Day 27 – Budapest!

Around 4 years ago from today the idea of cycling from London to Budapest began to take shape.  What started as a drunken idea between some friends, has since developed into a possibility, a plan and then reality.  It was just 9 months ago that the trip was decided upon for definite; 7 months since we had our full team together; 6 months since we began training and ordering kit; 2 months since we finalised our exact route; 28 days until we felt completely ready for the adventure; and yes finally 27 days since we set off from London.  I am now pleased to report though, as you may already have guessed from the photo, that we have arrived in Budapest on schedule!

Our last blog put us at our final overnight stay before arriving in the capital of Hungary.  As we set off on the Thursday morning we were in high spirits, although perhaps for different reasons: knowledge that we only had 15 miles to the finish line was one, the culmination of a hard physical challenge was another and I suspect the relief that this would be the last ever bowl of forced porridge rations was welcome to some of our team members.  After just a few miles we started to hit the outskirts of Budapest, following one of the main roads into the city centre.  We turned away from this (before it got too busy and cycle unfriendly) towards the north and up into the central Buda part.  The city is split into two regions by the Danube: the Buda on the west side and the Pest on the east side.  The Buda side also happens to be very hilly which gave us our final significant exertion of the trip.  After making our way near to the castle district we headed east again towards the river and dropped down to the beautiful Széchenyi Chain Bridge to cross over to the Pest side.

image

By this point we were just a 10 minute cycle from the finish line where we would be meeting our supportive friends (Emily, Bekki and Mark) who had flown into Budapest the night before.  We had agreed on a time of 12pm exactly but as it happens we were running quite early so we decided to grab some drinks and sit by the river for a little while and take in the city view.  Feeling satisfied and full of lemony beer we set off on our final pedals of the trip and headed towards Szabadsag park where we were expecting to meet everyone.  As we entered into the middle of the park we were greeted with balloons, waving, a finish line, giant flags of the UK and Hungary and many words of congratulation as we came to a halt.  The team had really gone to a superlative effort, they were complete with white Budapedal t-shirts donned with the slogan “Official Team Supporter” and had even made up some mini Budapedal logo flags out of napkins and iron on prints!  All of which was much appreciated and made for quite a sight as we arrived.  Will decided to take the initiative as we rolled in by speeding ahead and taking the finish line banner for himself, but of course this was a team victory overall 🙂

The 7 of us then made our way to the top of the park to get some good photos.  We must have made quite a spectacle as several passers by began to take pictures of our group and wonder what this Budapedal thing was all about.  I think the Official Team Supporter t-shirts helped on this front.

After checking into our hostel and having a well deserved shower we made plans to head to one of the natural hot baths in Budapest complete with a massage and sauna.  We were hoping for a nice relaxing experience to take away the muscle pains of the last 27 days of cycling.  The experience in the end was certainly interesting.  Myself and Fergus found it beneficial where as Will emerged from the room almost limping and complaining of a much more sore back than before.  The large, tattoo covered, Hungarian man he went on to describe (who had given him his massage) didn’t sound ideal but never mind.

Since then we have been enjoying the delights of Budapest (hence the delay in this blog post), which has proven itself to be a fantastic city to visit.

image

So that about wraps up our final day of cycling.  We all still can’t quite believe we have finished, but it certainly feels good not to be in the bike saddle any more!  After spending a few days in Budapest our plan now is to go down to Siofok (about 70 miles south-west of Budapest) which is alongside lake Balaton, the largest in central Europe.  From there we travel back to Budapest again to pack ourselves, bikes and kit onto a plane bound for the UK.

