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Cycling down the Danube

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Day 16, 16th September 2008

Willendorf in der Wachau - Schwallenbach - Spitz - Woesendorf - Weisskirchen - Rossatz - Mautern - Hollenburg - Zwentendorf


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From Willendorf in der Wachau to Zwentendorf - 52 km (852.4 km from start)

Photo: Google maps



From Maria's Diary:

It continued to rain through the night and was drizzling when we left Willendorf after a very nice, long breakfast and a chat with some other guests. It was cool and I was glad of the arm and leg warmers which our hosts had dried for us the previous night. We left Willendorf at 9:00 am and stayed on the left bank passing through many vineyards. This is the famous Wachau but we were not seeing it at its best.

At Spitz we withdrew some money to replace what we spent at the museum in Willendorf and we walked into the post office and sent back home a parcel of books, papers, postcards, dockets and our first book of maps. It was not worth carrying these with us and every now and then we would send home a parcel to lighten the load and keep things safe. Postage was fairly expensive as everywhere but we were glad to be free of this material.

After this we continued on but stopped at the historical church of St Michael to take photos.




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View of the Willendorf II site, from the cycle track, the Radweg, along the Danube, with the statue of the Venus of Willendorf visible between the hedges.

From this viewpoint we can see the flags that mark the spot, as well as the shelter for both the information boards and the actual profile cut into the loess.

The railway line may be seen a little below the flags and shelter.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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The Wachau valley is famous for its vineyards and fruit orchards, which prosper because of the warm and sheltered microclimate.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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The Donau has here produced fertile flats, but vineyards have also been carved as terraces in the steep hills backing the valley.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

We then rode north-east past Woesendorf and along the Radweg to Weisskirchen where we waited for the ferry to come over to our side so we could cross to the right bank.

It was still raining as we boarded the ferry and we were the only customers. Inside the passenger cabin were a number of bicycles for hire, catering for all ages. They wouldn't have had any customers that day.




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Because the orchards are bigger than a backyard fruit tree or two, but are still often a part time family operation, some of the owners have a small tractor and trailer to help with harvest and other chores.

I was reminded of my situation at home, with what we call a 'hobby farm' of three hectares. I could not take care of it without a ride-on mower to which I have attached a tow bar, and I use a trailer of similar size.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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The fortified church of Saint Michael.

The church was first mentioned in records from 987, and was the first church in the Wachau. The west tower was originally gothic, but after a fire in 1544 was restored in the Renaissance style.

In 1784 the parish was closed and moved to Wösendorf.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008
Text: http://www.altemauern.info/4_swk_stmichael.html






From Maria's diary:

We then rode north-east past Woesendorf and along the Radweg to Weisskirchen where we waited for the ferry to come over to our side so we could cross to the right bank.

It was still raining as we boarded the ferry and we were the only customers. Inside the passenger cabin were a number of bicycles for hire, catering for all ages. They wouldn't have had any customers that day.




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Entering Weißenkirchen.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Ferry across the Donau.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Bikes for hire.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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The cruise ship had no takers for top-deck positions!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Docking on the other side.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008




From Maria's diary:

We now rode through vineyards and orchards and looked for a cafe to have our traditional coffee and cake. You have to leave the Radweg if you want to find anything and we headed uphill to the village of Rossatz and entered the cafe Poldis Kaffee Eckerl. The cake was a delicious Ricotta Strudel and the break revitalised us to continue.

By now the rain had started to ease but it was still fairly cold. We continued on the right bank past Mautern where there was a bridge to the other side for anyone who needed to cross over. We stayed on the right bank but the track headed inland for some distance to get across an inlet. Then it headed back towards the river.

Further along the Radweg is another bridge to Krems which is a largish town on the left bank. In 2000 Don and I had hired bikes in Vienna and rode westwards as far as this bridge. We remember hauling the bikes up the steps to get to the roadway. No doubt there must have been an easier way but we were pretty inexperienced at that time and had no maps with us.




Radweg day 16

Ripe grapes ready for harvest. There are a number of grapes on the ground, perhaps as a result of thinning to get the best possible quality.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Apples growing on very small bushes. They have been grafted on dwarfing rootstock.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

We now rode through vineyards and orchards and looked for a cafe to have our traditional coffee and cake. You have to leave the Radweg if you want to find anything and we headed uphill to the village of Rossatz and entered the cafe Poldis Kaffee Eckerl. The cake was a delicious Ricotta Strudel and the break revitalised us to continue.

