Paul and I start the tour by a walking tour thru the capital city of Austria, Vienna.
The birthplace of classical music, spectacular baroque architecture and lots of the best museums.
We start at the Stephansdom, we went up on the north tower of the gothic building from the 12. Century.
From there we walk to the famous Spanish riding school an institution to preserve the classical dressage and training of the Lipizzaner horses. Next to it we went into the national library, founded by the Habsburgs it collects 12 million items in its various collections so it's the largest library of Austria.
After we left the capital city of Austria, Vienna we reached the lovely winery area the Wachau.
With the vineyards all around us, we ride this romantic chapter up and down to the Danube where we took the ferry to cross the river. Along the riverside we get nice fresh air for cooling us down at the heat of this day.
Our next stop a beautiful baroque church Maria Tafel built in 1660, gives us a great overview around the Wachau and the Danube. Into the forested quarter with a nice shade and winding roads we continue our ride to the Czech border, the buildings from the old border are still there but since the Czech Republic joined the Schengen Agreement its not in use anymore.
Right after the border not far away anymore we arrive Budweis where a fresh tapped cold beer awaits us, what else ;P
From Budweis not far away the picturesce world heritage city Krumlov with the 13. Century buildings and it's huge castle is too nice for not stopping and have a little walk.
After this short stop we go back on the road and ride into the Bohemion forest, with the narrow and many twisties it's a paradise for motorcyclists. And we are lucky the rain just comes short and not so much so we can enjoy it to the fullest.
From there on we pass many small villages on narrow roads, coming to one of the main roads and hit by a heavy rainstorm we arrived the wonderful and crazy capital city of Czech Republic Prague where we stay for the next two nights.
A short restday loop in the south of Prague, offers us today a castle and nice little roads.
The castle Karlštein is the most famous in Czech Republic, except other castles it should be used as treasury it took 10 years to complete the building, which is founded in 1348.
Our ride up there is just pure fun.
We are back early, and have enough time to visit Prague right next to our Hotel is the Museum of National History it's from 1818 and exhibit natural scientific and historical collections. From here we walk on the Wenceslas square, a horse market place in the middle age and now the main square of the city to the Powder tower one of the remaining original gothic city gates from 1475 what separates the Old Town to the New Town.
On the riverside we head to the Charles bridge a medieval arch stone bridge first built in 1158-1172 but badly damaged by a flood in 1342, rebuilt in 1357 and finished in the 15. Century.
Thru a small crowded alley into the Oldtown we go, to see the third oldest astronomical clock of the world from 1410 and it's the oldest still in operation. We are here right in time to see the hourly show of moving apostles and other figures, a skeleton that represents the death striking the time and a calendar dial with Medaillons representing the months.
At the old town square we end up in our restaurant with a traditional Czech meal and of course a cool beer.
From Prague to Dresden, in the Czech outback we ride to Mêlnik where we visit the second largest occuary of Europe, 10-15000 people laid out here from the victims of the medieval epidemics and the 30 year war in the 15. Century.
We continue north to the bohemian/Saxony Switzerland, with the Elbsandstone mountains around us.
At the wonderful rugged rock formations at the Bastei we sure need to see the Bastei bridge in this great surrounding.
From the Elbvalley we enjoy the views around us on the hills with the wheat fields next to us on the way down to Dresden.
On our restday we can't rest when the beautiful east Erzmountain area and a 700 year old castle awaits us!
Along the Müglitz river alley and after a short ride we reach castle Weesenstein, this old castle was extensively restructed layer by layer, the gothic and classical elements combine to form a unique look what stands out from all Saxonys castles.
Afterwards we cross the Czech border again to ride on tiny remote roads, we enjoy the fast sweepers on these nice empty narrow roads.
But we shortcut the route a bit to visit our destination Dresden as well.
Before dinner we take a walk to the breathtaking Zwinger, Semperoper, then along the stalls with its 102 meter long picture on the wall of the procession of princes next to the gorgeous Frauenkirche we have dinner in a medieval style restaurant, with great food after an awesome day.
We start riding the first hour on the autobahn to safe time and get around the little villages, our first stop is Görlitz on the polish border in this cute old town we have a coffee break before we head toward to the mountains.
Passing many old villages on the hills we get closer into the forest where the roads getting more sneaky and narrow, absolute riding fun with less traffic!
In the middle of the forest next to a lake we have a nice spot for our lunch, well deserved and right on time.
From there on we stop for a short picture and cuddling with a view to the Krkonoše mountains, there we can see the highest mountain Snežka of the Czech Republic.
Riding Day 7, almost half time of the tour.
From Lažne Bêlohrad we ride to Nove Mêsto and Metuji where we have first a coffee and then a little walk thru the nice castle which's history began at 1501. After that we continue on small roads and arrive shortly at the wooden parish church from the 14. Century in Slavonov, a short and quick picture stop because we have more to see and ride.
Now we getting into the eagle mountains a small mountain range near the polish border, and enjoy this beautiful scenery around us.
Another church is on our list, but this one is very unique with its glass roof sadly at the moment under construction but we can still see a part of it, just phenomenal how the lights coming in and lighten the room up.
The best part of our ride is coming up then, the streets are fresh paved and the turns getting tighter, like a rollercoaster for our passengers riders Karen and Jaqi.
We leave the Czech Republic on the expressway to the border of Poland. From there on we ride on the backroads to, a cute little old town for our coffee stop, next stop is soon in Oświęcim better known as Auschwitz. After a short look on the railroad tracks and the plattform in Birkenau, we'll see more of that tomorrow on our tour for visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Now we head directly to Kraków, it's only 70km from here so we arrive there at lunch time.
