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Cycling down the Danube

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Day 6, 6th September 2008

Donauwörth - Zirgesheim - Altisheim - Leitheim - Lechsend - Marxheim - Bertholdsheim - Riedensheim - Bittenbrunn - Neuburg


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From Donauwörth to Neuburg 40.5 kms (328.5 kms from start)

Photo: Google maps


From Maria's Diary:

The day was sunny and warm. We had breakfast at the hostel at 7.30 am and chatted to the Kiwis again. They would be taking the Higginson detour today and doing the Altmuehl route instead of following the Danube. We didn't expect to see them again after today. Don had already worked on his brakes which kept stretching so we were ready to leave by 8.00 am. We bought food for the day at a nearby supermarket which I had spotted the previous day and headed out of town but went in the wrong direction for a few kms. We spotted some of the Kiwis going the other way so they had made the same mistake. Eventually we returned to the edge of town and found the correct exit. This wasted time so we didn't leave the town till about 9.00 am. We rode away from the left bank of the river through Zirgesheim, then down along the side of the river for some distance. We stayed on the main track and went inland through Riedelbergerhof to Altisheim then Leitheim, Lechsend and through Marxheim where we had a coffee and cake (Apple Strudel) in a beer garden. The track then skirts the side of a forest, then goes through open farmland where we watched some farmers working with silage. It continues on to Bertholdsheim where we had lunch.

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The hostel was very well run, clean and modern, and the food was good.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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I was delighted to see so many cars with personalised number plates for my name, Don!

The reason for the common plates is that in Germany cars are registered with the first three letters of the town in which the owner lives, and since we were in Donauwörth…….

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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I found this beautiful spider on a wall as we passed.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008






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This was an interesting fountain in the street.

Click on the image to see the animation if it does not start automatically on your browser.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008






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We spent an hour getting out of Donauwörth when we took a wrong turn, and had to start again. After Altisheim, the Radweg took us up a short rise and into Leitheim.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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Map of the local area.

The Lech river enters the Donau at Marxheim.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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The square in the middle of Leitheim village was pretty and well maintained.

The shirt I am wearing here was ideal for the conditions, it washed easily, dried quickly and was very comfortable in these sunny and warm conditions.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008






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We bypassed Graisbach, and continued towards Marxheim.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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The Radweg gave a good view over the river and the swampy forest beside it, with Neuburg on the horizon to the left.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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At Marxheim we started looking for our coffee and cake fix for the day.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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We stopped at this lovely little beer garden and had good coffee and some excellent apple strudel.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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SInce it was by now autumn, although sunny and warm, making silage was in full swing, to provide feed for farm animals during the cold winter to come.

Silage is the feedstuff resulting from the preservation of green forage crops by acidification. There are two main phases in the ensiling process. The first is the aerobic phase, which occurs in the presence of oxygen (air). The oxygen that is present in the forage, as it is placed into storage, is consumed by the plant material through the process of respiration. Under aerobic conditions, plant enzymes and microorganisms consume oxygen and burn up plant water-soluble carbohydrates (sugars), producing carbon dioxide and heat.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008
Text: http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/default.aspx?dn=0f4ad0a5-6733-4472-9e11-95cf79108918


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The first phase should be as brief as possible to maintain the quality of the silage. Excessive aerobic fermentation reduces the energy content of the silage and may cause heat damage to proteins. The second or anaerobic phase begins when available oxygen is used up by respiration and aerobic bacteria cease to function. Anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that grow in the absence of oxygen) then begin to multiply rapidly and the fermentation process begins.

The best silage is produced when the most rapidly growing microorganisms are predominately of the lactobacilli species, as they produce lactic acid from the fermented plant material. Lactic acid lowers the pH of the silage. Fermentation completely ceases after three to four weeks when the pH becomes so low that all microbial growth is inhibited.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008
Text: http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/default.aspx?dn=0f4ad0a5-6733-4472-9e11-95cf79108918


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Bertoldsheim was the next little village, quite near the Donau, where we found a place to prepare and eat our lunch.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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In Germany and Austria the maypole (or Maibaum) is a tradition going back to the 16th century. It is a decorated tree or tree trunk that is usually erected either on 1 May – in Baden and Swabia - or on the evening before, for example, in East Frisia. In most areas, especially in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Austria, it is usual to have a ceremony to erect the maypole on the village green. The custom of combining it with a village or town fete, that usually takes place on 30 April, 1 May or at Pentecost (Whitsun), is widespread. This tradition is especially strong in the villages of the Bavarian Alps where the raising of the traditional maypole on 1 May in the village square is a cause for much celebration. The pole is usually painted in the Bavarian colours of white and blue and decorated with emblems depicting local crafts and industry.

Just before the Maibaum is erected, depending on the region, there may be a procession through the village, usually ending up at a central place and/or restaurant and usually watched by crowds of spectators and accompanied by a brass band. The actual installation of the tree then takes place in the afternoon or evening. While the crowds usually while away the time drinking beer and eating sausages, the young men busy themselves with decorating the maypole to get the symbols of various trades representing the region into the right position. While the maypole is traditionally set up with the help of long poles, today it may sometime also be done using tractors, forklifts or even cranes. In Lower Austria ropes and ladders are used.

