Recently, I had the opportunity to go along with the cycling excursion from Melk to Dürnstein, along the Danube River in Austria. (To read my post on the lovely village of Dürnstein, CLICK HERE.)
This particular excursion isn’t offered very often on our ship. Milos had already done it earlier this year and suggested I grab the opportunity while I could.
In these kinds of situations (going on a midday excursion), it means working the early morning shift at 7am until leaving for the excursion, and then coming back and working again until the day ends at 9pm. But sometimes you just have to push through a long day to get the chance to take advantage of a great little side trip. (One thing to note – this was not a laid back leisurely bicycle ride. It was 30 km – about three and a half hours of actual cycling, with a lunch break as well. Guests were told that they needed to be physically fit enough to handle the ride, but of course there were people who did not heed the warnings and they had problems.) A truck with extra bikes and supplies also drove along the route.
We started just near the town of Melk. The weather was pleasant – a few clouds here and there (more overcast at the beginning), but overall sunny and warm as the day went on.
The first segment of road was not right along the river, but set just a little further “inland.” Also early in the trip, we had our only uphill segment of the trip. Nothing like living and working on a little ship to get your body out of shape! (I’m in the worst shape I’ve been in years.) I made it up the hill, but had to do it all the way down in 1st gear. (Hanging my head in shame…) I was definitely feeling the burn in my muscles! After that though, we had a nice river-side bike trail to ride along for the rest of the way.
It wasn’t too long into our journey that our ship caught up with us and passed us…
Along the route, we passed all kinds of natural beauty, including groves of Apricot trees and other fruits, like pears, plums, and apples. (The area is well known for its wines and its apricot products.)
We had a 30 minute lunch break on a stone-finished open area along the river, with a nice view of a castle and village on the other side.
We also had a quick bathroom break while in this little town. But then it was right on to continue the trip!
Along the trip, I got to have some friendly chats with several of our lovely guests.
We eventually made our way to the spot where we were going to cross the river via ferry. We had an especially long delay here due to the boat traffic on the river, but after about a half hour, we were finally able to cross.
We took a nice little ride through Weissenkirchen, and then on through the vineyards as we made our way to Dürnstein.
After long, we could see the ruins of Dürnstein castle up on the hilltop, so we knew the ride was almost over. I made sure to make a quick stop at the ice cream place along the water’s edge in town so I could get their special apricot ice cream – SO GOOD! (It was closed the last time we had been through.) A few minutes later, and we were back at the ship.
I have to say the best parts about the trip were being out and about on a lovely late summer day, being physically active outdoors, and enjoying some pleasant company.