Climbing

Three countries in two days (Hungary to Slovakia to Austria). I feel like a backpacker.

The heat prevented a good night’s sleep (that and staying up far too late) – not a lot of energy. Further early grocery shopping led to a later departure than preferred. Uneventfully finding EV6 out of the city, I slammed into major headwinds, with forward progress being in the neighborhood of 10 kph actual. Gearing down and crawling forward, outside of Hainberg I found castles to my left and right.

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The ideal time to go castle exploring – when not making progress anyway. A careful examination of the latter castle above shows the extreme elevation. Only stopping once, I climbed the monster hill, which I later found a 13% grade (!). Finding the parking lot for the castle, I carefully hiked up a long tortuous graveled path, to find the castle ruin at the pinnacle. On the way up, I passed two bikes parked close to the peak – more power to them! A pleasant and worthwhile hike, I wandered about and headed back down. The town was also a pleasant surprise, as medieval walls surrounded almost the entire city.

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I never found the castle ruin to the right. I found another one along the way, more a jumble of collapsed stone. Now late in the day for the grand total of 20 km, I headed forth. On the exit side of Hainberg, the EV6 signs forked four different ways – two back and two forward. I cycled about 100 m out on each to check, and headed back from the third ran into two cyclists. Since I often use the incoming cyclists as the indicator for the correct path, I warned them I wasn’t quite sure where to go. Fortunately, they did!

David and Sonia,  brother and sister, student and physiotherapist, cycled out of Vienna in the morning in a loop, and headed back invited me to follow them. Also the owners of the two bikes at the castle, they of course took the course I had decided was least likely! Their research took us to a completely isolated and flawless cycle path through the countryside.

While I cycle by default slightly faster,  they took fewer breaks than I usually do, and we made good time to Vienna, where they pointed me on my way.

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Vienna sprawls across the landscape, the centrally-located hostel being 8 km into town. Fortunately cycle paths abound, and the trip to the hostel uneventful. Beat from the headwinds, the constant pace, and the complete lack of sleep the night before I made an early night of it.

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