Friday, July 23, 2010

The Danube River Trail: Passau, Germany to Melk, Austria, Days 2-4

The Danube bike path and a little Austin Powers humor.

The bike ferry (my Trucker is on the right).

The rest of my second day did not goes as smoothly as the morning. It too me to the Danube Loop where the river could not cut through a granite mountain so it took a different route. The bike path stops there and you have to take a ferry down river or across the river. First up, I can't believe this bike trail is so popular that people make a business shuttling people back and forth across the river. I think there were 10 people on the ferry. They all crossed. I chose to continue down river on the same side because I wanted to ride on the trail instead of country roads. Unfortunately, while it was really peaceful riding, I did not get to next ferry point in time to get over to my campsite for the night. I could bike back 10km to a different campsite or stay in the one guest house they had. The guest house was only 40 euros and the room felt air conditioned. As soon as I felt the cool, I was game.

A huge rowing facility: lanes, building, floating transport, and who knows what else.

After getting the room, I explored all twenty feet of the one inn town. There wasn't really much of anything, but it was peaceful, which I liked. They did not have a grocery store so I had to use their pub for dinner. I got a pizza because it was easy, but I think this meal broke me. The entire time with my brother in Austria, we had been fighting flies at meals. Not just one or two, but five or six. At this meal, I counted eight. Very, very frustrating. I don't mind them being 'unsanitary' I just hate that they won't sit still. That is my job. I think someone could make a killing with flypaper in Austria. Anyway, after a meal so quick the waitress commented on it (though in Europe going out to eat seems like a longer affair than in the US), I headed back to my room. It had been hot. I had AC. I wanted to soak up as much of it as I could. Unfortunately, the room seemed a little warmer when I got up there. It turned out that I didn't have AC. The room was just that much cooler without the afternoon sun shining in. Oh well.

Check out the 'walk' signs just outside of Linz.

I love that so many people bike that they have these giant lots for bikes and they are still over full.

My third day, I found out I am an idiot. The ferry might have been running, but you have to page it with some weird intercom system. Once I figured it out, I got the ferry and put my foot to the pedal as fast as I could. I had great ideas for passing through Linz and sleeping next to the castle in Grein. I had been riding past a number of castles, but none were easily visitable or super visible from the river. I wanted to fix that. I get excited about castles. They inspire some romantic ideas of the King Arthur legend. I wonder if people in Austria are nearly as excited by them. I do not think you can go 30km anywhere in Austria without getting to a castle. There are so many, it can be as low at 5 euros to get in. It was a long haul to see it, but worth it.

99 castles in Austria, 99 castles in Austria, go visit one . . .

A great statue in Linz.


My night in Grein was entertaining. I chatted a few people up, but the best part was that I was camping next to other bike tour folks. We had an automatic bond. One couple wanted me to help them check in since I knew Spanish and English. They only knew Spanish and three other languages that were not English or German. The most notable part of the night was the soccer club next to the camp site. I do not know what they were celebrating, but I distinctly remember the men going from singing Ole, Ole, Ole, to Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. Perfect.

Grein castle.

I really wanted to let this squirrel out. He was just hopping back and forth non stop.

After the long haul and a short night of sleep, I was tired. I was passing through a lot of great land, but I did not feel I was experiencing it enough. I was enjoying the towns I was sleeping in or taking my afternoon break in, but there were small sights on the way that I had been skipping. To fix that on my fourth day, I planned another big day with a ton of side trips to slow me down. Those side trips turned out to be my best decision of the trip so far. I hope to use them as a model from here on out.

Beautiful river scenery.

I do not think I have ever seen a lock being used. The Danube has a ton. Very cool.

The smell these guys give off will stick with me when I think of Austria.

After cruising the river for a few kilometers, I detoured to a climb up to Maria Taferi, a pilgrimage church. From there, I was off to Artstetten Castle and it did not disappoint. Big, inspiring, and just what I was looking for. Also, there was a fireman's carnival going on just below the castle that was great. From there, I cut across the farmland to Leiben Castle before dropping down to Melk. Leiben seemed more like a big mansion than a castle. It was still neat to get up close in the courtyard though. After that, I took my afternoon break in Melk. Melk was not the big city I was hoping for. I had left Linz without doing my trip shopping, assuming I could get it in Melk. I was wrong.

The Danube from Maria Taferi.

Artstetten Castle.

The farmland between Artstetten and Leiben Castles.

Leiben Castle.

My lack of planning is going to bite my in the butt eventually, but not yet. Who needs guide books, chargers, or whatever else I was looking for? Just details. I planned a lot of this trip, but also left a lot open. Some of those openings are falling into place. Others, not so much, but that is the point isn't it. We (or at least I) don't travel to stay in our comfort zones.

A bike race passing through Melk. I was tired, but I can't believe this guys arms were still pumping.


  1. I can't believe you know who sang "I Will Survive!" Who knew you could be so hip with pop culture? :-P

    People can make a living anywhere, apparently. You should be a sole distributor of flypapers across the world. I have horrile memories of swarms of mosquitoes following our van in Cozumel Mexico. *shudders from the thought*

    Austria is very pretty!

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