Austria; Melk – Wein (Vienna)

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Friday 1st June.

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Leaving this lovely campsite behind mid morning, our Swiss Friends had left at 6.00am to get through to Budapest before heading onto Romania, we continued our way downstream following the Danube. If we thought we had seen a lot of cruise riverboats yesterday we were in for another surprise today.

The first part of todays trip is to follow the river through the area known as the Wachau, a rather famous wine and fruit growing area between Melk and Krems. About ½ way at Spitz you come across this near vertical rock faces dropping directly into the river Danube that then open into lovely little plateau’s filled with Apricot Orchards and more Vineyards.

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An unintentional stop at a little village of Dunstein, mainly because there were about 6 cruiseliners tied to the bank and a big carpark.

This whole valley is obviously a very popular biking route as well , both individuals and tour groups as this little town very full of 3 types of people, 1. The lycra lads and ladies, 2. The Retirees from the cruise liners, (and someone should really warn this group as to how steep it is to walk to castle ruins, I think that the reason they don’t tell them is so that when they get back on board after this town stop they all sleep for next few hours to recover, no food or drink required)and 3. The Asian tour groups, just so Susie can continue her battle of who should give way on the foot paths.

Anyway Dunstein is a very cute little village perched on the top of a rocky outcrop with the highway tunnelled underneath it. Cobbled streets lined with souvenir shops, restaurant/bars and shops selling the local wines and apricot liquors.

Magnetically we seem to be drawn to climbing to the highest point around and here was no exception finding a little path with a sign reading “path to castle ruins”. Well worth it but should have read the small print on the sign suggesting that sturdy shoes should be worn. Again well worth the climb with amazing views up and down the Danube from here.

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A bit of retail therapy required here as I have developed a damn annoying cough and for me to survive the next couple of nights, (without Susie smothering me with a pillow) I need to find some form of cough mixture, no luck here though. Instead it seems as though the Apricot Scnapps and Liquer may do the same trick, watch this space. If the blogs stop you might guess that it hasn’t worked.

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From the top of Dunstein we have viewed another massive monestry that seems to be around Krems so decide to head in that direction to find it, this actually proved easier than expected and we came across “Stiff Gottwegg” one of the largest still operating monestries in Europe, it also includes the largest library of religious artifacts. Another amazing Cathedral along with incredibly Barouque architecture.

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Painted ceiling above Emperors Stairs, (photo from the mirror)
Once again time has got away on us and we have spent about 6 hrs and got about 40km on the map, Vienna is on the radar for tonight so we get back onto the motorway and head for Vienna.

You really think I would have learnt by now to plug GPS coordinates for our overnighting into Jacinda on the outskirts of the cities, however Vienna snuck up onus and we were in the concrete sprawl before we new it and it takes a while before you can find a shopping centre to pull off and reprogramme..

Reisemobil- Stellplatz Wien, GPS: 48.0813 , 16.1857, This is part of the same franchise as the one we stayed in in Salzburg, not the cheapest at 21euro/night ( incl power) but awesome facilities and close to subway.

Tomorrow is Vienna day, so the must do/see list drawn up and subway organised.

Wein ( Vienna).

1st stop the Naschmarkt, largest of the open air markets in Vienna, an easy 1 change subway ride and you emerge into chaos, at the Kettenbruckengasse subway. This would have to be the biggest 2nd hand junk shop I have ever seen, from this part it goes into new clothes bags and accessories etc until you finally come to the food market, lots of meats, cheeses, vegetables and a huge amount of dried fruit and spices. Seems very Turkish orientated to me. All the food stalls are offering tastings and quite easy to come away well fed. A lunch purchase of a meat wrapped pastry along with a really nice Olive Hummus, which worked well together. As well as a slice of Truffle Gouda cheese.

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The smoking is terrible and is really having an effect on me, as it seems at my height everytime someone exhales the smoke wafts, make that blasts into my face. No smoke free areas here at all.

After a little bit of failed negotiation on a little milk jug, where it was firmly removed from Susie’s hand and put back onto the table, we subwayed our way to Stephenplatz, St Stephens Cathedral, it is getting to the stage of another city another church but each one is significant in some way. St Stephens is the largest in Vienna but after some of the Baroque ones we have seen is quite plain. Fortunately a choir was having a practice/performance and it was quite incredible to listen, just the audio in such a huge space is amazing.

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We managed to pretty much tick off the Vienna essentials, the Hofburg buildings, the Opera houses, The museum quartier. Reading about these it was suggesting quite a lot of subway/tram, but we were surprised at how they all linked together with a short walk linked by the Kartnerstrasse, which is pretty much every high end branded shop you can name on a pedestrian only street. This is all the old city so all 1700 / 1800 Architecture.

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Obviously Vienna and horsey people are a bit of a mix so we did the Spanish Rising School Tour of the Arena’s, stables and tackrooms. Very interesting tour in English. We were not able to see a practice due to it being weekend and the only tickets left for the Sunday Performance were pretty ordinary and many Euro, so decided to make do with the Tour. After the last few cities seeing all these horses of varying quality pulling lazy arsed tourists around in carriages it was pleasant to see how well managed and how important animal welfare was to the school. The horses are small, only 15.2hands, but as guide described them “Baroque” spelt out in English meaning “ little fat white horses”. They are lovely though and well worth the tour.

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A little bit of shopping done because you can and back out of the city.

I think that is pretty much our Vienna experience, onwards to somewhere else now. However tomorrow is Sunday which means that everything is shut, good day to travel as trucks all off the road as well.

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