We lost a little time trying to get out of Kelheim. The city sits at the confluence of the Altmühl and the Danube, so you can't do the easy thing -- find the Danube and turn east. Eventually, we found our way back to the Altmühl (which is also the Main-Danube canal that starts in Bamberg) and found the signs marking the trail.
Initially, the trail was paved and we had high hopes that turned to ashes as the trail turned to gravel. But it was more of a "pea gravel" and not as bad as before. We wound or way along the Danube, passing thru some quaint villages. There were huge limestone cliffs along the south bank (we were on the north).
At Bad Abbrach we crossed over the river. There is a brewery there, but it was a bit inland and up a hill so we kept on riding. About 5km later we were in the village of Oberdorf and it was getting on to lunch time. We diverted from the trail on to a road that when into town. The Berghammer brewery was somewhere and we intended to find it! Find it we did, and saw what has become my least favorite word in the German language -- Betreibsurlaub -- meaning "Closed for Vacation"
The brewery was functioning, though, we could smell the delightful aroma of a brew in progress. A couple was carrying out a case of bottles and the woman told us the another 5 miles down the road was a nice place to have lunch. The man went around to the back of his VW Van, open the hatch, reached in, and came out with two cold bottles of beer, which he handed to us. "Prost!" he said.
We wondered over to a picnic table across the road, that clearly was used as a beer garden when the pub was open. We parked the bikes an opened the bottles (which luckily where swing top as I had no idea where in my bags the bottle opener was). The beer was called "Kupfer" -- copper -- and was very nice. A bit of hops and a hint of roasted malt. The couple came over and sat with us and told us they had been friends of the brewer for a long time and drove up from Regensburg to pick up some beer. The man went back in the brewery and came out with another bottle, this time of the helles and my Dad and shared that. It was quite nice, but the Kupfer was better and more interesting.
We finished up the beers and continued riding. We decided to stay on the country road to Matting, the village with the "nice place for lunch."
We soon found ourselves at the "Zunftstubl" which appeared to be an outdoor cafe, though I'm sure there are rooms inside when the weather is colder. We each ordered chicken soup and a beer. I thought I would like something more solid, so I ordered some "Leberkäse" -- which translates to "Liver Cheese" although it has no liver and no cheese in it. The owner said, no that is too much food but I insisted. She was right -- the bowls of soup were huge and the Leberkäse plate had 3 huge slices. I finished what I could and took along the rest as "emergency rations."
We had "lost" a couple of hours with our stops, but since today was a short day (and we had no flat tires!) we had time to kill. We worked our way to Regensburg, stopping to take pictures along the way. Soon, we could tell we were approaching the city because there were high rise apartment buildings in the distance. The area along the river was very wooded and you had no idea you were in a largish city. Soon the famous "Stone Bridge" came in to view and we knew we were there.
(Note: some panoramic views of and from the Stone Bridge are available here)
Our hotel was in my GPS but we still had a very hard time finding it. It turns out to be on a very narrow pedestrian street that is really more of an alley. But being smart businesspeople they put a huge sign with an arrow on the side of another building and we were soon checked in and in our room.
After a shower, we walked down to Arnulfsplatz, the home of Brauerei Kneitinger, the best (in my opinion) brewery in Regensburg. We had their Edel Pils and Export Dunkel. Both were good, but the Pils was better. They had a bock beer on the menu, but were told (falsely it turns out) that is only available in the fall.
Next we walked down to the stone bridge, which is the oldest stone bridge in Germany. It was originally a Roman bridge (Regensburg was founded by the Romans) and in the 1300s the current bridge was built on the original Roman footings. At the foot of the bridge is a little shack that is a bratwurst stand that was originally built to feed the workers building the bridge in 1300. Sadly they were just closing, but sold us some sausages on roll to go.
We walked across the bridge and on the other end is Brauerei Spital. The is a brewery that was formerly run by a hospital (hence the name). I wonder if their motto was "A beer a day keeps the doctor away."
While the beer is not is good as Kneitinger, they have a very nice beer garden along the Danube. We ordered a Helles and a Dunkles and each had a bowl of "Kohlrabi" soup. I had no idea what it was and the way our waitress described it, it sounded like some sort of cabbage. It turns out it is a form of cabbage that has been bred to grow underground like a turnip. The soup was good, but needing more we shared some pork medallions in mushroom sauce. It was very good, but a bit too much after the bratwurst appetizer.
We wandered back to the hotel and after passing the third ice cream stand, my Dad decided he couldn't pass up a forth, so we stopped for a cone.
Tomorrow is a longer day -- 64km practically due north to the city of Amberg.
Total distance: 40km