Bicycle tour Wachau 2.9.2006

With my wife I join a group of bicyclists who ride through Wachau today, on different routes with the bicycle and boat. We start in Krems at the Kolping house at the University Krems, and ride along the southern (orographic right) shore of the river Danube, up to Melk, about 40 km, and return with the boat to Krems.

Starting in Krems

This is the embarkation where we shall return in the afternoon.

The bridge between Krems/Stein and Mautern

Nice view upstream from the bridge.

Whereas downstream of Krems the large plain of Tullnerfeld is extending, the Danube is flowing through a narrow valley between Krems and Melk, called "Wachau".

View back to Krems/Stein

Unterloiben ...

 ... , and on the horizon, to the left, Duernstein castle.

We ride between fruit plantations ...

 ... until there is another opportunity to go down to the shore. View from Rossatz to Duernstein.

Where the valley is a bit broader, there is some room for a small bayou.

Further on between vineyards

The red grapes are ripening, however this cool year they will need another month till vintage.

Behind Ruehrsdorf the view is free to Weiszenkirchen ...

 ... with its characteristic church built in 1.190

Panoramiv view to Weiszenkirchen.

The rolling ferry near Weiszenkirchen

On the northern shore of the Danube many vineyards on slopes leaning to the south

Cargo ship.

View in direction to the village of Spitz. To the right is the church of St. Michael. The round low hill in the centre above the village is "Tausendeimerberg" (see below)

The church if St. Michael, a late gothic building of the 16. century. The 13 houses of the village once have bleonged to the oldest parish all around, founded in 987

Spitz, Tausendeimerberg to the left. The name is derived from 1.000 "Eimer" = pail full wine that can be cropped from its slopes in good years (One "pail" was meant to be 56 litres!)

The ruined castle of  Hinterhaus near Spitz, once Kuenringer castle built in the 12. century.

First sight to the ship that will bring us back to Krems ...

The valley is very narrow here.

180 degree - Panorama of the northern shore of the Danube near Aggstein. Click into the picture for a larger version.

Alluvial forest at a bayou between Aggsbach and Schoenbuehel.

Viwe from the old monastery of Schoenbuehel over the river in southwestern direction. Schoenbuehel palace to the left, in the background the famous monastery of Melk.

The monastery of Schoenbuehel

Zooming in on Melk monastery.

Schoenbuehel palace. In this place there has been a roman fort, the palace was built in the early 12th century.

View upstream from the same point - the bridge near Melk.

Pielach estuary into the Danube

We enter our boat at about 13.15 Uhr, the joutney starts at 13.50.  ablegt. View from the rear of the boat over the bayou to the river.

Off we go: view back over the bayou ...

 ... to Melk monastery.

Schoenbuehel palace looks much better ...

 ... from the water.

Schoenbuehel monastrery


The ruined castle of Aggstein above the homonymous village.

Zoomin in on the ruin. The castel of Aggstein was built in about 1.100 high on top of a steep, near impregnable rock.

Back at Hinterhaus catle ...

 ... and Spitz, with its "Tausendeimerberg".

For landing, the boats must turn around and drive against the stream.

The rolling ferry near Spitz. This boat does not have any motor, but is hanging with reels on a steel rope spanned above the river. By tricky steering in the stream, the boat goes from one shore to the other.

The church of Hofarnsdorf opposite to Spitz

We proceed our journey through the narrow valley. Vineyards in narrow terraces on the steep slopes, held by old dry stone walls.

 ... at times between rocky escarpments.

Shortly before Duernstein once more an impressive rock wall,  ...

 ... which seems to be a scramblers´ paradise.

Duernstein. The ruined castle built in the 12th century was destroyed by Swedish troops in the 30 years - war. According to an old legend, the English king Richard, "The Lion Hearted" was imprisoned here after having dishonored the Austrian flag at the battle of Akkon (1191). Although disguised he was discovered on his journey back through this country. Nobody knowing where he was staying, his minstrel found him by singing the king´s favourite song near numerous castle prisons and getting an answer only here. The king was then set free for a good ransom.