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Cycling down the Danube

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Day 3, 3rd September 2008

Riedlingen - Bechingen - Zell - Zwiefaltendorf - Obermarchtal - Untermarchtal - Munderkingen - Rottenacker - Ehingen - Griesingen - Opfingen - Ersingen


Radweg day 3

From Riedlingen to Ersingen 49 km (172.7 km from start)

Photo: Google maps


From Maria's Diary:

It was sunny and warm today but the riding was challenging, being very up and down over several hilly sections. We packed the tent and our gear after a quick breakfast and left at 8.45 am, saying goodbye to Erwin and Sonia as we wheeled our bikes out of the campsite. We weren't sure if we would meet up with them again. People ride at a different pace and they were heavily loaded. Erwin was hoping to do large distances each day but that depended on many things. We found that going through small villages definitely slowed you up and if there were many uphill sections it was easy to get tired with the weight of the gear on the back. Also our cheap bikes were heavier and the gears didn't work as well as our bikes back home. The important thing was to set a comfortable pace and not try to do too much in one day. The first 16 kms were the most difficult with many steep rises. We had to get off and push the bikes near one very steep section of road near Zwiefaltendorf/Datthausen. These sections are usually marked with an ! on the map.

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We had to keep a sharp eye out at all times for signs such as these. We were following, at this time, route 6 of the Donauweg. There are all sorts of "weg"s which criss cross Germany and Austria.

Thankfully, at this point, they were all route 6 !!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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The Donau was steadily becoming larger, and still we had wonderful iridescent green pastures to feast our eyes on.

People from Europe have no idea what a different landscape it is there, the colour of the grass and trees, compared with the grey-green of the Australian bush, and the dark, dusty green or brown/yellow of Australian grasses in late summer as they 'hay off' because of lack of moisture.

The light is different, and so is the vegetation.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Entering Daugendorf.

This was the first time I had noticed the plaster and board infill in the gable roofs, what we call 'half-timbered', known in Germany as 'Fachwerk'.

The pattern on the tiles of the church steeple were interesting as well.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Leaving Daugendorf, we passed these farmhouses. The farmers had used electric fencing around their fields to keep animals from straying.

Rarely on this trip did we find substantial fencing such as is common in Australia. There seemed to be many fewer animals, and when fields were stocked, they tended to be bounded by electric fencing.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Turning a corner at Bechingen, following the route 6 signs, we saw this quite different building, made of vertical boards, apparently untreated against the weather.

Here also, on this quite modest building, there was a plaster and board infill in the gable roof of 'Fachwerk'.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Zell is a small community just outside Bechingen, and here we crossed the Donau again.

On the bridge was this sculpture of what I took to be a Saint scratching his head!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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In Zell was this old stables, part of which had been bricked to form living quarters.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Leaving Zell, the Donauweg crosses the Donau in company with the railway line. I had to get off and walk on this crossing, there wasn't enough room for my crossways-sitting backpack when wobbling across riding the bike.

This very rarely happened on the whole trip, though sometimes it was a squeeze!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Entering Obermarchtal, where we had our ( by now traditional! ) morning coffee and cake.

We rarely had time to explore the towns and villages we encountered on the trip, and the Donauweg thankfully avoided most of the central parts of the settlements, which are very hard to navigate.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Obermarchtal church with onion domes on two towers.

Baroque domes in the shape of an onion (or other vegetables or flower-buds) were common in the Holy Roman Empire as well as Russia. The first one was built in 1576 by the architect Hans Holl (1512-1594) on the church of Saint Mary Star Abbey in Augsburg. Usually made of copper sheet, onion domes appear on Catholic churches all over southern Germany, Austria and Northeast Italy.

Photo: Adrian Michael
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or later
Text: Adapted from Wikipedia



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Signs like this were invaluable in determining exactly where we were.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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This sculpture of a stork is used to announce a birth in the family which lives in the house.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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We were obviously coming into more closely settled regions.

This photo was taken from a bridge, with another bridge further along the river, coming into Munderkingen.

There were lots of ducks on the water.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Munderkingen, just off the bridge, one minute later from the river photo above.

The Radweg didn't enter the town, but kept to the river bank.

The concrete pavers used were interesting, and provided good traction in wet or dry conditions.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Munderkingen, Germany, with the Danube River in the foreground, 19th century bourgeois style houses on the left, catholic church (spire) in the background.

Photo: Donautalbahner
Permission: Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License , Version 1.2 or later.



