Gordon:  Today we had a glorious ride through a hilly region known as the Wachau.  It produces some of the best wine in Austria.  And as we have found in the Douro, Burgundy and other areas, wine is a magnet for tourists.  

The Danube is now frequented by cruise and excursion boats, and the cycle trails are full of day trippers.  It appears to be popular for the cruise boat passengers to cycle through a few villages located in the vineyards.  And why not, as the villages are beautiful and the narrow, paved roads winding between them offer a gentle ride through the steeply terraced vineyards.  Add a number of picturesque castles on the ridges and hilltops, and you have a world class cycling experience.

In the survey course I took on art history many years ago, the first sculpture we studied was known as the Venus of Willendorf.  It is a small limestone figure of a woman, carved about 23,000 years ago.  Today we passed through the village of Willendorf, where the sculpture was found in 1908.  The original is now in Vienna, but an enlarged replica is mounted beside the site of the discovery.  While some archaeologists see the Venus as a fertility symbol, it appears to me to be a remarkably prescient rendering of the 21st century North American body form.

I would like to send birthday greetings to my Dad, who turns 87 today.  We do not have a sufficiently fast internet connection to call him, but he probably isn’t at home anyway.  I believe he may be on an equine trail ride in the Rockies, his 30th outing with the same group.  I hope I am fortunate enough to have as many healthy years.

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