Danube Biking 2007

Kevin and I bike along the Danube River from Germany into Austria in 2007.


by grace on January 30, 2008

animal parts, that is.

i got home tonight and cleaned up something that looked like a little red sploch of maybe jam on the floor.

entrails. some kind of bloody entrails.

where’s the rest of the animal?

eaten, i hope.

tomorrow afternoon we’re supposed to have 5-7 inches of snow, lots of wind, it sounds ugly.

i guess running yesterday afternoon in my shorts was just a lovely dream.

hey, i have the rest of those austria photos.

the last time i wrote, we had just spent our last morning marching all around the schonbrunn palace and grounds. a huge amount of walking. we took the subway back into the heart of town to try to go to the opera, which was supposed to be one of the CAN’T BE MISSED sights.

here it is from the outside.


ok, but it was closed.

we really weren’t that sad about it. yeah, i’m sure it was great inside…but we’d seen lots of stuff already.

instead, we went across the street to a little cafe and kevin had some authentic AUSTRIAN COFFEE. i had some austrian ice cream. it was good.

but then, what to do? i wanted to see the american bar, designed by alfred loos. it looked on the map like it was just down the street.

so we started down the street in back of the opera, and it was full of all kinds of interesting shops and it was a pedestrian-only street, crowded with people. The KARNTNER STRASSE, i’ve spent a long time looking it up because i couldn’t remember the name of it. we kept looking for the american bar, but on the way we stopped into a fabulous shop full of jewelry and gifts, very cool stuff, and kevin bought me a beautiful necklace. we kept walking after buying lot of chocolates to take home to people, and eventually found the american bar, kind of hidden from the rest of the stuff on the busy street.

american bar

we kept walking, and came to st. stephen’s cathedral. why wasn’t st. stephen’s even on my list of VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO SEE? we took a weird, octagonal-shaped elevator to the top. there was a guy who operated the elevator, and we were kind of stuffed inside.

st. stephen’s is very very tall. we climbed out and could walk around on a metal-grated walkway, which was just a bit freaky, in my opinion. the drop was very far.

kevin took many pictures. this is the side of the roof.

st. st

see what i mean about the drop?


here’s a wider panorama of the roof.


and a view of the city.


he took lots more pictures from way way up there, but you get the idea.

we took the elevator back down, and since now it didn’t have to lug people up, but instead rocketed, we were suddenly stuffed in there EXACTLY LIKE SARDINES. i’m glad i’m not any more claustrophobic than i am.

we left the museum, and there was still time to see something else. the belvedere! the museum with some actual gustav klimt paintings including “the kiss.”

remember all the walking i said we’d done. more and more walking…

we hopped on the subway and i thought we’d be right there at the belvedere when we got off. but no, we had to walk…and walk…and walk some more.

finally, we got there and rushed in, because the museum was going to close in an hour. as we were entering a large tour bus full of senior citizens were marching in. we managed to sprint past them and up to the room containing all the klimts. and there were lots of them, and they were gorgeous. i started videotaping them but of course you aren’t allowed to videotape so i had to turn it off, but i got some good footage before being told to turn it off.

we don’t have photos, but this is the outside of the museum.


outside the museum were all kinds of expensive-looking apartments. here’s a great view of a place with an incredible glass roof. who lives there? why don’t we ever meet people who live in places like that, so we can see them from the inside?

glass roof

we were going to get back on the subway but i thought that another stop on the map looked quicker than the way we’d come. so we started walking toward a different subway stop…and we walked…and walked…and walked…

finally we found the stop, no closer than the one we had taken to get there, but at least it was a different walk. at this point i distinctly remember being very tired and whiny.

we got on the subway as i continued to study the map…and i realized that we were very close to the nachtsmarket, a place i’d read about that sounded like it shouldn’t be missed. It was a big outdoor market, and i worried when we got off the subway that it wouldn’t be right there and we’d have to walk another million miles after our huge day of walking.

we got off the subway, and there it was. we walked past the row of vendors selling vegetables, fruit, meat, wine, and all kinds of succulent-looking little things like stuffed grape leaves and little pastries. i don’t know why we didn’t buy any of the stuff, except we were just too tired, plus we didn’t have a way to prepare any of it. instead we bought a couple of big bottles of austrian wine.


i knew there were some apartments designed by otto wagner somewhere around, and thought maybe we’d find them, but we weren’t in any mood to walk any farther at all. but we looked up and there were the apartments, right in front of us.

