Wheeling in Wonderful Wachau – Austria

The weather above was preparing to cry down on us as we disembarked from our boat to enter the UNESCO landscape of the Wachau valley.  It lay before us with its rows of spindly vineyards, historic villages and crumbling castles.  This was to be our last day of cycling along the Danube in Austria.  Like babes in blankets we were wrapped up warm for this journey. Our boat quickly left on a race to beat us to our final destination.

The Danube takes our boat to its final destination – leaving us to catch up!

A few miles down the cycle trail and it wasn’t soon before we were distracted by a roadside food stall selling regional delicacies and local wine.

Wine and white asparagus

Easily tempted, we found ourselves bundling our panniers full of tasty picnic treats to enjoy later.  The cycle trail quickly diverted away from the river Danube, our chains clinking, as we passed a scattering of rustic old homes and never-ending lines of vineyards.

The vines clenched knuckles wrapped around each other like an old persons fingers holding on to life.  With a back drop of angry clouds, rolling hills and layers of mist suddenly our immediate surroundings felt kind of eerie…

Cycling through the vineyards

The small walled town of Durnstein distracted our thoughts as its colours sparkled in the distance. Ancient terraced vineyards welcomed us on the outskirts.

We came upon a maze of cobbled streets and happily locked our bicycles to explore the town and its picture perfect baroque monastery.

The bright blue monastery provided a grand view of the Danube river – From the balcony we saw our boat putt merrily by.  Time was also spent sampling local wine and finding cosy shops to warm our cold bodies.

Durnstein on a clear day – taken from the boat a few days earlier

Rosy cheeked, with hearty wine in our bellies, we were back on the bicycles when a drizzle of rain began. It followed us, past the knobbly branches of the vineyards.  Joined us as we weaved in and out of the most picturesque villages and didn’t leave our side until we stopped for lunch and another guzzle of delicious wine.

Fresh puddles splashed us on the last leg of the journey. The mist was heavy and the rolling hills climbed to higher heights caving in around us making us feel like miniatures in a big world.  The cycle trail soon surprised our legs with a few inclines.  Our leg muscles pushed onwards gratefully taking us to the town of Willendorf.

The Venus of Willendorf

This is the place where the Venus of Willendorf was discovered.  She is an 11cm long female figure, made from chalkstone and estimated to have been made 25,000 years ago.  She is now on display at the Natural History Museum in Vienna.  We stopped to admire a gigantic version of her sitting proudly a top a small hill overlooking the town.

The emotional clouds above never cleared.  We hurried onwards to meet the boat.

Farewell Austria!

It didn’t take us long and we soon found ourselves saying fond farewells to fellow cyclists and staff aboard our boat.

We had throughly enjoyed our time along the river Danube, but time couldn’t wait – we had a train to catch.  A boat trip down the canals of France was our next adventure, but that is another story…

8 thoughts on “Wheeling in Wonderful Wachau – Austria

  1. Thanks for interesting story! You were very lucky to see Durnstein on a clear day!
    I had a cruise on the Danube in this magical place 4 years ago, but the weather was very cloudy at times. Nevertheless it was wonderful to admire lanscapes – river banks, castles, small towns and vieyards.

  2. Aw, man! I wanna jump on that food cart, and race your boat down the river, and eat all that delicious food as I go along!

    Like babies in blankets… Vines clenching knuckles like an old persons fingers holding on to life… rosy-cheeked… knobbly branches… hills making us feel like miniatures in a big world… emotional clouds…

    Poetry!– music to my ears!! Another magical journey! I only wish I could be there pedaling along with you. But wait– it can’t possibly be as grand as you make it sound– or can it??

    Fantastic post, as always. : )

  3. I believe I am a bit jealous. Looks like a beautiful ride. I live in the U.S. (Florida) and my wife and I are planning a trip to Bavaria next year, perhaps we may also include Austria. Do you know if it is easy to rent bicycles in that area?

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