Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic ) Vienna (Austria )

Day 46 Cesky Krumlov (Czech) to Windhaag (Austria) 

Luckily for us our tent ⛺️ was dry, so we quickly packed up and set about organising breakfast and hanging our clothes up to dry (which unfortunately were hanging up on the washing line overnight and were still very wet). 

The rain ☔️ set in (again), so we sheltered for a few hours under the only shelter in the campsite and hoped for clear skies. Jon went off hunting for cooking gas in every shop possible but no joy. This was a little concerning for us, as we only had a day, possibly two days worth of gas left. 

Rain stopped and one pair of Vanessa’s cycling shorts had dried, so we headed off at a late hour of 12pm. 

We decided to not follow the Eurovelo 7, as it climbed steeply out of town and took a more leisurely route towards camp Branna. Cycling on minor roads alongside the river and with great scenery, average weather and gentle rolling hills, this made the first 12km reasonably pleasant. 

Arriving at camp Branna, we asked for cooking gas, with no luck. Five minutes after arriving the heavens opened and it started to rain (quite heavily!). We therefore bought a cup of tea and ate lunch, waiting for the rain to subside. 

Where’s my helmet?
40 minutes later, it was all clear and we were ready to go. We knew we had some hills to conquer ahead of us, so we set off determined to not let them deflate us. We were pleasantly surprised, as ‘Yes’, the hills were steep but rolled into one another, making it easier to accelerate down the hills, gaining enough speed to almost round the peak of the next hill approaching. This was kind of fun! 

For the next few hours, we cycled along quiet country roads, with the odd hamlet, cows and horses to look at. We also passed an old fortified manor in a little hamlet called ‘Trish’. The fort dates back to 1200’s and used to be owned by the Rosenburg family (who also owned Cesky Krumlov castle). We snapped a photo and then headed off. 

‘Trish’ Fort
The next section weaved us through country dirt roads, next to a stream. We had only a few kilometres left before reaching Austria , which was a little exciting (especially as we left so late!). A few kilometres later, we arrived at a small bridge crossing and assumed this was the border. 

Is this the Austrian border?
We snapped a few photos and proceeded to the nearest town to locate a guesthouse to rest for the night, as it had started to rain again and didn’t look like it was going to stop, plus we had a few things that needed drying. 

In the small hamlet of ‘Mairspindt’, we knocked at the first guesthouse which did have a room (for a steep €50) but no card facilities, so we headed to the next town, called ‘Windhaag’ to get some Euro’s and to check out a few other guesthouses (there were three to choose from). 

Our first guesthouse had no room, but the kind gentleman behind the bar called another guesthouse to see if they had any rooms. Then he said , the guesthouse he had called had room and that it was 2km away and that we’d already been there. However before committing to heading back the way, we wanted to check the other two guesthouses in town. 

The second guesthouse had no room (who’d have thought a little town, in the middle of nowhere to be so busy!), and the third looked closed. Luckily for us, as we were contemplating what to do next, the door opened and we had ourselves a room. Even luckier was that the room she originally showed us (for the same steep price of €50) hadn’t been cleaned, therefore she gave us our own little apartment. Kitchen, huge bath/shower room, lounge and large bedroom for the same price. We were thrilled and had ourselves a luxurious bath and settled in for the evening. 

Day 47 – Windhaag to Campinplatz St Martin (Austria)

After a comparatively luxurious night in our guesthouse apartment, we were in no hurry to leave in the morning, especially as it was still raining…so we relaxed for a few hours, having dried off all our wet clothes, until the rain stopped at midday.
Once started, we first had to cycle back 2 km to the border village of Mairspindt, to rejoin the Eurovelo 13. Today’s ride was in a roughly North Easterly direction, as the Eurovelo did some weird weaving in and out of the Czech, Austria border. The previous day we had ridden South.
The first obvious thing about today’s route was that it was hilly (or should that be mountainy…sic), as it headed over the Nove Hrady mountain range. Secondly, the slight Northerly breeze that had helped us yesterday, was now in our faces, which, when added to our elevation (we were now at around 1000m), meant it was cold.
We climbed (mostly) and descended (less) for a couple of hours. We noticed that, now we were in Austria, the cows were all wearing bells, the roads, houses, gardens and fields were all extremely orderly and that there was nobody to be seen. We figured this was probably to do with the damp weather, as the skies were still very grey. 

