Romantische Straße – Meitingen to Harburg

warning! Weirdly this post re-published in 2020, there was an error somewhere. This is a 7 year old post!

Tuesday 10 September 2013

This morning we went down to breakfast and I had a lighter selection than normal – I felt it was time to cut back a bit! I did enjoy peering at this chandelier however!


We got ready to head out and another look at the weather forecast showed us that rain was pretty likely. In preparation I refitted my mudguards which had been in my banana bags since we left Füssen.


Whilst I was doing this the rain started.

This is the pre-planned route for the day. You’ll see the track heads quite a long way east – this is to the town of Rain where the Lech flows into the Danube (Donau). There was an obvious shortcut possibility, staying on the quiet roads to the west of the B2 road, and knowing that we had been tired yesterday we decided to do this short-cut which should cut 10 plus miles, many of them very hilly, from the day’s route.


We set off and within half a minute had to shelter under a tree as it started really pouring. After ten minutes the rain has eased slightly but it was still very wet so James put on his waterproof jacket and trousers and I put on my cheap packamac top and we headed off.

We started off by riding westwards towards Langenreichen, joining the official cycle route and then heading north again at Kühlenthal. The cycle track was very wet but good, smooth asphalt.


My chain was definitely playing up today – it felt sometimes as if it was sticking. It had done this about a year ago so I think is something the trike can be prone to (obviously I’ve had several new chains since a year ago). I expect it’s mud/muck from yesterday’s off-roading causing the chain to stick slightly when it goes round a jockey wheel; when I put on power I kind of feel it go ‘pop’ as it unsticks itself (presumably). I hoped that all the rain might have an unusual side benefit of helping to wash the grot out of the chain and it did appear to improve slightly as the day wore on.

From Kühlental we rode n orthwards to Blankenburg and then saw Kloster Holzen in the distance which was rather impressive.


Although it appears to still be a monastery (for Jesuits) it also now has a restaurant and guest house etc.


The rain was really coming down now so I tucked my camera away in the dry so there aren’t as many scenery pictures today!

We headed through Allmannshofen and then into Druisheim (up and down a hill) at which point we left the official cycle route which headed eastwards and we continued north to Mertingen. I had pre-planned some waypoints on my Garmin so we followed that through Mertingen, on to Asbach and then Nordheim. The rain occasionally eased a little but we were generally getting rained upon which meant the journey wasn’t quite as nice as the last few days.

At Nordheim we had to wrap up warm again as the rain came down much more heavily but Donauwörth was in sight andd we had planned to have lunch there.

Here we are crossing the bridge over the Danube (Donau) into Donauwörth.


This is looking upstream at the Donau – we won’t see it again on this holiday.


And here is James on the bridge, looking rained upon!


We wended our way to the centre part of Donauwörth which seemed a very attractive town. We spied a likely looking bakery/café so locked up the bikes and headed in, dripping wet of course.

The people were friendly and didn’t seem to mind that we were soaked. We sat down in the café area and ordered a tea and a coffee and then went to choose what we wanted for lunch from the bakery area.

James chose a salami and cheese roll to go with his coffee.


I had a Ciabatta with mozzarella and tomato to go with my tea.


Except… I also spotted something else rather interesting when choosing my sandwich…


“It’s mine, all mine!”


Time to investigate the contents…


Extremely yummy!


It was layers of light biscuit and meringue with a coffee flavoured cream on top, nuts around the edge and sprinkles of chocolate on top.


I exceptionally-generously let James have a few mouthfuls!


In case it’s escaped your notice, I had a rather nice cake at lunch! And this is what it looked like half-consumed…


Whilst looking at the Bikeline map book page for Donauwörth I spotted a typo – can anyone else see it?


Unfortunately in propping up the book to try to take a photo I managed to knock my (empty) tea glass onto the floor and it broke. I was very apologetic but they didn’t seem to mind, just came and swept the floor of bits of glass. How embarrassing!

