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Foreword

In 2013, my 4 years old granddaughter Emilia lived in my house. So we decided, not making a great tour, rather we planned a tour with our granddaughter. We planned travelling to Passau by train and cycling down the Danube as far, as Emilia would be able to. Of course, we planned some overnight stays in a tent, what would an adventure for Emilia. 

 

Equipment

Emilia had a "follow-me", a trailer like a bicycle, but instead the front wheel, it's coupled to my bicycle. With this follow-me, we made a lot of trips at home, so Emilia was well trained in riding on it. I had bought two big IDEALE-panniers (fitting to the existing smaller ones) and a transverse bag, which also can be used as backpack. So, my bicyle had two smaller panniers on the front rack, two bigger panniers at the rear rack, a handlebar bag and a pannier on Emilias follow-me for tools.

Monika's bicycle had gotten a fixation for our pop-up tent. On the other side, had constructed a fixation for the IDEALE transverse bag. The fron had gotten a small front rack on which two water resistant rolls with two sleeping pads inside. They were fixed also on the stand pipes with tension belts, so they were able to work with the suspension. She also had a handlebar bag.

 

 

Day 01: Passau - Engelhartszell (June 02.2013)

Made distance: 25 km

Starting at Neustadt, we took the train to Passau. It was without problems, also our bicycles. For Emilia, it was exiting, her first travel by train in her life.

At Regensburg, we changed trains. The train was full and we had no seat reservations. It was nit funny. So, we went in to the diner and made a snack until we reached Passau. We arrived Passau at 11:30. We equipped our bicycles and started.

When we wanted pass the bridge over the Inn at Passau, it was blocked by the flood. I had a talk with a volunteer firefighter. He told me, there's a pedestrian bridge a little bit upstream the Inn, which is still ok! We cycled there an pushed our bikes over the bridge. The steel structure was vibrating and humming causing in the flood.

It was raining, but we were prepared, so we cycled on the right side of the Danube downstream. Nearly no cars on the road. 

Then, Emilia was drenched and cold. We stopped for a bite to eat, also for changing Emilia's clothes and warm her up. Also, we had fresh and dry gloves for her.

We recreated and also Emilia was after a meal with a big cocoa fit again.

We cycled though the rain again. There was a spot, where the road is between a cliff and the Danube. The Danube was as high as the road and begans flooding it. Slowly, I realized, that we may have a problem!

We approached the barrage Jochenstein. But coriously, there was no more water in the water storage area!? They just had opened all weirs to let the water pass. This was the reason why the water felt in that short time. Never sawn before!

We reached the barrage. Emilia was freezing and we saw a sign for a "Jausenstation", a kind of restaurant and they also would have rooms. We decided to go there for a night and warm up. Camping was no option with this conditions and a 4 years old child. There was enough warm water for a long and hot shower. After that, the innkeeper made a warm meal for us and went to bed early. Tomorrow, we planned to continue our tour.

But it came different we thought... 

 

 

Day 02: Engelhartszell, trapped (June 03.2013)

Made distance: 9 km

We slept well, Emilia not in her own bed of course! So I had the whole night a foot in my face or got a kick in my back... but, it's allowed, she's my granddaughter! Our stuff was alying around in the whole room. Packing should be optimized! We noticed, that we always need that thing, which was at the bottom of the panniers and the complete pannier has to be emptied. 

It's normal, that we had more stuff for Emilia, than for Monika and me together. Who has children or grandchildren will understand it! There exist no Teflon-clothes and children love dirt, I think! 

Now, we took a look out of the window and saw, the missing water from yesterday was back, but higher, than before! The water downstream the open (!) barrage was higher than with closed barrage on the upstream side of the barrage! That, we wanted see more exact after the breakfast.

We went to breakfast and we came to know the news (by our innkeeper):

  • Engelhartszell, where we were, is flooded. Our way for today is blocked!
  • Passau is flooded, the bridges over the Inn are blocked!
  • Scherding, an alternative route, is flooded, the bridge over the Inn also blocked!
  • On the other side of the Danube, the village Jochenstein also is flooded! 
  • Also on the other side, the village Obernzell is protected with 4m high steel pilings, which cannot been passed!
  • At Czechia, people were drowned...
  • Melk and Krems had red alert...
  • At Deggendorf, the Autobahn is flooded...
  • ...and much more and so on...

Well, we were trapped!

After the breakfast, we wanted go over the barrage to the German side of the Danube. There is a museum, nice for children, so our innkeeper told us. We took raingears and started...

How you can see on the photo above, a view from the barrage downstream, the Danube is much more than 10m above normal! We had to shout for talking!

I took my chance and made some videos. One of them here:

Videoaufnahme vom 03.06.2013 morgens

The two lockings of ships are built for bigger ships. So, it's necessary to go 90 stairs up to cross them. It's a narrow runway.

You can see, the lockings are open, to increase the water throughput. A lot of stuff is swimming in the water, complete big gastanks, wood, trees... It's really scary, standing over the lockings and see the power of the water...

On the other side, we went down 90 stairs and went out. We toured the "Haus des Stromes", a museum, built by EON, a big German utility company. It shows a lot of the local nature, the power of water and also is interesting for smaller children. We needed an hour for it. 

With a magnifier, details can be seen and it's exactly explained, what to see.

A living snake in a terrarium is a little sensation! Emilia is looking magnetized, what the snake will do next!

On the way back, above the lockings. On this picture, you can the the runway. If we want leave Engelhartszell, we have to take apart our stuff and carry it over the stairs up and down on the other side.

In the face of this stairs, we weren't sure, wether we want to go here with our stuff. We will see!

The turbine house! An employee told ma, that all turbines have been shut down, the mud would destroy them. On the Austrian side, they were pumping the cellars of the power plant, the water came also in there. 

