July 2 - 6: Nußdorf - Braunau
A 46 k ride to Wasserburg
A decent night's sleep last night - softest beds yet - but the flies were something else! It was in the farming village of Nussdorf, where they use cow manure for fertilizer, and the flies that go along with the manure buzzed around the room all night, landing on us and waking us up.
The ride today was 46 kilometers, to Wasserburg. It was either that or Rosenheim, which was only 16 kilometers away. We handled the distance pretty well - especially because the heat has diminished. But there were a few heartbreaker hills that we had to push the bikes up. Note to self - be more careful when deciding whether to bike on the west or east side of the river. I decided on a whim to bike on the east side, because it looked more interesting, but it turned out hilly - plus the GPX file (the set of lat/longs for the trail) must have some old data, because we went up a long hill, then down another - which ended at a dead end! It seemed like the path had gone through an area previously, but now it has been locked off. So - we had to backtrack, pushing the bikes up a steep hill we had just coasted down. And then we had to find an alternate route, past a section of road where there was a ton of traffic, and about a 2 inch shoulder.
Lunch was at a little "Imbiss" (snack stand) at a lake right off the bike path. The main attraction was that it was (as the sign from the trail promised) 150 meters from the trail. Which was all I wanted to go out of my way.
Everything worked out fine in the end. though, we got to Wasserburg, which is a charming tiny city on the Inn, with a ton of character. It's just the right size, you can walk around the whole thing very quickly, but it has everything, including lots of restaurants.
We went to a Penny grocery store here, and saw an interesting sight. A couple with a baby, who were obviously very recent immigrants from Africa, had two huge grocery carts full of goods.The lady had previously walked up to me in the store (I think she heard me speaking English with Peter) and asked me if a bottle of shampoo was soap. I told her, in English, what it was.
They were paying for them partly with some kind of welfare slip, and partly with cash. There were multiple problems with the payments, including their ID, and they just had too much stuff, and ended up leaving most of it. The cashier was getting extremely frustrated. Then a second cashier came and opened a checkout line, and asked the first cashier why she hadn't asked for help (by now there was a huge line of customers). The first cashier blew her top, and said she'd been too busy with the immigrant couple.
It was interesting. There's obviously been some very noticable changes in society because of the wave of African and Middle Eastern immigrants.
Another day in Wasserburg
Since yesterday was a long biking day (by our standards, anyway) and the next segment is another long one, we did a rest day in Wasserburg today.
A quick note on Wasserburg - it got rich in the 1400's, mainly from the salt trade (from the town of Hall, next to Innsbruck, Hall is an old word for salt). Wasserburg is on a peninsula jutting out into the river Inn, and there's only one (very busy) bridge to it.
In the morning, we walked around the city - there's a sculpture walk that goes along the river. We also went up to the hill on the other side of the river , where there's a nice view of the city.
But the main activity planned today was a nearby (well, 30 minutes by bus) adventure park that has all kinds of rope courses and things like that.
However, it didn't work out. We got to the right bus stop way ahead of time, and knew the bus number, etc. However, there was at one point a huge clot of busses coming through. Some of them had the number on the front, some didn't. I thought the ones without the number on front were all school buses, but they weren't - one of them was our bus, the 7702, which was stopped far away from the actual stop. As it was passing, we saw that it was our bus, and tried flagging it down, but it just drove on by.
So, Plan A was a bust. Luckily, Plan B was pretty good. Swimming pools are usually really nice in Austria and Germany, and the local one is no exception - it's amazing. It's called Badria (a play on words, from "baden" - swimming - and "Adria" - the famous coast of Italy with amazing beaches). It was for some reason almost empty - in complete contrast to the pool at Kufstein.
There were 6 slides, and all kind of play equipment in the pool - including a set of connected floats that kids tried to run across, usually without success. Peter made it across a few times, and there were groups of kids that hung out there, playing on it, for hours at a time.
Then we walked back to our hotel and rested up for a while before dinner, which was at a Vietnamese place - the first one I've seen with non-Vietnamese owners. The food was good, the service was bad - in contrast to yesterday, wen we went to an Indian restaurant for dinner - the food was mediocre, but the service was good.
I don't think I've gotten many Wasserburg pictures in here yet. These covered walkways like in the photo below are a prominent feature of the city.
The fourth of July in Mühldorf am Inn
Today was another long day - 46 k, and that's before all the detours and dead ends. This trail is supposed to be well-marked, and it generally is, but there's definitely some exceptions that lead to problems.