Austrian cows with cow bells!
Vanessa practiced singing ‘Doe, Ray, Me etc.’ as Jon insisted that knowing the words to at least one Sound of Music song was compulsory whilst in Austria, which at least took our minds off the climbs. These did warm us up but as we sweated a little under our jackets, we would feel the cold when we descended.

Another one bites the dust!
Climbing one particularly steep and isolated section, we passed a picnic table tucked in amongst the trees. On the table was a solitary pair of bicycle gloves. Jon picked them up and they were saturated. As it had now stopped raining for a couple of hours, it meant that they had been there for quite some time. We believe that the owner had probably stopped for some respite from either the rain or the climb and, then cycled on. By the time they realised they had left the gloves they would have decided that they weren’t worth the energy to retrieve.

We stopped in a small village (name forgotten) and found a small cafe (empty apart from the waitress) where we grabbed a tea to warm ourselves. We then popped outside and ate our lunch at one of the tables and agreed that the weather was bad enough that it would be wise to side track the rest of the Nove Hrady range in the afternoon and follow the Mapsme recommended cycle route north before rejoining the Eurovelo 13 later in the day. Which we did :-).
The rest of the day centred around the weather, as the rain was on and off all afternoon. At various times we stopped and sheltered for a while as it got particularly heavy. Once we stood under a huge chestnut tree in the middle of the forest for a few minutes; another time we found a small hut with bench where we spent half an hour or so practicing the Rubik’s cube and even contemplated whether we could sleep in there for the night if the rain didn’t ease up…fortunately it did.

Sheltering from the rain

We rode on…more downhill now, as the first Mapsme, then the Eurovelo took us along wooded areas following 10ft high wire fences and look out towers which used to form the old Czech/Austria border. 

Patrolling the border
Heading back into Austria

At one stage Mapsme took us down a grass woodland track of no more than 50m in length, which we entered via a closed but unlocked gate. At the end of the short track it turned into a road and only when we saw a sign in Czech rather than German did we realise we were in a different country.
We crossed back into Austria shortly after and at around 5.30pm the sun made a late but welcome appearance, as we (Vanessa in particular) were feeling the cold. 
We headed for a marked campsite on the map and arrived there shortly before 7pm to find that it existed but that there was no one there. Fortunately the toilets were unlocked and there were tables and benches where we could cook and eat. We even found a covered area where we could pitch our tent without worrying whether it would be dry in the morning…bonus!

Free campground
Due to the late start and not so good conditions, we had probably ridden no more than 50km today but it felt like a lot more. On the up side, we had a great free campsite and were able to warm up before a well earned sleep.

Day 48 Camping St Martin to Haastuben Camping, Reingers (Austria) 

We woke up to glorious sunshine ☀️ and were happy to have the previous days rain behind us. We moved any wet gear towards the sun, hoping to dry as much as possible. 

With the sunshine out the world/Austria seemed such a better place and we were raring to set off. We decided not to take the Eurovelo 13 route, but to take a more direct local bike route, avoiding an unnecessary extra 20km with no apparent reason except to dip back into Czech. 

The first few kilometres we whizzed downhill, then it plateaued for a smooth ride along reasonably quiet roads with some undulation. Our goal was to get to a town called Gmund to buy cooking gas, stock up with food, locate tourist office for maps and eat lunch. 
Once in Gmund, Vanessa got cracking with the shopping in an Aldi lookalike shop, whilst Jon went hunting for cooking gas. Returning from his mission Jon had indeed found gas and Vanessa completed the shopping including yummy olive bread. Our next stop was the tourist office to obtain some maps with bike routes, we were in luck, the two maps handed to us, had all the Austrian bike routes plus the Eurovelo 13, happy days!!!

We ate lunch next to a church and then headed off on the Eurovelo 13 route towards a campsite near Reingers, which was another 40km away. 

The Eurovelo took us on quiet country roads, passing local attractions which were indicated on our map. We stopped at the first natural attraction, which had an impressive lookout tower, outside restaurant and interesting but slightly rude looking sculptures. We didn’t climb up the lookout tower, as we had only just started cycling plus there was a cost of €3 (which we thought was unnecessary). 

