From Spitz to Krems, The Great Wachau Valley Family Bike-A-Thon

From Spitz to Krems, The Great Wachau Valley  Family Bike-A-Thon

As the train rolled into Melk, the abbey above the town blazed down over the surrounding valley, almost as if it was welcoming us into Melk. Even though the abbey looked awesome from the outside, that day was actually reserved for a 13-mile bike ride down the Danube from Spitz to Krems! We were in Melk because we took a day trip via the train station in Vienna. We got up early that morning in order to take the train to Melk, then hop on a river ferry in order to get from Melk to Spitz and get our bikes!

After we arrived in Melk, we rushed though the city to the docks in order to catch the next river cruise to Spitz, our next stop (where we rented our bikes and took off through the countryside on the next leg of our journey). Once we got on the riverboat, mom and I rushed up to the front deck in order to watch the departure from Melk from the best vantage point on the ship. As we traveled along the river, the small towns on the banks of the Danube glided past us like ancient memories sliding into the past, one after the other. Near the end of our cruise, we rounded a bend near a low cliff and some castle ruins revealed themselves on the next hill over past the cliff. These ruins were actually the third castle-like building we saw on the boat ride. Another thing we saw a lot of on the way to Spitz was vineyards, as the area we were traveling through was Austrian wine country (and apricot country). After the end of our river cruise, we disembarked from the river ferry and went up the hill to get our bikes for the next part of our day trip!

When we got off the riverboat in Spitz, we went rushing up the hill to the bike rental shed in order to start the next leg of the journey! Riding a rental bike was rather tough, as the seat was a little far forward and the tires had more of a hybrid design, not like the rugged mountain-bike frame I was used to using back home. After a while, though, I was able to watch the vineyards go by without my bike teetering like a seesaw under my feet and threatening to buck me off like an untrained horse! Speaking of vineyards, these ones stretched all the way across the valley and even sprawled up the mountains in the distance. They were also the scenery we saw for most of the bike ride, aside from when we were in Dürnstein, Spitz and Krems, as well as in the small towns along the Danube! As we barreled through the countryside, the small river towns we jetted through flowed past us, accompanied by only the Danube as we headed towards our next stop, Dürnstein, in order to get lunch. Overall, this ride was totally incredible and super scenic, as well as being a great workout for our leg muscles!

In one of the small towns along the river, we decided to take a small break from riding in order to watch some swifts flying into and out of their nests on a building near the bike path. This building had so many swift nests that there was almost no space that did not have a swift nest stuck to it. At one point, a chick even peeked its head out of the nest, begging for more food, after the parent flew off. These swifts had actually claimed the entirety of the space available under the awnings as their own! As you could probably guess by now, the entire building seemed to be swallowed up in a feathery hurricane of swifts that blasted around the building like darts with wings!

At Durnstein, we decided to take a break and have lunch, as I was practically starving as we rode up the hill into town! This was a blessing in disguise, though, as I had room to have delicious sausage and potatoes, as well as having some of Durnstein’s local delicacy, apricot nectar. Dad had his apricot nectar in a beer, while I had some sparkling water with it, and it was so good! The nectar was so good in fact that we bought 3 bottles of it to take home with us as treats! The dining area was so beautiful, with its tree canopy shading the area and allowing faint green light to filter down into the area, creating an almost magical effect. Overall, lunch in Durnstein was 100% essential to our day trip down the Danube.

After lunch, we rode out of Durnstein on full stomachs and jetted off to Krems! We had originally set up to return our bikes at the train station, but we couldn’t find the train station’s bike drop-off area, so we rode all the way back to the harbor we had passed on the way to the station in order to drop off our bikes, bringing our total mileage on the bike ride from 12 to 13, then causing us to have to walk back to the station! On the way back to Vienna, we took a risk at our transfer station in order to get on a faster train, and we made it to the express line with only half a minute to spare! I look back on the day as one of the best days of our trip.