Monday 28 June 2010

balaton bis belgrad

1. und ganz frisch: die technikkrise.
mein armer freund.
nachdem er 2 abende mit textschreiben verbracht hat ist nun unser stick kaputt.
alles war drauf gespeichert. futschekato, allet wech.
die meisten kennen wahrscheinlich dieses gefuehl, es ist furchtbar.
ich hoffe er wird je wieder etwas schreiben. und das ist nicht die erste technikkrise, nein, bestimmt schon die dritte. wir versuchen unser bestes es mit allen problemen aufzunehmen und irgendwie lauert dann doch das naechste hindernis. wir fragen uns: warum immer wir. wie machen das die anderen.

da er jetzt ganz schlecht gelaunt in unser zimmer gegangen ist, versuche ich es weiter.

2. die krise mit der reise an sich ( aus meiner sicht) und wie das kam:
nachdem es in diesem jahr staendig regnet, die donau immer noch bestimmt einige meter hoeher ist als sonst, gibt es muecken in endloser zahl.
nachdem wir eines morgens (noch in ungarn)
1.mal wieder aus dem zelt krabbelten, muecken abwehrten und ohne kaffe fluechteten
2.ich dann vom schmalen graspfad abkam, unfreiwillig die grasboeschung runterfuhr und dann hinfiel (nichts ernstes, drei blaue flecke mehr)
3.tom dann unbedingt den kuerzesten weg ins dorf nehmen wollte, was in einer verheerenden schlammschlacht endete,
hatte ich sehr schlechte laune.
die strecke schien ich auch schon zu kennen: links und rechts von der stark befahrenen strasse ueberflutete mais-, sellerie-, kornfelder.
die laune nicht besser und ich fragte mich was das eigentlich alles soll.
tom war auch nicht so gut drauf, und da war sie dann, die krise.

doch alles wurde besser, wir fuhren und fahren weiter.

Monday 21 June 2010

von der schoenen braunen Donau an den schoenen braunen Balaton

wir finden das entsprechende radbuch in wien.
erst mal richtung bratislava, dann richtung neusiedler see. dort zelten wir und gluecklicher weise ueberleben wir die mueckenattacken. wir shen einen fliegenden hirschkafer, beeindruckend. am nachsten tag "ueberfahren" wir wieder eine grenze, es geht nach ungarn. in den provinzen sieht es noch aus wie damals, ich fuehle mich in die ddr zeit zurueckversetzt. endlich kenne ich wieder die autos. trabi, wartburg, dacia, skoda. naja, es gibt auch ganz viele neue autos.
wir folgen jetzt dem streckenverlauf IRON CURTAIN TRAIL. mit entsetzen stellen wir fest, dass der fast ausschliesslich strassen folgt. hatten wir uns naturlich denken koennen. haben aber nicht nachgedacht. und wahrscheinlich ist es jetzt sowieso vorbei mit radwegen. schade, schoen war's. 3400 km auf radwegen. wir fahren richtung balaton und kommen in den 3 minuten sonnenschein an, die der tag zu bieten hat.
ich bin beeindruckt von den vielen grossen und so unterschiedlichen baumen am rand vom see. dekorativ biegen sie sich im wind, der gleich wieder regen bringt. aber vorher gibts noch schweinshaxe und wildragout. radleressen. herrlich.
unseren pausentag verbringen wir biertrinkend und fussballschauend in der bar, denn.... es regnet. doch gerade erfahre ich, ab mirgen wird's besser.
solange halten wir uns noch ueber wasser.