We kept going. The track kept us entertained taking us on gravel sections, steep ascents and through picturesque countryside. Reaching Litschau, we snapped a few photos of the lake and fort, then kept on going to our campground. 

Lookout tower
Arriving at Reingers, we were impressed with the quaintness of the town and the lovely lake. We quickly found a sign to our campsite and followed it.

 Arriving at what we thought was our campsite, we dropped the bikes and started knocking on the door but quickly realised that the building had cannabis leaves all over the outside and when we peeked in the window, we could see some plants. A little confused, we checked Mapsme and realised the campsite was a 100 metres down the road. 

Arriving at Haastuben campsite, we hunted around for any sign of reception or an owner with no luck. There were two caravans onsite, Jon spoke to a lady who said we needed to make a phone call and the owners would come the following day. 

We checked the main building out, which had showers, toilets, a kitchen with only a microwave, toasty maker and table/chairs and upstairs was a large loft area with loads of mattresses, but very clean. We decided that setting up our tent was not needed and that we could sleep upstairs. We set up in our new room to ourselves and showered. 

Attic dorm, just for the two of us 🙂
Dinner time became a little complex, when we realised that Jon unfortunately had bought the wrong cooking gas and that we had to heat/cook everything via the microwave. It took a lot longer but still achievable. 

Day 49 – Haarstuben Camping, Reingers to Camping Edlesee, Geras (Austria)

We packed up from our dorm-like accommodation and, after breakfast headed off at a relatively early 8.45am. The campsite was less than 400m from Czech but most of today’s riding would be on the Austrian side of the border.

Weather-wise it was as close to perfect for cycling as we could have asked for. It was sunny with a max of around 20 degrees and a slight breeze from the West. We were travelling in an Easterly direction and it helped us all day long. 

We still had hills to climb today…some of them were very steep…but, on the whole, the roads and signs were very good. There were some excellent long flat or slight downhill sections meaning we did not have to touch the pedals for long periods. By 10am we had already covered 25km.

Shortly after this the Eurovelo 13 took us through the tiny village of Gilgenburg where one property had a pirate theme going on.

Ahoy there!

Then, after a rather severe but not too long climb we stopped to explore one of the old lookout towers along the Czech/Austrian border.

Where’s Jonnie?
Around 11am we stopped for a sun-kissed rest and snack in the beautiful village of Rappoltz but all the while we continued to notice the absence of people.

We had 12km to cover until Drosendorf, which (the back of our map informed us) was a historic walled town atop a hill and well worth a visit. So we decided we would have lunch there.

After some rolling, free-flowing hills we arrived at the foot of the valley and struggled up the 100m climb to the the entrance archway to town. 

Drosendorf was very picturesque but unfortunately the one shop in town was closed from 12 to 2.30pm (we got there at 12.05) so we had to content ourselves with the food we had as we sat at a picnic table for lunch. 

The town had a tourist office but it was unmanned (help yourself entry) and the maps inside were not much use to us.

As it was still early we decided to grab a drink in one of the 2 cafes/pubs in town. We chose the one with 2 people outside (where was everyone?) and were advised that they also had a back terrace. When we wondered through the building, we discovered several tables with more people than we had seen all day, sitting and eating/drinking, whilst overlooking a beautiful view our the valley below. 

We had a drink each and shared a slice of chocolate cake, whilst enjoying the view and weather, before setting off again.

We had a choice of 2 possible campsites to aim for…both about 15km away. We decided on the one in Geras, which was slightly out of our way but as the town looked slightly bigger and we needed a shop (plus we had no gas for cooking due to yesterday’s cock up with the canister), we felt it would give us better options.

An easy hour’s cycle later, interrupted only by a quick stop to pick a pumpkin from one of many abundant fields (Jon now regrets the extra 2kg as we haven’t cooked it yet) we arrived in Geras (with its medieval monastery) and headed for the lakeside campsite. After initially mistaking it for the property next door, we found the campsite and wandered in, only to find that, like the other Austrian campsites we had visited, it was unmanned and deserted but with excellent facilities. 

