VIA CLAUDIO AUGUSTA

'WHAT HAVE THE ROMANS EVER DONE FOR US?'

Stage 1 Bavaria


The Romans definitely knew how to build a trail so when they needed a route through the Alps they chose the line of least resistance through the lowest mountain passes connecting the Danube in Southern Germany with the Adriatic near Venice. I say easy- fast forward 2000 yrs and you can pedal the 700k route through four countries, two Alpine passes and any number of short power sapping climbs which may not sound a breeze but how does a 65k descent and plenty of trailside bars and cafés sound by way of recompense?

A cheap flight to Munich, a 45min transfer by train followed by a 3k pedal and there it is the first 'Via' Trail marker. The Romans might have been great engineers but today the Germans certainly know how to waymark a trail to the point we didn't even bother taking a Trail Map to start with. They're also pretty handy at brewing too so a couple of generous glasses of Weiss Beer of an evening soothes the aches and softens the memory of any of those pesky trail features from the day.

If you like the sun in your face and wind on your back the Via mostly delivers heading generally due south and luckily for us the wind and dark clouds always seemed to be behind us too. The Bavarian section of the Via is mostly perfect groomed blacktop but sections are off-road through forest and pasture making this an ideal Gravel Bike ride. Not ideal was the cheap 'n cheerfull pannier rack which blew a gasket (weld) after a particularly long rough section but with every other village seeming to have a bike shop (thanks 'Mikes Place' just north of Fusson) a new one was soon added as was another coffee and cake and within the hour we were back on the trail and within sight of the Alps and Austria.

Time for another celebrationary Weiss beer then.
Cathy and Adrian Carter. Mid June 2015

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