Lauingen to Donauworth

Yesterday the temperature was an (apparently unusual) 35C. With the sun beating down all day from a cloudless sky there were some slightly pink faces by the end of the day. We spent the night at an amazing restored and converted brewery. we saw photos of the place in 1995 when it was just a derelict ruin. Six million marks later the building has been completely restored and converted into high standard accommodation.

Last night we walked into the centre of town to have dinner at the Hotel Lodner. It was still a very warm evening and the restaurant had set up a large outdoor table for us. It had been so painstakingly prepared that we felt like visiting royalty. Unfortunately our casual attire of shorts and sandals did not do justice to the surroundings.A short distance from our table we could see the impressive clock tower with its build date of 1461.It was a magical end to a great day’s riding, or it was until the waituress confused my drink order with David Brown’s. She explained her error by saying that “all English look the same”. She likened David and me to being twins. I am not sure who was surprised the most.

We had previously heard that the weather forecast was for a very dramatic change of conditions for today’s ride. We probably did not realise just how dramatic the change was going to be. Sometime just before sunrise the temperature plummeted to single digits and the rain started. This gave us the first inclination that the day’s ride was going to be quite different to the previous day.

Before we left the hotel the owner took us on a fascinating tour of the elaborate system of cellars underneath the building. Some of these dated back almost 1000 years ! Nowadays they are used as wine cellar and cool storage. In the past they had been used to store ice from the winter to use all year long.

After our cellar tour we donned wet weather gear and headed out into the cold. The rain was not heavy but persisted for almost all of the day’s riding. In some ways it was actually easier to ride in the cold than in the heat and the route took us through a diverse range of quiet rural roads and shaded bike paths. For several km the path followed the side of the Danube. Everyone was in high spirits and the forests were regularly filled with the sound of laughter.

At one point we were met with a bridge that was closed for repairs. Rather than take a longer detour we decided to tempt fate and proceed around the barrier. This immediately seemed to invoke some sort of curse upon the bikes as , one after the other, our riders stopped to examine wheels, brakes and gears. it truly was as if we had entered some sort of Bermuda Triangle on the Danube. Fortunately (and just as strangely) the bikes all returned to normal within a few minutes and we were able to continue on our way.

When we arrived in Donauworth we were all feeling rather cold and wet and were looking forward to a hot lunch. What followed was a relaxing lunch at a local pub where every meal just happened to cost 4 euros. Pretty good value.

After lunch the rain had stopped and we followed the delightful bike path to our hotel. I was glad to see that Lionel and I had been alloted the ENTIRE top floor! Perhaps it was the bridal suite, in any case it had several rooms, a kitchen, living room, a huge ensuite (even with its own urinal) and incredible views over the surrounding countryside. This adventure travel is tough sometimes.