Sequoia had the brilliant idea for us get up at 4am and hike to the castle ruins.
The ruins of Dürnstein Castle are famous because this is where Richard the Lionheart was kept as a prisoner for fourteen months before returning home after the Third Crusade (1189-1192). Remember the legend of Robin Hood? Robin Hood fought a guerrilla war against oppressive King John while waiting for King Richard the Lionheart's return.
We took one final ride along the Danube River to the winemaking towns of Krems and Mateurn. These last 14 miles took us over the Danube and up a big hill through some vineyards. Afterward, we met in a library at Hotel Schloss Dürnstein to say goodbye to our guides. They surprised us by dressing up in local costumes and dancing into the room. They had taken such great care of us over the week and came to feel like friends. We shared hugs and laughs while enjoying some apricot spritz and wine and then we made our way down to the river and boarded the bus to Vienna.
The Backroads bus dropped us off at Westbahnhof (the west train station) in Vienna. We took the subway to Hotel Beethoven, a small boutique hotel on a quiet street close to the heart of the city. We settled in with a Aperol spritz and then headed out to Prater Amusement Park which offered us a quick view of the city via an historic Ferris wheel.
We ate dinner at a great vegetarian restaurant that Beth found not far from our hotel.