Jan and Ian

Vienna to Bratislava

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Back on the bikes again for the 70 km ride to a brand new destination, Slovakia and it’s capital Bratislava. After winding our way through the almost deserted streets (Sundays in Austria are VERY quiet!) we were surprised to find ourselves in the middle of the Vienna Marathon, with thousands of runners racing us through the same parklands where the royals used to hunt.
We finally shook off the runners and followed a rather industrial route until we hit a long stretch along the New Danube, an artificial canal parallel to the real river, for several kilometers.
Our morning tea stop at the first village of the day found us at the only cafe in town, specializing in serving the raddlers (bike riders) who brave the trail. With the chilly 10 degree, overcast weather raddlers were few and far between (and will be until next spring) but the warm punch and strudel (better than in Vienna!) warmed us beautifully for the next stretch.
And what a stretch, about 10 km of dead-straight, rough surfaced, elevated levy bank with a virtually unchanging landscape the whole way. It wasn’t hard riding but it was a bit mind numbing pedaling away and seeming to get NOWHERE! The only respite came in the form of two teenagers cycling the path, one towing a trailer, who seemed challenged by our appearance on their path and proceeded to race past us, only to fall by the wayside, worn out after about 100 metres… we may look easy-beats, but the reality is a little different!
Finally the path curved the tiniest amount and a lunch stop appeared, a genuine Austrian country pub, having it’s final open weekend before closing for winter. Our entire days ride so far, about 55 km, had offered us exactly 2 opportunities to eat, quite a change after having a new village every 5 km for the rest of the journey.
With only a few kilometres to go we crossed the Slovakian border and soon the ugly duckling outskirts of the capital formed ahead of us. We crossed the Danube another time (we have lost count of how many crossings there have been!) and cycled into a magically transformed scene, a very beautiful Bratislava; the sort of place where you quickly feel at home and which delights at every turn.

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