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  Austria 2008 - Along the Danube to Hungary


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Austria 2008 - Along the Danube
This part of our tour took us along the Donau (Danube) from Linz to Krems mostly through mostly attractive countryside but some industrial areas around Enns. We visited the WW2 German concentration camp at Mauthausen which we had never heard of although it was the third largest camp.  Further east we reached the Wachau region of wooded hillsides, vineyards and attractive riverside villages, staying at another pleasant stellplatz, Susi's Donaustüberl (cafe-bar) at Aggsbach Markt then at a campsite at Rossatzbach opposite Dürnstein, the most popular tourist town along this stretch of the river and main stop-off for the cruise liners; there were six moored up at 8am in the morning! 

We arrived at Linz on a sunny Sunday lunchtime and found free parking along the main road on the south bank of the Danube west of the main bridge. After lunch we took a stroll around the city centre which was very neat and tidy in readiness its turn as the European Capital of Culture in 2009. One of the reasons we visited Linz was to see the Ars Electronica Exhibition gallery as our sons are involved in this art genre. We eventually found it on a back street (since relocated to a large new building on the north bank). It was interesting if a bit quirky especially the 3D visual simulator!  After a walk along the promenade and around the modern Lentos Kunstmuseum building we drove along to Steyrigg where we found a pleasant stellplatz almost like a CL at Camping Weber, a small motorhome service dealer in the hamlet of Pulgarn which had a old monastery and a miniature railway society but only open at summer weekends.

The Donau at Linz with cruise boat
The Donau at Linz and cruise boat

Linz main square
Linz main square

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz
Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz
The main buildings of the large concentration camp at Mauthausen are virtually intact. We looked in the new visitor centre and bookshop but were put off by the coachloads of mostly school parties so did not take the guided tour. These places are best visited early or late in the day. Around the outside overlooking the large quarry where most of the internees had to work there were many memorials commemorating those who died from each country which we found very moving   Mauthausen WW2 camp memorial
Mauthausen WW2 camp memorial

Mauthausen WW2 camp entrance
Mauthausen WW2 camp entrance

The Hungarian memorial at Mauthausen
The Hungarian memorial at Mauthausen

Durnstein baroque church tower

Dürnstein is a popular stop-off for cruise boats on the Donau and has an attractive old centre with an impressive baroque church and a ruined castle on the hill where apparently Richard the Lionheart stayed

Dürnstein across Donau from Rossatz
Dürnstein across Donau from Rossatz
Another cruise boat in the Wachau
Another cruise boat in the Wachau region

Modern stone garden at the Tulln Garden Festival     Formal garden    girl smoking cigarette statue in lake

Tulln garden insect hotel        Tulln gardens view from tower         Tulln gardens another strange statue
Modern gardens at the Tulln Garden Festival

The large garden festival at Tulln had over forty interesting garden layouts ranging from modern and formal to wild and an eco-friendly one with an insect hotel as well as strange statues including one of a girl smoking a cigarette in the middle of a lake.

We spent an interesting morning there before heading across country through the busy towns of Baden and Eisenstadt to Rust on Neusiedler See, a very large shallow lake which was mostly inaccessible due to tall reed beds. There was a large leisure resort (luckily closed!) adjacent to the campsite which was mostly static vans, and many storks nests on the chimneys and rooftops in the town centre. After an expensive (by our standards) overnight stay and a shop at the Billa supermarket that was expensive and didn't accept bank cards unless Austrian, we drove over the low hills towards St Margerethen. Spotting some sculptures in the fields as we passed we stopped to investigate and found several modern stone statues scattered across the downland meadows and also a large outdoor theatre in the adjacent stone quarry where operatic productions are held in the summer. 
Rust stork's nest by church     Sculpture on downs near Rust     Outdoor theatre in quarry
    Rust stork's nest by church               Sculpture on downs near Rust               Outdoor theatre in quarry

We continued the short distance to the Hungarian border again crossing with no formalities and stopped in Sopron to buy a motorway vignette for seven days at €11.50 from a Shell petrol station. Although there are no tolls on Hungarian motorways there are cameras and you may be asked to produce a valid vignette up to a year after your visit - so keep the printout and receipt! After a shopping top-up at a Tesco supermarket on the eastern exit of the town we tried to find the listed Camping Ozon in the suburbs and after much searching and confused by our satnav, we found it had closed down so headed east on a bumpy main road and found a basic site listed on the ACSI DVD guide near Fertod 20km to the east.

Northern Austria locations

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