Road Cycling, multi stages, in the valleys, from Lille to Budapest, 13rd until 31st July 2019

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Presentation of the raid
On the road again
Route along the Altmühl
The barge
Crossing of the Danube in Austria
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Liège - Etalle

I leave the work one hour earlier and start from Liège at 4:30 pm to arrive at Etalle at 10:00 pm after 140 km of road. The most difficult part of the road was to arrive at the "Baraque Fraiture" with the "N90" road. On the other hand, the "N4" road from Bastogne is really dangerous because cars go fast. I did the way without any stop. I am exhausted by arriving at the Cécile and Raymond's house. I part from some objects of my bags like a T-shirt, a Swiss army knife, a camera to relieve me. I keep even though my cadenna by precaution. The bike and the saddlebags give me full satisfaction. Raymond shows me his new and big house and prepares me my bed which I join after a good meal of pasta and tomatoes stuffed for the occasion.

Etalle - Merzalben

I'm up early in the morning (about 6:00 am), I drink a good orange juice and eat bread with jam prepared by the Cécile 's Mother. There's nothing better like that to face the long day which waits for me. Having crossed the Luxembourg and having crossed the border at Remich, I borrow the road which follow the Saar's river since Mettlach. This road is very nice and it is with ease that I arrive to Saarbrucke. Over there, I receive a help of a local cycler who guide me through the city to put me on the good way. Then I pass by Zweibrucken where is the manufacturer of tractors John Deere and of cranes Demag. I arrive at Merzalben at about 7:30 pm after +/-230 km. Throughout the day there were many vineyards and roads were pleasant to do, practically no rises.

Merzalben - Schwabisch Hall

Having had lunch at 8:00 am and having forgotten my alarm clock in the inn, I start the day on roads with not important difficulty to overcome and a lot of wood to be crossed. Then come very beautiful villages as Albersweiler, Siebel, where vineyards are very attractive. Then, I cycle towards Speyer to find a main road. To Speyer I'm stopped by a procession of carnival where a waitress bring me a beer which I savour on my bike accompanied by a cyclist that I meet some kilometers before. Unfortunately, I hadn't enough time to look the procession! When I leave Speyer, I égars me and as the national road is not accessible for bikes, I spend a lot of time and I really have difficulty to find the good way back. Then I follow a group of bike which puts me back on the right way, on a cyclabe runways fitted out well for the family walks. Once far of the suburb of Speyer, I leave on a good rhythm but the delay is there and the road is still long. I follows the river Kraichbach then I pass in villages as Guglingen, Brackenheim, Lauffen, Talheim and I arrive at Ilsfeld where the night begins to come. There is a party in the village of Illsfeld. The wine is the principal drink because there are a lot of vineyards which I was able to see. Over there a lady explains me the itinéraire to go to Lowenstein where I take the B39 parralel to the N39 to arrive finally at Schwabisch Hall at about 11:30 pm, to the house of Dieter Albrecht, member of the ADFC-Dachgeber, who was already in Bed. I have a shower bath and after I fall asleep peacefully after more than 250 km and a tiring day, especially over the end where there was ascents by arriving at Lowenstein. During this Sunday, I met a lot of swimmers taking advantage of a sunny weather to have a bath in the lakes.

Schwabisch Hall - Gunzenhausen

In the morning I lunch with Dieter. Having feel a liking, I leave his place of residence at about 8:00 am because the workweek begins again to him. I am amazed to see that he uses the same equipments of toilet as me. He gives me some explanations onto the way to follow to continue the road. I start in the direction of Crailsheim and I run in front of wind on a road borrowed by a lot of motorists. Once past Crailsheim, the road is more pleasant ( Wieseth,... ) and I discover Bavaria with its wood and its active agriculture with the straw harvests and it is without too many difficulties that I arrive in Gunzenhausen, at the foot of Altmühl. I stop at about 2:30 pm and I would stay over there until the next day morning. In the information tourism a french young person finds me a family house and after to be installed, I take advantage of this end of the afternoon to visit this nice little city where there are many cyclists and a lot of walks to be discovered. I take advantage of it to eat in a snack bar an enormous salad as a start and then a schnitzel-fried with a pint because here we are in bavière. Then I go to a cybercafé opened next to the station to give a little of my news.

