Enjoying the Donau by BARGE AND BIKE

Carolyn Myers & Dick Woods

We were on the Barge from Sunday to Sunday.  The Barge docks at a predesignated location and the passengers and bicycles disembark to ride the bicycle path to the next location - the Barge meets us at that location and the bicycle riders get back on the Barge. Bikes are reloaded and when all are on board, the Barge moves down river to the next stop.  Do NOT be late!
We had a couple of free days - one in Budapest, Hungary and one in Vienna, Austria, as well as an afternoon in Bratislava, Slovakia.  We enjoyed sightseeing and city tours in these cities, also eating "on the street", at sidewalk cafes and gelato shops!
Each day’s ride instruction briefings were given in English and then in German the evening before each ride.  Later the crew servers would offer some musical/acting entertainments.  All were very congenial and gave the crowd an opportunity to become more acquainted.
We went through many locks on the river. A number of these transfers were at night while we were trying to sleep (it was very noisy!)  Others were in the daytime.  It was quite interesting to watch how multiple ships were wedged into the same lock section. 
We enjoyed stopping along the bicycle path at various villages and shops.  One village was having a street fair while we were passing through and the grandson enjoyed looking at the various items which were for sale. 
Mac could spend more time exploring and still catch up with us before the time to be back at the Barge.
We had a wine tasting at one village where they offered us three different wines to taste. As a result, we had a lessened desire to ride the bike!
The weather was very cooperative, since it only rained during the night.
The company we used was "Tripsite"   www.tripsite.com - they broker many different tour companies and promote tours all over Europe, the United States, and beyond.  The cost is very reasonable - the airfare for each of us was more than the barge fare for each, which included the bicycle, 3 meals a day, wi-fi (when near a large city), and maid service in the rooms. 
The group consisted of mostly European adults, some American adults, our 17 year old grandson, and one 5 year old grandson of another man.  Another teenager was employed by the bicycle tour company to ride a bicycle some of the days on the trip, as a guide.
In Munich, we enjoyed touring the Olympic site from 1972 Olympics. Museums for Mini-Coopers, Audis and BMWs were also located on the grounds. We attended several museums in Budapest.  In Vienna, there were many museums, but little time to enjoy them; there was also an amusement park which Mackenzie enjoyed.
We had "challenging" air flights going to and coming back from Munich. Things never seem to work like they are supposed to!  But, we made it both times, by the skin of our teeth and lived through the trials!!
Bent Fork - Volume 8 Issue 6

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