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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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My rest day in Vienna was a bit of a strange affair as I attempted to ride into the city and see the sights. It was very unnerving for me and in the end I abandoned my attempt, totally freaked out by the hustle, bustle and frightening traffic. It’s no secret that big towns and crowds scare me, but some are more cycle friendly than others. I found Vienna not so friendly, although maybe with company it might have been different.

I mentioned in an earlier post how I met up with a Romanian cyclist and we shared some riding together. Not sure of his name – sorry (Lukic?) but I think he came from Deva and we arranged to meet up in Romania. If you’re reading this, send me your details by email. What was quite funny (though not at the time) was we didn’t initially ride together, but kept meeting up. Maybe I should have stuck with him and then I might not have almost ended up in the Danube after I decided to try my luck at continuing my progress on a walking trail rather than cross the Danube by boat. The trail got seriously steep and as I tried to manhandle the bike down a rocky section it slipped down the hillside, gathering speed towards the waiting water. I of course refused to let go, so we were both on a collision course with the Danube. Luckily (very!) the bike handlebars snagged in a tree and we were both saved from a watery grave… lesson well and truly learned. After unloading the bike and carrying everything to safety I eventually walked/rode back to the boat crossing and who should I meet? – my Romanian friend who had a good laugh with me.

Not having a map of this next section of the Eurovelo 6, I simply followed the signs staying close to the Danube. The riding was pleasant enough but there was a noticeable lack of other cyclists – maybe most call it a day when they reach Vienna? The weather was dull and overcast with the odd rain shower, before the blue sky tried to make an appearance as I neared Hainburg just a few kilometers outside Bratislava.

Riding into Hainburg

I sat and had a meal break in the main square, faced by a rather imposing statue of the Virgin Mary. I’ve seen different versions on a similar theme in just about every town of notable size I’ve passed through, though this one was particularly ornate.

Hainburg Square

Fortified with food and drink, I continued on towards Slovakia and it’s capital, Bratislava. As I approached I got my first glimpse of the striking Bratislava Castle sat high up on the hillside. I learned from the tourist office you have to climb up several hundred steps to get there and when you do, you can see all the way into Hungary.

Bratislava Castle towers over the Danube valley.

I loved Bratislava and had I not already taken my rest days would have lingered longer. It is a beautiful city and it was packed with tourists, which made my photography ‘challenging’ as I waited for a scene to appear slightly less devoid of people.

The little red vehicle is the local tourist transport.

Of course one way around the ‘people in shot’ photograph is to concentrate on detail, as in the following two examples:

Statue in the main square, Bratislava.

Images of Bratislava

Or you can wait until the bus loads of tourists have moved on and hope for a quiet spell of activity. On reflection I should have taken a picture 5 minutes earlier when the square was packed!

Worth the wait…

Bratislava is on my list of places to visit again if I ever have someone to visit with. It is a charming city, but one which I feel should be explored with company and time spent enjoying it’s sights. As I moved on I was a little sad that my visit to Slovakia was so short. In my opinion the Eurovelo 6 route should spend more time in Slovakia, however I didn’t even realise I’d left – I’ll tell you about that in the next blog along with showing you some wonderful images of Budapest…

…stay tuned!


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1 Comment
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 8:43 am

I loved Budapest—so much cheaper than Germany and the rest of Europe—so I’m eagerly awaiting your write-up.

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