When a 1 week vacation can feel like 3: a bike, boat and sight-seeing tour of the Danube

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(May 25th, 2014 at noon) On the train from Passau, Germany to Munich, I return from my first river cruise and bike-tour combo satisfied, well fed and simply happy. When Darren Alff from bicycletouringpro.com invited me to accompany him on this tour several months ago I would have never imagined that my 1 week holiday could feel so long and complete (in a really good way!) Having travelled through 4 countries, visited 3 European capital cities (Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna) and with both butt cheeks perfectly sore from biking (no thanks to the dodgy bike saddles ;) …I’m looking forward to checking out the photos and reliving some of these new memories with you.

For me the trip was off to a very good start right in Munich where I was able to meet up with Laura my cousin whom I had not seen in over 4 years. With her friends and boyfriend we relaxed, ate delicious food and meandered about the beautiful city and beer gardens.

 

I then met up with Darren in Munich and headed through Bavaria to Passau where we were to meet our fellow passengers on the tour (Fun fact: Darren and I were the youngest people on board by about 40 years ;). The weather was overcast with bits of rain; the faces around us gloomy from the poor weather the week before. In fact, the water in the Danube had risen so much that we were to travel to Linz (Austria) by bus to meet the boat there. Everyone’s fingers were crossed for sun and warmth the following day.

Everything went according to plan – the attention to detail on board (from the little chocolates and candies on our bed pillows every night to the detailed excursion explanations) and the beautiful, warm and sunny weather that greeted us every day. We travelled from Austrian village to village and visited Slovakia and Hungary as well.  In general the idea is to leave the boat by bike after breakfast and cycle to the boat’s next docking station further along the river. During our ‘free’ days in Vienna and Budapest there were opportunities to participate in additional sight-seeing and cultural events.  This off time was actually busiest of all as we attempted to take in these monumental places in just a few short hours of running about.  Otherwise, the biking took place inthe mornings and early afternoon, on predominantly flat terrain and bike paths.
Breakfasts were buffet style with all manner of fruit, veggies, meats, breads and cheeses; lunches were either sandwich versions of breakfast or restaurant style gourmet 3-course meals. Dinners were elaborate with some unpronouncable and delicious dishes.

Personal highlights of the trip:

  • cycling around the Hungarian countryside and the Austrian Wachau wine-growing region
  • Meeting up with a dear Austrian friend, Veronika (with whom I WWOOFed in Bolivia in 2012) and her husband and friends in Vienna (and almost missing the boat’s departure that night – ha!)
  • our fellow travellers on the boat and great conversations and laughs – couples from Germany, the Netherlands, UK, USA and Canada.
  • the predominantly Slovakian housekeeping and catering crew – as a Pole I felt right at home ;)
  • silliness such as the Pirate evening on board the ship (see pics!)

If you’re looking for a more detailed review of the journey Darren has been busy writing (and posting photos) on bicycletouringpro all about it: http://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/gallery/danube-waltz-rad-reisen/ 
My own (and Darren’s) photos from the trip on Flickr: 

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More about the tour company ‘Rad and Reisen’:  http://www.radreisen.at/en/home.html 

Overall: highly recommend!!

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