We finished off Slovakia with headwinds everyday, some more bakery visits, a warm showers stay with the very hospitable Mark and his family, and a brief journey along the Danube on the Eurovelo 6. Mark has told us about the ‘Chuck Norris’ Bridge, a pedestrian only footbridge across to Austria, so we decided to cross there into our 28th Country.
At first Austria gave us more of the same, headwinds (every direction we go in!), flat rolling farmland, and maypoles in every village. As we were getting water our first evening, Jim got chatting with a man in a pub, Paul, who insisted we stay in his very nice guestroom, and treated us to pizza for dinner. We spent a lovely evening with Paul and his wife Kati, drinking too much as we talked and ate. It was a brilliant start to Austria, and the hospitality continued to be fantastic. We managed to find warm showers hosts almost every night.
We headed north into the hills, which was much more interesting than the flat we had endured for a week, and soon reached Austria’s wine region, with vineyards everywhere. In Mailburg we stayed with Lisa and her kids (W.S) for another lovely evening.
The headwind still hadn’t abated, as we headed south back towards the Danube, to camp at a vineyard. Austrian bakeries have been wonderful, Jim enjoyed lots of pretzels.
We climbed up to 1000m, through massive pine forests and fields just like in the sound of music, before finding Thomas and his family (WS). Another amazing evening spent eating, drinking and talking. We also got to play our favourite game of ‘try the local snacks’! Once Thomas found out Jim was into beer he also brought out alot of local ones for Jim to try.
We had a lazy lie in the next day, because of the late night and because we woke up to snow! After a incredible brunch we set off, despite the cold, and dropped down to Schwertberg, where my great grandmother grew up, to check out the family Schloss. After a good photo sesh, we climbed alot more hills to Neumarkt, where we got the chance to sleep in the most incredible gypsy caravan/tiny house while we stayed with Marita and her family (WS). We really didn’t want to leave.
Another lazy morning before more hills over to the Czech Republic, via the least obtrusive border crossing we have used. A few climbs, and a tiny amount of snow, but lots of hares and deer. We cycled to Cesky Krumlov, a gorgeous little town, which was very scenic but full of tourists. At the campsite we slept in a hut due to the cold.
Jim’s words – Pizza, Austria, Deer, Rolling, Beers, Caravan and Czechia