(written by Nancy)
Wow, nothing like having your tent next to a major road to keep the sleep away… The traffic did die down a bit last night but neither Dave nor I slept particularly well. And it started up again this morning very early, must have been 5am or so. Not one our best campsites but sometimes you take what you can get. And we did get the bonus of meeting up with Tim and Georgina so that made up for it.
We had kind of a route planned today to take us to Linz but it included many, many roads that wound their way through the farmland so we both thought there would be multiple ‘lost’ periods today. Actually though, the route worked out pretty well, though we did check our map at regular intervals to make sure we were headed in the right direction. We were on roads most of the day until we caught up with a bike path for the last 15k or so into the city of Linz. Using the bike paths to get in and out of the bigger cities is very nice – avoids all the heavy traffic and generally they take you right into the center of the city where you want to go.
Our route went generally northeast, through lots of small farming villages and fields. We skirted the big motorway all day, but it took most of the traffic so we have very light roads to deal with. It looks like corn will be a good crop this year based on the size of the fields we saw today. Dave was suggesting that perhaps my bike might inadvertently fall into a cornfield and knock a stock over, dislodging a cob. I would have tried it but I don’t think they were really ready yet – the cobs looked pretty small. Fresh corn on the cob does sound very good though! Dave doesn’t like it (weird and un-American, I say) so I don’t ever have to fight him for it.
We were debating whether to go into the city of Linz or just go directly to the campground that Tim and Georgina told us about, which was on the outskirts of the city. About 25k or so from the city I noticed that the front of my seat was bending in a way it really shouldn’t. Well, sure enough my luck with bicycle seats on this trip continues – the nose of the seat had broken. Not sure where it happened and I only noticed it when we were stopped somewhere and I leaned back against it and it moved. So we decided to ride into Linz to see if we could find a bike shop.
As we got into the city Dave checked the web on the phone to see if he could find a shop. We were in luck as there appeared to be one right on the way into the center where we were headed to visit the tourist information center. We made our way to where we thought it should be but could not see it anywhere. A nice lady who was waiting on a corner asked us if we needed help and when we asked her about a bike shop she pointed that there was one around the corner. Sure enough, that was the bike shop we were looking for – it was in a funny spot, behind what looked like an old church, and I don’t think we would have ever found it without someone’s help.
The bike shop had lots of seats so it was no problem to get a replacement for my broken one. While I was getting one put on the bike it started to rain and came down pretty good for awhile. We hung out in the bike store, debating what to do, neither of us looking to forward to setting up camp in the pouring rain. But after about 20 minutes the rain started to let up so we decided to go grab a cup of coffee somewhere and see what the weather would do. After a nice espresso the skies cleared and the sun came out so camping was back on the agenda. We stripped off our rain jackets and headed to the information center, where we confirmed where the campground was and got some free regional maps.
The campground is on a tiny little lake just east of the Danube (or Donau, as they say here) River. There is a very large park here and this small campground is only for cyclists with tents. No cars, no motorhomes, no car camping. It is a small space but right now there are 7 tents here with cyclists. All of the other cyclists appear to be German or Austrian – we are the only native English speakers. The Danube is a major European cycle route. There are showers with hot water, a few picnic tables (we scored one!) and a restaurant even. It is very quiet already as the park empties so I think it may be a very restful night, finally. The mosquitoes are a bit bad though so I think that is enough for today.
Tomorrow we should enter the Czech Republic. We are headed to a town called Ceske Budejovice in Czechoslovakian but most of us know it (or more accurately, a product named after it) by a different name – Budweiss. We are entering serious beer country now so may have to do a few taste testing to see how the beers rate against the premium Pacific Northwest micro brews. Of course, our alcohol tolerance is so low right now a few tastes will probably put us down for the count!
Czech Republic does not use the euro yet so we will have to figure out a new currency yet again, and tomorrow we will need to see if we can get another sim for the phone. So, fair warning that we might be a bit delayed in posting if that proves difficult. Hopefully it will be as simple as Austria, which takes the top award for simplicity and speed in getting connected.
That’s all for now – can’t type and swat at the mosquitoes fast enough. See you tomorrow from our next country – 19 I think? I’ve lost count.