Elderhostel/IBT Bicycle Tour
Germany/Austria: Along the Danube

July 30 through August 10, 2004

Warning: There are 588 photos in the full tour. If you want the quick tour (only 80 photos!) click here.
Day 1
Fri, 30 Jul
Deggendorf--Bus from Munich AP to Hotel zum Burgwirt, Natternberg, near Deggendorf. Bike fitting and test ride. Several of group hike up hill behind hotel to see remains of an old castle and Roman fort.
Day 2
Sat, 31 Jul
Deggendorf--Our first bike ride, a 16-mile roundtrip to Plattling. We eat lunch in Plattling, then bike a little further to St. Jakob's Church for a lecture. After dinner we're entertained by Erhard, our leader, and Phil, the lead singer in our bike group. Erhard plays the "squeeze box" and sings. Among the many songs we sing are: Clementine, Blowing in the Wind, Tom Dooley, Munich Drinking Song, Lili Marlene, and Do-Re-Mi (a tender rendition by the ladies-- I think they must've practiced together somewhere!).
Day 3
Sun, 1 Aug
Passau--The real thing. A 41-mile bike ride along the Danube to Passau. In the morning, we arrive at the Benedictine Abbey Niederaltaich ("lower, old oak") just as the many bells of the church begin clanging in a complex way. Magnificent interior; majestic organ music playing. A passing monk stops to explain the mission of the abbey. Lunch at a small cafe in Hofkirchen. Erhard and the cafe owner perform a duet for us as we leave. An ice cream break by the Danube in the afternoon, where we meet Erhard's lovely wife and cute granddaughter. Then on to Passau. Erhard arranges to have church bells ring upon our arrival at each town along the way! We check into our hotel, Hotel Weisser Hase, then Erhard leads an evening tour of Passau.
Day 4
Mon, 2 Aug
Passau--Our day begins with a lecture on architectural styles. We then have a walking lecture and tour of Passau. We visit St. Stephan's Dom and hear about the world's largest church organ. Later we attend an organ concert there. In the afternoon we explore Passau on our own. Some of us hike the steep path to Veste Oberhaus high above the left bank of the Danube.
Day 5
Tue, 3 Aug
Schlögen--Today we bike ride from Passau to Schlogen. First, a lecture on the reunification of Germany. Then we take a bridge from Passau over the River Inn (which joins the Danube) and ride along the right bank of the Danube. Cross border into Austria. Take ferry across Danube to the left bank at Obernzell, which puts us back in Bavaria. We buy lunch stuff in Obernzell and picnic on the grounds of a palace built by the Bishop of Passau in 1426 as his summer residence. After lunch, we ride the left bank and soon cross into Austria again (border is a small, nearly dry stream). Continue along left bank. Stop at the boat builder Königsdorfer for a demonstration on old-time caulking techniques. Continue on left bank until opposite Schlögen, where we put 21 bikes and ourselves on a bike ferry to Hotel Donauschlinge. Some of group make the gruelling hike up to an overlook and are rewarded with a magnificent view of the big S-curve bend in the Danube. The ruins of the castle Haichenbach are visible on the opposite mountain top.
Day 6
Wed, 4 Aug
Linz--A few of us rise early and hike up to the overlook again to see the Danube bend in the morning light. As we get back on our bikes, Erhard leads us in singing Happy Birthday to Janet. We head off to Linz. A cool ride on the wooded, shady right bank. We stop in Aschach to buy lunch stuff, then cross a bridge to the left bank and ride through farm land to a lake, where we picnic and play in the water. Then continue on the left bank to near Wilhering, where we cross over on a dam bridge and visit the Cistercian Monastery and ornate Rococo-style church at Wilhering. A cable ferry takes us back across the Danube to Ottensheim on the left bank. An afternoon break, and then we ride on the left bank of the Danube--a stressful ride since the bike path is narrow and bordered by a wall on the left and fast, heavy traffic on the right. Finally, we cross a bridge into Linz (on the right bank) and end up at our hotel, Arcotel Hotel Nike. After dinner, Erhard leads us on a walking tour of Linz.
Day 7
Thu, 5 Aug
Linz--We start with a lecture on the Austrian economy. Next, most of the group take a bus excursion to the Nazi concentration camp, Mauthausen (I stay in my room doing wash!). In the afternoon we are treated to a stirring organ recital in the Alter Dom. Then Biker Marilyn plays the Bruckner organ! Some of us take the world's steepest mountain railway up to Postlingberg for a wonderful view of Linz. In the evening we sample the original Linzer Torte and stroll around the Hauptplatz. Finally, we watch the Linz Donau-Watershow boat as it cruises down the river below our hotel.
Day 8
Fri, 6 Aug
Grein--In the morning, our lecturer, Susanna, gives a talk on Austrian customs and holidays. Back on our bikes, we leave Linz as we ride through a shady park. We stay on the left bank all the way to Grein. We stop at a grocery store to buy lunch stuff, then picnic in a park at a marina on the Danube. A brief, light rain falls as we arrive at our hotel in Grein, the Goldenes Kreuz.
Day 9
Sat, 7 Aug
Melk--In the morning Susanna lectures on Danube history and then leads a tour of the Schiffahrtsmuseum (shipping museum). We then cross over the bridge above Grein and ride our bikes on the right bank in the cool shade. We pass St. Nikola on the opposite bank, then cross a bridge to the left bank. We buy food for lunch and then picnic and play at a small park. We ride through farm land and many small orchards (apple, pear, plum, cherry, and walnut). We continue on the left bank to a dam, where we stop and pose for group pictures with the Melk Abbey in the background. We cross the dam bridge and continue on the right bank into Melk and our hotel, Gasthof Wachauerhof.
Day 10
Sun, 8 Aug
Krems--In the morning we have a guided tour of the Melk Abbey. Back on our bikes, we cross a bridge to the left bank and ride through the Wachau wine region. In addition to many vineyards, we pass small orchards of apple, pear, apricot (marille), and one pumpkin patch. We stop at the site where the Willendorf Venus was found. Lunch in Spitz. Lecture at St. Michael's church and see the altar of skulls and bones. Stop in Dürnstein and ponder the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned on his return from the Crusades. We arrive in Krems and our hotel, Donauhotel Krems. Erhard leads a nighttime tour of Krems.
Day 11
Mon, 9 Aug
Wien--Our last day of bike riding. We cross a bridge at Krems and ride the right bank to Tulln. Along the way, we make several refreshment breaks, including one at a trail-side stand which specializes in donuts and a refreshing drink made from elderberry blossoms. In Tulln we say goodbye to our bikes, walk into town for lunch, and then board a bus for Vienna and our final hotel, Hotel Erzherzog Rainer.
Day 12
Tue, 10 Aug
Wien--In the morning we take a walking, guided tour of Vienna. We are then on our own. Several of us take the elevator to the top of the Eagle Tower in the Stephansdom. Sidewalk café for relaxing and people watching, then the Kunsthistorisches (Museum of Fine Art). In the evening, our farewell dinner.

