With only 1 day of cycling left it is hard to believe that the first leg of of our 2011 European ride is almost completed. A little over two weeks ago we arrived in Ulm, jetlagged but excited about the experience that lay ahead. Tomorrow we will ride the final day’s ride to Vienna – one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world.Apart from a couple of minor hiccups, everything has actually gone very smoothly. No one has fallen off their bike and we have only suffered two puctures in the entire ride. I suspect that there are a few riders who will be glad to have a few days relief from the discomforts of the bike seat, but I also feel that we will all be more than a little sad that the daily riding routine is drawing to a close.
This morning we rode out of Pochlarn and back through Melk. Yesterday afternoon we had all caught the train from pochlarn to Melk to spend the afternoon exploring and marveling at the incredible Baroque Abbey of Melk. This building is world famous for its magnitude and splendour and houses some 100,000 priceless books and numerous other treasures. The most valuable is the gold cross which is said to contain a small piece of the cross of Christ.
Today’s ride then took us through the heart of the Wachau Valley wine growing region. The towns in this area are incedibly beautiful and it was very hard not to keep stopping to take pictures. One church we explored was alomost 1000 years old and had an ancient sealed chapel which was piled high with skulls! Not sure what the story was but it was certainly fascinating.
Lunch was in the town of Durnstein, surrounded by grape vineyards. We were also surrounded by the regular influxes of passengers fom the large river cruisers (aka “pyjama boats”). Even though the dock was only a few hundred metres from the town, this was obviously far too much exercise for the passengers – they had to be met by buses for the 2 minute ride. Can’t see why this sort of trip would be any fun at all !!!!!
Our final pitstop before Vienna is in the town of Traismaier. It is not a particularly attractive town but it provides a convenient final resting place and on our last trip, we all agreed that this was the best food of the entire ride. I hope that tonight’s dinner is even half as good.