Monday, April 30, 2012

Vienna on the Danube

It is really difficult to imagine being in three countries in three days. Yes, but it is true . We left Mosonmagyarovar in Hungary on the 26th and entered Slovakia on the same day and was in Bratislava till the 28th when we left for Austria. . The Austrian border is only about 20 kilometers from Bratislava , so we were in Austria also on the 28th. Cycling from Bratislava towards Vienna was indeed a great experience as the whole journey of seventy odd kilometers were done on the cycling trail except for two to three kilometers where we had to use the normal roads when passing through the villages. I just can't help wondering why our authorities in Malaysia cannot do the same thing. It's commonsense, if you provide the facilities , people will use them. Don't give excuses such as our weather is not suitable because it is too hot, because people in these countries that I go through cycle in summer, autumn, winter and spring. Along these cycling trails I see families, old men and women fat and thin, young boys and girls, competitive riders all out enjoying themselves. Need I say that cycling is a healthy activity.

We entered Austria without realising it as the usual Immigration formalities are no longer required. The border posts have been dismantled and what is in its place is just a board that says that you are now leaving Slovakia and entering Austria. No stamping of the passports are required anymore, and whether you drive, cycle or walk, you just go through without stopping. It is wonderful, really. About 20 kilometers after leaving Bratislava we met a German cyclist also riding towards Vienna and after exchanging stories decided to look for a place to camp. We found a nice secluded place and joined forces to camp. We collected enough water for our cooking and how glad I was that we could finally camp, for free. We had earlier inquired from a local guy and he said that camping in that locality is not forbidden. Daniel had been glad to meet us as he had been riding alone for several weeks and as we shared similar interests he was only too happy to join us.

The next morning we broke camp and cycled together to Vienna. Much of the cycling trail was along the Danube and about 10 kilometers before Vienna we came across the stretch by the river where people were sunbathing in the nude . Well, while it is ok to see young people with good figures baring all, I find it disgusting to see old men and women with sagging boobs and bellies also going about naked. We cycled along the Danube till we reached Vienna and with Daniel's help we were able to find a place at a hostel in the city before we parted ways. Vienna is very expensive so we need to move on and perhaps find cheaper places or camp (illegally). Shhhhhh.

Leaving Bratislava

River cruise on the Danube

Tourists love these

The Castle

The Raddison Hotel in Bratislava

The Hotel at night

Very famous person obviously

The Danube as seen along the cycling trail to Vienna

Wide cycling trail parallel to the highway

Cycling with Daniel towards Vienna

The leaves can be eaten

Camping in the wild

Signposts along the trails

Huge parks in Vienna for recreation

In the park

Beautiful Vienna

Walking or cycling up to the bridge

The Park in Vienna

Thanks for the memories, Daniel

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another day another country

We left Mosonmagyarovar on a perfect day for cycling, with the sun shining brightly and not far away was another country, Slovakia. Hungary had been a memorable experience and from Slovakia onwards we won't need to draw money in the local currency anymore until we get to England. The Euros would be the currency used in all the countries making all transactions less complicated . The road leading out to the border was straightforward and most of the way we were on a beautiful cycling lane. It was less than 20 kilometers to the border and to our surprise when we reached the border there was no necessity go through any immigration procedures as there were no officials from Hungary or Slovakia manning the posts. All travellers just pass through without any inspection or stamping of passports . Strange as it may seem but this is my first experience - so called travel free policy. I don't usually keep track of distances cycled from place to place and after cycling from about 30 kilometers and on a perfect cycling lane along the Danube again we arrived in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Bratislava is smaller than Budapest but similar in some ways in that it is also not crowded and busy . Three local cyclists cycled with us to show the way to the hostel that we were looking for and to our pleasant surprise we also met a young Malaysian also checking in into the hostel. Ng Jia Yi ,24 from Penang is a student in Paris and here for visit . It 's really nice to meet a Malaysian after months of travelling and share some familiar tales. I have not seen much of Bratislava yet so just just a little peek for you. There'll be more later.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Riding out of Mosonmagyarovar

Sharing information with other cyclists along the way

Bratislava for the tourists

With Malaysian, Ng Jia Yi

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Come Ride With Me

Today, 25th April marks the completion of seven months since I left Taman Jaya, in PJ and how time flies. While I miss home, my friends, my hobbies and my regular activities I must admit that I wouldn't have it any other way if given a choice . Of course there were times when things seemed hopeless or were not going the way I had expected, the irritations,  the inconveniences, the hardships and the physical and mental demands were somewhat excessive but all in all going through them have been worthwhile. I would like to say that I look forward to a pleasant ride the rest of the way to my final destination, London. Considering that I shall be going through several more cities, towns and meandering about the villages' roads I have about 2,000 kilometers more to cover. As I am actually ahead of schedule, I will be able to take things easier and spending more time at places I find interesting. While the cities have their own attractions, it is the villages that give you the sense of peace and tranquility.

After leaving Budapest the ride had been rather pleasant despite the persistent headwinds on all the days. At times the headwinds were so strong that walking would have been faster. On such days to manage 40 or 50 kilometers would be an achievement. The only consolations are the light traffic and the beautiful scenery and things you encounter along the way. For this blog let me just share with you some of  the lovely scenes along the way:

I am now at a town called Mosonmagyarovar about 15 kilometers from the border to Slovakia and about 40 kilometers to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Originally, it was not my intention to go to Slovakia, but after looking at the map and seeing that I would only need an extra three or four days to see the country and then make my way to Vienna , it was an opportunity not to be missed. Tomorrow I'll be on my way - Goodbye Hungary, hello Slovakia.

Spring Cleaning

The Lone Rider

Cycling lanes everywhere

Terry, Sheena or Joe can tell you what they are

A handsome building in Gyor

A nice and quiet place to spend the night

No, it's not what you think

Much slower than cycling

Nothing but Blue Skies

Peace and quiet

Large areas of mustard

A convenient place to rest

Big and small Tesco, Tesco everywhere

No traffic snarl in this town