Day two arrives and it’s been raining all night long. I know because I have to sleep with the window open. I need the fresh air and I hate feeling locked up. The apartment we rented has a lovely courtyard that the windows open onto. Lovely.
What’s up for today?
An even longer bike ride – 13 miles one way through the Wachau Valley wine region. We way underestimated the distance of walking from the apartment to the meeting point. We had a little trouble with the phones and had to call our service. We’re getting different info depending on who we talk to and we’re probably facing an enormous bill when we get back. ugh
We arrived too late to meet the group, and the woman at the office was not very sympathetic. i suggested rescheduling but she called a taxi and got us to the next train station and onto the wrong platform. By now, we’re committed to doing this dam thing and we read the electronic boards and found the right platform … the right train … and voila! our group. Dropping into the seats – grumpy (me) and tired (me) and hungry (me) – we are now going to ride through the gorgeous Austrian countryside on the most quiet, smooth, and beautiful trains I could ever imagine. Seriously, this was a beautiful train.
I like to visit cities, but feel you get a real sense of a country by talking to the people and getting outside the city. However, the day did not start as I hoped – the only pants I brought with me were soaking wet from the day before and we washed them but there is no dryer in the apartment. So, we hung the laundry up on the rack and put a fan in the bathroom to push the air around and hoped for the best.
No go. The laundry was all still very wet. So, I pulled on a skort and sneakers and layered up. My legs don’t usually feel that cold when the temps are in the 50s and I knew I would be biking so it would probably be fine. It was the overall exhaustion getting me and the hunger. Steve can eat some sugar, which he did, and be just fine, but if I eat much sugar, my heart starts to race and I get hot and jumpy. So, without calories that were not sugar-based I was grumpy to start this trip.
When we arrived at the little town of Krems, I bought a croissant at the train station and that helped. We walked along the streets of this quiet town with the group following our leader, Jose, to the garage where the bikes are stored. We got our bikes – heavy beach cruisers, not real road bikes – and tried the brakes, stored our bags and ponchos into the baskets and began peddling through the town.
As we continued along, the houses started to fall away and the countryside of Austria appeared. It was lovely – green, fresh, rolling hills. Vineyards everywhere and Catholic blessings on each.
Our first stop? Domane Wachau! Just as Peter the waiter said.
Here are all the bikes lined up.
The wines in this region are dry. Crisp. Acidic. Here’s a photo of our group. Amazing, Jose the group guide is super knowledgeable about the wines and so he teaches and pours.
… and one of us.
The guide (not Jose) explained the soil, the wine ratings and how the wines in this valley have to conform to certain rules. Each of the wines is categorized and labeled with a symbol to indicate the quality and region. Very interesting. All steel aged – no oak – which means a dry wine with a clean finish. Delicious in it’s own right but not really my favorite. Still, you can’t complain. We’re tasting wine in Austria!
We clambored back on the bikes, passing the castle where they locked up Richard the Lion Hearted as he was heading home from Israel. Richard had a disagreement with the local king and was told not to pass through Austria. He ignored and they captured him. England later paid a ransom to get him out.
We rode through the cutest streets – all curves and cobblestones and quaintness.
Seriously I wanted to stop and just gape at it all … but we must keep up with Jose.
Finally we stopped and crammed into long tables waiting for us to have lunch – this is a chicken schnitzle salad. YUM
The server told us she had ‘fresh wine’ and would we like some? Everyone said yes. Fresh wine tasted lemony and sweet – like a lemonade. The ‘fresh’ part is non-aged we guessed. I liked it. It was 2.5 euro. Steve thought it was very like a lime or lemonade.
A little free time after lunch – Steve climbed up to the castle and I wandered the little town, snapping photos and buying chocolate.
The town is right on the river Danube.
The river is rushing along – it looks like 2-3 knots. This is a strong current. I would not want to be kayaking upstream on this river.
This a very long post and I will let my battery recharge and come back soon.