VIENNA! Finally after 9369 kms cycling in the last 100 days I'm back home in this fabulous city! Thank you for welcoming me at Stefansplatz and spending an amazing first evening in this beautiful city! I'll take a break from cycling now, spend some time with friends and family and sit in the sun!
After more than three months fighting with the weather finally the rain, the cold and the headwinds broke me and took away all my joy, optimism and fun I had on this trip. I officially hate it now and I'm wondering what I've done wrong in one of my former lives. It would have been such a beautiful bike path along the Danube on the Slovak side but the rain and the wind (headwinds of course) just got stronger and stronger till I cried. Usually I don't like shopping centers but this one in Bratislava saved me. Bought new clothes and the wet ones went to the trash. If it's the same tomorrow morning I'll just take the train from Bratislava to Vienna.🤣🚴♀️🌧 But either way I'll be in Vienna tomorrow, let's celebrate! Today's route: Györ - Bratislava. Km cycled: 78.
Seems like the Eurovelo 6 from Budapest to Gyor is a masterpiece of shit, sorry but whoever designed it please tell me what you thought when doing it! Missing signs, big parts on roads, long detours, just to mention a few mistakes. Doesn't deserve being part of the Eurovelo network. Maybe the job wasn't offered to a cyclist but to someone who had the perfect CV. In Komarom I crossed the Danube to the Slovak side of the town called Komarno, another bridge over the Danube. Another flat tire just when I saw two guys fixing their flat. We had a good laugh while fixing it together! Finally happy in Györ, which is a really nice town - good langos as well! Just 2 days left. Tomorrow Bratislava, Friday Vienna! Today's route: Esztergom - Komarno - Gyor. Km cycled: 114.
Sunshine in Budapest, I felt so relieved until I realized where the wind was coming from. Headwinds and more headwinds. Started cycling along the Danube, the Eurovelo 6, which is a popular bike route but was a bit disappointed that a lot still has to be developed - missing signs, no bike path along the road,... maybe the Hungarian government should invest a bit into that.🤣 It was a really tough day, I feel out of energy, might be because I know I'm almost at the end or I don't know. In Esztergom I wanted to withdraw a few forints for my last day in Hungary, the touchscreen of the ATM wasn't working properly so I withdrew 200000 forint which is about 600 Euro and then walking around town a bird shitted in my face! What a day! Today's route: Budapest - Visegrad - Esztergom. Km cycled: 78.
Day 16: The toughest day of my trip
Cycling in cold (too cold for May) and rainy weather (heavy rain) for the whole day. I didn't feel my feet and my fingers anymore. I went on roads where I wasn't supposed to be. But never I asked myself why I was doing it - I just knew that some days are like that and I was dreaming of the sauna and the hot pools I already checked out before I started in the morning. The Rudas bath where I went straight when arriving in Budapest saved me! Soooo good to be in the hot water and finish sauna! Stayed with Andi, a lovely warmshowers host who reminded me so much of Viola, my friend I'll see soon in Vienna! Today's route: Cegled - Budapest. Km cycled: 74.
Day 15: Rainy, rainy Hungary
Tried to have some fun cycling in the rain - it worked till I had to fix a flat tire in the rain, my feet were swimming in the shoes and the road was more a river than a road! Went on the highway which was clearly prohibited but even the police didn't care. In Cegled I stopped for a cappuccino but I couldn't start again. Once you stop in that weather you are done - I knew. So I had a pizza. And I already developed a daily Hungarian routine. Cycling and thermal bath. I spent the afternoon in the thermal bath of the town again - sooooo nice and WARM! Today's route: Gyomaendröd - Szolnok - Cegled. Km cycled: 106.
Day 14: From Romania to Hungary
I left the Romanian mountains behind me and cycled to flat Hungary. It's flat and windy, but there are a lot of bike lanes everywhere, that's perfect! Why are the last kms always so tough? Strong headwinds I had to push through, but I knew that a thermal bath is waiting for me whee I'll spend the rest of the day. Today's route: Ineu - Chisineu Cris - border - Gyula - Gyomaendröd. Km cycled: 121.
One of these days I like and I needed after rain, snow and headwind and dog bites (yesterday I was bitten by a dog, luckily I was wearing my shoes and not the sandals). The conditions were far from perfect but who needs perfect? I just needed and deserved a day I enjoyed! Sunshine, some clouds on small roads along the countryside. Black clouds were in my back - that might be the reason I made it that far. 🤣 I'm so close to the Hungarian border - tomorrow I'll make it to this neighbouring country of Austria. Today's route: Deva - Varfurile - Ineu. Km cycled: 145.
