Danube cycle path Grein to Melk
Trip Start Sep 15, 2011
17Trip End Oct 02, 2011
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Back on the south side of the river we were in forest with steep hillsides for several miles, then crossed to the north side of the river at Persenberg. The route goes through the historic center of the small town.
We stopped at the cafe S'Mariandl. No English menus and nothing we recognized on the list of items except beer and coffee. I was hoping for another apple strudel but they didn't have one so we took a chance and ordered the menu item that started with the word apple
We sat outside and watched the locals and a few bikes go by and read about the town. We were sitting under a massive Linden tree said to have been planted in 1300. It was hard to believe, but there were no eye witnesses to dispute it.
We sipped coffee until our waitress came out with two large plates. At first I thought we were going to be eating doughnuts, but they turned out to be apple slices dipped in batter and fried. They were sprinkled with powered sugar and severed with a berry compote and whipped cream. Our uninformed ordering had paid off ...it was delicious.
After Persenberg the river widened out and we were riding through farms of potatoes, corn and apple orchards. By early afternoon we could see our destination in the distance, the towering abbey at Melk.
Our limited instructions recommended taking the second "new" bridge ....over the powerhouse and soon we were in the small town of Melk, one of the little gems of the Danube Valley. It is a popular spot for cruise ships, cyclists, tour buses and day trippers from Vienna
We arrived at the Gastof Wachauerhot at about 3:30. There is nothing to recommend the hotel except the location at the top of the pedestrian area, near the entrance to the abbey. We took a tour of the town and watched the local version of fashion week...models show off the latest winter clothes on a long runway of green carpet in the middle of the street, while family and friends cheered them on.
Dinner was at the Goldener Srern, a small guesthouse and restaurant. They serve a small selection of Austrian favorite; good food and friendly service.
Back in our bland hotel I couldn't help thinking about the monks in their opulent abbey sleeping just above us.