Nuremberg-Regensburg 115kms

As I ‘drew back the curtains’ of my tent this morning, I was amazed to be greeted by the sun…..belying the bitter cold of the previous night, and the shivering chill of the morning.

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When is it going to warm up? My trusty BBC weather app tells me it will get significantly warmer early next week. Now tell me, does the Beeb ever lie?
Arriving at Regensburg, I got my first view of the Danube on this trip.

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And my illusions have been shattered……it isn’t blue after all! (If music be the food of lies……). But when I arrived in town, there were several luxury river cruisers, like this one

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waiting to receive their returning passengers, or setting off on the next leg of their journey, with cocktails being served in the lounge. I mean, how else do you recover from a busy day’s sightseeing?

At the last campsite in Nuremburg, I met two fellow cyclists, one German and the other Finnish, and they both had a common experience of conditions in Eastern European countries. They were in nearby tents

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and the German, a thoroughbred trekking cyclist (as I could tell from his bike set-up)

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had just returned from an attempt to ride the long distance Danube trail to the Black Sea. He only got as far as Belgrade, in Serbia, and had been attacked so many times by packs of wild dogs, that he gave up and caught a train back home. He was very disappointed, and told me so candidly.

Mikko, the guy from Finland, told the same story, but he had been riding a motorbike through Serbia, and was similarly attacked…..but of course, unlike the cyclist, he had the acceleration to get away. The roads, he said, are littered with the dead bodies of dogs. They chase any vehicle, many end up being killed and…….wait for it……the locals are known for collecting the roadkill for the pot. Canine hotpot is, apparently, a national delicacy.

These are people you need to meet, but don’t want to meet. I was grateful for the advanced information. Being forewarned is being forearmed…..now I have some decisions to make. Packs of wild dogs are the most intimidating menace for any cyclist…..and I will have a possible 1000kms of running the gauntlet.
Watch this space.
Help me decide: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns2

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on May 16, 2014, in Kimbolton to Istanbul 4000kms: a crusader's route and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Domesticated dogs are not fun for a cyclists. Wild dog! I can’t imagine. Be careful.

  2. We have both been loving your accounts, partly because they bring back great memories for us. Five years ago we took a train journey round Europe for a month and the first stop was Cologne where we managed to find a hostelry snuggling under the Cathedral. We sneaked into the Cathedral for a lovely little service in the early morning and then found a demonstration outside going on about the Middle East; of course we enjoyed our first view of the Rhine without having to walk up the 39 steps: what an ordeal for you. Our last visit in Germany on the way back was to Wurzburg with which we too fell in love. We learnt that 90% of the ancient buildings were flattened in twenty minutes by Allied bombers, a similar situation to that which we had previously witnessed at Dresden. But we loved both cities and agree that Wurzburg which, I think, is little known in the UK, would make a very good city break. We thought the same about Worms which we visited on our second European tour when in a month of travelling we hardly heard any Anglo-Saxon spoken except in Florence which was loaded with it.
    We were horrified to hear of wild dogs and do hope you can get round them. We can assure you we saw nothing of the kind in either Hungary or Romania, but then we were travelling on rails, not roads. Our favourite area of all our times in Europe was Transylvania and Tony has just finished a great book about it called ‘Along the Enchanted Way’ by William Blacker who fell in love with a beautiful gipsy girl and actually married her in gipsy style. We never got to Nuremberg but we stayed in a beautiful area near Munich, a kind of Lake District, while visiting one of our former volunteers. When we were staying there we met a couple from Regensburg as we walked by the lake near the village of Kochel. The other former volunteer we visited lived in Berlin and we were there when everybody was celebrating 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down.
    We have just been listening this week to the Book of the Week on Radio 4 called ‘Giro d’Italia 1914’ about someone who recently rode this horrific 2,000 kilometre 1914 journey round Italy on a highly primitive Hirondelle bicycle of 100 years back with neither gears nor brakes, although he had rescued and repaired it before setting out. On his arrival at the end of the journey in Milan he used a water jet to clean his bike, and discovered that the owner was the descendant of the man who was the Stradivarius of bicycles and he had a wonderful display of ancient bikes from that period.
    We long to hear that you will have a dog-free time by hook or by crook.
    Tony and Judith

  3. Pity we couldn’t lend you some “Poss Off” – a wonderful deterrent used here in Australia to keep possums off. Maybe it would work for dogs. 🙂 I hope you don’t have any difficulties with the wild dogs.

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