Before we head off though we have got to say firstly a massive thank you to everyone who has sponsored us both in the run up and during our adventure!  It has been fantastic to watch the total grow as we cycled!  We have exceeded our target of £1000, the current total including gift aid is £1300.  And by the way, if you have still yet to donate (or are feeling extra generous) our donation website is still open at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/budapedal.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog over the last month, thanks again to everyone for your support!!
Szia from Budapest,

Tom.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Day 26 – Sunrise

Day 25 happened, but is far from deserving of a blog post. Technically, it was our bonus day from the beginning. Reserved for if something went very wrong. As we managed to avoid any serious trouble, we treated ourselves with a bonus rest day in Gyor. Feeling super knackered and overheated – we did approximately nothing. Part of our thinking was to prepare ourselves for a very early start to day 26, with avoiding the heat in mind.

Day 26 took us from Gyor to 15 miles outside Budapest, ready for the welcoming party to greet us on day 27.

We actually did get up at 4am. After we got over the shock of being awake, we were soon rolling, and realised what an awesome idea cycling in the morning was. For one, it actually felt a little chilly – only 20C! But also, it meant we had the joy of witnessing the sun rising right in front of us – something a photo could only partially capture.

image

Just as the day was warming up – at the late late hour of 8AM – Martin heard some grinding from his bike. It was soon apparent his rear pannier rack had sheared a bolt. This is something Martin had some experience of, with the same thing happening to his front pannier in cologne. That time, we had the luxury of a bike shop to drill out the remaining part of the bolt, no such luxuries here. This time, we had to make do with a bodge fix at the side of the road. Resulting in a wonky pannier rack, and a bolt blocking off Martin’s highest gear. After some re-packing to reduce the strain on this new weak point, the team set off again in to what was now another very hot morning.

20120824-103347.jpg

It was now 35C, and still rising, but at least we had completed over half our miles in the cool. If only we could keep our cool, today was my (Fergus) turn to feel extra broken in the sun. Our main priority was to get to our campsite stop, hoping to get a shady pitch despite the warnings of a very busy campsite – “so busy you must book”.

Arriving in the lunchtime heat, we were very glad to find plenty of space for us to pick a shady spot, and the offer of beers from the campsite owner! Feeling hungry, we found a restaurant near the campsite, and feasted on pizza and Radler. Our quick trip to the restaurant broke Martin’s habit of sleeping as soon as we arrived, but he impressed us with his ability to sleep anywhere by leaning back in his chair and gently snoring away.

image

Really we were a bit jealous of Martin, and when we got back to camp, we all searched for a cool spot to sleep. Sleep was easier to find than a cool spot after our early start.

After our naps, we made sure we weren’t carrying too much with us, by eating almost all the food we had left. The important thing, we’re now just 15 miles from the finish line.

– Fergus

WillCam:
image
About to set off. Pretty scary pic.
image
The skies light up shortly after we depart
image
We race urgently as Hungarian sun begins to peak over the horizon.
image
Exit night. Enter light.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 24: Heat, Headwinds and Hungary

Before the start of the trip, way back when we were collaborating and ordering kit, we found that we were trying to pack for every eventuality. It was almost as though we had forgotten Europe was part of the developed world, proceeding on with the mindset that nothing would or could be bought as we went along, this lead to the formation of the running joke;

It’s all going to be desert past Germany

Where nothing could be bought, sold or traded in the vision of the vast arid landscape our minds had conjured. Of course this was not true..for the most part at least. Over the past few days the sun has tried desperately to live up to our expectations, burning through any cloud cover until now, in Hungary, there is nothing left. Not one cloud was spotted today and after a while even ground based shelter was hard to come by. The searing heat has possibly been the toughest obstacle so far, but picking up the danube cycle path once again (being extra vigilant to avoid straying into unknown territory) we were welcomed by a gentle breeze coming off of the water. A couple of miles along the river though and the breeze picked up a little, turning into a strong gust that was angled just right to provide both head and cross winds. This quickly became too much and it was decided that we should switch from the cycle track to a nearby road that ran adjacent. By now it was approaching midday and the heat from the sun and the tarmac was becoming unbearable, we had to find shade and somewhere to top up our ever decreasing supply of water. This is where the unrelenting curse of the desert struck again, denying us the food and shelter we felt we deserved. We cycled into a town called “Horney Bar” looking for a place to stop and have lunch where we found a Piano Bar which had a sort of Hawian beech hut outside (though, strangely, no piano), it looked great until the barmaid informed us that she didn’t serve food and neither did the place down the road. It seemed odd to us that a town whose only buildings besides houses were a church and two bars didn’t have any where to eat, we decided that food must be scarce way out here in a village surrounded by encroaching farmland and an arid river (come on Horney Bar, really?).

