Good evening from Passau in southern Germany – it’s day 7 and we’re 650km into the trip. It’s been an eventful few days since the last blog!
Let’s start back on day 3. Following our breakfast in Bratislava we rolled back onto the Eurovelo 6 toward the border with Austria, our third country of the day. We were soon to be amazed by two things: the sudden lack of rollerbladers, who appear to only exist in Slovakia (from what we can tell around 60% of Slovakians are on rollerblades at any one time) and a distinct improvement in both the quality and signposting of the route compared to what we’d experienced in Hungary. Well done Austria. Yet again the temperature was soaring towards the 40 degree point as we continued on the razor-straight bike path towards Vienna which lay around 50km to the west. After a brief stop to cool off and devour our first würst of the trip we were close to the city and to our surprise had accidentally come across a 5km long nudist beach alongside the bike path. Unsurprisingly, 5km rapidly went by and we were freed from this experience and free to swim in the now non-nudist but still beautifully clean section of the Neue Danube close to our campsite for the day.
Day 4 arrived and after a late start we were back on the Donauinsel heading out of Vienna along the perfect Austrian bike paths that we were becoming accustomed to. We were managing an easy 25km/h, the sun was out, we had plenty of swimming opportunity and it was all going without a hitch. Sadly thought this wasn’t to continue – 30km into our afternoon Rob reluctantly ground to a painful and swollen halt by the side of the river and though we weren’t wanting to admit it at the time it soon became clear that this may be a problem beyond even Noyes’ determination and a bit of ibuprofen. His dodgy knee saw him heading back to Vienna and sadly the news from the hospital wasn’t great as he rue suited crutches and a flight home rather than being able to get back on the bike. Morale hit an all time low as we’d lost a team member and the afternoon’s riding was rather more quiet.
We soldiered on past abandoned nuclear power stations to the 60km point and then found ourselves a place to camp on an island bordered by one of the many hydro electrical power plants along the Austrian Danube. “It definitely won’t rain” said Marcus as we lay the tarp out on the floor and went to sleep. A mere two hours later we were awoken by a terrified Jon running around in his shorts and pointing at the rain and lightning that had descended upon us. In our haste we resorted to holding the tent flysheet over our heads and sitting out the storm…
The highlights of the next day were the discoveries of delicious Hofer (Aldi) pastries, the application of pliers to deal with wasps and becoming a tourist attraction in the town of Melk where we’d stopped for lunch. It ended up as a 112km day taking us to the campsite at Grein where we enjoyed our first beer served in a ceramic mug and an actual shower rather than just a dip in the Danube
Day 6 started early at 6am with a fast 35km to LIDL for breakfast and then an even faster 500m to McDonalds to make use of their toilets and wifi. Then it was on to the city of Linz for second breakfast before we headed up the valley towards a very rural and steep-sided section offering incredible views for the rest of the day until the now-traditional 100km beer (it used to be the 80km beer, progress!). At the 80km mark we found a series of swimming lakes which provided 2 hours of cooling off before continuing on our way. After 122km we found ourselves a wild campsite along the river and settled down for our first insect-free night of the last week and our last night in Austria which had been nothing but fantastic for the 390km that we’d spent in the country.
That brings us to today: a short 30km pootle to the German city of Passau, a coffee in the square and a 20%+ climb to the hostel which turns out to be in an old fort! We’re resting here for a day before heading NW across Germany from tomorrow towards Ulm and the border with France in about 5 days.
Rob: recover soon so you can join us later on the route!
We’re getting closer to our fundraising targets so please keep the donations coming in! As ever we’ll post on Twitter so you can see our progress (or lack thereof)