Today the problem was the crossing at the dam Jettenbach. I was looking forward to it - you're supposed to be able to cross the Inn on a dam. The problem was that there was construction around there, and no access was allowed. I went past the first set of signs, thinking that I could at least ask about an alternate route (because the obvious alternate route was a very busy road), but there was nobody else to ask, just a sign saying that there would be video surveillance, and you would be prosecuted if you went past the gate.
So we went back, and I flagged down some passing bikers coming in the other direction, and asked how they got by the obstruction. It turned out to involve a short stretch of biking on a pretty busy road, but otherwise it was fine.
This was also a day of hills - the hilliest stretch yet. Peter and I walked our bikes up multiple stretches. I think it's the last hilly area - I believe the rest is mostly on the river.
Finally we got to the town of Mühldorf am Inn. There was a very long "Stadtplatz" - a street with shops on both sides, and the covered arcades. Similar to Wasserburg, the last town we were in, but more centralized. Getting to the hotel was a challenge, because my phone battery was giving out, so I was turned it off, and only turned it on when I thought we really needed it. So we ended up making a few unnecessary detours. When we got to the hotel, it turned out that they were closed from 11 to 5! Granted, it was a small hotel, but those are some strange hours! And I don't have German sim card, to call local phone numbers. A guy who was a guest here helped me out, and called the number, and they came by in about half an hour to let us in, so it ended up okay.
Walking around the main square, I saw THREE - yes - THREE bookstores! Here's one of them:
And this is NOT a big city or anything, it's really more like a large town. Maybe it's a replacement for libraries - they don't really seem to have libraries here.
Here's a few more pictures from along the route and in town.
No internet in Niedergottsau
We arrived in a tiny little hotel in Niedergottsau today (couldn't find a place in Marktl, where I actually wanted to spend the night. I need to be prepared for this next time - there was nobody at the reception till 5. And we were there at 1, tired from our ride. But then - a boy who looked like he was 9 or so came home from school, must have been the son of the owners, and I asked if we could check in, and he actually checked us in! He checked my name in the computer system, got us the key, etc. Whew!
The room is fine, but the internet is up and down like a yo-yo. I called my mom on Skype, and had to reconnect 4 times before I gave up.
Anyway the ride here was fine - the weather is probably at least 10 degrees cooler than it was when we first arrived in Austria. We had the usual dead-ends and detours (I think almost every dam on the Inn is having construction work done on it right now).
I've gotten pretty good at using the mapping app OMSAnd for navigation. It has a LOT of quirks, but I feel like I know work-arounds for them all now. I have a little phone holder on my handlebar, and navigate via that. The only problem is that keeping it turned on the whole entire ride will usually empty the battery. So, I need to balance navigation vs. battery life.
For dinner we went to a local Gasthaus (restaurant), and had a plate of mixed local specialties - dumplings, braten, sauerkraut, etc. Peter and I always share a plate, and even then there's usually a lot left over. I think serving sizes here are getting up to American serving sizes. They were also making up their specialty of roast fish on a stick - "Stecklfisch".
It was quite popular. There were a lot of locals there, many of them on bikes, especially e-bikes. A few larger groups, too, it seemed like most people knew each other.
Here's a few more photos from the days biking.
A short ride to Braunau - back in Austria
We had our shortest ride of the trip, to Brauna, this morning. Peter and I took it easy, taking a break whenever there was a bench. Peter is in the middle of a Percy Jackson book and just wants to keep on reading once we stop.
This was the first place that I saw boats that looked functional on the river - granted, they were docked, but they looked ready to go.
The area we biked through today was the bird sanctuary, at the junction of the rivers Inn and Saltzach.
We got to Braunau, and were able to check into our hotel room early, shower and relax. Then we walked around town, up and down the town square, and into the church. We ended up buying some fruit and sandwiches from the local Billa (grocery), and took it to the nearby playground, which was absolutely amazing. It really saddens me that because of problems with the legal system and liability law in the USA, American kids are deprived of playgrounds like these. Here's a few pictures from the playground in Braunau.
Here's a few more pictures from around town.
There was supposed to be a festival happening here today, but it's a very different type from the one in Kufstein - this one seems like more of a rowdy music festival, that happens in the evening. Supposedly things were starting at 4, but this boxing exhibition was the only thing I saw - aside from a whole lot of empty tables set out in the square.