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Melk to Vienna

So…last summer we got to take an astonishingly awesome vacation, as discussed here, and here, among other places. It’s taken me a long time to get back to blogging this trip (which we came home from eight months ago), but here’s another stab at getting to the end of it:

Leaving Melk, we entered a land where castles, often in ruins, sit on hilltops

or halfway up a mountainside.

That last one, by the way, reminds me of a “castle” here in the napa valley (Castello di Amorosa) that, while it aspires to offer an authentic castle experience, is missing key elements such as a history measured in centuries, for example. We like to ask our guests to vote: “Classy” or “Trashy” and here’s a photo so you can judge for yourself.

But I digress. One of the coolest things we encountered on the Danube was a large riverboat that crossed the river from side to side without using an engine of any kind. A cable was strung across the river, and the boat, downstream of the cable, could just angle slightly in the direction of the other side and the river current would pull the boat across in just a couple minutes.

After this particular crossing, we entered the Wachau valley, a major wine-producing region of Austria. It was quite spectacular.

After a night in Tulln, our last day of biking took us to Vienna. We got to Vienna in early afternoon, just as a huge thunderstorm was hovering on the edge of town, and the gusty winds propelled us first down this strange island in the Danube populated by strange human-powered-vehicles like this one:

and then as we changed direction to go downtown, the wind turned against us, making it so that we could hardly stand up and walk with our bicycle, let alone ride.

Upon returning our bikes, however, we were immediately sad to face the fact that the rest of our trip would be without them. I can’t recommend bike tours highly enough, at least in this part of the world. It is an unbeatable way to get to know a place, its towns, rural areas, people, food, and beauty. We used Bike Tours Direct, and, in case it wasn’t already obvious, had a very positive experience.

I’ll continue the rest of our trip through Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest, which took place using more conventional modes of transportation, in a future blog, hopefully sooner rather than later.

3 comments to Melk to Vienna

  • I’ve been to Castello di Amorosa! Forced to choose between “classy” and “trashy,” I’d have to go with the latter, though it was certainly an interesting experience and it might be interesting to consider as “hyperreal,” in the vein of Umberto Eco. Certainly seeing the real thing will spoil one for the Californication!

  • Joel

    Nice! Believe it or not, I actually voted “classy” on my first visit, but I like to be a revisionist and claim that it was tongue-in-cheek. I’d like to think that if I had been offered “Californication” as a choice, I would have selected it.

  • Hilary

    I believe your refusal to back down from the “classy” vote–despite my badgering–is one of the reasons I fell for your charms.