Vanessa pitched tent whilst Jon cycled to the town shop and bought some essentials for tomorrow’s lunch. Then we showered, chit-chatted for a while and then walked a very short distance to the neighbouring pizza restaurant, where we ordered and ate 2 of their largest mushroom pizzas without difficulty. Happily fed we wandered a few metres down to the nearby lake and watched the sunset before heading back towards our tent. On approaching it we noticed the rising full moon in all its splendour but our crappy iPhone cameras just didn’t do it justice.

We settled down for a good night’s rest, having cycled approx 65km with ease and crossing our fingers for similar conditions the next day.

Day 50 Camping Eldersee (Geras Austria) to Dyje camping (Czech)

We woke up reasonably early, feeling rejuvenated, after a quiet night’s sleep. Again, as we couldn’t find any owners for this campsite, we couldn’t really hang around any later than 9am, so we headed off (Jon still with extra 2 kilos of pumpkin in tow) on the Eurovelo 13. 
The day started with a slight incline to exit Geras but once at the crest, we cycled on pristine asphalt and it was relatively either flat or downhill to Ritz which was around 30km away. The weather was also kind to us, sunny but a little overcast and the wind was flowing from the west and we were heading east!! 

Moody forest ?
The Eurovelo also intertwined with various other Austrian bike routes following a wine trail. We were overwhelmed with so much produce that was around us, ready for the picking. Pumpkin  fields, apple trees ,corn fields, vine yards (tasty grapes red and white), plums and blackcurrants. We had to stop and taste a few things, plus nab a dozen plums and swap Jon’s pumpkin for a more reasonably sized one. 

Pumpkin galore!
Before arriving in Retz, we stopped at a fully functioning flour windmill called ‘Retzer Winduhle’ for a few photos, the panoramic views and our snacks. 

Jon’s favourite!
Then headed into Retz, which has a main square that is apparently the largest and prettiest market square in Austria . We read that virtually every house used to have a wine cellar until 70 years ago. In total, the cellar system which is up to three storeys deep measures 21km in length and 30m in depth. It is now an adventure cellar tour for tourists. 

Retz town square
We headed straight to the tourist office and were extremely happy with their service, they provided us with a Eurovelo 13 map taking us all the way into Slovakia, so at least a weeks worth, plus they were kind enough to print some things for us. We thanked them and headed to a DIY store in hope that they may have cooking gas. We were in luck!! We bought two just in case. Plus topped up with some goodies from the Aldi lookalike ‘Hofer’ supermarket. 
On our merry way again, we aimed to get to Jetzelsdof for lunch, this was only 10km away. We stopped several times to nibble on fruits or snap a few photos of the gorgeous vineyards.
Austrian vineyards
The cycle was also relatively easy and we had a nice tail wind to assist us. 
Arriving at Jetzelsdorf, we hunted around for a covered picnic spot (as it was starting to spit) and passed what we thought were houses at first but soon realised they were infact press houses and wine cellars.

Lunch spot
 This small town has 95 press houses and 12 cellars. We located a spot (not soon enough as Vanessa started to get hunger cramps) and quickly set about eating lunch. 
The rest of the cycle involved a few kilometres of an uphill climb, which also crossed the border to Czech and then rolling down over the other side to our campsite. What was very apparent to both of us, was the contrast of the buildings around us on the Czech side, not that they were terrible but just not as immaculately kept as the Austrian side. Every house, campsite, square and road was in perfect condition, where in Czech there’s a bit more of a rustic feel. 
We were leaving Czech and still had quite a lot of Krone left and were hoping to find a campsite where we had to pay for the use of facilities, but ironically when you don’t want a free campsite one pops up out of the blue. Don’t get us wrong, lovely setting, along the riverside, cleanish toilets and a sheltered area (which we had decided to pitch our tent in) but we still had so much cash left. 

Only one thing left to do with it, thats spend it on food and drink!! 
After pitching our tent Jon, whizzed off to town to find some drinking water and Vanessa chilled back at the campsite. On his return, two kayak’s anchored at our campsite and promptly were collected by a friend in a vehicle. 

The rest our the evening was quiet and we had a restful sleep. 

Day 51 – Dyje Camping, Hraldek to Lakeside Camping, nr. Valtice (Czech)

We slept reasonably well in our riverside campsite. As we had pitched the tent under shelter, everything was dry and we were able to make an early start at just after 8am.

