Friday was a long cycle – 126 km from Melk to Vienna.
As normal, we set off early when there’s a long cycle on the cards.
I should have noticed something strange – after yesterday when the Véloroute was crawling with cyclists, today we had it almost to ourselves. I postulated that we were out early thus we might have been ahead of the madding crowd. I postulated that Friday might be a change-over day for those in organised groups. Having finished postulating, I forgot about the no crowd and watched the picture on my Friday cinema screen unfold.
We were now passing many fruit trees; apricots, apples, plums, cherries …
Today our cycle took us through the Wachau region with its vineyards. Apparently Wachau produces excellent wine.A very pretty small church
We met an Australian guy, Peter, cycling Véloroute 6 from its start on the Danube to Budapest. We chatted for a while as we cycled along together. He was camping en route. He wore a cycling top with the line by Cadel Evans “It’s amazing how far two wheels can take you in life”, (Cadel Evans was the Australian professional cyclist who won the Tour de France in 2011.) I was going to use that line as the title for this post but changed my mind with what came later. We were stopping for coffee, Peter had already done so he cycled on.
When we stopped for our coffee, it started to rain and we thought that was lucky – the rain started just as we could hit indoors. After our coffee break, it was mostly beginning to clear, or so we thought! Lately we hadn’t been bothering to check the forecast because even when the forecast was poor, the actual days turned out pretty fine. Today was to change that pattern!
We were back on our bikes cycling along minding our own business when suddenly the heavens opened and emptied their contents on us. That was’t so bad, it was a warm day, our stuff was safe, including our laptops – our panniers were lined with plastic bags, the contents were in further plastic bags. It was the lightning, accompanied immediately by a thunder clap, (i.e., no time delay), that made us realise we had really offended the Gods – One flash of lightning was like a fighter jet flying just over our heads.
I checked with the engineer and he said we were as or safer cycling as we would be elsewhere outdoors. (We did shelter for a bit but the trees weren’t saving us much so we gave up.) At one stage a river boat passed us and if they saw us I imagined they felt sorry for us. We didn’t feel an ounce of sorrow for ourselves. Once I felt we were safe, I relaxed and actually enjoyed the rain. My rain jacket also relaxed and enjoyed letting in rain.
We didn’t meet too many other cyclists but those we did smiled knowingly at us – we seemed to be sharing a common experience. I then realised – all those other cyclists had the sense to stay in their beds. They knew something we didn’t!
Almost as quick as it had started, the rain cleared, the day brightened and it was as if the storm had never happened. We changed our tops and by lunchtime it was all a memory other than the wet tables and seats in the plaza when we stopped for lunch at Tullin.
And we had stormed through a record 84 km by lunchtime!
In the afternoon, I took this photograph to point out the gaps on the river bank which are kept clear of vegetation to show the 100 metre interval markers.
These particular two kilometre markers, (distance to the Black sea) are important dates in our lives!
This dog was also (lazily) doing Véloroute 6!
Approaching Vienna, look at that beautiful sky after the morning we had! (Our phones would have been destroyed if we had tried to take photographs earlier during the downpour.)
As you can imagine with Vienna being a very big city – it was a good distance from first reaching Vienna to getting to our hotel for the night. I was totally exhausted by that last 126th kilometre!
It was so good to meet Andrea and Joseph at the hotel that all exhaustion vanished – we had a lovely dinner and great catch-up.We were looking forward to our two-day break with the friends in Vienna.
Lily, seeing the Austrian scenery and knowing you are in Vienna brings back memories. I spent a year au-pairing there when I left school: I remember the winter ball season, fabulous classical music concerts (and opera and ballet), great architecture and, of course, sacher torte. Enjoy!
Thanks Niamh – After I read your comment we went and … had a dessert! Glad I brought back Austrian memories for you
What a storm! I could almost feel the rain on my skin and my clothes from your description! And I could sympathise with you at the length of time it would take you to reach your destination even after you had ‘arrived’ in Vienna miles earlier!
Say Hello to Andrea for me, Máire xx
Sent from my iPad
Máire, I think that’s why oftentimes I like if we are staying in a small place, it can’t take 10ish km from that first sign to destination. It was hard on Friday because of the particularly long cycle but worth it. I did wonder for a bit during the day if we would see Vienna that night but was amazed that the weather quickly changed back to behaving itself.