Along the Drau - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

September 29, 2018

Along the Drau

Yesterday we biked west from Dobbiaco, and today we head east, following the Drau Cycleway into Austria.   The Drau begins as a stream just east of Dobbiaco, is renamed as the Drava when it crosses into Austria, and continues its way east into Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and finally Serbia before emptying into the Danube near Vukovar, eventually bound for the Black Sea.  This is the same ride the Classens took just a week ago, and if we were stronger, faster and more ambitious we could make a stab at catching up with them in Ljubljana; but we’re none of those, so we content ourselves with a lazy twenty five miles before reaching a suitable turnaround point and head back upriver to the hotel..

Looking north across Dobbiaco, on the left. Our hotel, the Rosengarten, is the scaffolding-wrapped building on the far right.
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Eastbound on the Drau cycle path, which begins in Dobbiaco. The Drau (also known as the Drava) begins here, in the drainage fields between Dobbiaco and the next village to the east, San Candido.
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In San Candido, wondering what the hell is going on. All of the pedestrians have been ushered off the main plaza, and there is a camera crew at one end, their equipment focused down the long view of the empty square. We%’re all waiting to see what will happen next.
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What happens next is nothing. The crew beckons for people to resume their business, and then folds up their camera equipment. One of those mysteries that will remain unsolved.
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The upper Drau is beautiful country, much like the upper Rienz that we biked yesterday. Very green, with colorful chalets and churches dotting the hillside.
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All along the cycle path we pass domestic animals grazing close by the cycle path, separated only by a strand of wire. It is quiet enough that we can hear the grass rip as they tear it from the ground.
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Jen GrumbyHow cool to be far enough away from the cacophony of urban life that you can hear the sound of bovine grass pulling!
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2 months ago
We are hardly alone today. There are hundreds of bikers on the path this fine Saturday morning, nearly all going east and downriver.
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Beginning from nothing, the Drau quickly gathers steam as we travel east, picking up small tributaries along the way.
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The Drau Cycleway is a well developed tourist route. In every village we pass through we come to an information panel with background about the village and a wooden wildlife sculpture.
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Somewhere along here it finally connected with me that we’ve been here before. I’d forgotten how we reached Dobbiaco back in 1996, but it was by cycling along the Drau, upriver from Villach. The valley was even quieter then - we biked on the primary highway, which carried very little traffic.
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Leaving Italy and the Drau behind, we’ve crossed the border into Austria and the river is now known as the Drava.
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Some blue flowers for a blue friend
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Andrea BrownIn a certain light, they are almost pink.
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like what we call harebells. Nice photo!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanula
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2 months ago
Not long after entering Austria, we enter the woods and don’t emerge for the rest of our way east. It’s in the shadows, downhill, and quite chilly as we bike into a mild headwind. I’m thinking I made a mistake in not bringing my coat.
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Contemplating the Drau. This is our lunch stop - after biking through five cold miles in the shadows, we came to this bridge and crossed over to the sunny side of the river and sat on a patch of grass by the bank.
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Somebody loves their palomino. Look at those braids!
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The ride back to our hotel feels like we’re swimming upstream. We pass hundreds of cyclists zipping past going the other direction, and see almost no one going our way. I think they all ride downhill and catch the train back.
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Ride stats today: 52 miles, 2,300’

Today's ride: 52 miles (84 km)
Total: 1,015 miles (1,633 km)

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