Initially we backtracked a few hundred metres to town and shopped (without success) for avocados…but we did get a cutting knife and 2 overdue new toothbrushes (we were looking to use all our Czech currency up before we left the country for the last time).

The weather was kind to us today, with a favourable wind and sunny skies. We sped along following the Eurovelo for an hour, then stopped at another shop. Only when paying did we realise we had crossed the border into Austria again!

We reached the town of Laa by mid-morning and stopped for a quick photo of the impressive town hall before heading off again. 

The Eurovelo 13 joined the Wine Route and sent us through numerous picturesque fields of vineyards (one with an extra large wine bottle). 

Shortly before midday we climbed a long sweep hill and at the top crossed the border into Czech again.

We then enjoyed one of the best Czech roads, with dedicated bike paths on on both sides for 3km to the town of Mikulov, with its impressive castle.

We arrived there at midday and found a spot with a bench beneath the castle for lunch. Thanks to the early start and following breeze we had already covered over 45km.

We then had another 12km to the border town of Valtice, which also boasted an impressive baroque town centre and castle/manor. Having done almost 60km before 2pm, we rewarded ourselves with a drink in a town hotel, before Jon went to use up some Czech money on groceries (but only as much as he could fit in his panniers), whilst Vanessa surfed the net and recharged phones. On Jons return we had a slice of luck, as the hotel also exchanged our remaining Czech money to Euros at a very good rate.

Re-charged, we headed of again aiming for a marked campsite 8km away on the Czech side of the border, where we hoped we would find a shower. Arriving there at 5pm, we found a lake with an area for camping, a clean toilet and a covered area where we could cook…but no-one around (other than a fisherman who had already pitched his tent next to the lake) and certainly no sign of a shower.

On the positive side, we had covered nearly 70km without too much difficulty and the campsite setting was beautiful in the setting sun. 

We had read that the forecast for the following day was for sun and little to no wind first thing but increasingly strong southerly wind (a headwind for us) during the afternoon. We went to bed as soon as it got dark, hoping for an early start before the wind picked up.
Day 52 – Lakeside Camping, nr. Valtice (Czech) to Gusthaus Camp/restaurant (Austria via Slovakia) 

Waking up to see the mist rising from the lake and hearing birds chattering brought smiles to our faces. Well, until we heard some locals pulling up in their vehicle, but they turned out to be pretty cool and were just at the campsite to fish. 

After packing up as much as possible, Vanessa set off first with all four bottles in tow down the dirt road towards the nearby hotel for drinking water (which was only 2 kilometres away), whilst Jon waited an extra five minutes for the fly to dry. 

Whilst cycling Vanessa came to the only narrow section along the 2 kilometres, unfortunately for Vanessa she encountered a tractor coming towards her. She veered to the right trying to mount what she thought was grass, but unknown to Vanessa the ground was not flat and it sloped slightly. Whilst attempting this, she took her right foot out of the cleats to reach the ground (which was further away than she had originally thought) and in slow motion she slid to the side, falling directly on top of brambles. Looking up from the bramble bush, Vanessa saw the tractor driver shrug his shoulders and drive away. Leaving the scene of the crime and Vanessa to pick herself up. Once out of the brambles, Vanessa’s right side immediately flared up with welts. 

Crazy welts!
Gritting her teeth she continued on to the hotel, filled up the water bottles. Leaving the hotel she could see Jon had already arrived. Jon was bewildered with how Vanessa had managed to fall (Jon wished he could have been there, to help? Not sure, to witness it and take photos? mmmm more likely.)

We were keen to get going as the predicted weather forecast was for strong head winds. So, we wanted to make the most of the calm sunny good weather. We headed off at an early hour of 8.30am. The roads were mainly smooth and reasonably flat. We were on a main road but there was very little traffic. This meant that we could make good progress. 3 kilometres in, we had crossed the border into Austria.

We whizzed along passing rolling green countryside, fields of pumpkin and sunflowers (graveyard’s of sunflowers as they had all wilted) and wind turbines. 

Graveyard of sunflowers ?
23 kilometres later, we reached Slovakia, snapped a few photos and high fived at the bridge.

