From Brataslava it was a short, very pleasant day's ride to Vienna. The mostly paved cycling path took us through endless, dense forests and brought us right to the edge of town. We stopped to refill water bottles by the river and quickly realized that we had entered a country with a more open, progressive feel. We received a guten tag from an older gentleman in all of his naked glory. A few steps brought me to the edge of the path. From atop the levy I looked down to see a few dozen Austrian sunbathers getting tans where the sun doesn't usually shine, a great introduction to the city!
We spent a few hours wandering before meeting up with our Warmshowers host, Arnaud, at a groovy little cafe/restaurant where you pay whatever you feel is the correct price for the food. 5 € seemed about right for my hummus plate, quite tasty. Arnaud then led us on a mad, night time dash through the city to the Bike Kitchen. Which was by far, the most interesting place I had spent the night this trip.
A community run bicycle action/advocacy group that includes a public bike shop and occasionally hosts the lucky cycle tourer. Every city needs a Bike Kitchen.
Ed led us on a beer tour through the city until it broke the day's budget and then we settled for some site seeing.
Just couldn't get a good pic of the buildings in Vienna, but here are a few anyway. Pretty spectacular Barouque architecture.
Of course we had to have some sausages while in Vienna.
Our second Warmshowers hosts, Felix and Anna, demonstrating their unicycling skills
So much incredible street art in Vienna. Had to hit a few local favorites before getting back on the road.
Incredibly flat, smoothly paved trails follow a winding route along the Danube. This was our glorious scenery for the next few days.
For the next week or so I swam more than I have since I was child in the river and surrounding lakes. It is such a wonderful thing that the water is so clean here. Makes me long for this in Indy.
A night camping beneath the behemoth Abby at Melk. We landed here on a holiday and scrambled to find food as everything was closed.
Reached a campground in a part of the river referred to as Schlogen. The river bends at 180 turns, forming an S, and narrows, increasing the speed that it flows. This campground had a dock where you dive off one end, do your best to fight the current for a bit, then float down to the other end, climb out and do it all over again. SO MUCH FUN! That night is definitely one of the most memorable: Ed, playing guitar and singing, while I got a haircut from another cycle tourer, also a hair-stylist, who I paid with beer, AND a group of Hungarians, who were canoeing down the river, kept feeding us all Palinka. Truly incredible!
The next day brought us to the end of our Danube time at the city of Passau. The Danube, the Inn and the Ilz rivers converg here, beginning with distinctly different colors and merging into the lime blue of the Danube.
We had lunch sitting in the medieval, old-town center of Passau and bounced over cobbled roads before turning south along the Inn. Heading for the Alps!