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Trains & Bicycles

It was hard to say goodbye to Munich after just a couple days, but we had to, so we did. Our real train trip of the vacation took us to Salzburg, traveling 90 miles at about 90 mph most of the way!

Upon arriving in the legendary burg, this was one of the first signs I saw.

Der whopper indeed. I took this as a sign that better sights could be found away from the train station, and we headed into the center of Salzburg. After walking through the house (built in the 12th century) where Mozart was born (in the 18th century), which is now more of a museum encompassing the entire family (countless plaques lauded the accomplishments of W.A. Mozart’s son, oddly), we headed toward the Hohensalzburg Castle, which lurks directly above the old town. Far above it. Upon seeing the price of the funicular ride to the top, we elected to save our euros (or so we thought) and just walk up. The climb was really quite pleasant, except for the hundreds of stairs alternating only with a steep pathway.

Nevertheless, we gallantly pressed on, only to encounter about 2/3 of the way up the hill a faregate which extracted almost as many euros from us to enter the castle as we would have paid to get a ride to the top and enter. Hmmm. Luckily, we could fall back on our pride in climbing the hill under our own power to restore the mood, which is exactly what we did. And the view pretty much took us the rest of the way to a great day.

One last thing I’d like to point out before leaving Salzburg is that not only are their trains on time and frequent, even their bus stops have detailed real-time arrival info for every line.

Have you ever waited at a bus stop in the US? That had this kind of info? Me neither.

By the end of the day, we needed to be back in Germany, which meant a couple more trains, one of which was packed full, seats and aisles, and which we very nearly missed exiting at our transfer point because we had to get ourselves and our lugguage from the center of the car to the end, stepping around, over, or through one person at a time. Somehow, we got out just in time, and made it to this town!

Passau is at the confluence of three rivers (all of which appeared to be very near flood stage when we were there), but the river in this photo is the Donau (Danube), along which we would be biking for the next six days. As any good biker knows, the most important part of any bike trip is preparation, and by preparation I mean eating!

We managed to score this delicacy (nockerl) in our hotel restaurant, and it definitely hit the spot. The next morning, we started riding the Donauradweg (Danube Bike Way) with the following route to accomplish by the end of the day:

The path start out looking like this:

and at various points along the way you can cross the river on bike ferries like this:

climb a couple hundred meters (optional side trip) to castles like this: (only to find that the castle is both privately owned and in disrepair, but that’s ok, because you really just wanted to climb a mountain for the sense of accomplishment. again.)

and pass by residences like this:

all of which makes you very hungry, so by the time you complete the 48 mile ride to the next hotel and stagger into the only restaurant in town which is open, you end up somehow convincing your waitress, through her broken english and your nonexistent german, to read back your order as “everything on the menu, except meat”.

Yes, exactly.

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