Sunday, June 15, 2014

Day 37: to Pöchlarn (89; 2388)

Last night ended with me cycling around a nature reserve looking for my campsite in the pitch black at 1.30 in the morning. It wasn't at all a dangerous situation, but I did feel a bit of a wally! And relieved when I found it. Thanks google maps. Prior to this I had been watching the opening England match in an English pub full of Italians. Very amusing cultural experience...

Despite the late night, the day started at the usual time when twenty Hungarian teenage campers started to get going. I said fond farewells to my recent German friends and headed off into a surprisingly cool and cloudy day.

At lunchtime I stopped in the very classically Danube-looking town of Grein and then took a tiny wooden ferry across the fast-flowing river. As I landed a few spots of rain fell but despite looking threatening all day nothing worse has happened. I feel ridiculously blessed with the weather thus far, but it's been quite a pleasant change to not be sweating today.

Suffering a bit from several late nights I was surprised to make decent time/mileage and considered pushing on to break 100k. Instead I stopped at a 'Nature Friend House' (I've been wanting to try one of these) which advertised camping. When I asked to camp they told me I could but it was the same price (10 euros) to sleep in a bed. So a bed it is! 

This is in the slightly odd town of Pöchlarn. According to the tourist brochure I was given this is a very ancient town (Romans etc; I hadn't know the Danube was the border of the Roman Empire for 500 yrs). The brochure is generally pretty amusing: 'unfortunately the city was also more than once victim of inundations, ice jams and fires... Today it is a future-orientated business location..'. Well all I can say is, not on a Sunday afternoon it's not.

I find Austria a little bit quirkier and thus more entertaining than  Germany. Especially foodwise: as I write I am eating delicious garlic soup, that came served with a large squirt of squirty cream on top. Yesterday's lunch delicacy was 'germknödel' - one giant dumpling with prune jam in the middle, topped with a pile of poppy seeds and dripping with melted butter. Good cycling fuel but very odd indeed.

The next week's going to be busy: Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest if I maintain current speed. Three capital cities in a week, how very American!

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