Tilting Against Wind

Current Location:Gluckstadt, Germany

First and foremost I have to thank Elizabeth and her family for hosting me in Austria.  For those that don’t remember ElizabethI met her wwoofing on a farm in the Bay of Islands.  It just so happens that when I turned up she was about to drive around the country doing a series of tests to try and get into university.  This meant I got to tag along and travelled through 6 of the 9 provinces of Austria and did some sight-seeing along the way.  It was really a treat to get to drive through the Alps and not have to cycle them, they are mighty and fierce sometimes.  The BBQ the day I arrived was especially nice, I have started to really miss them as I’m cycling around I smell them more and more.  I wish I could just sit down and enjoy some braats!

I left St. Valentin with some extra time to spare (I thought) in which to make it to Copenhagen in time to meet mom and dad but  it looks now like I’ll make it just in time.  I’ve finished the Elbe river today and am still 2 days ride from the border to Denmark and then from there 2 more days to ride to Copenhagen.  The wind has been against me the whole 5 days spent on the river, it’s something that doesn’t really bother me but it does end up wearing me down by the end of the day.

The Elbe river was nice, but not nearly as spectacular as the Donau though I hear I missed the best part which is the section from Prague into Dresden.  I did end up catching a train from Passau to Dresden last Sunday, 7 hours on the train for 40 euro I thought was a deal which I couldn’t pass up for the chance to meet up with mom and dad.  I wonder if I can answer yes when people ask me if I cycled the whole way now. 

I’m guessing at this point I’m starting to look a bit feral as I think it’s been 7 days since I’ve shaved, I’m gonna try and see how long it goes before people start running away from me.  The camping along the way has only gotten easier, in fact one night I stopped for water and a beer at a bar and the bar owner offered out of the blue to let me camp along side the Elbe river.  With an invitation like that I figured it was alright to have another beer and call it a day.

I know I haven’t posted pictures in a while, i’ll get to those in Copenhagen when I should have some free time.

Allez, Allez, Allez!

Current Location: St. Valentin, Austria

I am not sure what makes a cycling tourer what they are but we are a different breed than your average wanderer, and not in a bad way.  I don’t think of us as the crazy wanderer type, instead every tourer I have met has been particularly well balanced and gregarious.  We have all fought the same hills and raced down the hills which I think gives us all similar outlooks towards cycling, we will fight the hills when necessary but will avoid them when we can, we don’t go backwards on ourselves, we will ride in the rain because we dry out.  Though I must say that the sun does have the nice affect of changing the way I feel about a country, it is always infinitely better when the sun is shining.  Our most precious possession is our bike and you will rarely find a tourer far from it.

I am sure some people look at us as if we were crazy but well grounded is the only way I have found other tourers, maybe because it is not the easy way.

“The only bad thing I have to say about Germany is that I have nothing bad to say about Germany.”  This was a quote given to me by a touring couple I met in Luxembourg and I have found this to be right on the money.  They gave me their thoughts on cycling here as they had done it the previous year.  I have found the people to be extremely helpful and nice, more than a few times I have found myself puzzling over a map or a sign trying to figure out which way to turn when another cyclist will pull up and ask if I need help.  If they cannot speak English they will often sign for me to follow along and I will eventually be led to where I need to go (This has happened more than once.)  The cycle routes are second only to Holland and well signed, for the most part.  And to compare the size of Germanyto Holland the cycle routes become all the more amazing.

The route I took through Germany to get to Austria has basically been to follow as many rivers I can mostly for two reasons.  One is that it makes navigating relatively easy as I just have to know on which side of the river I am on to know which direction to go.  The other is simply that it makes for easier cycling.  By far the nicest cycling to date in Europe has been along the Donau (Danube) river.  I rode along its banks for 3 days solid and the last day cycling from Passau into Austria was really spectacular, I can now see why river cruises along there are so popular.  Also getting popular in that area is the weekend warrior cycling, I passed many families and groups of people doing the route to Wien (Vienna.)

I think the plan at the moment is to cycle to Copenhagen to try and meet mom and dad on the 10th.  I am not sure how that will work and may involve a train somewhere, we will see how long it takes me to get out of here first.