In Austria the Danube bike trail gets really popular and crowded. I was seeing loads of fellow cyclists every day. The sign posts on the bike trail resembled highway signs. There were even outlets of visitor information centres right on the bike path in tents trying to find accommodation for all those masses of cyclists. And this was only early May - I started wondering how the bike path would look like in the main holiday season in July and August. But there was a lot to see indeed and there was highlight after highlight.
Lentos Art Museum
My first stop was in Linz were I stayed at the local youth hostel that even offered a bike shed for cyclists. Unfortunately I found out that the cycling community does not really compare to the hiking community when it comes to helping each other: I met 2 experienced older British cyclists in the hostel and asked them for help with changing my brake blocks. And they refused because they did not want to take any responsibility in case something goes wrong with my brakes. They would rather let me screw up the repair by doing it myself than helping me. Their only advice was to go to a bike shop... Unbelievable! But other than that Linz proved to be an interesting town with a fascinating future museum called Ars Electronica and a very modern Modern Art Museum.
Next stop was Mauthausen, location of the infamous concentration camp. This place is really getting to you and afterwards even I was not able to do any other sightseeing. The place was full of school classes who were visiting as part of their history classes and I found it shocking how untouched these kids seemed to be by all those atrocities that had happened there. There was constant giggling and bubble gum bursting which drove me crazy in this sinister environment.
Venus of Willendorf
The monastery of Melk was so crowded that the tour around the famous library was not much fun. Masses of people everywhere and I was just happy to get away. An interesting surprise along the bike path was a statue of the Venus of Willendorf a bit further on, a stone age fertility statue that I would see a couple of days later in the Natural History Museum in Vienna. This is a replica statue only - the real figure is tiny. And then I was headed into Krems where I was going to meet Sabine a fellow UL hiker whom I knew through a German outdoor forum - but have never seen before. So I was quite curious how this visit would turn out.