A walking tour thru the old town of Kraków is on our list befor dinner, first stop at the Barbican the once connected to the city walls gateway to the old town from 1498 is one of three such fortified outposts still surviving in Europe, passing the St. Florian's Gate a Gothic tower from the 14. Century and we already in the old town.
On the big square market we went into the St. Mary's Basilica the new early gothic church was rebuilt on the remaining foundations in 1290-1300, and its just impressive from inside.
From the golden age in the 15. Century Kraków's cloth hall was the major Centre of international trade, which is also at the square market place.
Next stop is the Wawel Royal castle built in the 14. Century and long time the residence of the Kings of Poland and the symbol of polish statehood, now one of the country's premier art museum. It's one of the largest castles of Poland a great mix of structures from different periods a Italian styled main courtyard, medieval, renaissance and baroque. The 1000 year old Wawel cathedral and the Sigismund chapel with a golden roof, are the highlights of it.
On our way back to the hotel we pass the theatre-opera house from the 19. Century with the most beautiful interiors of theatres in Europe.
Its time know to ease down this impressions and have a tasty dinner at our hotel.
Nastrowje and smacznego!
Throughout the world Auschwiitz has become a symbol for terror, genocide and the holocaust. The German forces occupiying Poland during the Second World War established a concentration camp on the outskirts of Oświęciem in 1940; the Germans called it Auschwitz and that's the name the city was known for.
I'm not going into details about the place and let the pictures speak for it, because it's a heavy part of history and of our tour, but we are tough riders so we got this.
From the hellish Auschwitz back to heavenly Kraków we go and have a rest at the hotel in the afternoon, and another delicious dinner today in the heart of Kraków.
To the mountains we ride today, we leave the ex capital city of Poland and ride to the Tatra mountains.
A stop at the wooden church of Dębno of the 15. Century before we cross our 5. border of the tour Slovakia, soon the the Tatra mountains with 29 peaks over 2500 meter showing up and luckily it gets cooler over here on this smooth mountain roads.
It's a long distance ride today, so we had less stops the heat can be very exhausting, and many construction works we have to pass.
So not not many pictures of this riding day for you, but more then enough for our minds.
Today is country number 6 on our tour on our ride, we leave Rajecké Teplicke and ride to the lovely little town Čičmany with their cute wooden houses and white paintings on it.
Into the forest we ride with very nice winding roads at the Štavnické hills.
In Bojnice that's our coffee stop with view on that beautiful fairy tale castle, first named in 1113 and was only made of wood, which was step by step replaced with stones. After a big renovation from 1888-1909 the present castle was created.
In the heat of today we enjoy every second riding in shady sections, luckily there some on the way to our lunch stop today its a tasty picnic lovely prepared by Marcus, thank you for that!
The roads getting straighter, wider, sourrounded by fields and less shade, so we get faster and come closer to Hungary.
Right after the border we take a ride on the ferry and cross the Danube, we almost hit the 39 degree mark for a short time but 37 isn't that much better.
Along the Danube we reach our next destination Budapest, directly to rush hour the road is heated up to more than 50 degree and we slowly come forward in this big city.
I can say that all my riders and passengers made an outstanding ride today with that conditions, I'm impressed!
Today is our restday, and another big city with a lot history awaits us.
We get the metro to the Hop on Hop off Bus tour, first stop is the Royal Buda castle with the funicular we drive up the hill.
The castle was first completed in 1265, but most of this building complex was built in 1749-1769 it houses now the history museum and the Hungarian national art gallery.
At the Royal castle district we don't have to walk long to reach another sight, the Matthias church in Romanesque style originally built in 1015, in the second half of the 14. century it was constructed in the florid late gothic style. Two kings of Hungary were crowned in this church.
We escaped the heat with a walk thru the underground Labyrinth of Draculas chamber a legend says that Dracula died here, his body is buried in the Buda Labyrinth but his head elsewhere.
After that we take the Bus to the other side of the city Pest, on the boat we have the best view to the sights along the Danube on both sides.
For dinner we went into the oldest restaurant of Pest, the 100 year old restaurant serves delicious Hungarian food accompanied with traditional live music.
With the sunset we drive back to our hotel, what a perfect end of the day.
Last riding day back to Vienna/Austria, we leave Budapest and luckily on Saturday morning it's not so crowded so we can pass it quick.
Following the Danube we ride thru the forested Pills hills to Esztergom we have a coffee here and visit the basilica which is the biggest church and the seat of Catholic Church in Hungary.
The altarpiece of the blessed Virgin Mary is the largest painting in the world on a single piece of canvas, with its 71,5 m height inside is it also one of the tallest domes of the world.
We cross the Danube on a bridge which is also the border to Slovakia, on this side of the river we have less traffic. The landscape for the next hours is flat and roads are more straight, so we let the engines roll.
For our afternoon lunch we have a historical spot at the Hungarian-Austrian border. On the 19.8.1989 a peace demonstration was held here. The temporary opening of the border gave nearly 700 citizens of the German Democratic Republic the opportunity to flee across the Hungarian border to the west, this event was the beginning of the destruction of the iron curtain.
After that we're recovered and filled up, continuing the ride at the small mountain range where we have the last riding fun before we enter the capital city of Austria, Vienna where our tour ends.
We collected many memories, good and very hot riding days behind us, tons of castles and churches visited, spectacular city's in 6 country's but the most important thing is strangers became friends and I enjoyed your company on each day.
Dunkan & Jaqi
Miles & Karen
i would love to see you again and cry because of laughing so hard
Yours Guide Claudia