By sticking to the larger towns in the area we eventually found a small restaurant where we could get out of the heat from the midday sun. At around two o’clock, having restocked with food, water and sun cream, we set of once more into the blistering heat. It was after lunch that we managed to cross the border between Slovakia and Hungary which was a cause for a lot of smiles as this meant not only another country done on our list but also, with Hungary being our final country, that we were reaching the conclusion of our long adventure. Finally, having covered 50 very sweaty miles we arrived at the town where we would be spending the next two nights.

We arrived in Győr (pronounced Dior) and we checked in. The place we are staying in can be best described as the Hungarian Fawlty Towers. The staff all tried so hard, but seem to fall short in every aspect of what one would expect from a hotel. I say hotel, but we were staying at the hostel, which was connected to the hotel and had its own reception but checking in involved walking between both… The check in process took almost an hour, partly as the staff were unable to find our booking confirmation (apparently the one in Tom’s hand wasn’t enough), so they struggled to find us a room last minute. Which struck me (Will) as odd as they only had 3 or 4 out of 200 rooms filled.

Despite these setbacks all was not lost and we spent our evening in a local fish restaurant which served up food caught from the river (take notes Horney Bar) which, apart from a few bones, seemed to go down well with the whole team.

With one rest day and 80 miles still to go we’re not quite there but its so close! We have decided that on wednesday we are going to get up very, very early. This is mostly to avoid the heat and get our miles done before lunch, but we got the idea into our heads that it might be nice to start riding and watch the sun come up as we go. Our current track record for ‘getting up and getting on with it’ has not been great so we shall let you all know how that goes.

Martin and Will

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Day 23: The river “Danude”

We set off from Vienna for Bratislava, from the capital of Austria to the capital of Slovakia. We were on our bikes and ready to leave at 9:30 and already the sun was beating down mercilessly. With no clouds spotted since the Czech border, the day was only going to get hotter.

We cycled back through Vienna and clocked almost 10 miles before we hit the city border.

image

The cycle underbridge connecting the suburbs to the central business district. As it was Sunday (or what we call Cycleday), the entire place was completely deserted.

We joined onto the River Danube and we found all the Austrian people cycling, (as it was cycle day after all). The paths following the river were littered with small cafés and restaurants. We even passed a line drag wake boarding centre.

image

After the restaurants ended we entered the Grill Zone, where the paths split into a high road, for cyclists and other cycleday goers, and a low road – the Grill Zone – for BBQs and picnics. Feeling a bit adventurous I decided to enter the Grill Zone. Mainly because I strangely missed the rolling hills of Czech, I felt darting in and out of the GZ area would liven up my day. This stretch of the river lasted miles and miles, rammed with Austrians cooking up a Cycleday flunch (like lunch, but it’s flunch). After a few of these little detour excursions I managed to get Martin to join me, weaving to and from lanes along the river. When we saw an odd sign in German Martin was at first skeptical, but I was not deterred for a second and managed to eventually convince good old Mart by shouting “Follow me for shenanigans”… and my, did shenanigans follow. We cycled for a good 100 or so meters and saw an old couple sunbathing naked next to the river. We cycled past and didn’t think too much of it, it is Europe after all, not very pleasant but we still had a little bit of a chuckle. Then we passed another five or six couples that were nude… the penny dropped. All the signs we passed in German refered to the nudist section of the Danube, and there was probably a minimum age limit as mostly everyone we passed would have no problem qualifying for a free bus pass. This was made eye seeringly clear when we past hundreds after hundreds of all these naked retired Austrians. It was all starting to get really awkward, but it just made it all the more funny. Martin and I agreed at this point, we should really start to get a move on, and get off this path as soon as possible. However, this was not the case we looked for an exit, but there wasn’t one… it was just one straight path along the river and it just didn’t end. The further we got the weirder and more densely populated it became. Old naked creatures consisting of bones wrapped in sagging leather, lackadaisical swaying side to side in a zombie like fashion as they searched for a good spot along the river (don’t read too much into this sentence please). At times I forgot these creatures were once human like us. We endeavoured to find another path away from the slowly thickening horde of OAPs. We looked either side of the path, hoping to find a route to escape up the bank of the river, but it was futile, only waves and waves of more nude newspaper reading pensioners. Now flocks of them were emerging through the trees, filtering down towards the riverside from the car parks, already naked, and ready to swing freely.

