The Forest to the Sea

Why you should always look at the sky before popping to the loo…

One third of our 23 days, almost 1000 km and we’ve reached our first capital city. I’m sat in my flat in Vienna, pondering how comfy it all looks compared to the thought of getting on that bike again. Once you’re on the road, getting wind blasted and bumping over tree roots that burrow themselves under the asphalt, it’s worth it. The sense of satisfaction (and the general mood of optimism that we can actually make it all the way) grows each day. We have, however, been theorizing occasionally on the nature of pain. The first thing you notice is that you generally just feel one pain at a time, perhaps the body creates new pains just to distract from the original. Secondly, pain can appear in places you never knew you had. Today those theories have been blown out the window; I have no single point of pain, it’s a general body feeling, a head to toe ache.

Germany was almost finished with a flourish after the initial broken wheel difficulties. We were rocking the second 150km day to the Austrian border when disaster struck: Ezra’s wallet left lying on a bakery counter 20km behind us. As he sped off to try and locate it I decided it would be a lovely moment for a toilet stop in an outhouse of a riverside cafe. The moment bum touched seat I heard the first drip drip dripping of rain on the window. Poor Woody was forced to wait patiently in the downpour while I did the necessary and, in very low spirits, we spashled through the storm to Passau. Woody’s frustration at being forced to hang around for me was amplified significantly by the fact that Ezra, who set off 5 minutes earlier, arrived bone dry, keeping just ahead of the cloud. Whoops.

In Passau we picked up Austrian companions for the Austrian leg, Dani, her sister Claudia and boyfriend Pete.  Austria’s ridiculously good signage and smooth bike paths have made for good riding but we hope, on arrival in Vienna, the others have had a taste of the pleasures and the pains of long distant cycling. They endured it all with no complaints and were running at a great pace, although they couldn’t keep up with the gliding speed of the Tarantino on a good long bit of flat. Average speed would be around 35km/hr if we actually watched out of signs occasionally instead of chatting and didn’t have to backtrack to a missing junction every 10 minutes. It’s a kind of tortoise and the hare affair as Ezra and the others plod on patiently behind with his superb internal GPS, with no maps, never getting lost.

We ended our time as a six-some on a high with a excellent Ojos de Brujo concert in Krems last night. We drank a little too much white wine, which made for a sloggy day through the drizzle into Vienna, but managed to shake the tiredness out enough to have a good dance (mainly using the less weary upper body parts) and Ezra even ended up on stage for a boogie with the band.  Tonight it’s friends in Vienna, tomorrow it’s the great unknown…Slovakia, Hungary and beyond, back down to the three of us. We’ll keep you posted…

Tom

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