Saturday, 16 June 2012

Read the Signs

Friday 15.06.2012    Tulln an der Donau – Hainburg  92.5 kms
What a day! Long and interesting.
The beginning – we were packed , dry, fed and away before 09.30. The sun wasn’t actually shining but it was veiled by only a thin layer of cloud. I risked donning my new shirt and shorts - a good move as it turned out. Mr. Master Navigator had spent some time perusing our projected passage through Vienna which looked anything but straight forward. So, with more than 20 kms already completed, we reached the outskirts of Vienna under a full sun (shorts and shirt doing well). Cofftea and buns were consumed for extra energy and concentration. Now, it is not unusual for a map and local paths to be a mismatch. However, this particular mismatch would have required a 100’ leap onto a bridge to have fulfilled its objective. No wings and no other solution than to try another option – like turning back and following the E6 signs which, inevitably, ran out. Head scratching interlude! Fatal! ‘Where are you going?’ asked a young man. Mr. Master Navigator produced his map and to the command of ‘Follow me!’ (where have we heard that before?) we were soon flying through Vienna. A sacrilege I hear some of you cry, but Vienna is another of those cities that require a flight, a posh hotel and lots of dosh, not two old age pensioners on bikes trying to cross Europe. We had seen a disappointing side of the city for we had followed the canal which was shabby and graffiti covered. After we met our guide, there was little time to admire anything else while we concentrated on pursuing the lead bike. 10kms and 30 minutes later, we stopped to breathe, and to bid a grateful farewell to our new friend (a university lecturer apparently). The parting of ways left us eating our lunch in the company of a number of naked men strolling around. I do struggle to find anything attractive about old men wobbling along waving a very small willy.
Now back on track (Mr. Master Navigator in charge again, located our position)  and we left behind the naked naturists.
I think I may have mentioned ‘hoch wasser’ in a former blog and proud we were of our accurate translation. Today a similar sign appeared in our path illustrated this time with a large hand, palm facing and a clear STOP. As the river was markedly lower and more placid today, we ignored the sign! Bad move! Several kilometres further on, the path turned a right angle and would normally have crossed a small stream by means of a bridge. Today a very big stream and no bridge; indeed ‘hoch wasser’! Too far and too lazy to go back, we unhitched the bikes from the trailers and watched a couple in front to ascertain the maximum depth. We didn’t actually want to drown. Knee high- thigh high on my short pins. So, bikes first and then carry each trailer between us. So several crossings later with legs and feet refreshed by their immersion in cold water, we reassembled the duo, put on our shoes and socks and continued on. On, followed and old railway track in  a straight line for 14kms with trees on either side. Mmmm.. not the most absorbing view.
Finally we reached Hainburg, an ancient border town with a very interesting history. My thoughts were more on the present; food and accommodation. Both now satisfied. Tomorrow we will be in Hungary!

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