Melk to Persenbeug, 24Km
Gasthof Böhm, 57 euros
I enjoyed my guesthouse in Melk last night. It’s probably not the one I would have chosen from the street but the owner was nice and that makes up for a lot. When I arrived I enquired about soap and after considering for awhile he led me into the boiler room and retrieved a rather dirty plastic bottle of shower gel from behind a pipe. I asked him why soap was not provided and he said that people from The Netherlands go off with it. I’ve known people from The Netherlands and they are clean and honest people who shouldn’t be asked to choose between cleanliness and honesty. Anyway there you are. If you’re booking from The Netherlands, bring your own shower gel.
I had another good Austrian breakfast and then set off along the Danube, pausing to photograph the Amareina, another enormous river cruiser. I doubt I could ever bring myself to book a trip but the passage of time is cruel and who knows how I’ll feel in the future? To drift slowly down the Danube with fresh coffee and croissants surely beats a week in Eastbourne? I could reflect on how I walked it, back in the 2020s and no one will believe me.
After a short while I found myself surrounded by a large group of American ladies from the aforementioned Amareina, out for an early morning jog along the river with their tour guide. One of them told me she had cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats and another had recently completed a full virtual Pacific Crest Trail. I imagine that takes some doing. They have a lifetime of memories between them and the evenings must be a lot of fun. Sadly the way these things play out is that first the man dies and then the woman goes off on a cruise.
I waved goodbye to the Jakobsweg which headed into the hills and walked along the Danube Cycle Path No 6 in the glorious but fresh morning air. It was a fine riverside walk. An endless stream of cyclists wizzed past me on electric cycles, shouting Morgan or Doug, I don’t know why. One man told me he was heading for Wien (see main photo). I passed a cycle shop and was tempted to buy one but I was put off by the inevitable bureaucracy of British Customs struggling under WTO rules and having to convert it to right hand drive.
A riverside cafe served a particularly fine cappuccino and chocolate bar and then the Jakobsweg rejoined me farther upstream, looking exhausted. It said I didn’t miss anything, except for some overgrown meadow paths and 9Km.