After we said goodbye to Harald in Friedland we took his advice and cycled towards river Werra where there was a cycling route called Werratal Radweg. The following few days were full of relatively easy cycling, following the signs with the logotype for this route. In this section we had a few days of snow and chilly winds as we passed through tiny villages with traditional architecture. Other than that it was quite uneventful as we mostly cycled to stay warm, so we hardly have any photos from here.
When this route ended we cycled south towards Erlangen to meet my grandmothers cousin Susi and her husband Owe, whom my dad had arranged for us to stay with for one night. We were treated with lunch, the worlds largest pizza, and had a nice evening dinner with conversations that lasted long into the night. Cycling for 5 hours a day sure has an effect on your wine drinking capabilities, but we had a lovely stay here.
After that we cycled towards Nürnberg and a hotel stay to rest up as we had been cycling every day for 10 days. On the border of the city we were looking at our phone as usual, wondering how to get inside the city center without getting run over by the cars. Two mountain bikers, Christian and Adolf, came up to us and asked us if we needed help so we asked them the best way to get to our hotel which was in the city center.
After a 5 minute long route explanation they offered to ride along with us towards the hotel, how generous! So yet again we had private escort through the city streets, cycling in a tempo much more suited for racing cyclists. We also got to learn a little more about cycling manners in German city traffic. Go fast and flail your arms with signs to tell people your intentions and never look back! When we were on a safe cycling road again we said goodbye and thanked them. Two minutes later another cyclist, also named Christian, rolled up to us on his titanium touring bike asking “Are you really from Sweden and Norway?”.
Then he offered to show us the rest of the way as he was headed that direction. He was an active couchsurfer and offered us to stay with him, but since we had already booked the hotel we kindly declined. We hope you decide to finally go on your big tour one day Christian! Thanks for making our day guys! It’s moments like these that give us motivation.
As it was Easter, almost everything was closed so we didn’t do much other than eat, rest and plan the coming direction. As we looked at the map for routes towards Salzburg and through Austria we weren’t too sure which way to go, we asked in the bicycle touring group on Facebook for advice. The easiest route would be to follow the canal from Nürnberg to Passau, then follow the river Inn south to Salzburg.
So we followed the canal route, and quickly learned the majority of it was terrible gravel roads with rather non scenic views. So on this stretch we had the longest consecutive days of headwind, six days. Damned wind. Heavy wind in combination with parts of almost unridable gravel completely fatigued our knees and legs and left us quite demotivated.
It seems to be a popular route for retired people on E-bikes, particularly going the opposite direction with tailwind. Friendly greetings and smiling faces cruising by was the only thing that kept us sane as we became more and more covered in white dust and boredom. We had some really nice wild camping spots though, now with frogs croaking their lullaby at night instead of birds – a welcoming change. Other than that this route is 1/5 stars.
As we finally entered Austria on a very hot and sunny day we really felt the need of resting again before starting with the alps, so we contacted one Warmshowers host living outside Salzburg to ask her if we could stay a night or two. But that story deserves another post, so until next time!