|Vienna - Bratislava (using bikeroutetoaster.com)|
So I felt rather dozy when I climbed out of my tent and started to pack my bags. Doziness turned to irritation when I discovered a flat front tyre. With all the noise around me it proved impossible to find a puncture, so I put in the tube that I had taken out way back in Eindhoven.
I set off at about 9:30. At least I was on the right side of Vienna, and soon found my way out along the Radweg. The path was surrounded by big trees, lagoons with a cacophony of frogs and the very occasional bicycle. Near the village of Schonau I found a little cafe and sat there for coffee and toast. As often happened at these places, I cycled for miles without seeing another cyclist but as soon as I stopped at a cafe dozens appeared.
Revived by my breakfast, I set off along the empty Radweg embankment. After a while I fell in with three French cyclists, who had cycled from Lyon, through Basle and Donauschingen and were heading for Budapest. We chatted for a while in French which was very satisfying. We both commented on the German fashion for butterfly handlebars and an upright riding position as opposed to our more classic drop handlebar, touring bike style.
Eventually I drifted behind them as I stopped to make some adjustments to the bike but caught up again with them in Hainburg, the last town of any size in Austria. I did some shopping in the local Lidl, and as I crested the hill outside of the town caught my first glimpse of the tower blocks of Bratislava in the distance.
|It actually says "Budapest"!|
|Another border crossed|
I unpacked my bicycle and settled myself into the room and then went out for a wander. Bratislava is not a large city and has the feel of a big town. It felt relaxed, slow, quiet. The city centre, the touristy area, has obviously had a good makeover in recent years and it felt a very nice place to walk around.
|Hvidezdoslavova Square, Bratislava|
|Very nice way to spend a few hours|
By 6:30 I knew that I had had enough to eat and drink and decided to walk back through the pleasant evening sunshine to my hotel, where I promptly fell fast asleep until 10 o'clock.
I managed to make a couple of telephone calls and repair the punctured inner tube and then drifted off to sleep.
I was really glad to have visited Bratislava as I enjoyed my few hours there. The people I met were friendly and helpful, the city was calm and relaxing and I felt I could leave with my negative preconceptions expunged.