Mon 19th Aug.
I heard some animals throughout the night and in the morning and I assumed they were deer, guessing by the amount of noise they made, body-to-bush ratio. Luckily the mosquitoes hadn’t stayed throughout the night so I had an easy time packing up and leaving. I had no problems getting back on the road and the road and started heading for Vienna where, again I’d organised to stay with a guy called Kurt. I was glad to be back on German-speaking soil. I didn’t know a lot of German, but it was my most comfortable language as the pronunciation is similar to english and picked up new words quickly.
I stopped at the first shop I came to, picked up a pastry and the closest thing to a coffee I could find, which was a canned coffee at fridge temperature, probably giving me a bit more sugar then I needed, I got back on the road quickly to start burning it off.
Bratislava to Vienna was just under 50 miles (80 kilometres) so I didn’t have a big day ahead, but it was still hot which didn’t make it easy. I followed the river around some quarry sites and the on to some quiet lanes built for cycling. Austria seemed to share the German language, but also the German way of thinking when it came to cycle lanes. It was always a relief to have them. This lane went through a lot of trees and then back onto the river, making for a particularly nice cycle.
I left the river and followed a small road along a train track. There were a lot of cyclists out and about and the landscape was much greener and richer then it had been in Slovakia. That was one thing I immediately noticed on entering Austria, was the better roads, cycle lanes and that everything was greener and darker. That was a stark difference between countries I didn’t expect. I took a break at a supermarket and got the usuals. There was no clerk on the till and the businessman behind me in the queue called to a clerk to come and serve. He spoke under his breath to me in German while she came over, probably about how absurd it was to not have someone on the till. I nodded and shrugged like I understood. I think I pulled it off. He pulled away in a BMW sports car while I finished my yogurt drink and biscuits.
Something that confused me was all the signs pointed to Wein. I was heading to a place called Wein, which didn’t bother me, except I wasn’t seeing any signs for Vienna and started to think I could be heading the wrong way. I could hear an airplanes nearby which was a good sign. Then I start to think that maybe Wein and Vienna were the same thing. The ‘W’ in German is pronounced as ‘V’ which could be a clue. further towards the city I was sure of it. Another fact had been unearthed for the world to revel in. Vienna is known to Austrians as Wein, something I never knew, nor would’ve guessed.
I stopped to get my bearings on the outskirts. I had the address and a fairly good idea of where to go once I was there, but when I got there it proved much more difficult to find the streets I needed. Usually all it takes is time and determination and you usually get what you need. Sure enough, after an hour of snooping around in quite a grotty part of town, not like the Vienna I was expecting at all, I found the road I needed and found Kurt’s apartment.
He greeted me at the door and was very much the jolly German persona I could’ve hoped for. He was very warm and pleasant and had another guest from Zürich staying with him, but she was getting the train back that night, making it no problem for me to stay.
I was relieved to be there and was in my second last major pit-stop before Berlin. That place I had dreamed about cycling into since this trip was conceived.