Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Danube River Trail: Melk, Austria to Tulln, Austria, Days 4-5

Schönbühel Castle

The Danube River and Burgruine Aggstein.

After a good midday rest in Melk, I was torn between taking the faster left bank or taking the right so I could go on another side trip. The first side trip had gone so well, I signed up for another to Burgruine Aggstein. The ruins are located up on a hill, perhaps the steepest hill that I have ever ascended on a bicycle. Though it is only 300m above the river, the guide book said most people push their bikes. I opted to pedal, but had to take 5 breaks on the 2km, 20% grade hill. It almost killed me, but what a reward. A couple people took a picture of me at the top because they had driven past me. I would have happily taken a tow. The ruins might have been my best visit of the day so it was worth. I loved these because sometimes the castle just continued on top of a natural rock wall. You went from giant stone to these little pieces that made the rest of the wall. Odd to think that the only major difference between these ruins and the castles I saw earlier in the day was money, care and time when they started to fall apart.

The ferry over to Spitz.

After the ruins, my day was supposed to come to a quick close. Climbing up those hills was taxing. I could have pulled up in Melk and just rested. Instead, I pressed onward to those great ruins. Afterward, I just wanted to take the cable powered ferry to Spitz so I would not have to wait in the morning. (The ferry was drug across the river by a cable, no engine!) Unfortunately, there was no camping and before I even looked too much for a hotel, I realized the town was overrun with wine seeking tourists. It was too much for me so I booked it out there after only checking on one or two hotels for availability. I was tired, but the next town was close.

Spitz is the start of the Wachau wine region.

I love how shop owners cater to cyclists.

Spitz is the start of the Wachau wine region, which is great if you appreciate wine. I don't. While the subsequent towns were quieter, they were also full or charging too much for my wallet because it was the popular wine region. The first one I found was $100, I could not do it. I had paid $12 the night before and would be in the room less than twelve hours. The next one was $75, but I was just 10k from camping. I pressed onward to Krems and camped for $10. The only problem with this was that my 60km day was now a 97km day with hills. I was hurting. Even if I didn't want to pay monetarily, my body was paying physically. Another lesson.

Another old street in another quaint town.

Part of the story of Jesus in Durnstein.

The dinosaur park that wasn't open. Sad days.

I barely remember exploring Krems or going back into the wine country area in the morning. They were all quaint towns and part of it is they run together, but I am realizing as I try to write this just how tired I must have been. It is odd, if someone is with me, I would have happily just grabbed a hotel room. On my own, I'll suffer longer to save that extra bit of cash for more ice cream, or a massage, or . . . .

I have no idea why Tulln, Austria has a statue of Marcus Aurelius. Also, is Caesar the same as Kaiser?

I have seen this a couple times in Austria. It might be the best way to clean up a men's bathroom.

The next day, I had an uneventful 63.5km day to Tulln. I didn't do much. I rested. It has a beautiful water front park where I spent most of my morning the next day before biking to Vienna. They have some beautiful, but small botanical gardens too. They were no Phipps in Pittsburgh or the Christchurch Botanicals. I think those two will always be tops.

A statue near the river in Tulln.

They really do use those gnomes more in Austria.

This snail probably spent the entire night climbing my tent. It took me only three short seconds to undo all its hard work.


  1. poor snail. i wonder why he bothered climbing up your tent in the first place...was there food on the other side of the tent? :-)

    what a gorgeous castle! i can't believe you biked THAT FAR just to camp. you are a true road warrior!

    can you send me some austrian wine? :-)

  2. Caesar is the same as Kaiser, also the same as Tsar and Czar. The word originated with Julius Caesar's name and all forms are derived from that. Of course, I could be wrong.