I took a slow lazy morning packing up. Simon wished me luck and headed out to work. I first wandered down the street, changed all of my Hungarian and Romanian currency to Euros, and stopped by a supermarket for supplies for the day. Then I finished up repacking everything from the night before, dropped Simon’s keys in his mailbox, and ventured forth. The heat wave ended, in cooler weather I headed to the nearest post office, about 3 km away.
I’ve collected quite a number of tourist booklets, brochures, and postcards, as well as maps from Romania and Hungary. The third package of a half pound of things I don’t want to carry, and vulnerable to getting wet. As they handed me the customs forms, I actualized that the Post Office included a MailBoxes Etc. I had decided I would just hang onto the spare pannier and jacket instead of dealing with shipping them, and give them to Andrew in Geneva, but with a Mailboxes Etc. in front of me, I didn’t have to deal with getting a box, tape, transporting to the post office, etc. And about to ship something already, the cost would be less.
That task complete, and about 3 pounds lighter, I headed to the EV6 path, identified from earlier excursions in Vienna. I lost the path only a couple of times, for only a few meters each time. Once well on the road from Vienna, a never-ending stream of cycle tourists resolved most questions of where to go. I passed (or was passed) a few cyclists going the same direction as myself. In the other direction cyclists flowed past, the occasional soloist, families with children, tour groups, collections that were all men or all women, couples. People towing their kids. People towing their dog. People with the bare minimum, being supported by EuroVelo (labeled as such on their handlebar bag). People laden with gear piled high on the front and back of their bicycle. Trailers. Panniers. Mountain bikes. Tandems. Recumbents. Tandem recumbents.
For most of the day I rarely cycled alone; other cyclists (tourists or locals) in sight. With no exaggeration, hundreds of people all touring. Improved signage and detailed guideposts make cycling a snap. Signs show campgrounds, hotels, restaurants, swimming, winerys, etc. They even show recharging point for electric bikes!
Yet in that overwhelming number of cyclists, I was alone. In these numbers, rarely do cyclists even wave or nod. In large groups they cluster amongst themselves; any group that started social certainly overwhelmed by the influx. Most of EV6 also runs next to the Donau along the top of the dykes. Nothing but the occasional field on the river side, and little on other as well. While the quality of the cycle path and lack of traffic make EV6 a pleasure in some ways, the path is quite banal in others.
I arrived at my intended campground at 5 pm, 60 km from Vienna. A bit farther than I had planned, but I go where the campgrounds are. The next campground on my map was another 15 km away, presuming it exists at all (although indications from several maps implied the existence, none of that is certain). Yet as I pulled into the pleasant looking but very small campground, I could smell the unpleasant agrochem from the fields adjacent to the campground, and wondered whether I should move on. First Down. As I spoke to the person at Reception, I asked about the wifi. “We don’t have wi-fi”. Second Down. “There’s no wi-fi anywhere in this village.” Third Down. “The closest campground with wi-fi is 15 km away, they have over 2,000 sites. But that will take you over an hour by bike.”
An hour later I pulled into the next campground, after following a number of very small back roads instead of following EV6, with a shorter path. Life’s little ironies; this campground about the same size as the other, also no wi-fi. Just a small 20m x 20m field, which I share with ten or so Italian cyclists. He must have meant the other way. Oh well. No one at reception, I set up camp, cooked dinner, had my shower, and relaxing by my tent when someone came by to collect.
It’s ironic that as I move “west”, Internet access is less ubiquitous.