Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Black Sea or Bust - Day 11 - Persenbeug to Krems (70 km)
Yet another rainy start but by the time I had reached Pochlarn it had eased up and I stopped to visit the birthplace of one of the best known of Austrian artists, Oskar Kokoshka. I am not a big fan of OK but there was an exhibition of photographs and, as always, images of the artist as a young man in the twenties and thirties have some charm. In those days the word 'louche' rather went with 'art school' in a way that I think it doesn't now. It took me all of twenty minutes to whisk round the gallery and saddle up again. Doris is starting to make scraping, graunching noises and I stop to try and remedy the problem but just make it worse.
Coffee in Melk, a pretty cobbled town with etc, etc. By now I am in the Wachau, an exceptionally attractive section of the Danube path, where the valley sides are dotted with vineyards and ruined castles. In the afternoon the sun is out and for once I stop thinking of 'pressing on' and cycle slowly along the rivers edge, weaving amongst the tourists by the landing stages where the tour boats tie up. It is almost magical and some psychologist will no doubt be able to explain the effect of moving water on the human spirit, in any case it is probably the best afternoon of the ride.
I coast smugly into Krems at around 5.00, which is where I am booked in for the night, freewheel gently along a long, long narrow street passing a wedding as I go. All the guests in pairs were being photographed inside a golden papier-mache frame. Then the happy couple in a limo would lead a tooting motorcade around the town. As I got near the town centre I stopped to consult my hotel booking confirmation from Booknow&despair.com and then my map. My hotel was in Untermarkt and while I couldn't see an Untermarkt on the map there was a Hohermarkt and I assumed that I should simply go to the street down the hill from there. That didn't work and I consulted the booking confirmation. I had failed to notice the word Senftenberg under Untermarkt. I had in fact booked a hotel not in Krems at all. Perhaps I was booked into somewhere near Hamburg or Leipzig. I consulted a local taxi driver and he reassured me that Senftenberg was a mere 10km to the north of Krems. I pedalled wearily up the hill but Senfentenberg was a pretty place with a jolly hotelier to greet me. I spent the evening in a packed local pub watching the Champions' League Final. The locals seemed split about fifty-fifty between Bayern and Dortmund but there was no real needle in the evening to relish. Depressing that Arjen Robben scored the winner, he always gives me the impression of being a mean spirit however talented a footballer he is.