Up a bit late, then ate a giant multi-part breakfast stocking up on fruit and cheese washed down with coffee and juice. A wiggly route out of town through a one-way system. My new layer of second-skin felt tight but the expected swelling didn’t really appear.
We took the northern, left-bank, tootling happily through Linz‘s main park and then along levees for miles. My front wheel creaked and I tried moving it sideways to little effect. My knee and hip creaked too. We got overtaken a lot. It was wonderfully dry and overcast with no wind. Heavenly.
We had to move away from the Danube to St Georgen to stay on track. We’d opted not to go visit the concentration camp memorial nearby, but had just commented on how beautiful the wooded section we were in when we spotted a roadside art work. A memorial to the slave labourers from Spain, Poland and Russia who had built the bridge we’d crossed to bring people to the camp. It was a grim moment catching us unawares.
There were loads of Sunday cyclists out. One tried to talk to me, I tried English. He liked my Jim Morrison/Andy Warhol cycling jersey, but didn’t want to order one from England. We stopped for ice cream at a bar. Everywhere was cycle stands sponsored by beer and cigarette brands.
We carried along a levee which was lots of lovely miles of traffic-free smoothness with an occasional break up of cobbles as we’d taken the wrong road. We stopped at a radlerstation at MitterKirchen where I had sparkly apple spritzer and nut strudel. It was cake-y rather than pastry-ish, but good. We left and took a few wiggles, we missed a turn and stopped sharply. The cyclists behind us laughed out loud at our ineptitude. On through more track which seemed to have been diverted from the road to take us past lots of silly museums.
From there it was a steady ride to Grein, where we stopped for lunch, although it was already 3pm. I had pizza and a radler (shandy). The tourist office charged us E2 to book a room in Ybbs, that was great value as it allowed us to relax.
We asked at the ferry platform, but it didn’t seem to be running so we walked back through Sunday strollers towards the bridge, but another ferry-man shouted to me. I waved and he waited as I lowered the bike slowly onto the ferry as he gestured that I should keep the brakes on. This is when I learned that the trick to getting a laden bike onto a ferry safely is to reverse it on.
It was a five minute crossing and soon we were zooming along the south-bank past lovely cottages nd holiday caravans in the woods. Lou’s knees were creaking so we took it steady. I got a giant bug stuck in my eye so had to stop to cry it out. As we set off again a German voice said ‘Hullo’ – it was the men from yesterday. They checked on my knee and where we were staying but they were set to be on the other side of the river. We followed them for a while before losing touch. They crossed at the Kraftwerk and we carried on into Ybbs.
We saw a sign to the hotel in 300m but all we got at 300m was a statue made of broken bikes and another sign saying the hotel was 400m further on.
When we got there it was heaven. Our bikes were stored in racks in a secure courtyard an we went straight for a beer in the garden and sat happily chatting. We decided to stay for dinner. I had grilled prawns and zander from the Danube with mixed veg, including yellow carrots. Odd but good. I creaked audibly as I walked and a group of middle aged Austrian women laughed at me. We smiled back and after a series of little mimes we became friends in that weird kind of travelling way.
Back upstairs to shower and I sat in the shower to peel of that day’s second skin. It hurt. I washed myself and my clothes and I realised that I was struggling to stand up without bashing my knee. I started to panic that I’d have to get help to get out of the shower, and I knew I couldn’t put wet lycra clothes back on so I’d be naked and bleeding when the fire brigade came. This was not an option so I hauled myself to a crouch using the soap dish and the showerhead and poked my bum out of the shower stall to sit on the floor and wriggle backwards so I could free my legs. It was not an attractive thing to do.
I went to bed and listened to road noise, I woke fearing that the noise outside was the wind reaching gale levels, but it was just trains passing and they ‘rocked me back to sleep’.
On to Krebbs