Thursday 31st May
A great day today however when we look on the map we havn’t actually achieved a great distance, especially when talking to our neighbours tonight who have just nailed 600km in a day. Surprise surprise its another public holiday today in Austria, its Corpus Christi Day, so has been a fantastic day for travel as roads are really empty and no trucks.
Leaving Gmunden we had a plan to head into the Donau River (Danube) valley and follow this famous River downstream. First part was to find this River and that meant getting through the town of Wels and City of Linz, actually very easy and navigator Susie practically crying due to the fact we were passing all this shopping, (huge easy access shopping malls) that were shut. Getting into these places seems to be a breeze but as so frequently happens finding the right exit route sees us going in some weird places every now and then.
Linz is one of Austria’s leading modern cities and is worth a stop, however with everything shut we decide to carry on through, with a planned stop in Vienna in a couple of days.
We even managed to confuse Jacinda today as onto a road that wasn’t in her memory, it must have been one of her good days as she didn’t melt down and scream at us to “recalculateing route, do a U turn as soon as possible”. She actually also struggles with some of the tunnels we have been through, we outrightly refuse to U turn in these though.
Huge change in countryside observed today, have moved into the rolling to flat arable country, and so much different to what we saw coming through Germany, here the farms are obviously quite a bit bigger and paddocks are much more like what we see at home just with super impressive farm homesteads attached. Compared to Germany where we couldn’t actually make out who owned what as all the paddocks were tiny with so many changes in crops.
So our first vision of the famous Donau(Danube) River came at Mauthausen and what a River, on the Map this river flows from Central Germany through the cities of Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary through Serbia Bulgaria then up into Romania and out into the Black Sea. Don’t think we will follow the whole thing though.
Following the general downstream direction we headed inland for a bit to visit a couple of small villages, (no traffic so little roads were OK today), then came back to the Donau at Grein.
Thanks to a new app “Park4night” we found a day and night park beside the river just upstream of Melk and parked up with the Swiss couple mentioned earlier who had just nailed 600km. This is a freebie site with no services, however there is a cold water shower on banks of the river and WC at the cafe by the parking area.
Cabin fever set in again after the drive so onto bikes and a bike ride across the river and down to visit Melk, a very old traditional type town now fully immersed in the hungry tourist scene, tucked underneath the imposing Benedictine Abbey.
This is a stop for the obviously huge river cruise industry and their were about 6 river cruise boats tied up to the wharf while we visited.
This river is essentially controlled by huge weirs/locks, and we spent a bit of time watching a couple of cruise liners and barges make their way through one of the stations, very efficient and an incredible amount of river traffic.