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Published: September 7th 2019
Early start with a train at 8-15 to Melk from Vienna for our boat trip down and up the Danube.
Arrived in Melk in good time - smashing little town with the most enormous Abbey, which is also a school. Would be worth a visit another time but we really only had an hour for a coffee before the boat trip. Gorgeous day and great scenery. The area is called the Wachau and is famous for its fine Austrian wines - esp Riesling grape and also apricots - they make a lot of apricot pastries as well as a liquor. Vines and fruit trees were manicured - neat terracing and row after row up the hill. The Danube, just like the Rhine had a steady stream of barges carrying who knows what up and down the river, as well as quite a few cruise boats. The river flows through 10 countries from the Black Forest to the Black Sea, and goes through Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade, it’s navigable for about 2500 km - so no surprise it’s used so much for freight.
Just like the Rhine, the medieval (and later) folk went for castle-building on extreme rock outcrops
in a big way. Lots of turrets and castle keeps - one castle (Aggstein) high above the river, was picked out for having had a very brutal owner who put people he didn’t care for in his ‘little rose garden’ which out on a ledge and you had the choice of jumping or starving 😱
The boat stopped at two or three villages before arriving at Krems/Stein . We had about 3 hours to kill, so plenty of time for lunch and beers and a walk around the very sleepy village of Stein.
Journey back upstream, weather closed in a bit but it was definitely time to try the Riesling - delicious - my new favourite! We have some to take home so here’s hoping it'll taste the same in Cheshire! Back in Melk and time for some apricot crepes (super yummy) before train back to Vienna.
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