We traveled in so far we hit the epicentre; when we reached a group of naked men so large it blocked the entire path. At this point Martin and I were travelling at incredible speeds, due to all the strange glares we were getting on our bikes, so we had to brake sharply. What appeared to be the alpha male of the group stretched out his arms and legs in either an attempt to block us or possibly embrace us. Judging by his angry German tone, he was as pleased to see us as I was pleased to see his….yea…. After a final flurry of leather, Martin and I emerged at the other end of the path back up to the river overpass. After a good 2 miles of nothing but skin we were physically exhausted and mentally scared. I’ve never seen Martin travel uphill so fast since.

Martin and I waited at the top of the exit for the Nude Zone for Fergus and Tom. When they arrived we explained our horror story which was all very funny. However at this point we were a bit lost as the signs for the Danube cycle path had stopped and the only other route might inflict more nudity. As we stood about deliberating our choices to press on or backtrack, some Italian cyclists asked if we were lost. They explained the cycle path should cross a yellow bridge at some point, but they were not 100% sure where the bridge was. It was either back the way we came, or into the unknown. I was eager to press on and try the path of unknowity. After we saw lots of cyclists come from this unknown path we gained new confidence that it was the right direction. So we pressed on. After about 100 metres the path opened up into an expanse of naked sunbathing elderlies slowly melting in the sun. Before we could react, a naked man started shouting and waving at us to stop. However, if I wanted to stop it would be at a safe visual range, unfortunately the path didn’t extend to moon. But the naked man was persistent and managed to flag down Martin.

image

The naked man explained the path we were searching for was back the way we came. Martin was trying his best to keep a straight face and keep his eyes from wandering…

We continued backwards down the path and met a crossroad. Again we debated on new heading and was overheard by a fellow cyclist. This man was quite pale and as a result had a staggering amount of suncream on. He explained how he also cycled miles down the wrong path until he reached the naked man who instructed him to turn around. As he was also cycling to Bratislava we decided to cycle with him, one more Budapedaler! We shook hands and introduced ourselves, rather fittingly his name was Vlad and he was cycling back to his home country of Romania.

We continued to chat to him while following the Danube cycleway which was an incredibly straight flat road which ran parallel with the river. This path continued for at least 15 or so miles in the same fashion, without a single bend or change of scenery. The seer vastness was immense, as you looked ahead and behind you all you could see was the road continuing straight. However, it was incredibly boring after the first 20 minutes.

image

20120821-135709.jpg

The first flat tyre is awarded to our honorary Budapedaler Vlad.

