from km 8071 to km 8465 total 394 km
Shortly after the floodgate of Jochenstein I cycled on Austrian territory again. The trail was flat along the
shore and after a few kilometers we were at the first bend of the Danube, where we changed from the north shore to the south shore of the river by ferry. This change was rewarded by beautiful views of the first Austrian castles and monasteries along the Danube.
A fascinating trip through beech woods, always flat along the Danube and I soon reached Linz. But before we had to switch with the ferry in Ottensheim again to the north shore so that we could cycle through downtown Linz. Unfortunately, this was the "wrong" side, as Astrid, Annina and Emma were waiting on a campsite on the right bank. So it happened that I had to make a bit of a detour to meet up with them. By the way, the ferry in Ottensheim was the very first ferry with a rope that is driven only by the water power of the river - just as I knew it from the "Fährima" in Basel.
The next day we visited town and monastery St. Florian. The wonderful buildings testified the joy of life of the monks and clergy.
The Danube Cycle Path in Austria runs very often on the so-called Treppelwegen. These run directly on the shore and were once used by horses to pull the ships up from the Danube.
The Danube flows here through a beautiful landscape and you see a very interesting contrast: below, the Danube with its shipping traffic, in the middle the castles and on top the lonely farms. Here in Willersbach I met the two cyclists Constanze and Annelie and a group of oldtimer tractor lovers from the Burgenland. With the girls I learned a few new card games before we went to sleep. Cycling by yourself you often meet interesting people.
The next magnificent royal buildings were to be found a few kilometers down the river in the city Ybbs and from there it is only a short hop to the
highly rated Abbey of Melk.
Melk is also the gate to the famous Wachau where the apricot trees (Marillen) almost hide the farmhouses. Soon, however, the apricot trees are displaced by the vineyards. In the wine village of Spitz I took the opportunity to stay in a “Heurigenlokal” and enjoyed a nice evening with some wine and “Jause” . Some castles and villages later and I passed the Wachau. After this I cycled into Vienna. Before I reached the campsite in the very far eastern part of Vienna I had to cycle through a long stretching monotonous industrial area along the infinitely long Danube Island.
From this campsite we have (I've since met Astrid again) explored the city for a few days. Public transport is well developed in Vienna and with the subway one can get very fast to every corner of the city. As probably every other tourist, we started our tour with St. Stephen. A huge cathedral, squeezed in the historic center of Vienna, constantly under renovation, with a huge interior and enormous altar. Outside we noted some other beautiful small details like this gargoyle that despite the ravages of time, respectively the acid rain gnawing at it, point out the rich imagination of the stonemasons. At least one of the masons was certainly blessed with a very feisty housewife. Of course, another landmark of Vienna should could not be missed: the “Fiaker”, a kind of horse cab.
Some other magnificent buildings we saw through a virtual walk through Vienna on the Fiaker. This gives a
small overview of this ancient imperial city. Lovers of cultural important cities should definitely visit a city like Vienna.
On the last day we went to the viewpoint of Vienna, the Kahlenberg. This hill is in the west of Vienna and you have magnificent views over the Danube and the city. You are even able to overlook the estate of Hundertwasser and the world's first workers'
housing settlements on the outskirts of Vienna.
Of course, no visit to Vienna can end without having ever visited a “Heurigenlokal” (wine tavern). This evening, we therefore enjoyed a cracking meal and the fantastic wines in a suburb of Vienna and then still enjoyed a little culture; namely a visit to a very fine cabaret of a Swiss comedian named Haller (who went to school with my son).
A stroll through the old city of Vienna completed this evening and the final question may be asked: which ball is the full moon?
And then those few wonderful days in a big city came to a end. I enjoyed it, although I tend to avoid big cities because I am far away from a man with urban soul.
After I left Vienna, I got a nice break from the urban, hectic life and found the quiet and beautiful countryside down the Danube very relaxing. The nature Conservation Centre of Donauauen in Orth an der Donau was very good for further information on the area. In the quiet backwaters of the Danube I saw an incredible number of terrapins and the bird life was rich in species and more and more southern species came. The landmark of Bad Deutsch-Altenburg, the church over the quarry and the old Roman baths were seen already from the infinitely long Danube bridge. After I stayed in Petronell-Carnuntum overnight, I rode to Hainburg, where I got a fresh beer after I had visited the famous Türkentor and the impressive castle.
After the beer I rode over the fields towards Slovakia. The capital of Slovakia could already be seen from afar.