July 12, 2003

Vienna to GyÖr

Well, right now we are here in Gyor, Hungary which is just South of the Danube River (Dunaj), a few days bike ride to the West of Budapest. We found a very new looking internet cafe which is 100Ft/30minutes which is about $1.10 Canadian per hour I reckon'

I wrote the first half of this journey here and Jane writes the second half next.

Well, right now we are here in Gyor, Hungary which is just South of the Danube River (Dunaj), a few days bike ride to the West of Budapest. We found a very new looking internet cafe which is 100Ft/30minutes which is about $1.10 Canadian per hour I reckon'

It is great to read all the comments from people reading. Don't want to spend all my time here on the computer writing personal emails so just a general thanks, write more!

We had a lot of fun staying with Uncle Sep in Munich. I wrote about it the night we arrived there and we stayed until the Tuesday. Too much fun to write all here. We drank in a real Beer Garden in the shade of (horsechestnut?) trees. We learned about how to make Computer Chips because that is what sep does, also he has a company which makes Plasma Sources (!) for the computer industry. Mmmm Plasmalicious... Also I was wrong about the trains. The streetcar is a different service than the S-bahn, so they have one more automobile free transportation service than the many I listed in my previous post about Munich.

We took the train from Munich to Vienna (Wien) which is in Austria. There was a stopover in Salzburg which was interesting but we didn't see any olympic banners. They should have won the olympics, they already have trains and streetcars! I guess they didn't have as much Big Business support which is what it is all about. Or maybe they took down the annoying 2010 Candidate City banners quickly since it was only a few days after the decision.

The train because it was International was not so good for bikes. It cost 10€ each bike! And we missed our first train out of Salzberg because it came very quickly and we went to the back to find the Bicycle car (like we are supposed to) and some train officials pointed us to the front of the train then we went there and the official in the first class area didn't let us on and pointed us to the back and then the train left without us. Grrr. There was another train to Wien 40 minutes later and so we took that, luckily this one was waiting at the station already and so we had time to find the unmarked cargo car which bikes are supposed to go on. Also we had to lift very high through the cargo doors with no steps and the conductor made us remove the panniers for the ride. So don't assume everything here is perfect for bikes.

In Vienna we rode around a bit to get a look at the place and found our way over to the Duna Isle (Vienna Danube River Island) Which is very long, narrow and developed only as a nature park with bike paths. We chose not to use the pay campsite because it looked more like a RV park than a campinplatz. We ate food in a restaurant along the Danube which was ok, it was at a weird sports water thing where you waterski hanging onto a rope tow thing built on the river rather than being pulled by a boat...

We found a very secluded camping area in the bushes in the dark. It was kind of spooky but we stayed there. We didn't want to camp out in the open because we thought the park might be really busy in the morning. It turned out to not be. The place was kind of weird like the bushes had been cleared out and there was a hut for chickens to eat food but it looked old and no chickens. The ground was a very fine river sand and there were lots and lots of bugs and spiders. Spooky camping! Anyway we slept alright until about 10 am. When getting up we noticed a man sitting about 50feet away. At first we thought he was a person picnicing but later saw he looked very dishevvelled and had only plastic bags. We waved at him then he looked away and put his head in his hands and stayed that way for about 40minutes until we left. Obviously not very happy and somewhat disturbed. He didn't disturb anything of ours so I guess it was OK, just spooky.

We rode back into Vienna. We had a Dona Sandwich for lunch (at the reccomendation of Klaus or Thomas, Sep's boys) which I think is like a Donair we have in vancouver but Jane doesn't think so.

We went to the tourist info and the bookstore. We got a book about the Vienna to Budapest Bike Route with good maps, (but a few years old and in German, not english) and also a English-Hungarian Dictionary and a European Menu Reader with 15 languages. The books were not cheap. Then we bought food and water and headed out to the Danu. We rode on the North Side Bike Route.