We are holed up in a bar on Lake Balaton watching the word cup Football. After a few days cycling in the rain we have taken a break. Strange way to celebrate the solstice but a force 7 gale is unusual weather for the time of year.
I wanted to come to Balaton after finding a picture book from the DDR time on Anjas Parents bookshelf. They visited here before Anja was born and told stories of meeting tourists from the west who it was forbidden to talk to.
The photobook was mostly in black and white with a few brownish 'colour' pictures showing sailing and rowing boats on a serene lake with a mountainous backdrop and healthy looking youths in baggy short trousers. Was the world browner in the seventies, was photo technology different or have the pictures gone this way over time. I imagine a little of all three.
This SW corner of the lake is geared up for tourism and rightly so but sadly no-one is here. Apparently ten years ago alot of Germans came, as they did before the 'wende' when the walls came down but somehow not so many come as they did. I guess they are all in Thailand or somewhere else more exotic. I am reminded of a northern English resort in bad weather in the early season.
From what we have seen sofar Hungary is a mixture of farmland forrest and modest mountains, pretty enough though to me the single storey houses with windows wider than they are high are not so appealing and speak of raw funktionality.
We have sheltered from the rain in a couple of arboretums and camped in one on the edge of a village. A night by a rapeseed field was a great camping spot until we were woken by a fox stealing our rubbish from on one of the bikes outside te tent. He was so bold he would not run away and even stood up with his paws on the flysheet and stared Anja in the eye from 3 ft away. When one of us mentioned rabies what was fun and interesting took on a more sinister part in our midnight minds and though busting for a pee after a few cans of beer we went trepidly outside together. I gathered the rubish in the morning but one beercan remained AWOL. The others were crushed.
We heard of the Iron curtain cycle path somewhere on the way and decided to take a break from the Danube. We bought the map, our first yet, and joined it at the Neuseedlersee. The lake was great and we swam ther but thecyclepath turned out to be all on roads and so tortuous that we were riding as much west as we were east. We decided to head for Balaton instead and from here we will go south to the Drau river which flows into the Danube once more.

I have just been shown the weather forcast which is slowly getteng better throughout the week. Thank god no-one has told us it will be sunny on Thursday, somehow we have had this for two months, and are fed up with waiting for a Thursday that never comes.

The bikes are doing ok, to date 4 punctures and two broken spokes. Our tyres are also doing well so I have not bought new ones as I planned; a decision I will probably regret at some point when we have to by substandard ones but procrastination is a habit hard to break. I will try to change sometime soon.

Wien was not the cultural experience it should have been. Everything Anja wanted to see was closed or started in a few days but we did have a great night in Klosterneuburg where we camped on the edge of Wien. We were in a cafe (sheltering from the rain) when a band from the music school came in and played Gypsy Jazz, Django Rheinhard mainly, Real good.

I wanted to go dingy sailing on Balaton and have eyed up some baggy shorts in a shop nearby but I don't think it is going to happen this time round. Maybe I will get the chance on the Black sea.

Wednesday 16 June 2010


We are now in Klosterneuburg just outside of Vienna or Wien as the locals call it. Why we have to change the names I don't know,I thought they were two different cities till recently.

I am not a good tourist it has to be said and the merrygoround of attractions and cultural experiences in this capital city left me cold. It is fantastic I am sure but for me as a day tripper it had none of the appeal of say Rome or Paris.
We did spend a nice evening though with Heike, a friend of Anjas, in some crazy cooking club bar where everyone seemed to be cooking together, I was confused as to what was going on but thought it was great.

It is raining hard and we are using the time to sort out boring financial stuff etc before we head out of the Eurozone and East into Hungary.

The donau we will leave for a bit but it has been great. we have been forced by floods into campsites alot but there we have met alot of other travellers, mostly cyclists but also two inspiring young brothers walking from Utrecht to Jarusalem.
They like us found more interest in the small details of the planet rather than the grandiose Capitals. We discussed the proliferation of dead moles, due to high groundwater we decided, and the kinds of insects we had seen. They found it not at all odd that Anja made a dozen 'kieferpäuse' or 'beetle stops' everyday. Good lads.

The floods have receeded but in places were 4m over the banks. This we realised was small and normal compared to historic levels painted on some of the buildings. We spend alot of time trying to calculate the litres per second flowing past and all results are staggering.

The ride the last weeks has been very beautifull, through wooded hills with castles perched atop. Hopefully the rain will stop tomottow and we can carry on East.

