As we passed the first cruise ship of the day on Monday morning we went through the normal sea goers ritual. A little wave to those on the front deck, a wave to those out on their balconies, some looking in rooms for naked people, some more waving for those on the rear deck and then riding out the swell that churns off the back of the boat. A lone cruise ship is good fun to pass.
After an hour of paddling we passed Durnstein Monastery famed for its courtyard and stunning blue tower. Given the masses of cruise liners in the area, we took a photo from distance and then paddled past as boat after boat passed us, churning up the water. We bobbed in massive swell, splashing around, before yet another cruiser pulled out from its mooring not far in front of us. With a strong current and little room to maneuver we swung around and held a branch for a few minutes while the ship created a little space. Before long we rode back out through the waves, crashing over their peaks and, eventually, beyond in to calmer waters. Loads of cruise ships at once are not so great to pass.
The entire day, in fact, saw very busy water but we had a break, mid-morning, in Krems, where we planned to buy milk. The first thing we walked past was the worlds most disorganized kayak store which we entered and bought some proper water socks, a new pair of waterproof trousers and a watertight phone case to replace one stolen back in July. We still found some milk.
After eating lunch under an information sign, with a roof that provided bad protection from the rain, we paddled to our one portage of the day around a lock. This should have seen the opportunity to avoid the big ships but, instead, it took us down a trucking road where we moved into the trees to let a lorry pass.
But the waves and the boats didn't stop us doing another long day and we camped that night well within range of Vienna. By lunchtime yesterday we were paddling through the edge of the city down the edge of the long, thin, 'Danube island'. Though the morning was uneventful and we got to Vienna quickly, the campsite we expected to be on the island wasn't there. We looked at signs and chatted to cyclists and discovered it was inland on the other side.
An hour later, and after a little confusion, we had carried across the island, paddled the next section of water and sat eating lunch on a well placed picnic bench. Then we walked half a kilometer inland to the camping, before another long walk to a supermarket and back.
Satisfied that we had the important things done, we ate dinner amongst our drying clothes and got the underground train into Vienna's centre. Walking out into a bustling Saturday night atmosphere we managed to take in three cathedrals and a concert in the space of an hour before finding a decent bar. With Austria's most expensive half-pints in hand we mulled over another successful week. We had no real expectations of what the Danube would be like at the beginning, but still we had made Vienna far quicker than expected and dealt fine with another week of rain. We met more good people and saw more great places and now had a day to spend enjoying Vienna.
We finished our drinks and headed back to the campsite. Almost our latest ever night on tour. Not in bed until 11pm. Lads.