Extended Stay in Vienna
August 11 - 13, 2004

Day 13
Wed, 11 Aug
Wien--Schloss Schönbrunn, Rathaus, Volksgarten, Staatsoper guided tour, and a Mozart concert in the Hofburg.
Day 14
Thu, 12 Aug
Wien--Stephansplatz, bike riding in the Prater, a nice dinner at the Artner near our hotel, then a nightime visit to Stephansdom and more sidewalk cafés.
Day 15
Fri, 13 Aug
Wien--Belvedere Palace, bus ride up to Kahlenberg for a fine view of Vienna, lunch in a wine garden in Grinzing, afternoon nap, then pizza near the hotel.

To quote our "most effervescent" bike rider:

"It was FANTASTIC!!!"

Trip Maps

Green arrows show our route, as best as I could reconstruct it.
Maps are large (about 1500 pixels wide, 300-400 KB).

Map 1 Passau to Schlögen, Wilhering & Ottensheim

Map 2 Linz to Grein & Ybbs

Map 3 Ybbs to Melk, Spitz, Dürnstein, & Krems

Map 4 Krems to Tulln

Panoramas and Other Special Images

Most importantly, Joe's Trip Menu (in case you've forgotten what we ate where)

People, 102 photos of group members, large format (1024x768 pixels)

Short movie from Day 1 (3.4 MB); unfortunately, no sound

Bikers Panorama (244 KB)

Passau Panorama, from Veste Oberhaus: Small (89 KB), Large (793 KB)

Bishop's Summer Palace, Obernzell (141 KB)

Donauschlinge Panorama, afternoon: Small (77 KB), Large (425 KB)

Donauschlinge Panorama, morning: Small (59 KB), Large (534 KB)

Ottensheim Castle (162 KB)

Panorama, Linz Modern Art Museum (102 KB)

View from the Shipping Museum, Grein (177 KB)

Melk Town Panorama: Small (114 KB), Large (315 KB)

Panorama, from atop Stephansdom (155 KB)

Schönbrunn Panorama: Small (73 KB), Large (743 KB)

Vienna Panorama, from Kahlenberg: Small (51 KB), Large (953 KB)


Ken Kirk's Danube Bike Tour Images

Vienna Travel Guide

Kunsthisorisches Museum (click Architecture, then Panoramas for 360-deg views)

Schöbrunn Palace

Gustav Klimt

Egon Schiele

Guide to Passau

Passau, article from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica

History of Austria

Niederaltaich Benedictine Abbey

Bruckner Organ, Alter Dom, Linz

Anton Bruckner

Comments, questions, corrections to Wayne Matchett (wmatchett@cfl.rr.com)

Website created 20 Aug 04
More panoramas added, 25 Aug 04
Two pages of people photos added, 26 Aug 04
Added maps and menu, 26 Aug 04