Österreich- Sturm, Hitze und jetzt Regen wie aus Gießkannen

Nun verbringen wir schon den 2. Tag in Wien.
Gestern war Museumstag (leider ohne Museum von innen, entweder die interressanten Austellungen hatten noch nicht begonnen, oder das Museum hatte geschlossen, unglaublich, es war wie verhext) und heute ist unfreiwilliger Pausentag.
Es gießt wie aus Kannen und wenn das so weitergeht, ist die Donau bald wieder übervoll.
Wir haben eigentlich genug von überfluteten Wegen, nassen Füßen, verschlammten Rädern und Stürzen auf rutschigen Wegen (letzteres gilt nur für mich, irgendwie bin ich kein wirklich guter Radfahrer)
Heute stehen wir aber sicher ein bißchen erhöht auf dem Campingplatz in Klosterneuburg.
Ganz kurzfristig haben wir gestern einen ganz schönen Abend mit Heike, einer ehemaligen Studienkollegin verbracht. Sehr leckeres Essen auf dem Naschmarkt, dann in den "Kochclub", eine Weinchen trinken und Fußball schauen mit anderen Freunden von Freundin Heike.
Morgen gehts dann weiter, aber wahrscheinlich verlassen wir den "Supercyclinghighway" ans der Donau und radeln Richtung Süden, den Eurovelo 9, um dann bis ans schwarze Meer dem IRON CURTAIN TRAIL zu folgen.
Dieser läuft von Nord nach Süd bis ans Schwarze Meer immer an der ehemaligen Grenze zwischen Ost und West.
Wir entscheiden spontan.
Österreicht hat uns bis jetzt gut gefallen, besonders die Gegend WACHAU ist landschaftlich wunderschön. Da ist selbst das Fahrradfahren ein bißchen zu schnell für mich.
Aber uns sitzt der kommende Winter ein bißchen im Nacken, so verweilen wir nicht soo lange an den einzelnen Orten.
Wettertechnisch hatten wir unseren bis jetzt heftigsten Gewittersturm am Badesee Mitterkirchen, gut, daß das Zelt schon aufgebaut war und auch blieb. Also Sturmtest bestanden.
Ja und die zweitägige Hitze"welle" scheint auch schlagartig seit gesten abend zu Ende zu sein, wir sind bereits nachts im Regen (ohne Regensachen) auf unseren 15 km abseits liegenden Zeltplatz aus Wien zurückgeradelt.

Wie hoffen auf Sonne :)

Wednesday 9 June 2010

bodensee to bratislava

So, we are now in Austria. We had to hurry a bit through Germany because of some technicality with Anjas health insurance. We would like to thank all the people for all the hospitality we recieved. Richard and Heika; sorry we didn't see more of you on this flying visit, Peter and Kirstin; it was a great few days with you in Switzerland and Matze and Gitta thanks for Everything
It was a stange feeling being on the road for so long and then passing through where we used to live and seeing so many friends. A great evening was spent in the 'Herzog Ulrik' with all Anjas former work colleages.
We also stayed a night with the Parents of a friend in Vohburg which was great after a wet couple of days.

The Danube begins officially in Donauechingen and flows 2844 or so kms to the Black sea. We intend to cycle all the way and sofar the path has been great. Beginning with deep limestone gorges and ognion domed Klosters as a young river it soon gathers strenght with every added tributary and by Ulm knows it is a powerfull and important river.
There was a fair bit of rain and alot of flooding. The water was thick with silt and tugging at the bridge foundations. Often we had to detour or wade through the flooded track.

In Donauworth the only Roman road over the Alps heads south to Lake Garda and from here on the route is called the Baroque way as all the towns have churches or Klosters, (monasterys I think) in this style. Simple lines on the outside and highly adorned within.

The river has chopped its way through thickly forrested hills near Kelheim shortly before Regensburg which I think is my favourite city yet. The buildings are uncomplicatedly solid and painted in earthy but colourful shades. The Cathederal though not so big as Ulm(the tallest in the world, 169m) is to me more appealing.

The Bayerischer Wald rises high to the north of the Danube before Passau and Austria.

The weather was sometimes hot and sometimes wet but it seems we have left the cold behind at last and we are thinking of sending home warm clothing and lightening our somehow ever increasing load. It is obvious that we are going along way and have met so many people because of this. One old cyclist was very encourageing ...'do it do it do it' was his advice 'you won't be able to when your dead'. He had a nice stripey shirt.

The people speak a particular dialect in Bayern and Austria and sometimes Anja has a problem understanding which is good training for the future when we won't speak the languages.

The click on my bike has developed into a worn out bottom bracket bearing which I will change very soon. 3 punctures so far, not to bad for 2600 or so kms.

We are on the worlds cycling superhighway and at weekends there are thousands of people out on bikes, day trippers to round the worlders, local pub cycling outings, children and pensioners. I like it and find it a shame we hurried through Germany.