Day 5 - Marbach to Spitz - Downhill on the Danube - Tandem Tour - June 2017 - CycleBlaze

June 8, 2017

Day 5 - Marbach to Spitz

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Today promised to be complicated.  We had arrived at an area of the Danube that we both remembered fondly from 1975.  Back then, we got off the river boat somewhere in this area (within the next 30 kilometers), visited the abbey at Melk, and had lunch in a wine garden with the most fantastic white wine we had ever had (Given that we were both about 20 at the time, that's not saying much).  These were all hazy memories - we didn't keep a detailed journal back then.

Nonetheless, we wanted to re-experience as much of that day as possible.

We had arranged our hotel locations with Austria Radreisen to make today a short day.  We were up early for a lovely breakfast in the old dining room in our hotel.   We watched the river traffic as we munched.  It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day.

Breakfast with a view
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Then we were on the bike and powering south and east.  As always, the bike paths were amazing.

Hustling to Spitz
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We only stopped in one place:  To make a pilgrimage to the spot where the Venus of Willendorf was found.  There's a statue there to commemorate the find, which happened while a railroad was being built through the area.  The actual Venus of Willendorf is pretty tiny - this statue was a monster by comparison.   There's a small museum in the town, but we were anxious to get to our destination so we skipped it.

The Venus of Willendorf (statue)
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Along the way, we couldn't help admiring the beautiful houses that lined the bike route.

Beautiful old houses along the way
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We got to Spitz and found our hotel for the night - the Haus Oestreicher.  We were far too early to check in, but as hoped, they graciously let us put the bike in their bike garage and change clothes in the restaurant bathroom.   We walked down towards the river in search of a bus to take us back to Melk.

At the bus stop, we figured out that we had a 2 hour wait for the next bus.  But after poking around a bit, we realized that a riverboat was coming upriver within 20 minutes and that it would take us right to Melk.  Score!

The river boat arrives
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What luxury!  The boat wasn't crowded, and within a minute or two we were happily ensconced at a table looking back over the stern of the boat, with drinks in our hands and a small lunch on order.

Sailing back upstream to Melk
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The river views were beautiful.  The famous vineyards of the Wachau region were on display.

A nice way to travel
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As well as some scenic castles built into the rocks along the river.

Lots to look at, too!
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After too short a time, we got to Melk and set off to find the abbey.  Actually it wasn't that hard to find.  It kind of hulks over the town.

Melk is strange in that they don't allow pictures within the abbey, so you'll have to imagine the cherubs, gold leaf, and rococo excess for yourself.   

Melk Abbey
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We wandered around the town and did the normal tourist thing until we were tired.  We then caught a bus back to Spitz.  Right next to the bus stop just happened to be a little wine garden.  It was time to test the wine memory.

Back in Spitz to check out the wine garden
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I'm happy to report that the white Wachau wine was just as good as 40 years ago.  And sitting outside under the trees in the afternoon sun was sweet.  We liked it so much that we ended up just staying and having dinner in the wine garden. 

Oh, yes! This is sweet!
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A successful but busy day.  We were exhausted and went to bed early.

Today's ride: 31 km (19 miles)
Total: 269 km (167 miles)

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