Bavaria dates to the Roman Empire as this temple to the god Apollo. As we rode along Euro Velo Six in a small village, Claire noticed a small brown sign that directed us to a reconstructed ruin surrounded by residences. It was well cared for and provided us with a shady bench for a quiet lunch.
Bavaria is unique in German states in having been a true kingdom, not just a collection of fiefdoms. Sort of reminds me of Texas’ unique place in American history. Both are economically strong, independent and conservative.
Bavaria is a vibrant mix of the very old and the new. They are tied to international trade, but home to a growing populist movement. As Bavaria goes – so goes Germany. How Germany goes – so goes Europe?
Bavaria is the richest of the states, and as such contributes a disproportionate share of revenue to the central government and the European Union. According to one of our guest house hosts, there is a good bit of dissension around this, and also the issue of immigration. There are parallels with Texas on those issues, but not so much with the wealthy coastal states. Travel opens up new ways of thinking.
The trail system is not as well connected in Bavaria as we have been accustomed to in Europe, with significant sections of main road riding necessary, and some missing signage. Still, by American standards quite good.
Europes trails often share one lane farm roads with tractors with trailers of produce, harvest equipment and small cars carrying farm workers. All these vehicles are willing to run off the road to give the right of way to bicycles.
We haven’t talked much politics, partly due to the language issue, partly because European/American relations are, to put it politely, uncomfortable. We did encounter four German cyclists at an overlook of the Donau who wanted to talk. They are quite concerned, and very puzzled. Hmmmm. Just like most Americans we know.
The middle Donau has become placid, less clear, and with more factories than forests. It will receive the waters from Alpine streams, coming in from the south, in the next few bicycle days. We may yet see the Blue Danube before we turn away.
We’re spoiling ourselves on this tour. We stay in hotels, youth hostels, and guesthouses. We carry camping gear but have only camped twice. That may change as high tourist season makes it hard to find accommodations. Claire is already having difficulty getting reservations. Her German is getting pretty good, at least in the vocabulary needed for booking by phone.
We are beginning to adapt to the very rich German diet. I’m not sure my arteries will ever unclog! We recently had Thai food three nights in a row, and I think I could tell the difference. The schnitzel and dark Bavarian beer is great, and we have found some good salads.
Fortunately, the breakfasts that come with accommodation are wonderful. Our favorite is the muesli with yogurt and fruit, but the dark grainy rolls with thinly sliced meat and cheese go well with their good strong coffee. There is lots more to choose from, and we often eat for a half hour or more. It’s a great start to a day of peddling.