I was reading up on Bratislava, a city about which I knew very little. It has a population of 450,000. Apart of course from general interest, the population of a place is important for us cyclists – the bigger the place the more one has to cycle from seeing the first sign for our destination for the night to our hotel as we generally book hotels in the old, more interesting section. Vienna totally took the biscuit in this regard but then it was by far the biggest city we have stayed in on this trip.
Interestingly – In 2017, Bratislava was ranked as the third richest region of the European Union by GDP per capita (after Hamburg and Luxembourg City). I did not know that.
They must have known I was coming – Slovakia is the eighth best city for freelancers to live in, mostly because of fast internet and the low taxes. Slovakia should know a thing or two about hot wifi!
Anyway, today we cycled 74 km from Vienna to Bratislava. It was mostly a flat and once we were out of Vienna, for the first time I’m going to say initially it was an uninteresting cycle – there were long stretches of straight road with very little of interest on my cinema screen. In the afternoon there was a head wind – it tried its best to keep us out of Bratislava for as long as possible but we persevered!
This morning when I woke up early, going against recent form, I checked the weather app on my phone. It showed the lightning and rain symbol in Vienna until 10 o’clock. Denis woke and I said to him that he should take the opportunity for a lie-in, we hadn’t a big cycle planned, so there was no pressure on us to set off. I’m a morning person so got up, went to breakfast and finished uploading the one million and fifty photos from our weekend in Vienna 🙂
I watched the weather as I worked. Not a drop of rain. Not a flash of lightning. Not a clap of thunder – to look or not to look at the forecast, that is my dilemma!
At 10 o’clock we set off. My late mother, always a very hard worker, used to say that she hated a day getting away on her! I thought of her this morning. It was slightly frustrating. What with waiting out the bad weather that never materialised plus it took us a long time to get from our hotel in Vienna back onto the Véloroute. But none of it mattered.
With our 100ish km days cycling we had gotten into a rhythm of start at 7.30am, cycle roughly 30 km before morning coffee break, a further 30 km before lunch, 20 km before afternoon break, and finally 20 km to destination. This morning we felt out of our usually rhythm but our cycle was shorter so it was fine.
Some photos from the day
Cleaning the windows at our hotel as we left:
We crossed this bridge over the Danube
And this is how we lost the height
I took this photo of leaves already beginning to turn
The Véloroute for a while this morning passed through quite an industrialed area.
Spotted at our very late lunch stop – what to do with your old, rusty bikes
This is the first time we have seen a blue Danube, up to now it has been green. I need to check out why.
Hainburg an der Donau with its nice old buildings
Heads bowed in respect!
We saw Bratislava up on a hill from a good few kilometres out. Bratislava Castle is very prominent over the city, apologies for picture quality, taken while cycling!
We passed this former customs point, now with weeds growing – a remnant of Iron Curtain days and finally made redundant when Slovakia joined the EU.
Though not as bad as with Vienna, this evening was another case of long cycle from first seeing destination to actually reaching hotel. It’s like the saying The darkest hour is just before dawn.
Walking to dinner Denis made the suggestion – given we knew very little of Bratislava/Slovakia why not stay here tomorrow, I immediately jumped at the idea. No marks for guessing the title of tomorrow’s post – A day in …