Wednesday, 15 August 2012

19. July 14th - Training day.

It rained a lot in the night - there's a surprise- and although it wasn't raining when we got up at our customary time of about five thirty, it was fairly obvious that it was going to rain on and off all day. I would like to claim that this knowledge arose because we had become completely at one with the weather and her changing moods but I seem to recall that we had asked what the weather forecast would be the night before in the restaurant.

Fortunately the campsite had a very large kitchen area so we were able to pack our stuff away in the dry and could have our breakfast in relatively comfortable surroundings.

Through the conversation we had had with the two lads at the campsite near Frankfurt, and through looking closely at the map, it became obvious that the estimation of eight hundred miles for the trip was way off, and, even with leaving the Main and setting off across country, the whole trip would be nearer to one thousand miles. With having to get to Vienna by the 22nd July to meet Anthea and Hilary we realised that we could not cycle all of this and that at some point we would have to do some of the journey by train.

Due to the very grey sky and the gloomy forecast we decided that we should try to get to Regensburg on the Danube and continue our journey from there. From where we were the next big town was Wurzburg and, even with leaving the Main and cycling across country this was a good seventy plus miles away with no campsites in between. My only regret was that it had taken twenty four hours for it to sink in that we would have to take the train. If we had sat and thought about it we could have made the decision a day earlier and trained from Frankfurt to Nuremburg which would have been a much easier journey than the one we took- where we had to catch four trains- and it would have saved us a fairly damp day of cycling.

Anyway, as we paid at the campsite we [ Fred and Bruce], asked about the train station and were directed back to the town about three miles away. We got to the town, found the train track but could find nothing that looked remotely like a station. We decided to follow the railway track to the next town and, naturally, during the course of this ride the heavens opened and we got completely soaked.

The bikes, trying to find shelter at the first of the many stations we would visit on this day. Fortunately we managed not to  lose our temper throughout the day so none of our many stops could be described as the station of the cross. [ Sorry about that].

Fortunately almost every carriage on German and Austrian trains have a bike section. What is less fortunate is that there are usually very steep steps as you get onto the train and pushing very heavy, very wide, bikes onto the trains proved need at least two of us to perform the operation with any degree of competence and grace.

We bounced around on trains all day- we had to go back to Ashaffenburg, where we had been the day before and after spending a lot of time moving the bikes from platform to platform by going up and down in lifts, we finally reached Regensburg at about six o'clock in the evening.

Fred, probably humming 'Homeward Bound' to himself during our long, traincentric [ new word], day.

We arrived in Regensburg and the sun was shining- a rare and welcome sight. The town itself is well worth a visit and Saturday night in Regensburg is obviously party night. The town was alive with people dressed either as knights, medieval peasants and other assorted characters from the middle ages. Even at that relatively early time [ six o'clock, not the middle ages], the town was in full swing with live music by the Danube and every bar and beer garden full of ye olde worlde revellers.

I'll put more about the town tomorrow but the town did suit the party goers and the medieval theme  in that it seemed to have any number of squares surrounded by brightly painted old buildings and churches as well as an impressive cathedral with what can only be described as pepperpot spires.

The only photo I've got of the cathedral- you can just make out the two spires.

The nearest campsite was about three miles out of town and at first we passed it without realising it was a campsite. It was the Regensburg Canoe Club and they were having a club evening with a barbecue, a bar and games and activities. We cycled on to the site and were met very warmly, pitched our tents, had an excellent shoulder of pork steak for just four euros.

 All in all a good end to what had been a long day travelling

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