Written by Blogger Hubby
While Jane was cruising through the Wachau Valley, I was doing something different and what I did became one of the memorable highlights of our cruise for me. For me it was the bicycle ‘tour’ on the bike path alongside the river between Melk and Krems. This was an excursion you could not sign up for prior to the cruise. The staff wanted to see everyone to make sure that all who went on a guided excursion were able to do the tour. This was one of three organized shore excursion for bicyclist enthusiast aboard the cruise ship.
At the beginning of the cruise, I was not planning to do the Wachau Valley bicycling trip because I felt I was unprepared for the distance involved. However, I did sign up to bicycle on a shorter tour earlier in the cruise, and I bicycled on my own at a couple of other stops. There was a core bicycling group that formed during the week who encouraged each other. It included a very senior, rather petite woman from England. So when the time came for the Wachau Valley tour, I decided to take the leap. And I’m glad it did because bicycling 36 km along the river was a special trip. I should warn you that the length of the trip and the hilly terrain made it suitable only for experienced riders. There was one reasonable steep hill to climb where I needed to walk my bike up a portion.
The ride was memorable because it provided a different perspective of the countryside than seen from the ship. We passed through riverside parks where people were gathered for picnics and fishing, through small hamlets of homes and a few small stores, and through orchards of apricots. There were public toilets at one location and a source for drinking water.
The trip was well organized by the ship. Two crew members who were experienced bicyclists led the trip — one up front and the other at the rear. They carried drinking water and snacks, as well as first aid items and equipment to communicate with the ship. The pace was steady but not fast, and we had a target time to meet the ship. We made three rest stops that I remember. In the end I was tired but happy I had accomplished the feat. One thing that helped me was a desire to keep up with the little old lady from England.
Having bicyclists on our AMAWaterways ship certainly added to our overall experience. Knowing that some ships had the bicycles was a factor in choosing this cruise line and because of it, it really added to our overall experience.