Back to our trip round Europe this week after some deviation earlier in the month, I’ve just tried too many local places recently to not shout about them. Very simply during our two-week tour of Europe, this was our best day. An early start, meeting in the offices of Pedal Power– our tour guides around 8:15 before an hour train to the Wachau valley where the Danube river winds its way through this postcard picturesque landscape. Giovanni, our tour guide, was immensely welcoming, good humoured and knowledgeable. Saddling up with 7 other tourists all from the US we represented the UK on the tour.
It was a short cycle to our first vineyard, one which is not normally on the tour as it isn’t commercial. Giovanni let us in to the most stunning tasting cellar I’ve seen on the continent and waxed lyrically about the wines we tried there. Both wines were excellent and quaffed without much effort and the glasses were filled generously as we sipped in the cellar before making our way into the late September sunshine for a glass in the vineyard. This was easily the best stop and we’d only just begun.
A little wobbly we cycled on to lunch in the beautiful medieval town of Durnstein, I recommend the goulash at the restaurant where we were taken. Followed by a short hike up to the top of Durnstein castle where a history buff such as myself was in his element. King Richard the Lionheart was held captive here on his return from the Crusades. The hike will take a little over 20 minutes to reach the top but the views over the valley alone are worth it.
It was then a short hop to the next vineyard, this time with three wines to gulp. I was impressed with how much my appreciation for white wine developed over the course of our tour, thanks again to Giovanni. Even more unsteadily than before we clambered onto our bikes for a leisurely down-hill cycle to the Danube river using the ferry to cross. With the drink setting in we cycled along the river front stopping a while at a small beach with views back over Durnstein. Luckily the fruits were in full harvest as we stopped for some of the sweetest apples I’ve tried outside of Somerset before we biked the final couple of miles.
The train back was leisurely and having bonded with everyone on the tour we parted friends. But not before one final drink of the Austrian classic, apricot schnapps. Needless to say it somewhat sent me over the edge. A day of consumption and one to be remembered. I couldn’t recommend this trip enough.