycle shop to pack our stuff in them. Around 10.30 we reached the shop where Mathias ( shop owner) was ready with our cycles. He gave us a few instructions about the gears, locks, shared that helmets are not compulsory & the location in Vienna where we had to drop our cycles. We too asked him a few simple questions which he answered with a kind of an uneasy look. I asked him which is the road I should take, I meant the 1st road which we should take to leave the city. He saw the guide in my hand, looked at us one more time & asked us to take a round on the empty cobbled street for a few minutes. I believed it was because he didn't believe that we could balance ourselves on the cycles ( Maybe people who take cycles from him don't ask such a question with a guide in their hand) though Rachna was of the opinion that he wanted us to get used to the cycles. Anyways after he got convinced that we could balance ourselves on the cycle he said you are good to go. Luckily we could find a cycle route map in English at a book store which now would be our navigator for the next few days. So I with excitement and Rachna with a bit of nervousness, we both peddled towards Vienna. Since this was the first time we were cycling on our own in Europe there was a bit of apprehension. Couple of years back we had done Belgium to Amsterdam, but that was in a group & with a guide. This was solo and we had not scheduled anything except our return tickets from Vienna. The next 6-7 days we would be on our own. We would ride at a speed we want, take a night halt at places of our choice, have food, breaks at our leisure. That's the fun & freedom with solo biking & the pitfall is that there might be a lot of uncertainty. But I have always been a fan of uncertainty. In the first few minutes of cycling Rachna's anxiety was overtaken by a feeling of awe and bewilderment. We both were taken aback by the sheer beauty of the trail. It just seemed like a fairy tale picture. The river on right hand side, railway track on left hand , hills with a dense cover, lush meadows, awesome houses with flower beds on the balconies .. Had seen in picture postcards or films and we were now living it. The first hour or so went only in admiring, like a villager who had been brought into a city. Everything looked so out worldly. After some time we settled down and said to ourselves let's focus on cycling too. After cycling through the village of Erlau the 1st stop we took was a place known as Obernzell. This was also known as a 'potters' town and houses a ceramics museum. The second stop was at Niederranna where the river Rrannamuhl meets the Danube. We had cycled almost 40 km since morning. There were a lot of cyclists on the way, some sincere riders who zipped past at high speeds & others like us who were into leisure cycling. But there were many senior age group people too who were on e-bikes and almost all bikers would acknowledge each other as they passed by. We continued cycling for another 6 km to reach Schlogen around 3.30 pm. We had cycled around 45 km and decided to halt here for the night. Here the river Danube meanders like a hair pin bend and gives a very scenic view of the valley. This is also a camping site as there were many caravans parked. Though the villages we passed by were small, some had just 20-25 houses, but all had their basic hygiene in place. There is proper garbage disposal system, there is cleanliness, there is a pattern of architecture which is followed.. here the basics are in place. Back home half of our life is spent only in struggling for the basics.. We took a ferry to take us on to the left side of Danube. It was a small wooden boat operated by a lively old man. Wooden boats have a charm of their own unlike the fibre boats made nowadays. We checked into a cozy hotel ( there were just two of them there) and called it a day.