In addition to all of the cycle tourists, the campground this morning included a couple touring the Donau by kayak.
Last night’s misadventure? Cooking the dehydrated potatoes I’ve been carrying since somewhere in Bulgaria. I bought bratwurst from the campground mini-restaurant, but still felt the need for more calories. Someone had built a campfire; to conserve fuel I borrowed space on their grill to boil water. I no longer had the instructions for the potatoes (in Bulgarian, not helpful anyway), so the plan was to add water until the consistency felt right, but I had more potatoes than and space in the pot. Eventually I had something vaguely like mashed potatoes, but I made a real mess of everything. In the future, perhaps not start with all the potatoes.
Shortly after leaving the campground this morning, I passed a supermarket, and reloaded supplies (not to include potatoes). Groceries are substantially more expensive in Austria, I spent almost $10.
The first castle of the day, Castle Spilberg, started out making a poor impression, appearing just a remaining wall. As I wandered about, my interest continued to grow. Like most ruins, the castle is being reconstructed. As best I can tell, the reconstruction team consists of two or three older men. I would guess the castle abandoned in the late 16th century, and shows signs of three distinct periods of construction, with an inner keep, an outer keep, and a later extended wall as the needs to the castle continued to grow. At this point when I find a castle, I navigate to an apparent entrance by GPS, and in this case (and often actually) I end up arriving from the back.
I saw castle number two on one of the tourist information signs that litter EV6 (now relabeled R1). As you arrive at the outskirts of the town, a large, usually green, sign includes a map of the town, and pictures of items of interest. The picture didn’t hold much promise, but early in the day, especially buoyed by an earlier find, I’m more optimistic. Dominating the town from above, and clearly a tourist attraction by the size of the parking lot, a steep climb followed by a “closed” sign (with no indications of “open”).
I bucked down, and headed to Linz, the large town ahead that should have been my actual stop yesterday if the last few days hadn’t been short. The castle walls in Linz now include a very modern museum, which Dali would be proud to have designed. While the museum had the usual limited displays of weapons and mail, their special display of soldiers during WWII left me disinterested.
Entering more elevated terrain, the Donau begins to wander a bit, and the path along the river looked about 15 km longer than the straight line. The GPS showed the path to Passau at 65 km, where the EV6 signs showed 99 km, showing how much farther the EV6 path can be. While now entering the mountains, I decided to take a short cut across the mountains. Besides potentially saving some distance, I tire of the flat, monotonous EV6 route.
Unsurprisingly, that path included a lot of up. What I hadn’t noticed when I plotted the path was that path degraded into foot paths/ logging trails. The path up, all on roads, I geared down and slowly climbed. The path down on the other hand would have made mountain goats happy. I came down with the brakes almost locked to hold my speed down; the descent at the same speed as the ascent, the rear tire occasionally locking up and breaking traction. The few hikers I slid past clearly thought me insane, with little argument on my part.
As I emerged back onto highway, I noticed the front head on the bike rattling. Hopefully I can tighten that in the morning, otherwise I’ll need a bike shop. I found the campground where I expected. I considered an additional 10 km to the next one. Good thing I didn’t – I learned later that one was closed. 112 km today, great distance considering the multiple stops and exploration.