Today’s map is again in two bits, this time because cyclemeter auto-finished recording while we were stopped for lunch. Perhaps it only allows quick toilet-stops. Anywhere, here are the bits:
So we did it! 231 miles in 6 days. OK, not much distance by some standards (Alasdair M springs to mind) and definitely no Scottish-style hills and acne-textured road surfaces but lots of intense sun and a fair amount of headwind (especially today) so I think we can feel reasonably proud. I would advise anyone doing this sort of thing to take their own saddle and a good supply of vaseline (also called Vaseline‘ in German).
So what happened today?
- It was quite hard to get moving and today’s breakfast lived up to last night’s dinner: lovely bread, especially thin slices of a walnut-containing rye bread; pickled green pepper; pieces of yam in a semi-sweet yellow sauce. All good miles-fuel!
- We had decided to do as many miles as we could before stopping: our hope was to reach Greifenstein, about 30 miles into the journey before our first drinks stop. However, we were cooking by the time we reached Tulln, after only 20 miles. I think it was here that I freaked out a waitress by ordering a beer and a coffee, but it might have been at our lunch-stop. I do recall her morning-mood and her child’s cute wee dog, so small it could have been a mutant rat on a leash.
- We crossed the Danube at Greifenstein power station, so we could come into Vienna via the Donau Insel, the stopped for lunch at the first place we saw along the route in Korneuberg. This turned out to be quite a local pub, serving the nearby town and marina: smoking allowed inside, with political pub-banter between the patrons (as far as I could tell, of course) and with the toilet walls decorated with miniature Jaegermeister rum bottles. Whoever drank all those is either dead, still drunk, a hero or all three at once. The landlady accidentally knocked Elly’s drink over, giving my legs a welcome cold shower. She asked where I was from, my answer being ‘Schottland’. (It’s true that Scotland is where I came from to get to Austria: I don’t claim to be Scottish, of course!) She then asked how I spoke German so well. (I dont! I can get by with words, ZERO grammar and some gesticulation! Elly has a Higher in German), so I thanked my Viennese mother, German-speaking (but Australian) dad and a year of lessons when I was 13. She told us she too was a foreigner, having come to Austria 14 years ago from the Ukraine for love. She told us that she’d found learning to speak Czech hard, something to do with the variants on ‘ch’ sounds. I didn’t understand how Czechoslovakia/Czech republic fitted into her story: it’s been a number of years since Austria and Czech-whatever were part of the same country!
- Anyway, we pushed on through intense heat and against a severe headwind, feeling as though we had many more miles to go. However, seeing the Kahlenberg (a hill that marks the north end of Vienna, especially its wine-producing area) was reassuring. Pretty soon, we were at the Donauinsel, an island separating two parallel streams of the Danube’s modern course. It seems to be the Viennese equivalent of a mixture of Edinburgh’s Portobello and Joppa with St Andrews’ west sands, but with better cycle paths and more bridges. So we meandered along this to Reichsbruck and then fumbled our way vaguely along Wagramerstrasse to our hotel. By the way, this is in 22 district. Don’t go unless you have a fetish for 1970s concrete, shopping malls or the UN.
- We met Gillian and Victoria, two Glasgow-based women who have been on the same tour as us, although not always in the same hotels, again here. It’s their first time in Vienna, so I’m rather hoping they like it. (I feel a bit protective of my ‘home towns’!)
- After a couple of hours of down-time, we ventured into Mitte (central Vienna, to find food. We met up with V&G in Stephansplatz and then threaded ourselves back through Vienna’s underground system to Nestroyplatz and Cafe Dreivierteltact (3/4 time) for schnitzels, more veg and Kartoffel-salat and drinks. I had my second coffee of the day -and year to wash down the Wieselberger beer. (So I like the name. It also reminds me of seeing a baby weasel barking at a car this morning in Traismauer.)
- So now we’re back in the concrete box, it’s 11:30 at night, warm and still and I’m quietly pleased with our trip here. We have a few more days in Vienna: stay tuned for more Kartoffelsalat but much less vaseline!