Day 69 - Bratislava to Tulln: Unfinished business in Vienna - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

March 25, 2015

Day 69 - Bratislava to Tulln: Unfinished business in Vienna

I have fond memories of Austria, so it was with eagerness that I left Bratislava, rode past the decommissioned border crossing, out from behind the Iron Curtain, and headed for Vienna, drinking plenty of water. Austria was different. The bike route signs were numerous and detailed, and even weirder than that were the roadside trees: they didn't stick out over the road at all. Ever. All offending branches had been removed.

I don't recall when I switched to the north bank of the Danube, but it was on time to enjoy the Donau-Auen, the most monotonous national park I have ever visited. Aside from the occasional picnic table where I stopped to drink water, it appeared to consist entirely of a raised bike path running parallel to a non-bike path. It was, in fact, so boring, that the big path-sweeping machine, something that looks designed to chew up cyclists, provided some welcome entertainment, even though all it did was get in my way.

But it was all okay because the weather was nice, I had a tailwind, and I was going back to Vienna, very well-hydrated.

It was here I started to see the first of the light tourers, looking all sleek with their mini-saddlebags, new clothes, and clean bikes. I stopped to talk to a girl who appeared to be alone--she was going most of the way to Budapest on the EV6 and didn't look like she was even carrying food. Ah, to be on a short holiday with a high daily budget. But no, I'd rather do it my way, because as tough as it gets, at least I have a bad memory.

I managed to find my way into Vienna, still on bike paths, passing a few public toilets along the way which I didn't make use of despite all the water I had been drinking. And even more remarkably, I biked all the way to and through the centre (and out again, but I'm getting ahead of myself). No walking. Let me make that clear: I biked into a major city, trying to navigate as I went, and I was able to pedal the entire way, without problems, without stress, without fear for my life. That is amazing. I love Vienna. I could even soak up the elegant splendour of the city centre from the saddle.

But I wasn't there for the architecture. As much as I wanted to linger, this trip is about seeing new places, so I was there solely to remedy a mistake of sorts. It's not often in life that you get a second chance when it comes to regrets. And I had a major regret, one that had stayed with me for nearly five years. So I came to Vienna to fix that, to take care of some unfinished business. I was there to use the Opera Toilet.

[In case you want to try this for yourself, it's located in the underground passage next to the opera house.]

Regret remedied to my satisfaction, I returned to my bike and before I even unlocked my lock, I created a new regret in the form of an invitation I turned down without even thinking, being engrossed in planning a route out of the city. I will never get the chance to undo this regret. *sigh*

Finding EV6 wasn't all that hard. I stumbled onto EV9 and followed that for a bit, then eventually spotted a sign for EV6. I continued along the south bank, unable to find open, affordable accommodation--and that's affordable by Austrian standards, not mine--and realized I would have to camp. That's about the same time I realized I should have been on the north bank, which had miles and miles of trees, but that there was no way across. Yup, I'm doing great at this whole wild camping thing.

Information overload. I must have left Slovakia.
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Austrian idea of a national park, the epitome of monotony
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Normally I'm not a creepy person who takes pictures of public washrooms
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Today's ride: 122 km (76 miles)
Total: 3,167 km (1,967 miles)

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