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By James Ullrich

The Danube River winds along the valley, the water blueish and placid. There is a hint of autumnal chill in the air. The boats coming from Vienna go slower as they are going against the current, but the passengers don’t seem to mind. Quite the opposite; they sip some of the region’s famous white wine and snap photos of the elegant hamlets and scenic hills lining the river bank. Vineyards blanket steep terraces under a bright blue October sky. No one is in a hurry for anything on a day like today, particularly in the Wachau Valley.

It’s easy to see why the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Region draws visitors with a gravitational force. The area between the Austrian towns of Melk and Krems, roughly twenty miles, is blessed with a winning combination of natural beauty and historic ambiance. Local vintners sell their fine product, including Austria’s best Reisling, in welcoming wine shops. Foreign visitors in search of Olde Europe and day trip Vienna folks eager for some refreshing tranquility find what they’re looking for here.

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