On 3rd May, I reach a major milestone – crossing the border into Austria. Passau greets me with a cloudless blue sky. The following day marks my first month of the trip, and I start my tenth book – solo journeys are such a great opportunity to gorge on literature.
May 6th: absorb the beauty of the Austrian scenery from a boat (actually two). It’s more wild and forested than Germany, and feels so remote. Turns out the entire country has a smaller population than London.
May 10th: Phew, 49km today. Luckily it was particularly scenic, including a wonderful mono-species wood that gave uniform green shade and a natural sense of repetition.
May 11th: today’s highlight was disturbing a sunbathing snake that was lying across my path. Off it slithered looking a bit shocked. I was very excited, and Google tells me it was probably an Aesculapian snake.
May 14th: what joy, what rapture. Nothing to do with cycling – I’m blowing all my data allowance and more on watching Eurovision. And several surprises, apart from the excess of boring ballads: Ukraine deserve to win for more than the sympathy vote, and the UK’s entry is rather good – and people have even voted for it.
May 16th: celebrate getting to Vienna with a night at the opera, and wonder who else in the audience cycled here from Germany. I’ve earmarked this city for a 4-day stay, and my sight-seeing includes Klimt’s The Kiss, food sampling (and buying) at myriad markets, and – ah, another accidental beer festival.
May 22nd: reached Slovakia. And find out three things pretty quickly: Google Maps doesn’t do cycling directions here; even in the capital hardly anyone speaks English; and it’s loads cheaper than Austria (or the UK). Oh, and the mosquitoes are out in force – three bites on my face already. Interesting Soviet-era architecture though.
May 26th: Yay, me and my trusty steed have entered Hungary! Not with a great fanfare but just … well, a literal border post.
May 28th: Staying in a little town called Mosonmagyaróvár and I’m invited to join the locals for a town cycle ride the following day. Why not, even though I intended to get cracking? We did a loop of about 5km. The husband of my accommodation manager pointed out all the sights to me and then bought me some Hungarian cake – what’s not to like?
June’s fast approaching and then I’ll be a fortnight from journey’s end and heading for home.