A cruisy ride along the river
Cruising: shore excursion
Austrian village of Melk. Photo: Getty Images
"We set off from Melk after lunch and they allowed four hours for us to cycle to Duernstein, although it didn't take us anywhere near that long."
"It is a 32-kilometre ride and takes most groups about 2½ hours.
"The ship continued on to Duernstein, and those who hadn't opted for the cycling tour were waving at us and taking photos as they cruised past, while we were busy taking photos of them.
Valued exercise: Christine Sanderson and fellow cyclists.
"There was one steep section on the ride, where we had to ride up to a bridge to cross to the other side of the river, and quite a few people got off and walked that bit.
"Apart from that small section it was all gentle, rolling countryside and quite easy cycling.
"We had people in our group who were in their 60s and 70s, who were absolutely fine, so I think anyone with a basic level of fitness could do it.
"We rode past beautiful wineries and the most gorgeous countryside; it's so easy on the eye that you don't even realise you're exercising.
"The countryside was dotted with small towns and villages and, apart from the occasional castle or fort ... it was all about the countryside.
"We rode fairly consistently but stopped around the 10-kilometre mark and the 20-kilometre mark for a cold drink and a rest.
"The first stop was at a lovely little village, where some of our group climbed up to a lookout, and the second was a beautiful little church with a tiny cemetery about the size of my kitchen.
"We didn't see many cars along the way and those that did come along were very polite, patient and happy to wait for us - not like Melbourne drivers!
"We rode loosely as a group, with one person at the front and one person at the back, but there was no one who lagged behind or wanted to sprint ahead; it was very leisurely and relaxed.
"When we arrived in Duernstein, passengers from the ship had cold beers waiting for us and that went down very well.
"When you add up the countryside, the spring weather and all the aspects of the tour, I think that day was perfection.
"Every time I think about it I get a big smile on my face."
Value for money?
The shore excursions were included in the total fare for Christine and Roy's cruise.
"I have recommended Scenic's cruises to so many of my friends," Christine says.
"I know it looks a bit pricey when you first look at the figures, but the value you get is absolutely brilliant.
"We liked it so much we have since booked another cruise and plan to go on one every two to three years."
WHO Christine Sanderson of Berwick, Melbourne, on her second cruise.
WHAT Cycling tour through the Austrian countryside.
WHERE From Melk to Duernstein, in northern Austria. Passengers on the cycling tour left the ship in Melk and rejoined it in Duernstein.
THE SHIP Christine cruised with her husband Roy on a 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, on Scenic Emerald (scenictours.com.au).
As told to Jane E. Fraser
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