Day 16

Itinerary: Wien to Mosonmagyarovar Weather: 22, clouds, some drizzle
Distance KM: 140.6Ave KmH: 27
Highlight: entering Hungary via local lane
Fav Food: Hungarian merlot from the mini bar


City LocationItemLocal
WienInterspar at MitteMilka choc bars, Mozart choc bag66
WienBig.netphone call and net use145
Wien Lonely Planet Officialeast Euro phrase book130
WienUBahnback to Mitte, lost Mom19
KaiserebersdorfBP Station cheap pastries, peanuts, candy80
MosonmagyarovarThermal Bath Hoteldouble room with the works, bath, breakfast 9500Fl
MosonmagyarovarHoteltwo long domestic calls to Yuka2952

Morning Shopping
After checking the map for the remainder of my trip, I decided that I have enough leeway to allow an afternoon departure today. I wanted to properly see my mom off to the airport here and also tie-up a few loose ends here in Vienna before heading on. We made our biggest purchase of the day at the Interspar grocery at the Mitte station: two sacks full of Milka and Mozart chocolate. The clerk thought we were crazy for coming back to the register so many times, but we finally satiated our urge to buy sweet souvenirs.

Missing in Action
Next we split up so that mom might find some Swarovsky earrings or something for herself and I could make an internet and phone stop at I thought I had picked out a foolproof rendezvous point at the bookstore where I wanted to buy a Slovakian phrasebook. Howevever, I told mom the wrong street for the shop and consequently each of us spent an hour wondering the streets of central Vienna looking for the other. Eventually we both abandoned the search and headed back to the hotel separately. I found mom on Ungar Street dragging her bicycle box in the direction of the airport bus pick-up at the Hilton. I apologized as best I could and helped her down to the station.

Phase II
I myself had to run back to the Stafanshaus to check out of my room and get my bike before the nuns closed down for the afternoon. The weather was still a light drizzle and I was still feeling the effects of this cold- flu that won't go away. However, I went ahead with the check-out, exhausting pretty much the rest of my supply of schillings. Having no money and no room, I had no choice but to head on. Notice the lack of enthusiasm at this point for what could be the best part of the whole adventure. I made my way down to the river, or the canal anyway, and followed what I thought was the trail.

New Navigation
With each phase of the trip, one has to learn new navigation skills and get a feel for the signs and roads. So, I wasn't sure if the lack of Donau Ride signs was a problem or not, considering that good signage gets a little muddled in the city. Without having a good bike map or any particular clue, I made an educated guess that I had just ridden 10km or so on the wrong side of the river. At the canal's end, my trail/road dried up and I decided to make a cross to the other side. There still weren't many people around, but I got the idea that I was in the right place.

Father and Son
I came up on a father and son traveling on loaded mountain bikes. We all stopped at a train guide map and pondered the future direction of the trail. After one wrong guess, we found our way back and road together for a bit. These two were Polish folks who had moved to Munich more than ten years before. The father spoke English pretty well, so we talked a bit about our travels, they are traveling to Budapest and returning by train. He told me that he also has relatives in Chicago and that they are all happy to be working abroad. With that, I went ahead so that I might make it to Hungary by nightfall. Not an easy task.

The trail got a little tricky around the border, or so it seemed to a loan foreigner with no map. At one point I ended up on a military road that combed the bank of the Danube facing Slovak and Bratislava. I knew I didn't want to go into Slovak today, but I thought this was still the way the trail went. Then, it took a major turn south and I kind of lost things. I picked out the border town that I wanted to cross through and headed there by road instead. Incidentally, the roads and towns here all seemed too neat and clean. A bit surreal. Pulling up to the border cross at Nickelsdorf, I didn't know what to expect, but it seemed I was magically back on the trail.

Hungarian Impression
I entered through the local border station which was completely dead compared to the one on the parallel expressway. I thought the place was completely deserted, but two guys did come out to stamp my documents and lift the manual gate fo

Hungarian Impression

I had exhausted pretty much my last bit of light on the last stretch of road coming into town.

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