Legs recovered, belly filled, with exciting conversations and many tips for the further route in the luggage we drove on after 3 nights with Barbara and Andreas from Linz.
The first interesting and at the same time deeply sad stop was the memorial of the concentration camp Mauthausen, which existed from 1938-1945 and led to the death of at least 90,000 people including the external camps.
Insider tip: Take the ascent via the death staircase instead of the signposted route to the remains of the concentration camp. The concentration camp / the remains are open to visitors today.
Thoughtfully, we continue our journey and are again directed to positive thoughts by the beautiful sunset with a view of Greinburg Castle.
Influenced by the Corona situation in Germany, we initially wanted to avoid Niederösterreich until 3.5. because there was an all-day curfew until that date. However, we learned from reliable sources that, among other things, sports activities are among the exemptions. So we dared, as well as numerous locals, to continue following the Danube cycle path, along the beautiful vineyards in the Wachau region.
At colleagues of Andreas and Barbara in Krems we had our next stop.
On the way to Vienna, we encountered theZwentendorf nuclear power plant, which is the only nuclear power plant in the world that was completed but never put into operation.
After the nuclear power plant was built, 50.47 percent of those who voted in the November 5, 1978 referendum rejected its commissioning. After the referendum, heated discussions ensued. The then Chancellor Bruno Kreisky had announced that he would resign in the event of a vote against the power plant, which he ultimately did not do. Today, the nuclear power plant is used for educational purposes, among other things, since the radioactive fuel rods were never put into operation. In addition, it is also used as a festival site.
In the evening we searched a bit off the bicycle path for a campground just before Vienna. While setting up the tent, we noticed several wild boar tracks in the meadow, which did not look very fresh. If only we had stuck our finger 👉🏻 in the 💩, then the warmth would probably have told us that the leftovers were fresher than thought😅. In the middle of the night Nicole shook Beni out of his sleep and whispered “do you hear that too?” Beni’s facial features abruptly changed from bummed out to ready for battle when he, too, noticed the grunt right next to our tent. With bated breath and a pulse of 200, we waited stock-still until the wild boar(s) moved on. With so much adrenaline, we couldn’t find a peaceful sleep that night. A rare sight was offered to us when leaving the forest the next morning, when we saw at least 20 wild boars incl. young animals – what a rare sight.
Since we had both been to Vienna several times before and the weather was not very good, we only made a dinner stop in the center. The take-away Wiener schnitzel, which we were really looking forward to, was unfortunately more like a Wienerschmarrn 😂, dripping with fat and later still soaked from the rain 😅.
Here are a few more impressions of our last kilometers in Austria:
As the title suggests, there is a change of plan for our route: Since entry into Hungary is not possible due to still closed borders, we cannot follow the Danube bicycle path any further and therefore, after crossing Slovakia, we drive via Ukraine to the Black Sea.
Route adjusted, border crossing tackled, we see a fence on the green border with Slovakia. Under the curious gaze of a Slovak woman with her child, Beni tries to open the fence 💪🏻. When we passed this hurdle, Beni still had the nerve to ask the woman for a photo, Nicole would have preferred to continue directly, because we still had to cross a bridge until we definitely arrived in Slovakia.
We were received like kings in Slovakia by Henryk (Warmshower host). He gave us a culinary insight into the local dishes and wines, helped us plan our rough route through the country and guided us through Bratislava the next day. We could write 3 blog posts about Henryk`s stories. He has supposedly lived in every country before, and over 20 years ago he took a honeymoon trip around the world with his wife and a Swiss bicycle, which still guides him safely through the streets, also with a destination in Australia.
When we reached Slovakia, our journey really started: Different language, infrastructure and architecture.
It is exciting to see how old and new mix, on the one hand faster internet like in Germany (not very difficult 😅), triple glazed windows, on the other hand houses with thatched roofs.
After a VERY stormy day, with luckily a tremendous tailwind (see video), we are in an Airbnb now that the accommodations here are open and taking a 2 day break.