The main event today was our long anticipated bike ride from Passau, Germany to Engelhatszell, Austria. All six of us have been planning to do this for months. We started with another hearty breakfast (porridge for extra fuel). The whole idea with the bike ride is that we bike while the boat cruises. Pretty cool to think that we nearly kept up with the boat for a total of 28 km! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
We got set up with our bikes (Tyler ended up with a helmet that had maple leaves on it). The first few minutes of the ride were through the town to get to the bike path along the river. Definitely easier to bike through the city when you have a near 7 ft tall German man named Lars holding traffic for the group. We had three guides: Ilse, Lars, and Jeanette. We even passed the spot where I had my small fall yesterday and all was good! This part was a little stressful with the cobblestones and slight hills but everyone made it and then we were on a path by the river.
It was a brisk but beautiful morning. The whole bike ride was quite a lovely experience. It was overall quite even terrain, occasionally small incline up or down. I mostly stayed near the middle of the pack and was very comfortable with that (Tyler liked to be near the lead but frequently checked in with me to give me water and make sure I was ok). I think Tyler was hoping to get up to a faster speed than we did. It just wasn't that type of bike ride.
For me, looking around at the beautiful autumnal leaves was a highlight. The scenery was quite breathtaking. We took a brief pause at the German/Austrian border (no passports just a sign on the side of the road). The guides had mentioned at the start that we would be taking two ferries later in the ride. We got to the point where the first ferry was supposed to pick us up and after a few minutes, the guides realized that they'd already changed to the winter schedule and no ferry would be coming. Ilse described it as a "curious situation." What this meant was walking through a couple felled cornfields and carrying our bikes up and down 45 stairs when we got to the bridge by the lock. It did mean we got to see our boat as it had entered the lock and was still in the process of going through. We can now say we caught up to the boat! After the lock, it was just a short bike ride to our beer stop in Engelhartszell. I had a radler (beer and lemonade) and we all had pretzels. It was probably the most well earned drink of the trip so far since we had biked all morning... excluding Brett's drink after the marathon of course.
The last bit of the bike ride flew by. We did get to take the short ferry ride across the river to the area near where our ship was docked. What a beautiful way to spend the morning!!!
We returned to the ship and it set sail just about immediately. We had lunch and then had a very relaxing afternoon. Sitting on the top deck reading was beautiful although a bit windy. I did have a short nap and then there was tea served in the lounge. It was a refreshing snack and peppermint tea. I went back to the room and iced my bug bite (of course I got a bug bite when Tyler and I were hiking in Passau). I've also got some great bruises from biking on my other leg... I'm overall a bit battered and bruised but that's kinda par for the course for me.
Tonight we were invited to an exclusive gala dinner because of the type of room that Kelly and Celeste booked. This dinner was served in the Captain's Club area. The highlights of the meal were the cheese ravioli that was much like a perogy, the yummy pork tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto and especially the pastry chef surprise dessert. It was a white chocolate dome that was hiding a macaron and whipped cream inside. Tyler's favorite dessert of the trip!!! We also had a cake for Celeste's birthday and sang Happy Birthday. I had asked for a cheese plate as well and they brought a huge cheese plate. Way more than we needed and everyone (except Tyler) just had a few bites.
Right after supper, we all got changed for a stroll into Grein, the town where we had docked for the night. We were just docked there until around 3:30 am actually as it was intended as just as much time as the captains needed to rest after the long day.
Grein looks to be a very tiny place. We meandered around for a while and found a fountain to take some photos with. Then we headed back to the boat after a photo with the Auf Vedersen sign as homage to The Sound of Music. In the boat, they had a concert of Austrian musicians playing Dixieland music. We caught the last couple songs which were very enjoyable. We finished the evening in the lounge. Looking forward to exploring Spitz, Austria tomorrow!!
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