wagner apartments

finally, we had seen enough.

we had to hurry back to the hotel, because we were going to meet the couple we’d met on the very first day of our trip. we were supposed to meet them at 7 o’clock at the hotel sacher, home of the famous sacher torte.

you probably don’t remember this couple i wrote about, since that was such a long time ago. on our first morning, in passau, germany, we met this nice american couple who were about to take the same route as us, and we had a really nice talk with them. they were going to start their trip the day after us, and we arranged to meet at the end to talk. we thought about them several times on our trip – they weren’t particularly athletic, hadn’t done any bike riding to prepare for the trip, and we wondered how they’d manage.

so we rushed back to the hotel and then got back on the subway and back to the opera, because the sacher hotel was right across the street from it. and there was the couple waiting for us, don and diane. we didn’t go into the very fancy part of the hotel, but next door at the little cafe. we ate sacher torte, it was a little dry but it didn’t matter, because we had such a nice time talking to don and diane. they’d don pretty well on their trip, except don had fallen at one point because of something that was wrong with his bike, and his lip was cut and he was a little scraped up. but they managed fine, and i was glad that we weren’t traveling with them because they got up very early every morning to start their route.

here we all are.

the very last day

i think don and diane wanted to keep talking, but i could barely keep my eyes open. i didn’t know at the time why i was so tired, but of course it was because we’d been rushing around all day, plus the day before, and the days before that there was all that bike riding.

we said goodnight and headed back to the hotel.

saturday morning we got up and went to the airport, which was fine, except the airline didn’t have any tickets for us and even though we got to the airport about three hours early, we barely made it onto the plane in time because we had to stand in at least four different lines, for about a half hour each, and every time we’d make it to the front the person would tell us they couldn’t help us.

but we got on the plane, it was all good, no problems.

the end.

except the minute i got home i started trying to figure out where we could take another bike trip.

kevin’s knee is still hurting him, he’s doing physical therapy three times a week, i know he’s going to get all better, because there are many other places to go.

i really have to sleep now.

and wait for the HUGE SNOWSTORM tomorrow.

ok ok ok,

wednesday grace.

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by grace on January 26, 2008

friday, september 21st, our last day of sightseeing in vienna. there was still so much to see and not enough time to see it all.

we decided to start the day at the schonbrunn palace. after poring over the various maps, i figured that we could easily get there on a train. we liked that idea because we’d be above-ground.

the train ride was nice, picturesque. we got off the train, though, and there was no schonbrunn. according to a map, the palace wasn’t far away. we started walking. and we walked and walked and walked some more. hmm, where was the palace? each step was shaving valuable time off our one last day of sightseeing. we walked past different little streets with shops, and kept walking.

finally, after about a half hour we found it. it wasn’t even the main entrance, it was an entrance somewhere west of the palace itself.

the grounds were beautiful. we almost immediately came across the orangerie, and asked a couple if they spoke english. the guy drawled, “we sure do.” they were from texas.

us at the orangeria

we could have paid to go inside the orangerie, but it didn’t look like it would be worth it. we could see from the outside that it was filled with all kinds of plants. but there were plenty of plants to look at outside.

the trees had all been trimmed in an interesting manner; it was as if they had been shaved on one side.


we walked and walked some more to get to the palace, and all of the grounds were lovely. this is a view of the palace’s back yard.


you know we had to climb all the way to the top of that hill. this is a view from halfway up.

up the hill

at the top of the hill was a restaurant, and lots of people were sitting outside eating. there were these cool statues up there, and i’m sorry kevin only took the one photo of them. i know i have some video of them.


we walked down the hill and toured around some more. we came to a “roman ruin,” built in 1778. it was fashionable to build picturesque ruins back then. it’s funny, because it looks like a real roman ruin. but it’s not.

roman ruin

there was also an obelisk fountain a little farther down the path.


obelisk close up

after walking a lot around the grounds (they were so large that you could a take a little train around the place, making stops at the places we went), we went inside the palace. i’d read that this is the most popular sight in vienna (even though it sure is on the outskirts of vienna), and that the most crowded time was in the morning.

it was morning. it was crowded. there were huge, huge lines to get tickets to tour the apartments inside. i’d read that the apartments were similar to the hapsburg apartments we’d toured on thursday. kevin wanted to leave. i felt that we should take a tour, because we’d come so far.

