Danube cycle path Grein to Melk

Trip Start Sep 15, 2011
Trip End Oct 02, 2011

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Where I stayed
gasthof wachauertof Teufner

Flag of Austria  , Lower Austria,
Friday, September 23, 2011

The morning began with our typical beautiful breakfast.  We had a short but steep climb after leaving the hotel, then it was downhill for the next 8 kilometers.  Back in Grein we took the bike ferry across the river to get away from the main highway on the other side.  A group of Australians from Sydney joined us.  They had been in Scandinavia for masters rowing events.  Apparently they travel around the world competing.

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.
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Jan Corwin on

Don't forget to look for my childhood favorites in Budapest : my spelling will be atrocious - it's phonetical. Krumpleshtaysta, a potato dough fried with onions, garlic and breadcrumbs, in small rolls, and pulichinta, crepes with both sweet and savory fillings.

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