Gunzenhausen - Landshut

I start in following the Altmuhl until Eichstatt. The road is pleasant and I meet some canoes. Then, I drive until Ingolstadt. In the entry of the city, I use a map of a shelter of bus to cross the city. On this map there were several stops only for the factory Audi. I see for the first time the Danube and having crossed the city, I stop a moment in a place little away from the road for a halt. There was a lake where a young cook took advantage of its free time to cool given due to the strong heat which reigned this day there. Together we determine the way which I have to follow and once restarted, I pass by Geisenfeld where is a camps of serviceman then Mainburg, Volkenschwand, Furth to arrive at Landshut. In the last kilometers, the road rises but gradually and with the wind behind, I have wings which pushes me in the back. The landscape is different and houses have looks like chalets of mountain. I arrive at 4:30 pm to Claudia Berner, member of the ADFC-Dachgeber, a little in advance and I take advantage of it to make the maintenance and the thorough clean-up of my bike. In the evening, I visit Landshut and I discover very wide pedestrian roads in the center of city and a lot of terraces with many people. I am finally going to have supper in a coffee which Claudia recommended me. She will come to find me over there later and we shall spend the evening to be discussed and she will tell me her journeys in Uganda.

Landshut - Passau

This morning, Claudia takes her time to explain me the road to be followed to go towards Passau and having lunch, I set off at about 11 am. I drive in the direction of Frontenhausen. On the path, a hind goes out suddenly of the border off the road, comes nearly of me and runs away then in the country on the other side of the road. I had no reflex to use my camera. Then, I drive to be well off and, except for a small difficulty to 8 %, everything seems really easy. Having followed the river "Vils", I have a break in a small village, approximately at 14 hours, to get fresh supplies. In the same place and in the sun, it was very hot! I pass then by Vilshofen where I see again the Danube to arrive later on big road which followed this river and which leads directly to Passau. Unfortunately, this road is dangerous and I decide then to follow a small path for bikes. But I must to turn back because this path was more adapted for mountain bikes. I arrive at Passau at 6 pm and I get ready to reserve a night in the hotel " RO INN " when the receptionist tells me that, for a single bike, it costs 25 euros per night without any breakfast. With my bike, I drive away me of the city and I find finally a very attractive and very comfortable pension to Rittsteig with many English tourists and for only 3 euros more. In the evening I walk in Passau. It is very nice, there are boats cruises and of very attractive romantic ballads to be made in the evening along the Danube. The city is situated in the tributary of 2 rivers and shape as a small island. I have supper in a cheaper restaurant (+/-12 euros) with a kind of flat sausage taking all the width of the plate and covered with egg.

Passau - Vienne

I have lunch at 7 am because the day will be long. I explain to the owner of the pension my ambitions for this day. She is surprised by my plan of the day because the cyclists who come to her house take at least 4 days to connect Passau to Vienna. That said, I start and cross the city of Passau then I ride on the N130 along the Donau and I meet a lot of "Zimmer frei". Then I arrive in Hartkirchen where I stop to refuel before taking the national N131. As I prepare to leave, a group of cyclists pass before my eyes but I will not catch them. I drive to Ottensheim and from there, I take the path that houses the Donau and specially designed for hikers. Arrived in Linz, I decided to cross the city by its center but after being very far, I turned to take the road that houses the Donau. On my way, I discovered important steel mills (Linz Stahl). On this road not accessible to motorists, I manage at first to catch up with some of my delay because they are long straight lines and it is always quite flat. But after the trail is more winding and rather bucolic to finally arrive in front of the Donau with no other option than to cross the river with a small boat specially designed to commute from one shore to another. I arrive at Mauthausen a bit lost, but fortunately for me, I find the morning bike group that stopped at lunch time to eat. As soon as I see them, they start again. This time, I don't would like that they escape me especially that a two tells me that they roll towards Hungary. I would do, with them, nearly 80 km at an average speed of 40 km / h on a fast lane normally prohibited to cyclists but with the assistance truck at the rear of the group, security measures are taken. The lady driving the van will even stop to give me a drink because I have not had the opportunity to refuel. In Ybbs, the whole group stops for a snack (banana, cake, ...) and here our roads separate because they go down to Lake Balaton. Here, I am reassured now because I have a hundred kilometers to go. I drive along the highway towards Melk where there is a large abbey overlooking the city. From Melk, I drive a further ten kilometers along the Donau before turning right to take a mountain road that goes up more than 6 km. I have to use some passages at the lowest speed of my triple plateau. The summit of this coast is located at 585 m altitude. I then go through remote areas of Austria with its woods, its roads under repair, ... and I arrive at Karlstetten where I stop to refuel. After crossing Sankt Polten, I stop again near a cornfield for an urgent need. I then drive on a railway track taken by trains loaded with Romanian trucks (without vignettes). I continue my journey helped by a violent wind that pushes me in the back. Arrived in Vienna, the weather is bad and a mountain storm falls on the city. It is now dark and I have to find the Krainer pension. After stopping at a subway station, I turn around thinking that I am too far away. But the rain begins to fall. I stop at a phone booth to call the hostel and ask for directions, but it's really hard to understand the Austrian, especially in the midst of a cabin storm. After receiving explanations, I return to the metro station and once there, I take my bike with the bus number 151 which leads to the pension. I ask an Austrian who is about to get off the bus if I am at the right stop and, once on the ground, I noticed that the Krainer pension was right in front of the bus stop. I am really happy to arrive after more or less than 300 km of road and in addition, the hotel is very beautiful.

