7/17 – Vienna, Austria to Gyor, Hungary via Bratislava, Slovakia 105m/166k**
Ottoman 1 Gyor, Hungary
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The day will be remembered by the riders for the wind. Strong headwinds all day. Taught us some good peloton discipline. The howling as it blew through the wheels though was a bit distracting… but we did make it through three countries (Austria 45 miles, Slovakia 50 miles, Hungary 10 miles)… 90% of it along paths on the Danube. It would have been an all time spectacular day with a bit less wind.
This ride began with breakfast at 6:30a in Vienna with a 7a departure. These next two pics are in front of the Levante Parliament Hotel in Vienna, our two night abode in the city. The first one is of the riders – Nels Leutwiler, Lisa Renstrom, Bob Perkowitz (me) Tom Cox and Jürgen Schonwasser… a little after 7am.
The following one adds Annia Lambla, our Charlotte-born, Turkish-speaking, girl-about-the-globe support person; Millie Cox, bluegrass guitarist and singer extraordinaire (and Tom’s wife), and Birgit Schonwasser, a fountain of knowledge, history and competence (and Jürgen’s wife.
We had an excellent plan to navigate out of Vienna on this quiet Sunday morning. – in fact two of them. We (Bob) chose a third way that complicated things for a bit, but soon we were crossing the Danube under a highway bridge and heading east.
These first miles on the north side of the Danube were memorable for the great, but a bit tricky bike paths all over, the beautiful river, and the naked men. Unfortunately the men had no pride, and no reason to have any, and it was a bit disorienting to ride through what seemed to be the nudist part of the river so early on a Sunday morning. But we rode the paths well, and crossed the Danube needlessly at least three times.
That first picture in Lisa, Tom, Jürgen and Nels heading east. The second is Bob, Lia and Jürgen regrouping on a cycling/walking bride across the Danube maybe 10 miles east of Vienna. This whole day was mostly (90%) on bike paths – part of it rather interesting dirt paths with a five story climb to a bridge back across the Danube. Here’s the path after we crossed the abandoned border crossing from Austria into Slovakia.
The funny angled tower is the pylon supporting one of the four bridges across the Danube here – the one we took. Here’s the view looking east from the bike path under that bridge, Bratislava on the left.
We didn’t spend much time there, but I did ride around the downtown and old city a bit – enough to think I like it and want to come back. Here’s us at lunch (Lisa and Tom kind of facing you) in the old city.
The next 50 miles or so was along the huge Danube as it went through Slovakia. It’s a highly engineered river here. 50+ foot dikes on both sides (with nice bike paths). Here are three shots of that section… the first of Tom and Jürgen riding, with Nels up ahead. Then an ‘action’ shot of Jürgen riding and one of a ferry crossing the river.
As we got farther south from Bratislava, most of the team stopped at a lake and went swimming. I went ahead to call Annie back, but we didn’t connect so I continued to ride alone for the last 30 miles or so. The trail got a bit less refined farther south of Bratislava, and then Map My Ride took me through some very pretty Slovakian country roads.
Then about 50 miles south of Bratislava, there was the bridge to cross into Hungary. No border crossing immigration or customs or anything on either side, just a little white sign in the middle of the bridge with a SR|MK presumably for Slovakia and Magyar.
We stayed at the Hotel Levai in Gyor, an inn really. No English, but nice cold beer at the sidewalk café next door. We walked to the town square for dinner, where there were a bunch of crafts vendors and a loud folk band playing. Most of us stayed up too late again, and others even longer to watch Japan beat the USA in women’s soccer.
In between this Ottoman Empire Ride, and the RAASIA eastern Russia/Mongolia ride in September 2009, I did a ride from Beaune, France to Florence, Italy in August 2010 with Miles Cox. It was a spectacular ride, but I did not post. Apologies to Miles et al and if you have interest in this ping me.
Bob Mohacs, Hungary July 20 10:59p