Ok, so it's still raining but the last two days have been far from grey.
The morning after I finished typing what Jimmy described as 'a very terse blog' was absolutely freezing. And with that we transformed from holiday makers to explorers. Ten minutes after breakfast this week's itinerary had been extended to Passau on the German-Austrian border. No faffing, little deliberating and a confident decision made.
This longer week had always been on the optimistic cards and it was good to have it out in the open. However, after three days only stopping for drinks' breaks we were now in need of supplies as well as a coffee. Approaching our first possible town we made another snap decision: we would gamble with a later town for coffee and food supplies unless we saw something smack bang on the river. And for once we did see something. A large supermarket that banked onto the towpath. A supermarket visit may not make most people extactic, but its pretty big news when it doesn't involve a half an hour trek in the rain.
And so we boshed on through the drizzle and rain. I'll try not to mention the rain again but you can take it as the backdrop for everything I narrate at the moment.
After sheltering under a motorway bridge for lunch - yeah life is that good at the moment - we stopped in our second town for a coffee. Once again, we'd struck gold... Or at least tin foil. A little town set up for tourists, a friendly little cafe and a postbox for an awol postcard. Perfect. After Jimmy had danced with death in front of 200 people and I had chatted about he weather with a nice old lady, we plowed on.
The third big decision of the day was another stroke of mundane genius. Pay for camping at a campsite, or get a few more kilometers completed and wild camp? Since it was still wet, we opted for the former. The campsite proprietor then kindly offered us a dorm room for the same price as camping. Again, a bedroom with a radiator may not set the world on fire, but last night it was exactly what the doctor ordered.
After a great nights sleep I awoke to more drizzle. Running in a vest and shorts in the rain it took me a while to appreciate a stunning alpine castle with a cliff top view. And then I did appreciate it. Our start to the day was similar. We procrastinated in our homely dorm room before silently loading the canoe. The we opened our eyes, realized we were in an alpine Valley and ten kilometers from the Danube and suddenly the valley was filled with Bill Withers' 'Lean on me'.
Did I forget to mention that? Yep, today is the day we hit the Danube. Our final river that will take us all the way to the Black Sea. Pretty big news. We met Ms. Danube at about 11am and she didn't disappoint. In fact, the Danube is probably equivalent to a waterside supermarket and bedroom with a radiator rolled into one. We had fast water and a weir complete with a canoe run that left us giggling for about half an hour. We may have about 2000km left to go but the Danube gives us a helping hand for 1600km of it. If my vocabulary extended beyond the words 'banging' and 'buzzing' I'd tell you how that feels.
And the rest of the day hasn't been too bad either. I made a surprise phone call to say happy birthday dad, speaking to my parents for the first time since week 2. We found a canoe club with cheap and friendly camping. We then went into Regensburg and made a few more giant leaps for mankind: camping gas restocked, I finally bought a raincoat, Jimmy bought a sleeping bag case and I found some chili beans for dinner. By the way, Regensburg cathedral has some unbelievable stained glass windows. Seriously. We then stumbled across a funky little cafe with some very strong mochas and an almost cockney owner. Regensburg, thank you and good night.
So that's a second midweek blog for you because we know that the world cannot wait until this extra long week is over. A supermarket, a bed, some coffee, and a new coat may not be the stuff of legend but they have certainly brightened us up.
Oh, and we're on the Danube.