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