Rural Czech, the Danube and Vienna
The ride from Prague to Vienna was a good one. Although the temperature is becoming uncomfortable (at the time of writing it is pushing mid 30s) the topography was perfect for cycling – long, gentle hills followed by freewheeling declines. The countryside is dotted with lakes and passers-by pick from cherry trees that line the roads. An endless continuation of barley fields fuels national beer production but the fields are open, rather than boxed in by the thorny hedgerows that tend to choke the views at home. At night fireflies emerge as pulsing neon spots drifting through the air.
On the third day I cycle 130 miles through the country, into Austria, to the Danube and along it to Vienna. There vinyards and a cool breeze crop up as I approach the river. Stopping by the water for a fortifying bowl of cereal before pressing on to Vienna a large beaver surfaces before splashing back below the water.
Arriving well after dark in Vienna I find wifi at a bar to lookup a hostel with 24 hour reception. Someone overhears that I’m looking for a place to stay, however, and offers a bed for the night. I am extremely grateful.
The next morning I move to the apartment of my Warm Showers host who I had already arranged to stay with. Warm Showers is just like couch surfing but exclusively for cyclists – hosts offer up their home to cyclotourists in exchange for the pleasure of like-minded compamy and vicarious tales of the open road.
Vienna did not really grab me though. It was hot, cramped, extremely busy and bereft of greenery. I saw some good Egon Shiele works at the Leopold Museum and some atrocious modern art at the MUMOK. The season of the state orchestra had ended just days before. A statue of Mozart on the beers was a highlight though.