Flatlining the Danube
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I buy the bicycle guide book for the Danube at a bookstore in Linz in the morning and then I’m on my way towards Vienna. The path is directly next to the river most of the way to Vienna, which will make for quick work of the distance. One of the parts where it heads away is to the old Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen, which is up on a hill.
Close to Linz the path is very busy, but there are far fewer cyclists away from the city. Most of the other cyclists seem to be using the package tours of the Danube and have hardly any baggage with them as it is driven to their next stop for them. Even with their lighter loads I am passing them all. I am passed only by people on racing bikes, who don’t have to lug around any gear and are most likely just out for the day.
Even against the light head wind I make it to Melk, the approximate half way point between Linz and Vienna. There is supposed to be a youth hostel in town but the phone number I had was out of service. Besides this the municipal campground next to the Danube is free of charge and there’s what looks like a great restaurant beside it.
As I bike around the campground to find a good spot I notice another solo bicyclist setting up camp for the night. By the time I’ve put my tent up, did a quick wash from the camp tap, and changed, the other cyclist is still setting up camp. Maybe my set up of a backpack instead of saddle bags does have a time advantages as well. I head to the restaurant across the road for dinner. The other cyclist shows up shortly after as well.
I eat garlic soup, grilled cheeses, and a pork chop with fried onions, mushrooms, and bacon on the patio of the restaurant overlooking the Danube as the sun sets behind the opposite shore. The waitress seems really surprised that I would order so much food for just myself, just like the waitress the night before, and that was just spaghetti and garlic toast. That’s how things are when you are biking all day, you need a big meal to fill you up when you finish. After sunset the mosquitoes come out and the other guests and I are busier swatting them away than we are eating our food.