Back in our room, we decided to visit the Stift Engelhartszell (a monastery) and also the village.

Emilia, well "packed" and let's go! We went over a "ridgeway". In the monastery, they didn't knew anything about what had happend in the village below.

We also tried to cycle through the village as far as possible. We went into a small cafe. It was the meeting point of the employees of a company which was flooded and they just came back from the try to rescue anything.

I was helper in need in a former flooding at my home area, so I was able to understand the feelings of this people.

Later, I had a phone call with my Mum, she told me, also at home, my house is threatened ba flooding too! But I had no chance to get out here and so, we laid our house in God's hands.

Back in our lodging, our innkeeper coddled us. We decided, that we will go over the barrage tomorrow with all our stuff and try to get on the hill, out of the Danube valley. To continue our planned tour wasn't longer possible. So, cheese it!

 

 

Day 03: Engelhartszell - Gottsdorf (June 04.2013)

Made distance: 7,5 km

After a god breakfast, we packed and went to the barrage. Piece by piece, we carried over the barrage. On the other side, we packed all again. It lasted a while...

Eady! There were three ways on the other side. Two were blocked. So we decided the way to Gottsdorf, up the hill! The road is windy and goes uphill for 5km. At the same time, it was the only road to the flooded areas and all traffic ran there. My bicycle + Emilia + Emilia's follow-me + and all the stuff made 220kgs. Hard to cycle uphill! So we went uphill in back-step-method ;-)

Emilia stayed on the follow-me, no matter I was cycling or pushing, it was the safest place on this road. 

A little rest! I needed a little sit-down at the half! After a felt eternity, we arrived at Gottsdorf. Good luck, we got a lodge for the night. Also, Mum called me and told me, they stopped the flooding at home. They threw big bags from a helicopter and stabilized the dam. Thanks Godness, one problem less!

I was happy!  

 

 

Day 04: Gottsdorf - Fattendorf (June 05.2013)

Made distance: 21 km

We had to go to Passau, that was the only way home. All reachable train routes are leading over Passau and were blocked causing in the Danube. So we wanted reach the train station at Passau to get home. We wanted try to find a way over the Danube. So we started cycling...

Meanwhile the Danube rampaged below, we cycled through a wonderful, but hilly scenery. Sometimes, the sun came out for a while.

We had fun with cycling, Emilia also was pleased and helped a lot with pedaling at rises. I had an "auxiliary engine".

Then, it only went downhill. Monika was happy, but I thought about, that after a "downhill" an uphill will follow! So it was! But before, we wanted a break! There was a nice rest area. 

Emilia had fun with the well, which was at the rest area. A child and water can play play for hours with each other!

A hot soup and a coffee would be a good idea. So heated on our Kelly kettle. 

Invigorated, we went up the hill. We drove to Kellnberg. But there were no free lodges. All was full causing in the passengers of the Danube ships, which were not able to be used. So we asked in the local grocery. He knew a lodge, which would have free rooms. He made a phone call and so, we cycled to Frattendorf and find a lodge there.

We got a nice appartement, our bicycles parked in a garage and they also had a restaurant. 

Emilia played a long time at the playground. We took the dinner a la carte and it was very good! The daughter of the innkeepers worked at Passau and so, we came to know, the Anger (a quarter) at Passau is still blocked.

So, tomorrow will be one day off!

 

 

Day 05: Fattendorf, forced break (June 06.2013)

 

Made distance: 8 km

Forced brake! After breakfast, I explored the area with Emilia. We cycled to Kellnberg an then to the Max-height.

From there, we had a view in all 4 cardinal points. On plates was standing, what's to see. Emilia and me cycled back to Kellnberg for making lunch. In a restaurant, we ate a little bit. Meanwhile, Monika made "extreme-couching".

Later I cycled a third time to Kellnberg for buying some soft drinks. At the evening, we made dinner at the restaurant. The daughter of the innkeepers told us, the Anger at Passau is free! Ok, tomorrow, we will go home!

 

 

Day 06: Fattendorf - Passau (June 07.2013)

Made distance: 18 km

We early started, heading Passau. The traffic was heavy, causing in the blocked streets in the Danube valley. So we tried to avoid this streets and use smaller trails. 

Then the small trails became smaller and smaller to been gone suddenly. Well, it was a little bit bumpy, but we found a road again...

And we took small roads again, which we hadn't to share with 40-ton trucks. The weather was good.

Children need a lot of rests. We made them. We always took time to play with Emilia... We cycled down to the "Anger" through a residential area. A lot of trucks also where there. Everywhere policemen, carried here from everywhere in Bavaria. But they had no knowledge of place. Finally, we came down... 

What we saw... beyond believe! How much sand was washed to all flooded areas. We passed it and cycled to the Danube bridge.

Terrifying! The Danube was still above the highest warning level, more than 12 m above normal and we saw, that it must be some meters more the last days. Working people everywhere, they tried to rescue, what is possible to be rescued. Poor people, but I had to bring my grandchild home, out of here!

We came through the old town of Passau... stuff and sludge everywhere! And the worst: flooding tourists! Let'S get out of here!

On the train station, we caught a train home. But the rails between Regensburg an Neustadt were blocked, so we need a bus-transfer, but all went well. 

Late afternoon, we arrived at home!

 

 

Upshot

Making a tour with a 4 years old child only works, if everything cycles around the child! The child is not cycling with you, you are cycling with a child! If a child needs a rest, it needs a rest, no discussion. If someone has no felxibility or a plan B, the child will get moods. This would be no fun.

Our grandchild had fun, in face of the bad weather. She also has seen a lot, not all was plannend, but an experience.

Sadly, we had no chance for camping. But the next time...