Day 22: Krems to Klosterneuburg - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

April 9, 2019

Day 22: Krems to Klosterneuburg

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There is no distance between the towns of Stein and Krems, so when we entered Krems and looked back, we were looking at the Steiner gate. We had stopped,  on the main Krems walking street, to find some postcards to send to grandkids from Austria. This would give us the chore of finding some Austrian stamps and mailing, before leaving the country - Friday.

The Steiner Gate
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Krems
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We had resolved to find a bike shop for a check of our chains, but I did not expect to fall across one any time soon. Wrong. We tripped over one almost immediately. It was quite large, but we got the attention of a staffer right away, and he whipped out a chain checker quickly. He declared our chains to be ok, so we could relax. I was impressed by the careful way he then cleaned his chain checker, feeling a little embarrassed that we had involved his clean equipment with our vagabond bikes.

Although the shop had lots of normal bikes too, it was stuffed with e-bikes. A couple of price tags are seen in the photo - 3,000 to 4000 euros seems common.
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At the far end of town it dawned on us (well, Dodie) what the giant building we had been looking at, atop a hill to the South, was. It was Stift Gottweig. This Benedictine monastery is of the same size and antiquity as the one in Melk. It also has a fine library, and a restaurant, etc. The two monasteries are members of the same Benedictine Confederation, making it reasonable to think of them as giant matching bookmarks at each end of the Wachau.

We looked at the bike routes that could take us up to Gottweig, and realized clearly that we could not do it without an extra day that we don't have. So I settled for a blurry shot of the huge building in the distance, and we put it on our list for the next time around.

Stift Gottweig in the distant mist.
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You can see Gottweig on the map, a little south of Furth. There are bikeways there, but it would take time.
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Thinking of next times around, this is already our next time around, relative to our visit here in 2012.  I made the mistake of looking at what the Grampies wrote for  Marbach to Krems (which includes Melk), seven years ago. First came the realization that in that time, not a single thing has apparently changed or evolved in my mind. So many thoughts, observations, even photos, from now were replicated then, or vice versa. One change, things I thought to record or photograph this time around but somehow lacked the strength (or in the monastery - courage) to do, were done no problem by seven year ago Steve. He and Dodie also cycled all the same distances, on goofy Bike Fridays loaded with camping gear, no problem. How annoying!

Our path for much of the day.
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We took to the now very broad Donau, running into no further excitement until Tulln. Claimed to be one of the oldest cities in Austria, Tulln did not seem remarkable to us. But by the river it did have a very dramatic Nibelungian suite of statues. The Nibelungians pop up all over Bavaria and I guess here in Austria too.  The reference is to a suite (ring) of four operas composed by Richard Wagner and based on a whole slew of characters from ancient Nordic and Germanic sagas.  The Nibelungians are gods, mortals, valkyries (some kind of females), Rhine maidens, giants, and suchlike that populate the legends. The plot line is very similar to the Lord of the Rings - there is the One Ring, and people run around through the episodes trying to obtain and hang on to it.

King Ludwig II was so impressed by all this that he had giant comic strip paintings of the characters done in many rooms of the castle Neuschwanstein. Anyway, this legend is really famous here, and is everywhere.

So at Tulln, stand a set of bronze figures. From the legends they depict the meeting of Kriemhild, Queen of Burgundy, and Etzel, King of the Huns, in Tulln. They really are dramatic.

Nibelungian drama.
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In Tulln Dodie found her stamps, and also something we had rather forgotten. It's the "Manner" wafer biscuits, made in Vienna. These are a rival for anti-bonk purposes to German "Knoppers". See how they have layers? Does that make them tortes?

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Along the path outside Tulln, we encountered a couple, waving us down. It turned out a snake was crossing the pavement, and they wanted to make sure we did not squish it. Naturalist readers - what ID would you give this?

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Scott AndersonHow cool! It looks like an Aesculapian Snake, though I’ve never seen one. Good job, not squishing it!
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2 months ago
Sue PriceOh no! Snakes! Jim HATES snakes! Now how will I get him to go over there?
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Sue PriceThis is the first snake we have seen in all our trips to Europe. It was really pretty and totally harmless.
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2 months ago
Sue PriceTo Steve Miller/GrampiesGlad to hear it!
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltHow neat! Really great shot! And, yes, the above ID is correct.
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2 months ago
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Sue PriceVery pretty, though!
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The couple were out with their dog, who was riding in a handlebar bag made for dogs. The bag was made my the Rixon and Kaul company, responsible for the "Click Fix" line of fittings. This made us wonder what other types of neat stuff they might have.

Rixen and Kaul dog bag, with dog
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As we drew closer to Klosterneuburg, our stop for the night, someone with a familiar accent pulled up beside us. It was Edo, who is from Vancouver.  He was out for a ride with his friend and colleague Johannes. Edo is a musician and singer and Johannes is a composer and multi instrumentalist. Together they make music for films. Their website is at transatlanticfilmorchestra.com

Johannes and Edo
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We cycled along together for some time, until we arrived at our stop. I learned that Johannes is a serious cycle touring enthusiast who had pedaled all over the region. Once he even went from here to Passau (300 km) in a single shot, starting in the night. 

Our spot here in Klosterneuburg features a very small room, but at the same time we have access to a large kitchen, dining room, and sitting room. It will be a good staging point for diving in to Vienna tomorrow. 

I think of Vienna as Torte central, and hope there to arrive at the final determination as to what makes a real and a good torte. There are bound to be some photo attempts, in places we know, like Central Cafe, Demel or Gerstner, so I am thinking again about the various "no photos" possibilities.

Already on this trip I have run afoul of Premiere Moisson in Montreal and Wurm Backer in Straubing. In both cases I have pushed back, with varying results.  Have a look at what I wrote on Facebook to the people in Straubing:

I am a tourist from Canada who enjoys showing the family back home what wonderful bakeries are found in Germany. To do this, I often use a photo. So I was very upset today in your bakery in Straubing, to have an employee pounce on me with a demand "no photos"! Do you think that I, the tourist, plan to copy your baking, or compete on price, or what? I found this very insulting. In fact at this particular time I had just bought a "gewürzschnitte" and my photo was of the label, so later I could use Translate to find out what I had actually bought. I think you owe me an apology! I am waiting for your response.

So this was their reply:

Hello,first of all thank you that you visited our new store in Straubing. And we are very sorry if you felt uncomfortable because of our photo-regulations. But we hope that you understand that we invested allot in our new Flagshipstore. And history showed us that other backerys copyed many new innovations from our latest stores. Which is very annoying and frustratig. Because the planing for this shop lasted more than a year. I hope you understand the dilemma.But I hope you enjoyed the Gewürzschnitte Yours faithfully Mr. Wurm jun.

On the other hand, with Premiere Moisson, the response was different:

Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We are truly sorry for the situation. It is true, that many years ago, we had that policy. But you are right, nowadays, we encourage our customers to take photos and share them with their friends and family and on social medias. Your message proves that a follow up with our teams is needed to make sure they are fully awared of the new policy. Once again, we are truly sorry for the misunderstanding and we hope to see you in one of our bakeries during your next visit in Quebec. 
Thank you and have a nice day!

Readers, I could ask what you think of this, but anyway you know I am going in tomorrow with camera at the ready. I already have it on "stealth mode".  Stay tuned for what will hopefully be a good report from Vienna torte-land!

Today's ride: 75 km (47 miles)
Total: 1,165 km (723 miles)

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