This was a multi-part trip that started with 10 days of cycling the Danube River from the source, at Donaueshingen, Germany to Passau. We finished where we started in 2008, when we cycled from Passau to Budapest. We rented bikes at the Munich hauptbahnhof after flying direct from Toronto. Because of airline and baggage delays, we made it to the pre-booked train ride to Donaueshingen with only 5 minutes to spare. Next morning, we were off on our adventure. The bikes were not great, but they did the job withoutÂ any problems for the entire 10 day, 580 km ride to Passau.
After 1 night in Passau, we returned to Munich via rail/bus, returned the bikes, and got on another train to Vienna, Austria. This is perhaps one of our favourite cities, so we really enjoyed the sites and the food. We visited the Bryan Adams photography exhibit at the Ostlicht Gallerie, a very large festival in central Vienna and of course, the Naschmarkt, one of our favourite places in Vienna.
Our next stop was beautiful Krakow, Poland, which is now definitely another one of our favourite places. We took a day trip to my grandmotherâ€™s home town of Liminowa, in the foothills of the Tatry Mountains. My ancestry is Polish, but I believe Iâ€™m the 1st of my generation in my family to set foot in Poland after more than 100 years. Many people, whoâ€™ve asked me about this experience, seem to be expecting a depressed country. But Poland is beautiful, clean and safe, and the people are highly educated, employed, happy and very friendly.
After a few days in Krakow, we visited Zakopane, which is a ski resort town in the Tatry Mountains, which border Slovakia in southern Poland. Zakopane is very touristic; the main strip feels like a carnival. But we had dinner one night in an alpine style restaurant, where we felt the atmosphere was the best experienced in a long time. The traditional Polish food was also fabulous and the 3 piece band (2 violins and a cello) played Polish folk music, which sounded very Cape Breton to me. We also climbed to the top of one of the peaks, Kasprowy Wierch, which was supposed to be an easy climb, according to my ski instructor friend in Mississauga, but it felt more like a double-black at the top in the fog.
Finally, we flew back to Munich, via Berlin, and visited the Oktoberfest grounds, which were being setup for the forthcoming festival, and of course, the usual re-hydration at the Hofbrauhaus to celebrate the end of our trip!
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