Passau. This name, we had already seen it when we had entered the German soil. To us it symbolized the border and we’re already there. We passed it quickly and we’re quickly riding towards Austria.
Austria is not really different from Germany, not from a different point of view. First, there’s no sign at the border. Once again the change of the signs ‘Eurovelo’ indicated us we had probably crossed the border…
Austria is beautiful. The landscape changes, it’s more hilly than Germany along the Danube. We’re still riding along this river. We can see it flows down between the hills. The path is quiet, the Eurovelo signs are numerous, the track is made of concrete, the road is flat. We’re riding quickly, even too quickly. The landscape is so beautiful but we don’t get to make much of it…. It’s one of the most beautiful step of our trip.
Austria is welcoming. People can generally speak English and it’s much easier for us to communicate with them. We were able to ask for a tiny part of grass to camp almost every night. Once again we met great people and we could even enjoy a beer in front of the Danube while talking about our trip with our hosts.
Before leaving Austrai, we went to Vienna. It’s a shock. We were astonished as there were so many tourists passing by. We were lost in the middle of the crowd and we didn’t go where to go with our bikes. The surroundings of the city are quite green and it’s a huge difference with the city center. After riding along the quiet paths of the Austrian countryside Vienna reminded of Paris. We didn’t want to stay there, but the city looked great. Maybe next time…
We quickly rode to Slovakia. Far away in the distance we could see Bratislava which didn’t look very nice, spread out and urbanized. It wasn’t what we expected. The city center is smaller, quieter and we liked it. We wandered around the city while eating an ice-cream. That day the wind was strong. We were worried about our tent and decided that we didn’t want to stay in the campsite to continue our trip. We spent hours pedalling along the seawall with the wind against us. We rapidly regretted our decision. But we were lucky to run into a kind soul who was ready to offer us a good meal and be our host for the night.
At night there’s always incertainty when we have to find a place to sleep. We ride through villages to find someone outside of their homes to start conversation. Even if we don’t speak the same language, some make efforts to understand us, some don’t. But all the people who have welcomed us were amazing. Finding a way to tell our respective stories without speaking the same language is always magical. Good will can do everything !
We got back on the road. We rode quickly through Slovakia, the Eurovelo kilometers along the seawall aren’t nice. We moved forward. Before leaving the country, we made a last stop in a garden and once again the hospitality of our hosts surprised us. Our trip made them laugh but they let us sleep in their garden, then gave us a coffee and some bread pudding, let us have a shower and even made our breakfast the next mornign before going to work. We’ll have great memories of people in Slovakia.
When we arrived in Hungary the Danube was there, magnificent. The sun was shining, the road was beautiful. We were welcomed by some hills. We thought we couldn’t have had a better welcome. But we were quickly reminded of the landscape from France. IT was the end of the fruit garden from Austria, it was the beginning of corn fields. That was a shame. We headed for Budapest, we had planned to stay overnight to walk around the town center.
The architecture is surprising and eclectic. There are many things to see, one night won’t be enough. We didn’t plan our visit and we decided to wander around the streets. We didn’t have our bikes with us so we let the crowd decide where we were going to. But we were so tired with the last days that we didn’t go to bed late. We’ll certainly go back to Budapest, too !
People can’t speak English. We were asked if we could speak German almost everytime. Unfortunately Laura’s German classes are far away… We can nevertheless try and we can understand each other. We asked for hospitality when we met people on our way. One night, a market gardener set us up in his own farm along the Danube. We were met by two nice German people. Another night, people brought us to the church house of the village. It was convenient but we missed the interaction with people.
The next day we headed for a campsite indicated on the map.We were exhausted by the heat of the last days (more than 40°C the afternoon) so we stopped riding. The place allowed you to bathe in the Danube but the campsite seemed tolerated but not organised. We didn’t feel like stopping there, so we went on towards the village, looking for some place to stay. We met some people on the way but noone could speak English. One of the person of the group waved us to follow him and he brought us to the only person speaking English. We explained what we wanted. We hadn’t finished our explanation, we already had a part of his garden to sleep on.
His wife showed us a corner in the shades for our tent. She waved us to follow her. It’s time to feed the baby of the house, a small goat ! Laura’s in heaven and is ready to feed it. The they offered us a coffee and let us have a shower. They offered us an aperitif too. They invited us to dine with them to taste local and home-made specialities. We went on drinking after dinner. Our host can’t speak English but can understan it very well. He told us he listens to films in English on the Croatian TV. So, we spoke English, he answered in German and we understood each other. Laura became the interpreter and with a lot of mimes we went on talking till midnight. We learnt a lot of things on the shared history of Montenegro, Slovakia and Croatia.
The following morning we were expected to have a typical breakfast, which is made of a wide range of cooked products. The day flew quickly as we had to repair our bikes and we discovered the different activities on the farm : goat, cows, pork farming and… home-made alcohol ! Everything local and organic, of course !
The next day we were moved when we had to leave but we started riding our bikes again, towards Serbia…
Peu importe la distance, peu importe la destination. Le plus important en voyage, vélo ou autre, est de profiter de l'instant présent. Que ce soit le paysage, les rencontres, la route, les longues instrospections ou les discussions endiablées… tout est prétexte à la découverte et à l'aventure. Reste à chacun d'en choisir le cadre.
Asie du sud-est Eurovélo 6 GR10 GR221 France Allemagne Suisse Roumanie Islande