If the tree is erected on the eve of 1 May, then the event is usually followed by a May dance or Tanz in den Mai. Depending on local custom, the Maibaum may remain in place until the end of the month and is then taken down, decorations removed and the trunk stored until the following year. In many parts of Bavaria it remains in place all year round. On the night of the last day of April, many young men erect small decorated 'Maibäume' in front of the houses of their sweethearts. Some attach a red heart with the name of the girl written on it to the tree.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008
Text: Wikipedia




From Maria's Diary:

It was a fairly hard morning with some steep sections where we needed to push the bikes. The afternoon was better. we rode inland away from the river to Hatzenhofen then Stepperg and on to Riedensheim. From there the track headed toward the river again and followed the Danube for some time before heading away towards Bittenbrunn, where we met 4 Dutch people and had a great conversation. They marveled at our packs as they were doing a short trip and had the normal panniers. Soon we were on the outskirts of Neuburg. We had to cross the river to get to Neuburg.

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After Stepperg we rejoined the course of the Donau.

The surface of the Radweg was highly variable, but beside the Donau it was often dirt as here, possibly because the area floods sometimes.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008




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By the time we got to Bittenbrun, we were only a few kilometres from Neuburg, and just before the bridge to Neuburg the Donau split around the island of Leopoldineninsel.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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On the outskirts of Neuburg, but still on the true left of the Donau. The Radweg was well surfaced at this point, and quite separate from the road.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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The churches and other tall buildings began to show above the trees.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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There was a wide bicycle/pedestrian path on both sides of the main bridge to Neuburg, from which we could see the buildings on the high right bank of the river.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008




From Maria's Diary:

There was a camping site just over the bridge in the Englischer Garten. The camping area was fantastic - green lawn overlooking the river next to the rowing club. There was hardly anyone camped apart from a few caravans and campervans. The facilities were open so we showered, washed clothes and dried them over a couple of long benches that we carried over to our tent from another part of the site.

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The camping area was superb at the Donau Ruder Club, about 200 metres downstream from the bridge. Green grass, and a beautiful view across the Donau, and up the rise to Neuburg on this side of the Donau.

People were swimming and kayaking from a gravelly bank on the inside of the curve of the river.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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This bird looked rather like a kingfisher.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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(Left) It was interesting to see caravans and tents such as you might see in Australia. The Germans do not seem to have the same system of caravan parks that we do, with one or more in every town, nor is there the same interest in the camping lifestyle such as you find even in the south of France.

(Right) The main building, with me trying to get a shot of the bird in the tree!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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The main amenities block, and a plan of the area.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


From Maria's Diary:

After settling in we walked into town for an ice-cream. Neuburg itself is a beautiful town with an old city which is walled and overlooks the river. There is an excellent pedestrian area in the town full of outdoor cafes. In the summertime this must be a very popular place. Don was pretty tired so he walked back to the tent for a rest while I continued exploring the old town. I walked up through the castle complex and old town which is ringed by a massive wall then came back to the tent.


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The kayakers were still enjoying themselves as we strolled up the path towards Neuburg.

The main white building with round towers built into its facade is the Renaissance Ducal Palace (Pfalz-Neuburger Residenzschloss), Neuburg Castle, which was built during 1530-1545 under Otto Henry, Elector Palatine and took on its present-day form during the reign of Philip William, Elector Palatine. Today it houses several museums including a Baroque gallery of the Bavarian State Picture Collection and the Archäologie-Museum Schloss Neuburg an der Donau, a branch of the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008
Text: Wikipedia


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The streets and malls were a mix of cobblestones and pavers. The whole area was beautifully maintained.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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Ancient gates and towers seemed to be everywhere.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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Karlsplatz square with Marienbrunnen fountain, Neuburg an der Donau.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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There were beautiful old buildings, superbly maintained, around Karlsplatz square.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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The Stadtmuseum in Neuburg.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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The ornate interior of Neuburg Pfarrkirche St Peter, and its tower peeking over the top of of other buildings.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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A stone lion monument.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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The Boat house of the Rowing club, and a cafe.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008


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Maria did a lot of the sightseeing by herself, I was pooped, buildings are not my thing, and I had a snooze instead. The tent worked very well for this trip, keeping us dry and comfortable in all weathers.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008




From Maria's Diary:

In the evening we walked the short distance into town and found a restaurant for another Bavarian meal. The way back in the dark was magical with the castle complex lit up and a very sensible array of LED lights along the riverside railing. Although the map says only 40.5 kms for the trip, our detour in the morning added at least another 10 kms to the day. It didn't take long to go to sleep - we were exhausted.


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The beer was good, as always, and the food was great. Neuburg is a lovely town.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 6th September 2008




Cycling down the Danube

 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | 

Day 6, 6th September 2008

Donauwörth - Zirgesheim - Altisheim - Leitheim - Lechsend - Marxheim - Bertholdsheim - Riedensheim - Bittenbrunn - Neuburg


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