We’d had a good 45 minutes in the café and had mostly thawed out. It was time to put our damp outer clothes/waterproofs back on and head out.

We’d done sixteen miles but had less than ten to go as the short-cut had really reduced the day’s distance significantly, a rather good thing in this weather.

Donauwörth was the last place that we saw signs for the Via Claudia Augusta, a route that we have regularly intersected on our tour so far. It’s an ancient route (from 15BC) from Donauwörth to somewhere in Italy and went via Augsburg and Füssen so no surprise that we kept seeing the signs. But now we wouldn’t have those signs to follow as well.

We rode down the main street and I loved the edges of this roof.


We were trying to rejoin the official route but it proved rather tricky to find. The book suggested it went in a tunnel, my Garmin wasn’t that specific, but in the end, after cycling down a couple of dead ends, we made contact with the route again. We wanted to see where we had missed it so cycled the other way along it for 20 metres. And saw this:


The route goes through a narrow tunnel – you can just see James cycling through it on the right hand side.

It was quite a long tunnel too!


We were now leaving Donauwörth on the north bank of the river Wörnitz, riding through a walking/hiking park with (unfortunately) crushed gravel as a surface, although it was not as bad as yesterday’s surfaces.

Here is James examining a map.


From here we could look back at Donauwörth through the rain.


Entering Wörnitzstein we saw this road named after our friend!


Wörnitzstein had a lovely bridge.


Here it is from the other side.


A close-up of some straw figures.


This is looking down on Ebermergen (I think).


We crossed the road to head towards Marbach and saw the first mention of Würzburg on a local road sign!


As we went through Brunsee and whizzed down the other side of the little hill I stopped to take a photo of some of the lovely blue flowers that have been on the verges for much of today.


Our first sight of Harburg was of the rather unattractive and very extensive concrete works.


But just around the corner we saw the very impressive castle.


We cycled over a narrow bridge to get to the old part of Harburg and found our hotel very easily. Our room was nice, up in the eaves.



We even had a bath as well as a shower!


It functioned very well as a hanging space for our wet cycle gear after we’d washed it!


Here is the readout from the Garmin after today’s much shorter route, just 25 miles. Mind you, with the rain for most of the day we were glad to have a chance to take a hot shower and warm up a bit!


Alfie and James’s bike were stored downstairs in the lobby area of the hotel, along with several other bikes.


The sun had come out by the time we’d had a rest and I decided to have a walk around the town (James stayed in the room and had a sleep).

This is our hotel.


Looking up the hill at the castle.


A view from the bridge.


And looking the other way.


The bridge itself – no cars between 10am and 6pm.


And looking the other way along the bridge.


From the other side of the bridge (the newer part of Harburg) I looked back at the old part..


Crossing the bridge again I noticed these high water marks – that’s a lot of extra water!


The castle in silhouette.


And rather over-exposed but visible.


More castle.


Nordlinger Tor, presumably the site of an old gate for the town.


The Evangelical church up the hill.


Looking across a garden (nice tomatoes) to the church behind our hotel. Everything is cleverly built into the hillside.


Now I assume this is the “Westtor” (west gate) but it seems to say ‘Vest’!


The Rathaus with the church behind it.


I fancied an early dinner as I was hungry so James and I went to the Goldene Lamm, what appeared to be the only restaurant open today in this part of Harburg.

James enjoyed some local beer from Nördlingen.


A free starter of salad for both of us.


James chose the Tortellini.


I had a chicken breast with cheese and tomato and chips.


The only dessert was ice cream which I didn’t fancy but James enjoyed two scoops of raspberry.


We were back to our room by 8pm and had a chance to check out the route for tomorrow. We’ve planned a couple of small diversions to avoid off-roading although we will probably have to do a small amount of the dodgy paths as there aren’t always cycle paths/roads where we need to divert.

One interesting thing about tomorrow is that we will be cycling through a giant asteroid crater. More on that tomorrow!

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