We left our mooring at Dürnstein by 10.30am and slowly made our way through the beautiful Wachau Valley to Melk, where we docked at about 2.00pm. We were still in Austria and still traveling on the Danube. In this valley the river winds through a number of bends, surrounded by steep hills on both banks. On our starboard side the slopes were mainly set aside for vineyards, which we found quite remarkable given how steep they often were. Some of the land on the port side was also used for grape growing, although there were places where it would have been almost impossible due to the hilly terrain and vegetation.
A road ran alongside the river on the starboard side, passing through quaint small towns and villages where church spires captured the eye and building styles were reminiscent of those often found on jigsaw puzzles. Tourist buses traveled along those roads, and I found myself thinking how wonderful it would be to take a leisurely road trip along the Danube through this valley, stopping from time to time in these beautiful towns.
The sky was overcast, and it was chilly on the sun deck, but I stayed up there for over an hour taking it all in. Traveling through places like this makes this cruise really special. I guess I’ve always wanted to come to places like the Wachau Valley and at the moment I’m pinching myself to make sure it’s real.
Another castle on the high slopes above a town passed us by, a reminder of the hundreds of years of human history that this valley has been witness to. But for now, the valley is peaceful and calm and the river slowly meanders its way towards Melk.