This was just a morning’s cycling, under grey skies and alongside a canal to start with, to finish the ride. Austrian cycle paths are fantastic, and Vienna has upgraded its cycling infrastructure a lot since we were last here in 2010. It was good then – now fantastic!
Only one stop en route, at Schloss Vosendorf, which was supposed to have a cycling museum – but it wasn’t open. Not much of a story, but I took a picture!
Anyway, the ride is over, and we’re in a hotel in Vienna. It’s been one of the best we’ve done. The scenery across the Alps was fantastic, Slovenia was interesting and beautiful, the hotels (with one exception) were all good, and the company was as excellent as ever. The route was more physically demanding than most of our rides, with only one planned rest day, but we were almost always running parallel to a rail line, and were able to add a couple more as needed. All in all, a great trip.
Quirky geographical fact to finish. Despite crossing the main spine of the Alps twice, we never left the drainage of the Danube at any stage!
Another sunny morning! We were really lucky with the weather on the pass. It could have been dreadful. Instead we woke to great views down over the plain towards Vienna. Though difficult to photograph!
After breakfast at the local bakery we meandered along a level road, enjoying the views, before plunging down through the forest on a small lane, ending up in a narrow limestone gorge, with just enough room for the road.
Then, as the angle relented, we let the bikes fly, covering 10 miles to Gloggnitz (great name) in no time at all.
Weiner Neustadt was a large town with an elegant square and plenty of cafes for lunch. It was slightly too far to get to Vienna today, so we’ve stopped in the small town of Leobersdorf, with just a mornings riding left for tomorrow. It’s a shame that the cycling is nearly over.
By mutual consent, yesterday became an impromptu day off. We were both tired, and the weather wasn’t great. So we spent the morning in Graz’s posh new avant garde art museum, with fine views over the town. Ok, mostly in the cafe.
We caught an afternoon train to Bruck, and checked in to a wacky place in a converted 15th century bath house. Bruck is a nice old town that reminded us in many ways of Ripon.
It’s sunny again today, but chilly, and we’ve ridden the 40 miles up the Murz valley. This was a pleasant mix of houses and fields, getting steeper all the way to the summit at 1070m. This place has skiing and downhill biking from the summit, alongside turn of the century spa hotels. The pass is famous for the very looping rail line, with spectacular viaducts, that climbs the steep side from Vienna. It linked the capital to the sea at the height of the AH empire. We hope to take a look as we fly down tomorrow.
This was an easy mornings cycling close beside the Mur. Cloudy weather and cool at 15C, but at least it stayed dry. We had knocked it off by soon after 12, and had a nourishing soup in Graz before checking early into the grandest hotel in the middle of town.
This afternoon we ascended to the remains of the old Schloss by means of a modern lift built deep in the rock and reached by a tunnel. All very James Bond. Tes and apfelstrudel on the terrace cafe.
Revived, we visited one of the best city museums ever, telling the history of Graz in 4 rooms. Very well done indeed. And booked a table at an American restaurant for later this evening. We fancy a change from Austrian cuisine.
Last night in Ptuj we explored the castle and had a good fish dinner at the Anglers Arms by the river.
The Muzicafe provided an excellent vegetarian breakfast, after which we set off for Maribor, the second biggest city in Slovenia. There was rain on the forecast and we could see heavy clouds to the west. But we had a good morning following the Drava valley upstream. The approach to Maribor gave good views of the town.
Maribor was almost destroyed in the war, and only a small amount of the old town remains. We had planned to spend some time exploring, but the heavy rain arrived as we did, so we settled for a long lunch instead!
Luckily, neither of us minds riding in the rain, in fact we seem to quite enjoy it, because this was a wet afternoon. We headed north and fairly soon had crossed some low hills and descended to the Austrian border. There was fencing and there were border guards, but noone was interested in two wet cyclists.
The final section followed our final river, the Mur. For the first time since leaving Austria we were back on purpose made, car free, smooth tarmac bike paths. Slovenia was great, but Austria is so cycle friendly its hard to beat.
Tonight we’re in an immaculate apartment with all mod cons, having just wolfed a meal in the local pub restaurant. The rain has stopped. This was the view from my table.