We lunched in Hainburg. We found a small restaurant which was reasonably priced and had an outside area shaded by a grapevine canopy. The waiter seemed quite displeased to see 4 sweaty English cyclists and a vampire sitting down in his restaurant and it became apparent in the way he treated us. He was the Austrian cousin of his relative Mateyboy and, if I recall correctly, his name was Waityboy. The best example of Waityboy’s bad waiting was when Vlad found an insect embedded in his soup bread, it was almost a classic “waiter waiter” situation. Vlad held up the tainted bread and said: “There is a fly in my bread”, Waityboy, who was standing across the table, didn’t bat an eye and replied “No, is not fly”, In which Vlad then retorted: “Yes, there is a fly here” and Waityboy insisted “No. Is no fly there”. This continued for another few times until he actually properly inspected the bread rather than just disregarding whatever Vlad said. He realised he was in the wrong, took the bread from Vlad and pulled a face as if to say, “oops”. With his credibility as a waiter lost, he scurried away back into the kitchen.

image

We arrived in Bratislava not a moment too late with the temperature in the shade averaging 34°C and still no clouds to shield the assault of the sun. We bid farewell to Vlad at the city centre and continued to the hostel fatigued and dehydrated. When we arrived at the hostel we were given a complimentary Slovakian drink, Borovička. Which they insisted was an incredibly refreshing drink. I expected some sort of thirst quenching lemon cocktail but it turned out to be a shot of neat Gin. Martin wasn’t terribly pleased. While we were waiting to be served a small toddler made his way into the bar and started raiding the fridges. The people behind the bar, preoccupied with our order, didn’t seem to take any notice. After a few attempts the baby returned triumphantly with a can of Red Bull and promptly exited the bar to what I presumed was his father. The dad smiled and gave the child a pat on his head as if to say “That’s my Boy!” and sent him back in for another. You get all sorts at hostels.

image

– Will

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Day 22: Zooquarium

Our rest day in Vienna was well earned. The journey to Vienna was beautiful and flat, however, the final road up to the hostel was a hill that nightmares have nightmares about. It was the Delta Spike hill that Martin and I(Will) were fearing, but it was the worst kind, the “DS” hill at the end. AND due to the scale of the elevation profile the hill didn’t register. It was a stealth hill!

The sleep we earned that night was glorious, exactly what our legs needed. But the lazy morning lie-in was abruptly cut short by a wild Fergus eager to catch breakfast (seven till nine and not a minute later!)… we all staggered out of bed at 7:15 and made our way to breakfast land. Shortly after I returned to bed land for a much needed post breakfast nap.

I awoke several hours later in a daze and after the washing magically done by the mum fairy (Fergus) we decided on going about sightseeing Vienna. Vienna had a plethora of museums and old historic architecture but much as it pains me to say this we all agreed that we were all “old building-ed out” so we thought, “screw it, lets go to the aquarium.” After missing the zoo in Nuremberg we all silently longed to see German animals.

We took the bus then the train into the city as our hostel was on the edge of a cliff. When we arrived at the aquarium we discovered it was more like a zooquarium! With tropical birds, insects as well as marine life. We spent most of our time observing non aquatic life. For instance they had an ant colony which consisted of a series of tubes around the various exhibits where thousands of worker ants would transport resources back to the nest. This is fairly standard stuff for any ant exhibit, but we found one ant, nicknamed Anthony, (the any that could), who managed to obtain a leaf five times the size of him and was bringing it back to the queen, come hell or high water. However this did not bode so well, as this leaf was too large to fit down the tubes poor old Anthony had to really struggle. Not only did Ant have to endure the trials and tribulations of the tubes but he had to fight with incoming traffic. Like a snowplow, he would scoop up smaller ants into his leaf and carry on. Until he met with his bigger brother who was named Dec. Dec knew Ant was upto no good and started to wrestle Ant to give up the almighty leaf. However as valiantly as they fought, gravity was the overall victor as both ants lost their footing and fell down the tube into the abyss (the abyss may contain more ants).

After realising we spent about 20 minutes watching ants we decided to move on.

image

Japanese spider crabs are fairly formidable.

image
image
image
image
Sea Broccoli
image
Its the Martin fish!

We eventually stumbled upon  the tropical arena where monkeys, turtles and birds roamed freely amongst the patrons. Considering this was in the middle of a city, where you could look out of the windows of the building to see the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area, it was somewhat of a contrast.

image

Haters gunna hate monkey business

image

image

Turtles gunna turt.

