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Cycling down the Danube

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Day 5, 5th September 2008

Günzburg - Offingen - Gundelfingen - Lauingen - Dillingen - Steinheim - Hoechstaedt - Blindheim - Rettingen - Donauwörth


Radweg day 5

From Günzburg to Donauwörth 68 Km (288 Km from start)

Photo: Google maps


From Maria's Diary:

It was a sunny warm day. We had breakfast in the hostel at 7.45 am then packed up and said goodbye to the Kiwis. We rode along a few streets until we reached the bike shop which I had found the previous evening. I wanted to buy a basket for my front handlebar. The assistant assured me it could be fitted straight away so I wheeled it round the back and found the technician. He wasn't happy as he said he had a pile of bikes to repair. I twisted his arm with some firm persuasion and he relented. Don stayed at the bike shop while I walked into the town square to get money out of an ATM and some filled bread rolls and drinks for lunch. When I returned, Don was sitting with another customer. They'd had a roaring time using body language to communicate. We left Guenzburg and took the alternate route to Offingen then crossed the Danube and joined the main route through fields and forests and industrial areas following the railway line which we crossed at Gundelfingen. Bavaria is very Roman Catholic and there are overt religious elements everywhere, such as the statue of a saint at the entry to a bridge. We also marvelled at the huge number of buildings with solar photo voltaic arrays. We had heard that Germany had encouraged solar in a big way and this was proof of the seriousness of the people to increase the use of green energy.

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The YHA had a special shed for bikes, so we dropped our packs at the door, unlocked the shed, wheeled over the bikes, and packed up, ready for the day.

By this time we had a good method of attaching the octopus straps to keep the backpacks stable.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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We left for the Danube and the Donauweg via the middle of Günzburg, which is a lovely little town. The white tower with green roof is known as the 'Cow Tower'.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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The cooling towers of a power station appeared over the woods, but we continued on past Offingen over the Donau towards the very old town of Gundelfingen.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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The bridge had a statue of a saint in a niche beside it, a common feature in the area.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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This part of the Donau had forest on either side.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Many of the farm buildings had their whole southern facing roof covered with photo voltaic cells.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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A lone railway freight engine without cars behind it passed us.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Fifteen minutes later we came to a factory that made tombstones and monumental sculputures, many of which to my surprise were important historic sculptures of Communist figures.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Vladimir Lenin is easily recognisable, as is Stalin.

Igor Tureček has kindly identified the man to the right of Stalin as Klement Gottwald, a Czech Communist Party leader and Prime Minister.

Klement Gottwald (23 November 1896 – 14 March 1953) was a Czechoslovak communist politician and longtime leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. He was Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia from 1946 to 1948 and President from 1948 to 1953.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008
Text: Dates and information about Klement Gottwald adapted from Wikipedia.


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The owner had apparently got a large number of sculptures from East Germany after the wall came down.

I was very pleased when Igor Tureček was able to identify the fourth statue as Antonín Zápotocký, former president of Czechoslovakia.

In April 1939 Zápotocký and his wife tried to emigrate to the Soviet Union, but he was arrested while trying to cross into Poland. After returning from concentration camp in 1945, he was elected in 1948 as Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia. By 1953 he had become President of the Republic. He died in office of a heart attack in 1957.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008
Text: Dates and information about Antonín Zápotocký adapted from Wikipedia.


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Ernst Thälmann (16 April 1886 – 18 August 1944) was the leader of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during much of the Weimar Republic. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1933 and held in solitary confinement for eleven years, before being shot in Buchenwald on Adolf Hitler's orders in 1944. During the Spanish Civil War, several units of German republican volunteers (most notably the Thälmann Battalion of the International Brigades) were named in his honour.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008
Text: Wikipedia


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The radweg usually passes through the edges of towns, and only rarely in these regions did we need to share the road with other traffic.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008




From Maria's diary:

We headed off again to Dillingen, staying on the left bank of the Danube the whole way. We got lost in Dillingen as there are alternative routes through the town, some of which are not marked on the map. It was always hard to find the right Radweg signs especially in towns as there are many other signs at corners. We decided to stay on the main road and follow this out of town to meet up with the Donauweg a little further on, rather than taking the other route along the river.

The afternoon was long and hot and time was running out - we still had a fair distance to cover.

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We began to follow the Donau closely on an unpaved track, which slowed us down a bit, but being on the levee meant that there were no hills to climb. The sign indicates how far it is from this point to the Donau mouth at the Black Sea.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Twenty minutes later we were back in civilisation, at Höchstädt an der Donau. This contrast was one of the really interesting things about the Donauweg. You could be in the middle of a rural landscape, apparently far from any resources, then suddenly you turn a corner and there are cars and shops.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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The signage was often excellent. In this case, the sign says that you are leaving Höchstädt, and that Sonderheim is two kilometres away.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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The weather was warm, but we kept ourselves hydrated regularly. Here there is a roadside cross, a common sight in this area.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Entering Blindheim, the Radweg was a well made smooth surface, with the main road beside us, separated by a grass verge.

From Blindheim we headed towards the river again and crossed it then rode inland through fields and farmlands making a sharp left turn at one point.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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It wasn't always easy to find a good place to stop and eat and rest. This was an idyllic spot not far from the Donau, with table and chairs. At this point I am getting my stove ready to boil up a cup of turkish coffee. The stove is the bottom of an aluminium drink can, into which I pour alcohol. Put a stove support around it, light it, rest my billy on top, put the wind shield around, and three minutes later a welcome cup of coffee, or 'mud' as Maria calls it!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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At this point where we crossed the river, the Donau flowed between built up levee banks. The levee banks were great to ride on if they had a good surface, as they were reasonably straight and dead level.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Just at this sign denoting the entry to Bäldleschwaige, we noticed this huge bell on a tall tower, and stopped to talk to an old man in the grounds of the farmhouse/dairy in which the bell stood.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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The bell was a gift from his grandsons. He rings it each day at midday.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Eventually we reached the outskirts of Donauwörth.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008






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From Maria's Diary:

We had found a large town map near the entry to the town and this helped us locate the Youth hostel, which was modern and beautiful. We had to take a 4-bunk room on the 2nd floor for the night but that was OK. The hostel wasn't full and we had the room to ourselves. The Kiwis arrived at much the same time so we caught up with some of them. We had dried a lot of our things the previous night so didn't need to do that again. I washed the usual undies and Nicks (padded bike pants) and put them around the room to dry along with clothes that hadn't quite dried the night before.

After showering and changing we walked into town taking photos in the late afternoon light. We found a Bavarian restaurant where I had Schweinebraten with dumplings. We really enjoyed the traditional food and tried to order it at every opportunity. Don was excited at all the numberplates beginning with Don (for Donauwörth).

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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This long building not far from the YHA appeared to be a quite old farm building converted to apartments. The window boxes with geraniums are a colourful tradition in many parts of Germany and Austria.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008


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Donauwörth itself is a beautiful town, with many attractive buildings, all superbly maintained.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008



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At every turn, fresh marvels appeared. What a beautifully presented city.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 5th September 2008





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 5, 5th September 2008

Günzburg - Offingen - Gundelfingen - Lauingen - Dillingen - Steinheim - Hoechstaedt - Blindheim - Rettingen - Donauwörth


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