Vienna - Mosonmagyarovar

I have breakfast in the dining room of the hotel where there is an Italian family and an Austrian couple of about sixty years. I ask to the owner of the pension to leave my bike and my luggage at the hotel until 14h time to visit the city a bit. With the metro I go to the center of the city where there are buildings that I was advised to visit. On foot and the camera at hand, I photograph many beautiful buildings and beautiful monuments. I would use a whole movie! There are many tourists coming from everywhere and especially from France. I then return to the hotel to pick up my luggage. I leave with the subway to the easternmost station of the city to go back on the saddle of my bike but already the landscape is not so pretty anymore. I stop at a station a little before Parndorf to ask my way and then I arrive in Gattendorf first side wind then in the back that will push me to Mosonmagyarovar. Crossing the border, I am controlled by armed soldiers while others monitor their "mirador" a possible attempt "invasion". A little after entering Hungary the bursting of a car tire makes me jump. The rather degraded roads are used by cars that are often old, small and from the east countries. I go through small, rather poor villages where the locals go for a bike ride while others are in front of their house to discuss or even change their baby's diapers. I finally arrive at the hotel thanks to the explanations that a Hungarian gives me willingly.

Mosonmagyarovar - Komárom

After staying in a camping-hotel (kis duna), mainly reserved by French, Dutch or Belgian drivers who stop there before continuing further east, I leave with my bike along secondary roads and I cross little burgs that lead me to Györ. I get off of my bike to cross a market and then continue walking in the pedestrian streets of this city. I go back on my bike once on the other side of the city and I take a bike path not too damaged which houses a national road. I arrive at Komarom around 13h and stop at a camping motel where there are many Dutch, German and even Belgian. When I want to book a motel room, I realize that I forgot my ID at the campsite this morning. Fortunately I do not have to turn around because the Charneux mini-bus, which left Belgium a week after me, goes through this campsite and can therefore recover my identity card. I take advantage of the outdoor facilities of the motel to go for a swim in the pool and then rest in the thermal baths. It is very pleasant and very relaxing by these hot weather. Many older Hungarians come to chat and relax. I get to bed early and from my room I hear Dutch and German music from the motel's marquee.

Komárom - Budapest

It's 7.30 am , I'm on the main road of Komarom and here comes the Charneux mini-bus. I get my identity card, a new tire and some extra clothes. Then I decide to take the bridge Komarom overlooking the Duna and continue my way on the left bank of the river. I will not go to Komarno (Komarom in Slovak) because customs-soldiers will refuse me the passage, my identity card of Belgian citizen not being recognized by their country. I leave then on the right bank of the river-border and once arrived at Esztergom, I make a stop to visit its cathedral. I take the road for Visegrad after dissipation of the high temperatures of noon and it will be beautiful wooded mountains and campings that will be the setting for this afternoon. I meet a lot of Dutch, German and Belgian cars and I discover that the companies Holcim and Lafarge have facilities there. In the second half of the afternoon, the traffic is more dense because iwe are on sunday and a lot of Hungarians return to Budapest after being bathed in the Duna. Arrived on the outskirts of Budapest, I would do another fifteen kilometers on a degraded road before arriving at the center of the city. On a fast and dangerous lane I drive fast enough to leave this traffic as soon as possible but the road is really bad and one of my saddlebags fall off my luggage rack. Then, I drive on a well-equipped cycle track and I am the route headed for the Lanchid bridge. From afar I see the imposing Parliament building, orange-colored by the sun that slowly begins to set. I then cross the bridge Lanchid accessible that day only to pedestrians and cyclists. I finally arrive at a boarding school of a music school transformed during summer breaks into dormitories for young travelers. In the bedroom, there arecc2 x 2 bunk beds. I first sympathize with a french from Paris then I would meet a North Korean, an American from Pennsylvania, a Swedish, and a Mexican who will give me a nice paint with a lot of color from his country.