According to the Eurovelo 13 information, Slovakia should have a well signed route. The first few kilometres, were on narrow uneven road with heavy traffic but once we turned South at a clear Eurovelo sign, cars were a rare occurrence. The country road, wended its way South and the surfaces varied from dirt, rocky, uneven asphalt to a little sandy. We stopped occasionally to read boards with interesting facts about local bats, old bunkers, prehistoric animals and various others things, plus we spotted a few deer along the way. 

Reaching Gajary, we found a little bar, ordered a cold drink and sat outside to make our lunch mainly because it was sunny but also because it was extremely smokey inside (smoking indoors must still be allowed in Slovakia… bizarre !) . 

We had already passed the only campsite on our route and we both desperately needed a shower, so we came up with the plan of cycling along the Slovakian side until Zahorska Ves, then crossing via a ferry (which we hoped existed) and cycling to a campground indicated on our map. We couldn’t locate the campground on Mapsme, so we crossed our fingers that our map was accurate and on previous Austrian campsite experiences, we expected it to be clean and have all the facilities we needed. 

On our merry way, we only had 13km to cycle. However by this time the wind had picked up as predicted and we cycled in single file, Vanessa hiding behind Jon to get some protection. We had some shelter from the trees along the way and occasionally the trees/bushes started infringing our path. 

Arriving at the ferry ⛴ crossing we were pleased to see that it existed and seemed to be running continuously back and forth. The distance was only 50 metres across the river, so less than a 5 minute crossing. 

Ferry crossing to Austria from Slovakia
Arriving in Austria again, we followed Mapsme towards Zwerndorf, where the map had a tent picture and fork and knife picture next to each other. This was only 6km but took us a bit longer with the wind and taking a slightly wrong turn through dirt/bush. 

Where’s the path?
The surface was a little rocky too, plus we got a little wet passing some sprinklers. 

Arriving in town, we had no signs to follow and Mapsme, plus the paper map didn’t help us find our way. We cycled round town a few times hoping to find someone to ask but as with most towns in Austria people just aren’t out and about. We resorted to knocking on a childcare centres door with no luck, then on someone’s house. They were luckily in and spoke good enough English. However, seemed surprised that the town had a campsite, he did say that there was a restaurant near the lake and maybe that was it. He gave us a few directions and we thanked him and headed off. After a few turns, we became a little confused again and asked another lady walking her pram. She directed us to the restaurant, indicating that we should go straight then turn left at the end of the road, where we would then see a sign to the restaurant. However, when we got to this sign it read Gusthaus and some other name that escapes is. We turned right towards the other name but after 500 metres decided that it was all too hard and headed to the gusthaus (guesthouse), hoping that maybe it was a restaurant and that they possibly knew where we could camp or if it was just a guesthouse that they had some room. 

We almost cycled past the place, Vanessa noticed a backyard to this large house and explored. Finding indeed a restaurant and a lovely couple called Uta and Pepe. Who welcomed us in and made us feel very at home. They also said we could camp for free. Uta had lived in Perth previously and in the UK, so her English was excellent. They said they were happy for us to camp on their land, they explained there was a little beach area near the lake that we could swim in and an outside toilet for the evening. We stayed and had a few drinks, then pitched our tent near the lake. We needed a shower desperately, so we opted for the lake for a swim. 

Where’s the soap?
Uta had said that the water temperature was around 25 degrees, but going in it felt about 10 degrees colder. Gorgeous setting with holiday huts on the other side, a pontoon to lie on and the sun was out. Jon was more adventurous and went fully in, whilst Vanessa only managed half way. 

Uta and Pepe said that they usually start cooking at around 8pm, but as we were hungry cyclist they would cook for us earlier. We got dressed and headed into the bar. Sure enough our vegetarian pasta dish was ready (with goats cheese and side bread) and we devoured it. Delicious!!! Plus Uta gave us a traditional Manner Wien desert. When we tried to pay, they said the food was on the house, as reward for our cycling, and only charged us for the beers. We were so grateful and extremely satisfied! By 8pm, the place was full and Jon and I were struggling to keep our eyes open after a full days ride and said good night and went to bed. 

