December 11, 2015
Let the Good Times Roll
Thank you Tripsite and friends, for a most memorable and enjoyable week on the Danube river. To ride the shores of the iconic Donau, explore the ancient cities, villages, castles and monasteries is to become a part of the surroundings. Bicycling offers ample opportunity to absorb the ambiance and grasp the beauty of this scenic valley. Guided, yet unguided, we were armed with a detailed map; then, left free to set our own pace, stop where we pleased or, if so desired, sample the local cuisine and libation. Each day was a new and exciting adventure. The Danube Valley is a region of unmatched culture and charm. It should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list.
Along the Way...
About the Theodor Korner...
Small is definitely better. Large cruise ships cannot provide the individual attention to passengers that we experienced. For example, without prompting, the concierge led the entire dining room in celebrating my birthday. He was also available to answer a myriad of questions and assist with departure arrangements. The only thing he had trouble controlling was the weather, but even rain could not dampen our enthusiasm for the ride.
What's a little rain?
Unlike large cruise lines, expensive excursions were not necessary. The ride was the excursion. In place of open seating so common with larger ships, we were assigned tables for dinner according to native language and there we met our new best friends. Every day upon returning to the ship in the afternoon, tea and dessert were provided while we exchanged the day’s adventures with other riders. Each evening dinner was tastefully prepared and presented. After dinner most passengers retired to the lounge for live music and dancing. The ship experience was as rewarding as the Austrian countryside.
New Best Friends
It would be hard to choose a favorite day, but the last day, Untermuhl to Engelhartszell, immediately comes to mind. To begin with we were drenched in sunshine, a much appreciated weather change. As mentioned before, rain did not diminish our zeal to explore the region. This day, we encountered too many swans to count, two ferry boat rides, the Donauleiten nature sanctuary and best of all, the Great Loop.
The Great Loop
Just downstream from Passau, the Danube encounters a granite ridge that turns the river back on itself forming the Schlogen loop. The best overview of the loop and the river valley is attained by hiking to the Schlogener Blick platform. Here we watched the Theodore Korner navigate the bend in route to its next port. At this point in the week all riders with red panniers were becoming familiar faces and we held an impromptu reunion amid a frenzy of camera clicks. Many of us rode together the last leg of this memorable journey through forests and meadows of vibrant autumn color. It was a beautiful day, exhilarating ride, stunning scenery and great new friends. No one was ready to go home!
But let me rethink this. How could anything be more memorable than the Mozart -Strauss concert in Vienna, or the Melk Monastery, or watching dancers waltz to The Blue Danube, or sampling grapes fresh from the vine in the Wachau valley, or frequent beer stops with new found friends, or just observing the changing colors of the Danube, some days blue, some days green and others silver? It was all memorable!
|Blogger – Linda Fajen|
Referred to as “dangerous grandma” by my five grandchildren, I like hiking, biking and other travel adventures. Going on a Bike and Barge was the perfect way to celebrate my seventieth birthday!