i did find a shorter line, which was shorter because you could buy a ticket automatically using a credit card. many people from many different countries were having problems making the machines work, but i managed to use the machine. there was a basic tour, which didn’t sound as interesting, and a more extensive tour. on the extensive tour you first had to tour the less interesting parts, but then you’d be rewarded with other, better sights.

there was a wait of at least an hour for the better tour, though. so i got tickets for the basic tour and we didn’t have to wait long, maybe a half hour.

the tour was TERRIBLE. the apartments were, indeed, almost identical to the kind of stuff we’d seen the day before – but the big and incredibly annoying difference is that this tour was CRAMMED with people. a woman who i think might have been italian kept BUMPING me and i just wanted to push her down.

it was like that almost all through the tour, always jammed together with gobs of other tourists. we hadn’t experienced this on any other parts of our whole trip, and we were relieved to finally escape.

we left the palace and finally saw it from the front. the view of the front isn’t actually as interesting as the one from the back. the whole front grounds are covered with white rock, instead of the beautiful grass and flowers in the back.

we stopped at the gift shop and bought…what did we buy? i can’t remember, but i know we bought some stuff.

we headed out the main entrance and there were approximately seven thousand tour buses lined up along the curb. we’d plotted a better way back into the city, and marched past the many buses to get to the underground. it didn’t take nearly as long to get back into the city.

at this point it must have been a little bit after lunchtime. writing this now it seems amazing how much walking we’d already done, especially considering all the walking and rushing around we did all afternoon.

that’s all for now, and there are only a few more photos left.

i must take mollie running, because it’s already 37 degrees and i’m sure it’s going to feel like a heat wave.

mollie is on a diet, by the way. she weighed 57 pounds at the vet. this is VERY FAT, because she’s supposed to weigh somewhere in the 40’s. so she needs to lose about 10 pounds, a huge portion of her total body weight.

we’ve cut way back on giving her treats, have almost completely stopped giving her people food, and she doesn’t complain. and she LOVES to go outside and walk, or better run, so she’s going to be a very happy dog in a couple of minutes.

ok then,

saturday grace.

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by grace on January 23, 2008

i woke up this morning feeling very energized and wanting to GET STUFF DONE. i even made a list of things. but so far it’s ALMOST NOON and i haven’t made any headway on any of the many things. but i’m working on it. i promise.

kevin went out in the van all by himself this morning, and he made it home alive. whew. this was his first solo outing in almost two weeks. he’s not taking as much vicodin and i feel he’s going to be getting much better soon. which is very good, and also means we’ll get to go to some movies. we haven’t seen any of the academy award nominated films, nor any of the people nominated for awards, no movies at all hardly. not that i have a desire to see the many serious & depressing movie choices that seem to be out there right now.

more photos of austria! because i’m so very very close to the end of the photos…we were last at the hofburg palace, touring the silver room, which was FANTASTIC. we then visited the royal apartments, which weren’t as interesting. and then there was the music museum and the armour musuem, but we only had an hour left to visit both of these, so we didn’t see the armour. the music museum was incredible, and it was a shame that we had to mostly sprint through it. it was stuffed with incredible, one-of-a-kind instruments, some of which had accompanying music that you could listen to in headphones. why have we no photos of any of those instruments? i guess kevin was hurrying to see everything so he had no time for photos.

after the museums we started walking around, and i wanted to see the secession building, and kevin took photos of it even though it was quickly getting dark outside.

secession building

we went in, and it was open late on thursdays so we got to see klimt’s beethoven frieze. here’s a tiny little picture of a segment of the frieze that i found online (again, WHY NO PHOTOS FROM KEVIN???)


We then went upstairs in the museum and saw some VERY AWFUL modern art. stuff like a plate with a few pieces of sliced apple on it, and a string hanging down from the ceiling.

then again, maybe that was supposed to be snacks. but i didn’t eat it. didn’t want to get kicked out of the secession building.

kevin and i walked around making coments about the incredible lameness of the exhibit, and then we realized that the artist was right there, along with a group of people hanging onto his every highly-over-inflated-ego word. they were all blocking the stairs to get out of the place, but we were finally able to break free.

across the street was the karlsplatz train station, designed by otto wagner. a long time ago, before going to austria, i posted a couple of photos i’d found online of the station. here’s a photo taken by kevin.


this part of the old station is now a little snack shop. across from it is the second building.

karlsplatz 2

at this point we were much too tired to see anything else, so we had dinner in a great little restaurant and called it a day.

so there was only ONE MORE DAY left for seeing the many many more things i wanted to see.

right now it’s 37 degrees there in vienna. it would be nice to be there, except maybe a little chilly to be biking along the danube.

ok already,

wednesday grace.

