Monday, July 7, 2014

Danube Bike Trip — Day 6 — to Vienna

Traismaur to Vienna

Today, the last of my Danube tour, was a bit anticlimactic after yesterday's high. The weather continued fine but the closer to Vienna I got the more crowded became the Donauradweg. Austrians love bicycling and it was a lovely, warm weekend so riders were out in large numbers. But the first part of the day was mellow and uncrowded. The valley of the Danube widens just beyond Tulln and the forested hills I've been meandering through and enjoying are no longer in evidence, having given way to the wide flat plain on which Vienna is situated.

Looking upriver to the Altenworth Power Project (N48.369754, E15.871360)

Trailside shrine

A rest hut alongside the path, not yet open in April

I came to the charming town of Tulln an der Donau and decided to stop for a coffee break. Tulln is a typical Austrian town of neatly painted houses, well appointed shops, with sidewalk cafes sprinkled here and there. I spotted a small Italian restaurant advertising espresso, plunked myself down at a sunny table on the wide sidewalk and ordered a dopio. Delicious! I ordered another. For the picnic lunch I planned to eat later, I bought a basket of strawberries from a fruit vendor just across the way. I was worried they'd be like the woody, bland berries I buy from the supermarket in Alaska but they were very good, sweet and red all the way through.

An hour or so after this stop I could begin to see the outskirts of Vienna and the end of my bike trip. The Park Inn was my final destination on the Eurobike planned portion of the trip.

I crossed to the north side of the river on this bicycles-only bridge
The Nordbrucke (North Bridge) for vehicular traffic is at left
(N48.253762, E16.378283)

My room at the Park Inn, Vienna
I briefly mentioned Helga, my Viennese Couchsurfing host, earlier. I had planned to spend a few days in Vienna seeing the sights. I also figured I would just wing it on hotels and was prepared to stay a few extra nights at the Park Inn or some other hotel. I had not been keeping up with my favorite Couchsurfing group once my travels became centered in Thailand, where hotels are cheap and where I have a lovely Thai companion, Nut, who speaks the language and travels with me. But a couple of months ago Jana, a Couchsurfing hostess I stayed with in Berlin in 2009 and with whom I am now in frequent contact because we became friends during my stay, knew about my plans to visit Vienna. She contacted her good Vienna friend Helga and suggested she offer to host me. Helga promptly did that and extended, via, an invitation to stay at her place. Helga was to be my hostess and proved to be an expert guide to Vienna's historical and touristic places.

So it goes when traveling. Things happen that just cannot be planned for and sometimes those things turn out to be special in some way. My visit to Berlin was made special by Jana's expert advice, fabulous cooking, and warm friendship. My visit to Vienna was to be a similar experience, enriched almost by accident through Jana's referral to Helga. 

Stats: Arrived Park Inn Hotel at 3:05 pm after pedaling 68.8 km (42.7 miles), in 4 hours, 2 minutes, total time 5:48 door to door.

Total distance pedaled for the entire ride: 349 km (235 miles)

Elevation loss: 360 meter elevation at Passau, 157 meters at Vienna equals a 204 meter (670 feet) drop.

GPX files for the trip

Click on the file link and select Download from beneath the cleverly hidden "More" menu (those three blue dots), at the top right of the resulting page, browse to a folder or your desktop where you want to place the file and click on the Save button. You can open them with Google Earth or any other application that can display GPX files.

GPX File of Eurobike hotels on this 6-day trip
Note: In Grein there is a shuttle bus to take bikers to hotels that are not in the town. The bus stop is in town and near the river. This waypoint is also included.

GPX traces for the entire trip
These are unedited for the most part and thus contain side trips of visits to restaurants, shortcuts, etc., as described in the blog posts.

Factoids: Vienna is properly spelled Wien and pronounced veen by inhabitants. Foods cooked in the Vienna style employ the word Wiener to describe it, sort of like we use the word Tuscan or even Italian when describing the food of those regions. When we were growing up our mom used to grill "wieners" at picnics and serve them to us on buns. This is the food most of us know as hot dogs or frankfurters. My mother comes from German speaking stock but I never knew her favorite term for hot dog had been derived from the name of this large Austrian city.

The popular dish made from thin-sliced veal, which is called schnitzel, prepared Vienna-style by breading and sauteing becomes the well known Wiener Schnitzel. 

Audio equipment: iPhone 5, PanApp music player, Mighty-H Bluetooth headphones
Today's Playlist:
George Harrison: All things must pass
Liz Phair: Whitechocolatespaceegg
The National: High Violet
Phish: Billy breathes
Beethoven: Klaviersonaten Op.2 No. 1,2,3, Alfred Brendel
wind noise

Navigation Equipment: Garmin Montana 600 GPS, OpenStreetMap of Austria, bicycling version 

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