Pepe our lovely host and famous chef
Day 53 – Gusthaus camp/restaurant, Zwerndorf to Vienna (Austria)

This was a busy day. We had slept very soundly and awoke shortly before 8pm, at which time we packed up the tent and our gear. We ventured into the bar/restaurant area and started chatting to our host Pepe, who was kind enough to make us both a fruit tea and to offer us some bread, French cheese and tomatoes. Again, he refused to take any payment. It transpires that he is a bit of a celebrity chef, with other local chefs coming to him for dinner and he even had a recent TV appearance.

After a short while we were joined by a cat, which was a doppelgänger for our own cat. We’re calling it ‘Cookie 2’

Cookie 2
We questioned Pepe on when Uta would return from her morning errands, as she had offered to give us a lift to the train station (we planned to visit Vienna for the weekend) Because he was unsure of the exact time she would return and as the strong wind was in our favour, we decided we would cycle to the station, only 5km away.

We said our goodbyes to our kind host and asked him to extend our thanks to Uta. We then retraced the last 5km from the previous day’s ride to Angern station where we realised we had over an hour to wait for our train. So we made ourselves a second breakfast which we ate whilst we waited. The train arrived on time and we found the bike carriage (always the last carriage in Austria apparently) and enjoyed the 40 minute journey to Vienna.

As it happened, we missed our stop (not for the first time we hear you say) and had to cycle a couple of kms further to get to our campsite ‘Camping Wien West’…Never mind, it gave us an extra look at some of the city suburbs.

We set up tent, then cycled (without panniers) into the city centre, following an interesting route recommended by Mapsme, which took us over the river via 2 giant helter-skelters for cyclists and through a magnificent park with over 3 km of road entirely free of vehicles, where we stopped and ate lunch.

Arriving in the city centre we headed for tourist info, where we parked our bikes but were advised that we had missed the free tour of the Vienna Opera house by only 5 minutes…damn!…However we were able to do the City Walk tour in only a few hours. So we set off walking along the route.

First stop ironically was the Opera House, where we enquired the price of an evening performance before realising that we would have to attend the opera wearing our hiking/cycling gear, so scrapped the idea.

Next was the magnificent St Stephens Cathedral, which we decided not to climb as it was our official ‘rest’ day.


Stephens Cathedral
Then a very brief look at the Mozarthaus before walking through the imperial Hofburg, past ancient Roman ruins and some of the most spectacular architecture. 

At this point we struck it really lucky. We popped into a map shop and asked about cycle routes. Not only did they have the Eurovelo 13 route booklet, complete with maps from Germany to the Black Sea but they had an English version too. We snapped up the solo English version and also bought a German one.

Look what we found!!!!
Buoyed by our amazing find (which meant we now had maps for our entire journey) we carried on walking and soon reached the Parliament building, where there was a Kurdistan music festival taking place in the square opposite. We have never seen so many Kurdish flags (or Kurdish people for that matter). 

Kurdistan festival
We headed for the impressive national library building, which also houses the imperial museum and were pretty stoked to find out that it was open viewing day (normally there is a charge), so we got the tour of the museum (in German unfortunately) for free.

Hofburg imperial palace
Next we headed towards the golden dome of the Secession building. On the way we passed an open-air rave with trance music blasting away and some very stoned people in the most unlikely setting imaginable.

Whilst in tourist info we had spotted that the ‘Buskers Festival’ was taking place this weekend in the park next to the Karlsplatz museum. Our walking route took us very close, so we wondered over and watched a few acts. As busking is now illegal in Austria, this festival is a great way for some quality entertainers to earn a few Euro and show the public their undoubted talent.

Busker’s festival
It started to get dark so we decided to head back towards our bikes. On the way, we walked past the Vienna Opera House again but this time the 7pm show had started and there was a giant TV on the side of the building screening the ‘live’ performance of Mozarts ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ for the audience seated in the piazza outside. What could we do but sit down and join them?!

‘The marriage of Figaro’
After a half hour or so, we had had our fill of culture for the day and headed back to our bikes. We then grabbed the underground back to the nearest station to our campsite and cycled the remaining 500 metres or so.

We cooked a simple and very late dinner, during which Vanessa almost fell asleep…before a quick shower and bed.

We were asleep the moment our heads touched the stuffed bags that pass as our pillows, having had a brief but epic taste of some of the delights that Vienna has to offer.