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by grace on January 14, 2008

my phone conversation with randy yesterday:

RANDY: so i guess you’re just writing on your site every tuesday now, huh?

ME: yeah.

so THERE, mr. dunham, MONDAY!

things have been busy, in a very not obvious way. coughing, mostly, plus kevin had knee surgery on friday. i felt bad sitting in the waiting room for hours because i kept having coughing fits and i’m sure the other people waiting didn’t appreciate it.

the codeine cough syrup was a bitter disappointmens. it wasn’t real codeine, it was a codeine-like substance, and instead of making me sleep it made me wired.

but at least i didn’t stay up coughing; instead i was wide awake, my mind racing a million miles a minute.

kevin has been hobbling around and the pain is getting less bad but he’s taking plenty of vicodin. yesterday he spent most of the day leather-working. he made a new holster; he had one homemade holster but wanted two, so he can shoot with both guns blazing. he’s joined a shooting society where the members dress in old west outfits and do all kinds of target shooting.

it kept him from walking around too much, anyway.

there was something in the paper today about the need to HAVE GOALS IN LIFE. this worries me, but i already came up with one goal, and that is to post the rest of the bike trip photos before the year is out. no wait, an ambitious update to my goal – i’ll post them by the end of the MONTH.

never mind that my previous goal was to post them by christmas.

there aren’t that many left; these are all from our last two days which were spent in vienna. it’s a beautiful city, one that i’d like to go back to. there are almost too many things to see there; certainly there are too many things to see in two days.

but we managed to get to a whole lot of places. it was just as exhausting as biking all day.

on thursday we started out at the Hofburg palace, which is a huge collection of a bunch of different museums all in one place. you could easily spend a week there. here’s what the inner courtyard looks like.

palace grounds


the first museum we went to was the treasure chamber, which was choked with jewels and jeweled crowns and swords and treasures of the Order of the Golden Fleece and various bits of the TRUE CROSS and everything old and unbelievably valuable and incredible.

this was the most crowded museum we visited on thursday, but it wasn’t so bad. i took lots of video, but kevin didn’t take many photos. here’s one.


we spent a couple of hours there, and then had a little lunch at the outdoor cafe.


we’d bought a combo pack of tickets for the various museums, and kevin wanted to see the Imperial Silver collection. i wasn’t interested, but we went and it my favorite museum. it was filled with a mind-boggling amount of silver, china, linens, and incredible stuff from the imperial palace.


more silver

and more still


these are just a few of the photos that kevin took. after that we toured the imperial apartments, but they didn’t impress me as much as the mounds of silver.

after that we did a bunch more things, but that’s all i have time for at the moment.

ok then,

monday midday grace.

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there’s always tomorrow…

December 26, 2007

which will be filled with much activity. today, though, i’m pretty sure i’m not getting far from the new red leather chair. i did take mollie for a walk, and she was sufficiently delighted. ok, like i promised, more photos of our austria bike trip. the last time i wrote, it was about tuesday, september…what? […]

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ice ice ice…

December 8, 2007

on thursday at 4:00 p.m., i left work and there were two giant trucks in the gas station parking lot, both loaded to the top with mounds of salt, both with lights on and MOTORS RUNNING. they were READY FOR THE SNOW. it didn’t start until six, and i keep wondering if they sat there […]

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November 22, 2007

i haven’t written in a whole week because i’ve been very busy scanning, going to missouri, and roofing. yes, that’s right, roofing. i can add that to my resume of very valuable skills. when we were in missouri over the weekend (it was beautiful, by the way, and we did take photos of our cabin […]

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November 15, 2007

i’m not sure how it got to be thursday already. there continues to be many things i want to do, but suddenly it’s thursday and i haven’t accomplished any of them. currently i’m obsessed with scanning. we bought a scanner and i’ve been scanning slides from a trip my mom took to europe when she […]

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our 1st wedding anniversary

November 12, 2007

so it’s only taken me almost two months to get to the photos in our bike trip that were taken at the town where we spend the night on sunday, sept. 16th. we had just coasted over a very long bridge over the river and into the tiny town of emmersdorf. our hotel, the zum […]

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November 8, 2007

I can’t stop, i’m on a roll, there are only a few more abbey photos and i feel i must post them in order to have closure on this day. this was a special grove of REALLY REALLY OLD TREES. i can’t remember how old, but i do remember that they were endangered so there […]

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