The Path is well paved and well marked and perfectly flat. We rode along river recreational bike paths for 10km or so then turned off. Then we rode through this area with many huge Oil Buildings, storage or maybe a Refinery. Funny that the bike route runs straight in the middle of an enormous oil refinery. There were a lot of geared out roadies riding along here, assembling their fancy euro race bikes out of the trunk of their cars. We then rode along a very straight well paved bike path through the trees. The roadies were passing us a lot. Then they would turn around and go back at what seemed like arbitrary points. Some kind of distance per time trial i guess. They stopped after a while once the road got more gravelly (still paved though) and then we went along this super straight flat for 13km river dyke. Most of our route since then has been on top of river dykes. The wind was at out backs! Very easy to cruise at 24km/hr with all our gear. This is about the easiest cycling terrain i could imagine. And beautiful in nature! We rode about 50km that day until we were pretty close to Bratislava and the Border end of Austria. We stopped before it got civilised and camped in a totally remote field. There were trees around it and it was next to the dyke. The trees were planted in rows, a tree farm! This was much less spooky and more open. We once heard a lot of crashing noises in the woods. Jane thinks it was brobably wild boar or pigs. There was also a really cool old hunting hut build high up in an old tree. This one was bigger than most and had a winding ladder up the tree. It was the ideal tree fort. We might have slept in it. However it was very old and maybe rotten. We carefully climbed up to look in it but it was creaky and unsafe and so we went down.

The next day we got going about 12:30 after arguing a lot. When you have no choice but to alway be together and you can't speak the language to anyone else properly then it is hard to not argue and get on each others nerves sometimes.

We rode through a small town Hainburg which is just before the border and got some supplies. We went through sunflower feilds which were gorgeous. We rode to the border, part of the former Iron Curtain. We took the bike route almost the whole way. Then we joined the cars. We went trough one booth showing our American and Deutch Passports (supposedly Canadians need a Visa to enter Czech) Then we rode a while and couldn't see the bike route. Then there was another booth and they looked again then stamped the passports. Then we went and there was another kind of booth but I don't think we were supposed to stop and they waved us through. We found the bike route again after there were no more buildings and it was normal road. They had weird bikes only gates across the path which I thought were for the border but I've seen them elsewhere and they must have to do with keeping cars off the path. Often cars use the bike path as a regular road which is strange and usually rare but sometimes there are a lot of cars and it is dumb.

We rode into the city Bratislava. The money is SK and the exchange is about 1$ is 25sk and beer is often only 30sk. We got money and then followed the confusing bike paths through the city to leave it. We were going to buy stoff but the money bills we had were 10000sk about 40$ and it was strange to buy a 12sk corn on the cob with 10000sk. This country is much less rich, things are smaller and not as clean. Quite interesting. We rode our bikes on the bike paths over a few bridges and through strange small house residential areas. Not quite slums, much more lively and happy, just small. The path has a lot more bumps and potholes but is somehow more fun and interesting than the Western bike paths. Eventually we were on a long straight river dyke with the wind at out backs. We rode about 30km from Bratislava to a little town (called?) near a slightly bigger town called Samorin. Jane's had a big problem however as we left Bratislava, the rear shifter cable broke. No wonder we hadn't been able to adjust it tight enough this whole trip. Stupid Shimano Rapid Fire Shifters! This happened to my old bike when i had those, twice! The shifter damages the cable. Anyway Jane decided to ride it anyway in the hard gear. I used the limit screws to get the second from hardest gear. Because the terrain was so easy this problem was not so bad, riding fast was not a problem, just starting up difficult. Thank goodness the land is flatter than the Praries.

We went into the little town and found a restaurant. Our Cezech Menu Reader was useless. the Waitress spoke deutch better than Jane (Ein Bisken she said) And we had some good food. It was pretty cheap but not super cheap. About 20$ total including tip and beer and also a bowl of peaches for dessert. We were is Slovakia! Not Czech! Upon closer inspection we noticed out map book had this written on the cover. Our 10 year old cycling in Europe book had Czechoslovakia. That explains the sk currency and the lack of czech on the menu. The beer was good, called budweiser! It was hard for Jane to realize that it was not the crappy American Beer of the same name.

We went out to the river to camp. It was dark so we didn't go far. The path was busy with recreational rollerbladers and cyclists earlier in the day so we went down off the dyke kind of behind a hill, in the bushes. The bushes were planted in rows and may have been small cherry trees as they had really tiny berries (like huclkeberry size) with a large pit in the centre. they kind of bitter. Anyway it was a much much nicer camping hole than the earlier one in Vienna. We could see the sky and it was grass not dirt on the ground. There were some bugs but much less and not as biting nasty.

We both have many mosquito bites and one large (probably) horsefly bite each. On the way out of Vienna had a sharp bite on her leg while riding, it was very painful. Then later it was a large twoonie sized red itchy lump. i got one the next morning, just before Hainsburg before the border. We do have bug spray but it say only lasts 2 hours but warning do not reapply constantly toxic. We put in on a caouple times a day but now and then get bit.

I think Jane is writing the rest from the next morning until today.

Posted by rusl at July 12, 2003 01:34 PM
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