Continuing with the policy of stating as early as possible (the main requirement for which is for Christine, never a morning person, to get up and going), we set off before 8. On our way through Melk we couldn’t find a baker that was open which we thought was a little odd. Later we found that we had made a rookie error in not knowing that it was a public holiday in Austria.
The road out of Melk came as a nasty shock. It was uphill! And a steep one at that. We climbed 55 metres in 2 km. Compare that to the figures for the previous two days! It did nothing to improve Christine’s humour.
We soon met Dave coming the other way. He was on the last leg of a 20 month trip around the world including crossing China in the middle of winter. He said it was mighty cold!
By now we were in the heart of the Wachau with vines and apricot plants everywhere. The route was either alongside a busy road or, more often on quiet roads that led through pretty little villages that had been bypassed by the main road. This meant that there was more climbing to be done but thankfully nothing like the one at the start of the day.
The guidebook said the Wachau is often regarded as the real highlight of the trip from Passau to Vienna. We would agree that it is certainly pretty but we preferred the less civilised and quieter sections through the Strudengau and the other gorge.
Most of the villages seemed to be celebrating which involved throwing hay all over the road and lining the sides of the road with cut off branches while everyone wore traditional dress.
We arrived at our destination in Krems around two o’clock and then decided to go our separate ways for the afternoon. Christine wanted to explore the town while Stephen decided that he hadn’t done enough cycling (and also wanted to get more of a recharge into his phone). Leaving the luggage behind at the campsite it was bliss to ride an unladen bike and it was just as well as this was where he was planning to go.
This is Göttweig Abbey and is about 200 metres above the river. By the time he got there he was ready for a cold beer!
The view from the top.
It was fun going down needless to say!
Friday saw us crossing the river to the southern bank where it stays all the way to Vienna. All the way from Passau we had been seeing groups of cyclists with the same bikes or panniers – obviously on organised tours. These tours are generally self-guided but your luggage is moved each day so you only have to carry the few things you need during the day. Some might call this cheating but when you are lugging 30 kg around on your bike we can see the attraction! Christine got talking to a small group of 4 such cyclists (Pat, Maureen, Stuart, and John). It turned out that the men are experienced long distance cyclists themselves having ridden from Istanbul to the UK and across the USA.
Tulln, where we were to spend the night, soon appeared but not before we passed a farmhouse where Christine remembered that we had stayed with the children 15 years ago.