We entered the exotic bird chamber which was filled with an array of brightly feathered birds.

image

And our favorite was this guy below.
image

This bird just didn’t give a flying fuck about anything. He was originally dubbed Zazu, but after watching his prolonged anti-avian behaviour he was awarded with the asbo title of “Baron Zazu, terror of the Viennan skies”. Zazu would fly from tree branch to tree branch disturbing all the other birds for no apparent reason, chasing them off every perch. He almost took out Tom and I during some daring flybys.

We spent pretty much the entire day in the Zooquarium and we wanted to catch the sunset over Vienna from our hostel. So we headed back. While waiting for the bus Tom noticed a strange restaurant called “Dine in the dark?”. This restaurant did literally that. You are seated somewhere in complete darkness, and you somehow order food and sometime later you supposedly get the food you ordered… Or did you? Either way going to the bathroom must be pretty awkward.

We finished off the evening chilling out with some beers and pizza overlooking Vienna.

In the distance we could hear the pyroman’s act starting again. But knowing how everyone enjoyed it, we had our own little show, consisting of 8 small sparklers…. It was a bit shit. But at least the view was spectacular.
image

– Will

image
Grumpy Tortoise is annoyed about you photographing him.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Day 21: Approach to Vienna

image

Apparently the brief shower storm we mentioned in our last post was not enough to dispel the intense humidity we experienced the day before. We woke at our campsite just within the Austrian border to bright sunshine and ever rising temperatures. Our breakfast consisted of porridge and sausages (not at the same time), after Martin insisted we must use the food left from the meal last night.

Austria provided some perfect cycling for the first 20 miles. Mostly flat with some gentle rolling hills, we glided through the morning without much effort. After an early lunch we hit some roads twisting through some dense forest. As we rounded one such corner we saw a sign ahead for a steep down section; a 14% gradient. Given the previous terrain we had encountered in Austria we were expecting a short stretch, perhaps 200m of 14% at the most. We took the corner fast and the forest abruptly ended to open up to a fantastic vista of the longest stretch of steep, straight downhill we have seen so far…shortly followed by a large uphill of similar gradient. Will managed to break the group max speed record of the trip with 43.5 mph. The stop sign at the bottom of the down section was an unwelcome sight as we lost all the speed we had built up, making for a gruelling uphill. Nevertheless it was an awesome road to cycle through!

image

We made good time as we headed into Vienna. Although a bolt falling off one of my front pannier racks caused a small delay. We were looking forward to getting into the city, but Martin was not so impressed:

image

image

As we had time to spare we decided to search for a bike shop now so we could enjoy our rest day fully. The clicking sound on Martins bike needed attention. We tried 3 different shops who were all too full with repair quotas until we found the excellent `Star Bike`. The Star Wars theme on the outside meant it was already our favourite. Aided by the fact we didn’t know what anyone in the shop was saying, we somehow pushed to the front of the queue and managed to speak directly to the mechanic. He seemed very happy to take a look at Martins bike. He began his inspection by, I believe the technical word is, ‘shaking the bike around’ – magically he picked up where the problem was very quickly (the bottom bracket) and began taking parts off at top speed. Bolts, springs and brackets began flying off as Martin looked on from the side. Eventually, after searching for a misplaced tool, he gestured that the bottom bracket had no grease and this was the source of the problem. He picked up a large paintbrush with grease and slapped it on before re-assembling all the parts again. He half tightened the bottom bracket and then produced the worlds biggest wrench to ensure that nobody apart from him would ever be able to take this part off again. But at least the grease will stay in this time. As we cycled back to the hostel Martin confirmed the click had gone completely, so he did a good job!

image

We were somewhat cursing the pick of hostel in Vienna as the route took us up a ridiculous hill climb, made all the worse being at the end of a long day of cycling. After arriving though we decided it was worth it, it may be out of the way but the view of the city is stunning:

image

Whilst we were putting our bikes away we met a fellow cycle tourer, Jack. Out of his first year of uni he originally set out with a group cycling through Europe as far as Italy. His group returned to the UK but Jack decided to make the most of the summer and carry on solo. He made his way to Budapest from Italy (going through Slovenia and Croatia) and then from there to Vienna. He has a lot of gear and has been wild camping some of the nights – certainly an embodiment of doing the FE, full experience, as we’ve ever seen. He joined us for dinner at the local restaurant and we were able to exchange some cycling tips. From him about the route to Budapest and from us about the route to Prague where he plans to cycle to catch a coach he has booked.