By now the rain had started to ease but it was still fairly cold. We continued on the right bank past Mautern where there was a bridge to the other side for anyone who needed to cross over. We stayed on the right bank but the track headed inland for some distance to get across an inlet. Then it headed back towards the river.

Further along the Radweg is another bridge to Krems which is a largish town on the left bank. In 2000 Don and I had hired bikes in Vienna and rode westwards as far as this bridge. We remember hauling the bikes up the steps to get to the roadway. No doubt there must have been an easier way but we were pretty inexperienced at that time and had no maps with us.




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Parish Church in Durnstein, Wachau.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Parish Church in Durnstein, Wachau.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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The signs were sometimes confusing! But we figured out which way to go eventually, we had to go right, inland.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Entering Mautern we saw a church tower ahead.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Parish Church of St. Stephan, Stadtpfarrkirche St. Stephan, at Mautern, a church in the Baroque style.

In front is a beautifully made 'rubble' stone wall. The mason was an artist. Note the red Roman bricks added to the structure.

The wall appears to be from a number of different periods, but the section around the doors is especially well done.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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On our way through Mautern we found this old cider press, and passed a bridge across the river to Krems. We stayed on the right hand side.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Roman archaeological site found at the Barracks in Mautern.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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Göttweig Abbey, Stift Göttweig, was founded as a monastery of canons regular by Blessed Altmann, Bishop of Passau. The high altar of the church was dedicated in 1072, but the monastery itself not until 1083: the foundation charter, dated 9 September 1083, is still preserved in the abbey archives.

In 1718 the monastery burnt down and was rebuilt on a grander scale during the abbacy of Gottfried Bessel (1714-1749) to designs by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt inspired by the Escorial, a scheme so lavish that Abbot Gottfried was nearly deposed because of it. The fresco decorating the imperial staircase is considered as a master piece of Baroque architecture in Austria. Executed by Paul Troger in 1739, it represents the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI as Apollo.


The abbey has a library of 130 000 books and manuscripts, and a particularly important collection of religious engravings, besides valuable collections of coins, antiquities, musical manuscripts and natural history, all of which survived the dangers of World War II and its immediate aftermath almost without loss.

Photo (left): Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008
Photo (right): Arcomonte26
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Austria license.
Text: Wikipedia


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Steep stairs to take a bike up or down. There had to have been a better way, when we came through here in 2000. We avoided it this time!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

After this the Radweg was easy riding and well marked and we put away some kilometres until we reached an up-market Gasthaus with a nautical theme. We ordered Pork cutlets with garlic butter and chips - delicious! This was washed down with Sturm (New wine).



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The most attractive pirate I have seen for a long time!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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The pork cutlets and Sturm were perfect.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

The rain was now just spitting lightly as we left the restaurant and we continued along an excellent Treppelweg past the Kraftwerk Altenwoerth and then on to Zwentendorf. It had started raining heavily again and we decided to keep our eyes open for accommodation.

The first place we went to which was along the road was pretentious and outrageously expensive. That was no good so we looked around and found a sign with details of rooms.

It wasn't easy to find the entry to some of these places but we managed to find Frau Zelenka who got on her bike in the rain and rode around to her son's place with us following close behind. They had a building in the large backyard with several private rooms complete with shower and toilet.

The rooms were spacious, well heated and comfortable. For 46 Euros they were just what we were after. After the big lunch we didn't need another meal so we contented ourselves with cups of tea (made outside on Don's stove) and leftover cake and the ubiquitous muesli bars. The weather report on TV showed a massive low over the eastern part of Europe which was not shifting much. We dried clothes on the heaters and prepared for another wet day.




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This sign was useful, and we followed the directions to Frau Zelenka's place, and after meeting her followed her (on her bike!) to a good room.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008


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The room was just what we needed. Warm and dry, and very comfortable.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 16th September 2008




Cycling down the Danube

 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 |  Day 10 |  Day 11 |  Day 12 |  Day 13 |  Day 14 |  Day 15 |  Day 16 |  Day 17 |  Day 18 | 

Day 16, 16th September 2008

Willendorf in der Wachau - Schwallenbach - Spitz - Woesendorf - Weisskirchen - Rossatz - Mautern - Hollenburg - Zwentendorf

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