Just returned from a magical week on a Viking Danube river cruise with my Mom (follow @60pictures for cruising outfit inspiration) and my Aunt and Uncle. It is 3am in the morning, and while I am wide awake with jet lag, I can’t wait to share the photos of every amazing memory we made together on this blog in the days to come.
I read up on the places we would be visiting beforehand and also Viking River Cruises, so I promise to be able to fill you in on all the little secrets you might want to know about taking your own European river cruise. Recreating our spectacular biking adventure in Wachau Valley, Austria, with all it’s twists and turns, seems like a great place to begin. Fair warning, this post may take a long time to load, because there are soooooooooo many pictures from this day. Ready to pedal? “Oliver, would it be okay if we go off the map a little today?” Oliver is the expert cruise director that can seamlessly balance the diverse wants and needs of 200 passengers simultaneously and make it look effortless. Our little group certainly put his skills to the test as we made the most of our floating hotel. In fact, this pinch-me perfect day spent exploring ancient castles, delicious wines, and biking through hillsides painted autumn, was made possible by our friends at Viking River Cruises aboard the Viking Egil. The team there went out of their way to make our unique #myvikingjourney a success. They booked an English-speaking taxi driver for our trip and pointed us to some of Wachau Valley’s hidden gems, so that we could have a day that looked like this…
Honestly, we got lost in all of these tiny small towns, and I don’t remember which photos are from which places. What I can tell you, is that we took a 20-minute taxi ride from our boat docked in Krems to Spitz (about 50 euros), and rented bicycles from the NextBike station on the river bank in Spitz.
From Melk to Krems is a Unesco World Heritage stretch. Since Melk is a much longer journey from the boat, we decided to ride the bikes between Spitz and Durstein. I am not sure how fast you can bike this distance, (I think I read it’s about a 20-40 minute trek), but we took it leisurely over 2.5 hours making a few stops here and there. The little towns we made it to were Spitz, St. Michael, Weissenkirchen, and Durstein.
I had downloaded the NextBike app ahead of time, but the app didn’t work out for us. When we scanned the barcodes, it showed that the bikes were already reserved. However, when we called NextBike, we were promptly transferred to an English-speaking representative that was able to set up everything over the phone. They give you a code for unlocking the bikes, and it is very easy after that. The bicycles have three speeds and it was just right for us.
We made a great stop at the tiny church in St. Michael and climbed the tower to see the bunnies. Check out the charming cemetery there in these pictures. What a beautiful place to visit the loved ones who rest there.
See those cute bunnies along the top. You can read the story about the Seven Rabbits of St. Michael here.
Once we got in to town, we purchased chocolate bars sprinkled with apricot, a local Wachau Valley specialty. We also picked up a bag of chocolates mixed with apricot pieces, at the recommendation of a Viking host aboard the ship. The locals affectionately refer to this treat as “bunny sh&t” – teehee.
More Wachau Valley bike ride pics…
Wow, I realize now how much my camera was really clicking away. I have several more Wachau Valley photos to share out, so I will add them to a new blog post next and show you what these towns look like from the deck of the Viking Egil. I will also get to the wine and strudel!
By some stroke of Mother Nature’s luck, I believe we may be about to have a few record-breaking days of sunshine in Eugene, Oregon this week, where the Willamette River rushes by brilliantly flagged with every shade of Fall. Oregon in October is always a feast for the eyes, and I intend to use my jet lag and good fortune to make the most of it this week. At least sipping a lovely glass of wine outside seems to be in order. Would you agree?
Cheers to more of all that is wonderful.