Last year, 2019, was a busy travel year for me. There was a three-week trip to Central Europe with Tim in the summer, and a trip to Spain with my students in early autumn. My last blog post about our summer trip was a tour of Clam Castle. Let's pick up there for a bit of escapism this morning.
Our floating hotel of 130 passengers next stopped at Spitz, Austria. It's a delightful way to travel. I open the curtains and voila, the view has changed. After visiting the breakfast buffet (I do love the cold cuts, cheeses, and breads) Tim and I both chose to go on a bicycle tour.
After strapping on helmets and trying out our bicycles, we followed our guide along the river path, through villages, along cobblestones (bumpty bump), and to the medieval village of Durnstein, home to a Franciscan Abbey, part of which is seen above.
What a fun day we had. Another highlight! There were many of them. Our guide was fantastic, very knowledgeable about the history and culture of the area. She pointed out the village where she lived, across the river. We cycled through terraced vineyards where grapes have been grown for centuries.
In Durnstein we took a longer stop to explore the village. It was filled with tourists (like us), but very charming. I think we deserve some tea and cake after all that exercise, don't you? My that piece of custard cake is large. I would have been happy to share it with one or two of you. But I did manage to eat most of it on my own. Good thing there was more cycling to do.
In the castle above the town (mostly ruins), Richard the Lion-heart was once held captive. That man really traveled around. I wrote about Les Andelys, a fortress he constructed, when we were in France.
Since we had to climb up from the river to the village, we have to descend to return to our bicycles, here through narrow, arched streets and steps. The modern touch of a garbage can bolted to the wall keeps things much cleaner than in medieval times.
Our floating hotel cruised while we cycled, and we caught up with her in time for a late lunch. I'm always ready to try new tastes - like a cold pineapple soup that was both sweet and tart. Very delicious.
We spent the afternoon on the boat: destination Vienna where we arrived as dusk fell. Our dock was near the international finance district, where modern architecture dominates.
For dinner that night, my journal tells me that I ordered a pumpkin strudel with a creamy sauce that was also delicious.
In the morning I signed up for the Vienna Insider's Tour while Tim went on a city cycling tour. My excursion began with a walk to the metro station, a metro ride to Schwedensplatz, and then a walk through the centre of town to a small cooking school - Andante. Old buildings and new mingle here in relative harmony. Vienna is vibrant, with much to observe.
The cooking class began with a glass of Prosecco. In the morning. The others thought it quite humorous that I declined, saying I couldn't drink alcohol without food. I would have been one dizzy mess.
We learned how to shape a variety of breads - Mohnflesserl, Handsemmel, Salzstanger, and pretzels. After they baked, we enjoyed them with delicious butter, and then I did have a glass of Prosecco. We were a group of 12 and enjoyed sitting around the table chatting and snacking.
You might remember that my three eldest "flat grandchildren" traveled along with me. They were very happy to play with the dough and were great about not flinging flour too wildly. They especially enjoyed the freshly baked bread, and were happy when the bakery packed up the rest of the baking to take back to the ship for lunch.
Apricots and cherries. Soon that season will come around again. I'm glad we traveled last summer, for this year is looking very different.
I hope you've enjoyed this look back with me. There's more to see and do in Vienna, and I hope to compose a post about that soon. Meanwhile, there are digital assignment to grade, and students to email/call. Outside, the pink rhododendron is in full bloom and we're expecting rain a bit later. How are things in your world today?