We have made it to the second and third hotels. The 2nd hotel (the first night of biking) did not have internet. The 3rd hotel had wifi but only on the ground floor, and we arrived so late (you can read about it below) that there was no time to try to post. This hotel (4th and Day 3) has wifi in the room but it is so slow there will be no photos... sorry. I hope to go back and post photos when I get some decent internet.
The first day was a beautiful ride. We didn't start riding until 11 am because we had to pick up the bikes first. The weather was overcast and cool. The river is beautiful, and you ride through these picturesque towns occasionally. At one point, we had to take a small "ferry" across the river because our hotel was on the south side. There are fair number of fellow bikers, couples, groups and some families on the trail. It's weird, but other than the people with motorized bikes and some really fast guys, we pass everyone! You should see the looks on their faces when we ride past, the cute little young lady and this fat old lady. I guess all that training came in handy. We arrived at this very nice hotel right on the bike path at about 6 pm and had dinner then walked around a bit looking at the river! As if we hadn't seen enough of it. But we wanted to walk instead of ride.
The second day was very different. It rained almost the entire day. Thank goodness we had bought some raincoats Saturday morning before we left. Smartest purchase. It was not uncomfortable to ride through the rain, though, and we still had a lot of fun. We left at 9 am, and made it to Linz where we pushed the bikes up through the old streets to the Schloss Museum where we spend about an hour touring 2 of the floors. The armor and weapons were very cool. When we got out, it had stopped raining, and we rode on to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. We had to ride back and up a very steep hill, which meant getting off and pushing the bikes up about 1k but it was so worth it. When we left it was almost 5:30 and we were a bit worried because we had quite a way to ride, about 20 miles. We rode on through more rain, rarely seeing anyone else, just enjoying the peace and each other. One funny thing, in this part of Austria, there are huge slugs, just like back home. And for some reason, they are all trying to cross the bike path, so we see squished slugs all along the route. Really, slugs, stay on your side! The grass is not greener. We arrived in Grein at about 8 and were so happy, but we could not find the hotel, so we stopped at a restaurant, Schorgi, café-konditorei, where the incredibly nice woman working the cash register called the hotel, and they came and picked us up, well really, first she gave us directions, and told us that it was too far to continue, but we tried to ride on for about 30 minutes, but we realized that there was no way we would make it as it was inland and therefore uphill and there was no bike lane on the street and by now it was very dark, so we rode back along the busy main street to the restaurant, walked in soaked and tired, and she looked up and called for help. Someone came with a truck and a trailer with lots of bike slots and he drove us up to the hotel. Thank goodness. There was no way we could have done it. we got to the hotel at about 9 pm just as the restaurant was closing, so we ordered, ran up to our room and changed into dry clothes, ran down and ate. After dinner we went back to the room where we ate some pastries that we had bought at the café down in Grein. So so so yummy!
The sun is out today, and we are looking forward to getting back on the road, but I'm not sure how we get back to the river. I hope not down that scary hill. We rode about 120 km yesterday. Today should be about 90 km, so a much easier day. We still hope to do some sightseeing, even if it puts us into the hotel late. It is so worth it. Hope the next hotel has internet, too. The second one did not.
I hope to post a map and some photos at some point, but we have to get out luggage down to the "pick up" room, and eat breakfast and get back on the trail.
ok, there was no time to post the day 1 and 2 so I am now adding day 3. We had to ride down that super scary hill to get back to the Danau (Danube) Bike Trail. It was 5km. So, Moogie and I pushed our bikes up about 2 km before we got too wet and scared in the dark. Then we rode down those 2km and back 1 km to the nice lady at the restaurant. Anyway, today we started our ride by coasting down 5km of steep hill. Then we rode until we reached Melk. We ate lunch, then visited the Benedictine Abbey there. It is now an art museum, with some amazing relics of Catholicism as well as general art. We were able to visit their church which was covered with gold. I mean the altar pieces, and most of the statues. We spent about an hour walking around. Then we got a bit lost trying to get back to the Danube, but we finally found the way, and rode across a bridge to the North side (Melk is on the South, and we crossed over on their power plant bridge) and continued on our way. Today we rode through a lot of towns. The trail will take you up a bit away from the river and suddenly you are in a small Austrian town riding down narrow cobbled streets between buildings. You have to watch out for cars because those parts have no dedicated bike lane. It was so fun. These towns are just beautiful. One of the towns is known for the stone age excavation done there. Back in 1908 some one discovered a stone age site and found a "Venus" statuette. There is a bit of a shrine where the venus was found. Moogie and I searched 2 wrong towns, then finally found the right place, and walked up the stairs to the Venus. The original statue was about 11 cm. The replica is about 6 ft. It was a bit funny, but still fun. We made it to Melk by 7pm found our hotel, and walked down the street for dinner. We totally splurged and had a wonderful meal. I think we covered about 100 km.
Tomorrow we will make it to Vienna. It should be the easiest day of riding, about 85 km or so. Then we have 2 days to just see Vienna before flying to London.
Shaping the planet with a sunny day in Austria.