Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day 39: to Vienna (68; 2536)

Two fascinating facts about Zwentendorf to start the day: in the 1970s Austria's only nuclear power plant was built here - but never used, and on Sunday it celebrated its 1000-yr birthday. Seems unlucky to miss a 1000-yr anniversary by one day... A bit like cycling all the way to Athens only to find your friends are not at home ;-)
(Ruth gets credit for that wisecrack)

Interesting camping neighbour last night: an elderly German chap with a large Canadian canoe. The campsite was a couple of hundred yards from the water and even though he had a set of wheels on it, it must be quite an effort to haul, being a large boat with plenty of contents. He says he does 10 kmh a lot of the time but only 5 when he nears the many hydro stations (he is travelling with the current of course). On the other side a nice German girl who told me she celebrated two weeks of cycling last night with a bed, a meal and a beer! Unfortunately a fair few mossies around for the first time (and no wind) so that limited the socialising somewhat.

Ironically because I had only a short distance to make, my legs felt full of vim today. I stopped in the very attractive main square of Tulln for some wifi and coffee, and generally took it easy all day.

The next stretch of cycling looked more like Belize than Austria: the Danube was a perfect pale jade, the sky a perfect blue and the only noise came from birds in the thick forest on both shores. Magic. I could have kept cycling that forever.

The route into Vienna was also surprisingly green and pleasant, though somewhat lacking in signage. In fact Vienna is quite good for cycling, with lots of paths etc. My only complaint is cycles aren't allowed in parks, of which there are many very large and lovely ones - therefore blocking the cycle route in all directions!

In fact I spent a couple of sunny hours this afternoon reading in the main park. I've been getting such enjoyment from the Kindle on this trip. Basically I downloaded about 80 free books - perhaps half modern trash, and half off-copyright classics. This rather random selection contains some absolute treasures - yesterday I read a Jane Austen novella called Lady Susan which was hilarious. Now I'm on Elizabeth Gaskell. 

I'm staying tonight with Uschi's sister Claudia, who was volunteered for this by Uschi when I saw her in Basel. All I know of Claudia is she has a dog and a racehorse. I like her already!

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