Across Continents

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Tale of two bridges

Regensburg stone bridge

Manfred had the map and Ute a strong sense of direction. They were from Frankfurt, cycling a section of the Danube cycle way. We’d met by chance crossing over a bridge in search of a better route on the other side of the river.

The Danube hadn’t been quite what I’d expected. The river would put in an appearance once in a while, and did have some very striking sections, but otherwise much of my route across Germany had been damp and dull. Campsites were closed, and accommodation could be difficult to find. Despite some occasional teasing, I’d always had a quiet admiration for the German nation, but was beginning to feel a bit disappointed with the old place.

But then I’d met Manfred and his wife Ute. A little later, after lunch at Weltenburg monastery, they suggested we might take a boat through the narrows to the town of Kelheim. It would be very scenic, much better than the cycle route. I liked the idea. It was raining. Nevertheless, things were suddenly looking up.

Danube narrows

The brief respite from the weather provided by the ferry now over, the daily search for accommodation began in earnest. We headed for the small town of Bad Abbach. Prospects on the ground hadn’t looked good, and Manfred and Ute’s efforts on the phone didn’t seem too promising. Nice park bench I thought. Public toilets nearby. But then – yes – a small hotel close by, they’d take the bikes, and the price would be about that of a youth hostel – would that be ok? Yes, and the very least I could do was buy the beer.

Manfred spoke excellent English, and Ute had a good grasp of the language – made my German look quite pathetic by comparison. Which it was. The following morning, as we headed towards Regensburg, Manfred was keen to learn some more English colloquialisms. I offered a few. A little later he and I stopped to admire the view. Ute thought it best to pedal on a short way and wait for us.

A final coffee together in Regensburg and it was time to part company. For a while now, I’d been looking for somewhere to stop for a few days and Regensburg struck me as just the spot. We’d met on a bridge so it only seemed fair to bid farewell to each other on the city’s ancient stone bridge across the Danube.


2 responses to “Tale of two bridges”

  1. Manfred Ochs says:

    Hallo Ken,
    after lots of rain and punishing cold winds we decided to finish our little trip at Deggendorf. From there we went by train to Munich, where my cousin pleased us with a warm meal, wine and a night with good handmade rock music, for he is a guitar teacher playing in several bands aswell.
    By now we are back in Oberursel( nearby Frankfurt) starting to end the garden season with the usual 1000 things to do.
    Thanks for the tale of two bridges which is a nice reminding of what has happened.
    Good luck to you
    and no rain, no rain, no rain….
    Manfred and Ute

  2. Barbara Shaw says:

    Tried to send this earlier but it declined!!! So here we go again having received your kind postcard from Regensburg. I love both Ulm and Regensburg- John and I spent a few days in the latter about 15 years ago i would think: he at a conference and me sightseeing with another ‘partner’. As it was snowy and very cold, this mostly involved, eating dumplings and custard and drinking coffee. Sounds like you had a good impression of the place too. We managed a concert with the Cathedral choir boys at the university that was quite impressive too.

    I will look up the Danube cycle path on the internet to see what it offers- a map maybe.

    Off to see Nanny for her birthday on 30th_ she is enjoying your emails etc and re reads them to remind herself.

    I am deep in decorating here- it should be finished today I hope, all but a few bits and I can move back into the room. I am not up to your Mum’s skills in decorating but know a man who is: he used to help Joan and George, so all have to do is go to the bank!!!!!

    Hope this goes this time
    Happy cycling and pleasant encounters along the Danube,

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