I woke in the wee hours of the morning to the sound of heavy rain falling on the tent. A quick check showed everything still dry, and I fell back asleep. I woke in the morning to the merry sound of light showers. Assuming my rain jacket, I made myself breakfast, and prepared myself to wait for the rain to stop. I’ve been using my new pair of cycle gloves for a couple of days to be sure they didn’t cause any issues, and today threw out my old gloves.
I haven’t had much rain this trip. When I wake to rain, I normally wait for the rain to stop. If appearances are the rain won’t stop, I gird myself for rain and wander into town. I have to reach my breaking point to set off in the rain; in this case the rain fall was clearly reaching an end. The Italian group camped nearby headed out in the rain. By 10 the rain had stopped, and by 11 I had everything dried out and headed out onto the open road.
EV 6 split to both the north and south side of the Donau, with rare opportunities to switch sides. While on the south side at present, I switched sides when I could, as my analysis showed the majority of historical sites were on the northern side. That decision I found to have a major flaw, and I made little progress today.
While the Donau and EV6 convincingly portray the world as flat, I’m headed into the mountains. Each time I headed off to one historical site or another, Austria enforced the perception that the world, regardless of the bicycle path, not flat. Yet with a lot of time (and kilometers) gone by since my initial struggles with hills, I can now climb with, if not merry abandon, little issue. But I did too good a job selecting the side for historical sites. A few sites off EV6 I climbed to – some good, some less interesting. Yet as the day progressed, every time I looked at the mountainside ahead, I found another ruin or castle. Forward movement slowed to a crawl, as I stopped to examine each site.
The first site of interest, a ruin on a hill, took the usual climb to get to.
The second site of particular interest took steep bike climbing (causing a few looks of awe, I’m happy to report) and then additional climbing by foot. Durnstein Castle held Richard the Lionhearted when he was captive and held for ransom. This reality is part of the myth of Robin Hood, disparaging Prince John who ruled in Richard’s stead until the ransom was paid.
Something of interest would appear every 5-10 km. After a while I began to skip those sites that, on the surface looked less interesting and, sad to say, when a castle showed up on the other side of the Donau, it was with some relief that I realized there was no ready way to get to it.
All told, between the late start and plethora of stops, I made but 60 km today. Although I remember when that was a good day, it falls short of current planning. From my earlier estimates of arrival in Geneva a week late, I’d pulled that date in by four days. The trip to Brasov took three of those away, and the last couple of days have been slow.
I stopped today around 5. The weather looked like rain (and it started raining at 6), with the next campground 15 km ahead. Two additional sites within 5 km of here also deserve some attention, so I have a plan for the morning. The somewhat early evening also meant finally doing laundry, and catching up on a few other things. I spent the evening talking to Marcel, the cyclist “next door” in the campground, an IT salesman taking a couple of weeks off to bike and hike.