Carole Hatton tells her tale from her Leisurely Danube holiday.
“We arrived at our very nice welcoming hotel in Linz after a good flight and an easy pleasant train journey from Vienna. We were excited about embarking on another adventure with HF Holidays, this is our 3rd cycling holiday with them in as many years.
We collected our cycles the following morning and with every confidence we rode off without consulting our maps (as we were seasoned cyclists!!) only to get immediately lost!
We were soon on the right track and bliss took over, the vista and feeling of freedom was wonderful.
We had a lovely day with excellent weather, passing through pretty villages and towns all with their own special attractions.
Along the way we stopped off at a quirky craft shop, at which we brought some beautifully hand-crocheted souvenirs.
On arrival at our hotel, which was part of a farm situated on the outskirts of Mitterkirchen, we were shown to our lovely room and looked forward to a good home cooked meal.
After a good breakfast, and this time we did consult our maps(!), we checked our panniers for the essentials and off we went for another day of exploring and wondering what events we would encounter, one of the great things about this type of holiday is the people you meet along the way, and being ladies of a certain age is a bit of a fascination to most, and always received with lots of encouragement.
Today we cycled through beautiful fields of vibrant poppies and cornflowers nestling amongst crops of corn, we did not come into contact with anyone for miles which was heaven.
The hotel was in a quaint little town with traditional church bells which peeled on our arrival (we like to think it was specially arranged!) and we had another great meal with home grown vegetables and home baked bread.
“It can’t get any better than this!”
The following day we cycled to our hotel of two nights with the idea of having a day off from our trusty bikes. We set off after a good breakfast, every hotel is different but always very good quality and healthy food with a good selection of meat and vegetarian dishes plus the lovely bread and pastries and not forgetting the wonderful coffee.
At the end of our cycling today, we had to cross the Danube from north to south, we arrived at a small ferry stop at Arnsdorf where we all took our places on the little boat with our cycles, exchanging stories of our adventures of the previous days.
When the ferry docked we set off in pursuit of a shower and good food after a long and very hot day.
Once again we were not disappointed with the hotel and also having the luxury of two nights was a bonus as the hotel had a swimming pool and sunbathing area, it was a beautiful setting.
The next morning after breakfast we settled ourselves on the sun beds dipping in, and out of the swimming pool but after a few hours we started to miss our bikes so decided to cycle back to the wonderful Wachau area which is famous for its wine!
This involved going back on the little flower decorated ferry to the north side. We returned to a winery which we had visited on a previous trip and yes, the owner remembered us!
After tasting and testing a few wines (it would be rude not to!) we walked our cycles back to the ferry and hotel, another wonderful day with the weather getting warmer by the minute.
We were really sorry to leave the hotel especially knowing that we were getting nearer to Vienna and the end of our idyllic holiday.
Included in our itinerary was a two hour cruise, we took our cycles onto a very luxurious river liner along the Danube – it was beautiful sitting on the deck listening to a live orchestra playing Strauss, pure magic!
We embarked relaxed and energised as we rode on passing individuals and families along the Danube bank side enjoying a swim or sun bathing or having a bratwurst lunch in many of the pretty little chateau type cafés.
Today was a national holiday and the cycle track was much busier with all sorts of cycles from the serious lycra clad cyclists to whole families on bikes including tent like extensions on the back for babies and toddlers, it was an experience which we really enjoyed.
We arrived in a town called Tulln which was like stepping into a fairytale with pretty shops and buildings and old fashioned ice cream parlours, we did get a little lost looking for the hotel but this gave us the opportunity to explore the town, once again the locals could not have been more helpful, everywhere we went we were met with enthusiasm and friendliness.
The next morning at breakfast we met two lovely fellow cyclists who were sisters, they had escaped from their families for a week to follow our route to Vienna, we chatted, laughed and exchanged addresses.
Cycling nearer to Vienna the area starts to get more industrialised but also very interesting as the scenery is changing from the beautiful countryside to apartments and workplaces, but always with the backdrop of the mountains.
On arrival in Vienna we needed to consult our map and spotted another two ladies doing the self same thing. Yes it was our newly found German sisters from the previous hotel!
We congratulated each other on our spectacular 240+ kilometres completed trip, said our goodbyes and rode off to our respective hotels.
We found our hotel which was very conveniently situated in the centre of Vienna and deposited our faithful bikes in the basement for the last time – was that a tear or just a bit of dust in my eye.
We had booked an extra night in Vienna as there was so much to see in this beautiful city, we even managed a boat trip to Bratislavia which was a bonus. We had such a good experience it was everything we wanted from a holiday and these two ladies are not for turning, we will be back!”
Thank you Carole for telling us your tale!