When we leave Andelfingen after six wonderful days of cycling along the Danube, the weather forecast for our next stop – Aschach in Austria – is not promising. As we’ve never been to Munich, we decide to stop for a couple of hours on the way.
Unfortunately, there is a big annual sports event on – 10,000 people running a marathon or semi-marathon – and the main square, Marienplatz, is chock-a-block which somewhat detracts from the historical ambiance. We see the main sights beneath an overcast sky, have a picnic lunch on a bench (it’s a fast day) and continue on our way.
After leaving the motorway at Passau at the juncture between Austria and Germany, which we visited on another occasion, we drive along the Danube, much wider and navigable here, seeing the aftermath of the recent floods. The river looks muddy and there is silt on the edge of the pavements and piles of debris everywhere. Nothing like the bucolic scenery we have left behind in Germany.
At the turnoff to Aschach, large production installations loom on the right and I begin to worry about what we’ll find. From the internet photos, our hotel, Gastof zür Sonne, seemed to be right on the water but, in fact, it is across the road. A not-very-friendly young man gives us a key card and sends us up to room 4 on the second floor.
As we walk into the room, I see the wash basin is in an open area on the left ; the shower and toilet are behind a frosted glass door on the right. The room is small with dark furniture including an open wardrobe and a view of the Danube. I go into complaint mode and Jean Michel says I have to make up my mind whether we are staying or going. By then it is 6 pm and looking for another place to stay seems a bit daunting. I go down to the desk and ask if there is another room that doesn’t have a wash basin in the entrance. It seems they are all the same.
We bring up our luggage and bits and pieces and I empty our small case into the wardrobe so we can change into our cycling clothes, pointing out all the negative aspects of the room as I go. Jean Michel understandably starts to get annoyed so I stop complaining. It is then that I realise that an automatic light comes on over the wash basin/entrance each time you go past which means that when I get up in the night, the whole room will be flooded with light.
Even Jean Michel sees the impossibility of that! We go back down and I put on my best smile to ask how to stop the light coming on automatically. The young man comes up reluctantly to have a look. However, he immediately understands the problem and says that unfortunately all the new rooms are like that but we can have the “old” room next door. Not only is the washbasin inside the bathroom this time; the open wardrobe is hidden behind the door, the room is much bigger and we have a sofa from which we can comfortably see the Danube.
This time my smile is not forced. “Perfect”, I say. “And look, the washbasin is not in the entrance”. The young man then explains that he thought I was objecting to the bathroom being on the left, not about the washbasin being in the entrance (he didn’t know the word in English). We rapidly change into our cycling clothes and get in an hour’s cycling before dinner.
That, however, proves to be the last time we cycle for several days. It rains all night and next morning, it’s 12°. Change of programme.