Oh, and I almost forgot – we crashed a wedding party in the evening as well. They had a fireworks display in the 4* hotel just next to our hostel. We casually stood on the side and caught a strange fire display by a large Austrian man followed by lots of fireworks and music. All good fun!

image

Until next time,

Tom.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Day 20: It’s all down hill from here.

For the first time in a while we braved sleeping in the great outdoors. Our last night in the Czech republic was spent at a small family run campsite where the receptionist spoke very fluent English, this was a surprise this far into the country side but was a welcome one. Being only £3 a head it was also a welcome change for our wallets, with everything here being extraordinary cheap we have managed to turn this into an excuse to double up on things (particularly dinner). Not content with being just a campsite though, this little rest-stop also provided three other products. The first two were very honey based, one being a very delicious honey liquor the other being, well… honey. The third, but by far the most awesome, product were sheepskin rugs courtesy of the farm across the road. These very soft and very fluffy rugs became too irresistible to some of the members of the team who bought some to wrap around themselves on a cold night under the stars (not that we have had anything close to cold or even mild for a good week and a half).

What a view the night sky was all the way out in the middle of nowhere. With no major towns or roads we were able to see thousands of stars and the distinctive white band of our own milky way. With the assistance of google sky maps we were able to find some interesting things though I really wish we’d had a pair of binoculars just to capture the glimpses of something amazing. Alas we weren’t the only ones enjoying the warm night, after we ventured to bed some of the other campers decided to bring out an acoustic guitar for some campfire songs. As tuneful as they were we couldn’t help but curse them as they continued drunkenly singing well past midnight.

The following morning (Day 20) was fairly uneventful apart from a couple of the other campers asking us how we planned to add our new purchases to our already bursting panniers. A brief look at the elevation profile showed a general down hill trend for the day and inevitably Will and myself jumped to the conclusion that “It’s all down hill from here lads” though Tom was very quick to recommend that we don’t throw our pedals away quite yet. There were a few tough hills today but Fergus reassured us that they were nothing in comparison to what we encountered climbing to our highest peak of the trip. One of the highlights of the day was passing across another border (and knowing about it) into Austria which, being a German speaking country, made us feel more confident around the locals. Unfortunately this did mean saying goodbye to the cheap food and beer that the Czech Republic had so generously provided.

One thing we did have on our side throughout the day was the cloud cover which kept the searing heat from the sun at bay. Towards the end of the day however, the air started to get quite humid and the clouds darkened. This could only mean one thing, so we picked up the pace to the campsite and managed to pitch tent just before the rain fell, our luck holding out once again. Unlike the thunder storm we encountered back in Germany this ended up being only a 5 minute shower, but was enough to get us sufficiently wet transferring our kit to shelter. One hot shower and a few frankfurters later I’m now lying in the tent listening to the patter of spitting rain trying desperately not to touch the sides, hopefully this will mean the heat and humidity will be turned down a bit for the next day or two. This will be particularly nice for our day off in Vienna in 2 days time. Only 4 more cycling days until we reach our ultimate goal! But that corresponds to ~200 miles which my muscles aren’t so happy about. So at 9:30 on day 20 I’m heading to bed to give them a couple hours extra rest before tomorrow.

Martin.

Will-cam:
image
More road blockages

image
Cycling…Awwwww…Yyeeeeaaaaaah

image
Meanwhile the sun explodes

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments