I'll be out of the seat and on my feet this time. Still be piling up the miles, though.
And exploring the countryside along the Danube, the second-longest river in the world and the only one that touches 10 countries.
My "Danube Cobblestones and Countryside River Cruise Walking and Hiking Tour" promises to be another challenging adventure with two of my favorite travel companies: Backroads and AmaWaterways.
Last summer, I went on my first biking tour with AmaWaterways and Backroads, also along the Danube.
This time, the hiking outings should give me another perspective of this beautiful region of the world. Plus, I'll be enjoying luxurious cruising on the Danube on AmaWaterways' ship AmaStella.
Each day's itinerary offers options for total mileage and elevation gain. I plan to tackle all the most challenging hikes and report back to you about what it's like. Here is my anticipated program, STARTING JUNE 28 IN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.
Day 1: Meet in Prague, shuttle to Schofweg, Germany, in the heart of Bavaria, for an eight-mile hike through a Bavarian forest after a fueling-up lunch, of course. During this hike amid the largest protected woodland area in central Europe, we'll make our way to the summit of Brotjacklriegel (I'm sure the views are much prettier than that name).
Day 2: We wake up in Passau after cruising overnight on the Danube. A shuttle ride takes us to our next hiking destination: the town of Ruderting. We'll hike eight miles past castle ruins and have views of the three converging waterways below in Passau (Ilz, Danube and Inn rivers).
Day 3: AmaStella is in Linz. We head out to the town of Ebensee in the Austrian Alps for seven miles of hiking. This is a technical route past mountain huts (at least some of them serve beers!) on the way to Helmeskogel, a vantage point with views of snowcapped peaks and blue lakes.
Day 4: By now, I'm certain I'll be feeling sore. After a morning touring Melk, we'll head to the village of Spitz for an eight-mile hike, beginning at the Gothic church of St. Maurice and making our route through terraced vineyards. We'll finish our journey and meet the AmaStella in Krems.
Day 5: A morning hike in the Wienerwald Forest to Hermannskogel, the highest point in Vienna. Yes, we sail to Vienna overnight from Krems. This five-mile hike is followed in the afternoon by a walking tour in the historic capital of Austria.
Day 6: We cruise to Bratislava in the morning (after spending the night in Vienna). Once we reach the capital of Slovakia, it's a hike in the Carpathian mountainside through beech, maple and linden trees. Our destinations on this seven-mile outing are the 13th century ruins of the Pajstun Castle fortress and then a climb from the village of Borinka to the pilgrimage site Marianka. In the afternoon, I'll be wandering through the Old Town Bratislava and trying a few beers from the budding craft brew scene there, of course.
Day 7: Our third European capital in three days is Budapest. We'll arrive in Hungary, our final stop on the cruise and hiking adventure. On today's agenda is a five-mile hike in the Buda Hills to wander in the forest up to the Erzebet Lookout Tower and panoramic views of the city. All told, (if my math is correct) I expect to cover at least 48 miles of hiking in some of the most beautiful countryside.
Please plan to follow along (beginning June 28) as I post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using #MyBackroadsTrip.
Always travel fit!
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