A good breakfast and we were on the road. We had to walk a bit and I led us into a woodcutting yard rather than the road we actually wanted to take. A bloke had followed us in and we all had to waddle the pannier laden bikes around before cycling out along busy streets looking for the river and a place to cross. It was a bit scary as it looked like we might have to get on a dual carriageway.
We followed other baffled looking cyclists and ended up by the river. I asked some old guy out walking and he game me directions all the way to Vienna. All I understood of his wonderful route plan was – go down there, through a tunnel and then turn left.
Another old boy out walking with the ski-type walking sticks that are popular here gave us more directions, which were basically to stick on Euro Cycle Route 6, but again, with every twist and turn explained in detail.
We headed up and over a bridge to the south side of the Danube, then back the way we came for a little while until we were rolling to Hollenburg where Lou desperately needed a pee so I drank apple juice at a Radler station to justify our use of their facilities. Those facilities were really horrible, and now I’d added apple juice to my bladder, so I cycled on quickly to a luxurious boat club with sparkly clean toilets and no minimum purchase. Luxury.
Lou was unwrapping and eating Starbursts as she cycled along, and wanted to offload the strawberry and blackcurrant ones to me as they came up. The plan worked well until we reached the kraftwerk at Attenworth. I speeded up to take the last strawberry sweet but overcooked it a bit and realised as I sped past, grabbing the sweet as I entered a sharp bend with a steep decline. I controlled the bike with a bit of a wiggle, but was consumed by giggles as Lou choked on her sweet behind me, making a comedic sight for oncoming cyclists.
We got a bit confused with our route as we didn’t want to cross over and an Italian family joined us for a map conference. We worked it out and stayed safely south. It was hot. We peddled on to Tulln, promised a “strangely decorated crypt”. When we got there we parked the bikes by the Minorite church and I went to sit in the cool while Lou had a fag. I was lathered up with Factor 50 sunscreen but had a heat rash which was driving me crazy with itchiness.
The church was OK, but we were excited to see the crypt. We went down and Lou looked disapprovingly at me because my cleats clanked on the stone steps no matter how gently I stepped. It was indeed strange. Several of the bodies had been moved from their mortuary cubbyholes and marks on the walls indicated flood levels two tombs up.
We strolled through the town to a restaurant and I had the special – spinach noodles with gorgonzola sauce. They were divine although the Austrian noodles weren’t what I expected, sort of like chewed gnocci. I wanted Kaiser pancakes for pudding but despite my best efforts I couldn’t attract the attention of the waiter so paid and left instead.
The American couple we’d seen a couple of times on the road were also in the restaurant, she was easy to spot, cycling in an ankle length denim skirt, which mast have been uncomfortably hot.
From there we cycled to Muckendorf where I had a Magnum ice cream bar to make up for it. A woman from Munich came to chat. She was cycling alone, staying in campsites and liked to have a bit of company now and then.
When we rode on there was a little wiggle to avoid crossing a kraftwerk again and on long straight levees all the way to Klosterneuberg with only elderly naked people sunbathing on the riverbank to distract us.
The tourist office at the station would not book us a hotel in Vienna. Meanies. We parked and locked the bikes then walked up the hill to the monastery. It was very pretty. We were super-heating so stopped at a café and I had an Almdudler, Austria‘s favourite soft drink. It was great, a bit apple/pear-ish with some bubbles and herbs. I had another. I had to go to the bar to get it so opted to pay while I was there as otherwise we may have waited all day for service.
We looked in the church, but could only get to the back, the main body was closed off with huge metal gates. There was a cool side chapel with murals on the ceiling warning of the fates of bad people which involved some alarmingly rude looking fruits.
Out of Klosterneuberg to Vienna which was only a kilometre away. Through a few suburbs and we entered a Vienna of more suburbs, parks and bungalows. We quickly got lost and re-found the route. We crossed the canal and then got really confused. We met the Italian family who we’d been lost with before. They were looking for the Hotel Park as they were on a self guided tour with pre booked hotel stops.
We found a bridge and crossed. After aimlessly riding around we asked for help and found ourselves at Islam Zentrum, a huge mosque. Two people confirmed we were going exactly the wrong way. A third suggested we take the tube, but that would involve taking the bikes underground and changing lines, and perhaps more importantly, knowing where to go and where to get off. Instead we used the tube map to navigate our way overground to the bridge and back towards the centre of Vienna rather than the Vienna Islamic Centre.
We were so far off route our map didn’t cover where we were so we were relying on a vague sense of direction and a tiny compass until we reached a street name we recognised. We cycled and walked for miles before deciding to get a hotel just outside the central ring rather than risking getting lost again. We saw the Hotel Stephanie. It looked fancy, and expensive, but we were tired and disoriented and needed a rest so agreed to try every hotel we saw until we found one with room at the inn. No need for the plan, Hotel Stephanie had a twin room (after a little bed manoeuvring) and were in, washed, refreshed an ready to go in no time, but it was already dark.
I wasn’t keen on just staying in the hotel all evening so we agreed a on a quick stroll and if there was no where to eat within ten minutes we’d head back. We found “Frank’s American-Italian Bar and Grill“, a strange Austrian concept. It was almost empty but was still open. I had tuna and stir fried vegetables, oh how I loved those vegetables.
I realised I’d been wearing my top inside out all evening, but no-one seemed to have noticed. We strolled back over the Danube canal, past a Corona beach bar and back to the hotel where we drank a big beer in the little bar before bed.