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Another bridge over the Donau, an hour out of Munderkingen with a motor traffic bridge further along.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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The Donau at Rottenacker.

It wasn't obvious what was going on here, with a temporary edge of light wooden slats on the concrete weir. The weir was to provide water for a small hydroelectric plant, a Wasserkraftwerk, (right photo) of which there are many on the Donau.

Photo: (left) Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008. (right) Alpha Tausendsand, Panoramio via Google Earth



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Ehingen is quite a large town, and the Donauweg passed by this well-kept sportsground, supported by the Schlecker company.

The sign reading 'Schleckerland' is a little sad, given what has happened since.

Schlecker is a German company with headquarters in Ehingen which, before its bankruptcy, had a workforce of some 52 000. There were stores across Europe including Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, France, Spain and Italy. Schlecker announced the closure of half its shops across Germany with effect from 29 February 2012. On 27 June 2012, Schlecker closed all stores with the exception of the 'XL-Märkte' and the 'Ihr Platz' associated concerns.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008
Text: Adapted from Wikipedia



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This is one of the many beautiful old buildings in the centre of Ehingen.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



From Maria's diary:

We then had a strong uphill pedal to Obermarchtal where we had our morning coffee and cake (pastry snail for Don, apple pocket for me).
We bought these at a bakery which doubled as a stand-up cafe. We sat outside at some outdoor furniture under a nice big umbrella watching the world go by and resting our legs and bottoms.
Then it was a down hill run to Untermarchtal and the track undulated over gentle hills through farmland to Munderkingen and Rottenacker then Ehingen where we ended up in the centre of town at a very nice town square.
We were both pretty dehydrated by this time - we didn't have water carriers on the bikes and couldn't carry our water bottles easily. We stopped for a drink at a pavement cafe - a large coke for Don and an ice-tea for me.

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Time for a rest!

Pavement cafe in Ehingen.

The newspaper was in a wooden rod, which both made it easy to read, and reduced the chance of someone running off with it under their arm. Very sensible.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Ehingen city centre and pavement cafe.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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Rolling farmlands on the way to Öpfingen.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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We began to notice all the house roofs with photovoltaic solar cells as we came into Öpfingen. PV arrays supply a significant proportion of Germany's energy needs.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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We were glad to reach Ersingen, and see the welcome camping icon on a little sign.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



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We had a bit of trouble actually finding the camping area, however, which was a little out of town beside a lake. It was a pretty primitive affair, with poor facilities.

However, the grass was green and soft, and that's all we needed.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 3rd September 2008



From Maria's diary:

After we left Ehingen the track flattened out all the way to our campsite at Ersingen. The campsite was quite primitive. It is next to a small lake and consists of a patch of ground tacked onto the local sporting fields. Our tent was set up behind the football field separated by some large bushes and a few shady trees.
The grass was soft and fairly lush and it didn't take long to set up the tent. Nearby was a rescue organisation building and beside that was a shipping container which had been converted into male and female toilets/shower. It was full of large daddy-long-leg spiders. These are quite harmless but they were off-putting. A regular spray and cleanup of cobwebs would have been a big improvement.
The facilities were opened at 6.00 pm when the campsite 'manager' came to collect fees. They were open all night and until about 10 am the next morning. This was because he didn't want the picnickers who swam at the lake to use the showers and toilets.
We paid 14 Euros for the campsite - very expensive for what it was. As we had to wait for our shower we decided to cycle into the small village and find a Gasthaus.

There was only one and it was very quiet. It was also a bit antiquated and I don't think they ever had many tourists.
The Wirtin was friendly however and we were soon downing our first beers. After cycling back to the campsite and showering we walked over to a Pizzeria which was in a building in front of the football ground.
It was run by a Sicilian couple who were very friendly also. There was no sign of Erwin and Sonia - they either passed us somewhere or cycled on to another town. While we were at the Pizzeria it began to rain heavily.
We met up with a German father and son (about 8 yrs old) who had been at the previous campsite with us. They were doing a short ride together - very nice to see. We had a good discussion while waiting for the rain to stop. It rained most of the night and was still dripping the next morning.



Cycling down the Danube

 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 |  Day 10 |  Day 11 |  Day 12 |  Day 13 |  Day 14 |  Day 15 |  Day 16 |  Day 17 |  Day 18 | 

Day 3, 3rd September 2008

Riedlingen - Bechingen - Zell - Zwiefaltendorf - Obermarchtal - Untermarchtal - Munderkingen - Rottenacker - Ehingen - Griesingen - Opfingen - Ersingen


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