Day 12: Wind fight
What is worse? Rain, snow or headwind? After today I vote for the wind! It's been a tough day fighting against the headwind all day long and in Deva I gave up and had a pizza - it's a nice town with a fortress up a hill - no more cycling for today! More than 5 houres for 70 kms is just not worth the effort. Today's route: Alba Iulia - Deva. Km cycled: 78.
I was soooo not prepared for today but then I realized that is just my life - how I am. I haven't been prepared for so much stuff In my life and it always somehow worked out. 😁 When I looked out of the window in the morning I couldn't believe it. It is the 1st of May and it was snowing! I love snow but I also love to wear gloves in the snow. 🤣 But as you can imagine I don't have gloves or any warm clothes or waterproof shoes, so I tried to fix the shoe issue with plastic bags and the finger issue by cycling with one hand and putting the other in the pocket to not to freeze so much. The Transalpina road was beautiful, lots of white and further down green forest - I will come back and do all of it in the sunshine one day. Today's route: Cabana Oasa - Sebes - Alba Iulia. Km cycled: 82.
One of these days which only makes me stronger. After it was raining all night I started off in the morning in cloudy weather up the mountain till I reached snow. Didn't think that I will be so close to snow again this season. It got colder and colder but still beautiful, this was the good part of the day. It only got bad when heavy rain started and didn't stop until all my clothes were soaked and I was freezing. The first hotel I found is my place for this night. Lets see how it will be tomorrow - I do not have the right clothes for winter! Today's route: Voineasa - Obarsia Lotrului - Cabana Oasa. Km cycled: 66.
In the morning I had no idea that the village where I'm now even existed. Changed my plans twice today. Wanted to take the Romanian Transalpina road (DN 67C) which goes over the Urdele pass, the highest pass in Romania. Unfortunately parts of it are still closed due to winter and snow, could have figured that out earlier, but it wasn't too late - just at the intersection I found out! That's my way of travelling and life I assume! 🤣 I'm quite sad that I cannot go there but I'll do a part of it tomorrow. Finally I'm getting used to be chased by dogs. My heart isn't beating like crazy anymore when some of them are barking and running right and left of me which happens a few times a day. Today's route: Pitesti - Ramnicu Valcea - Voineasa. Km cycled: 139.
Day 8: Romanian Easter
I didn't celebrate Easter last weekend, and now I got Romanian Easter including "Eierpecken" (don't know the English word) ! Soooo great! Spent the morning with this wonderful Romanian family with home cooked food and cakes and cognac! I felt so welcome there, the grandmother always smiling! Would have stayed another day but as I want to be in Vienna at my birthday it's time to cycle. Left with containers full of homemade cakes and carbage rolls! Thank you Vio, Daniel, Florin, Patricia and the rest of the family! Loud music in all the villages, barbecues and people sitting in the garden with friends and family - Romanian Easter. Romanian wind didn't make cycling easy today and more flat tires - I'm running out of batches to fix them. Let's see how far I can make it! Today's route: Silistea - Pitesti. Km cycled: 76.
Day 7: Over the Danube to Romania
I cycled 6000 km through Australia without crossing any border and here I'm back in Europe and my the second border within one week. I made it to Romania cycling over the Danube - almost feels like in Vienna! Contacted Florin from a small village called Silistea on warmshowers. He is currently in Germany but his family invited me to stay with them over Easter! What a beautiful first day in Romania with his mother, brother, aunt, grandfather! Such a warm welcomr and delicious Romanian food. Today's route: Russe - Videle - Silistea. Km cycled: 103.
Today I feel like I'm one of these ignorant travellers who do not know anything about the country they are travelling in. When arriving in Russe, I went straight to the bike shop which was adviced to me and it was closed - then I found out it's Orthodox Easter! No new tire! 😂 But it was a good day, visited the mosque of Shumen in the morning (the biggest in Bulgaria), had an amazing evening wandering the streets of Russe and I saw the Danube again - not in Vienna - but it looks so similar! Today's route: Shumen - Russe. Km cycled: 117.
When I checked the total kms count on my small bike computer I knew this would be a good day. It's been 7777 kms until today morning. This number could only bring me luck! And it did. It was a beautiful cycling day through Bulgaria's back-country through small villages, forests and farmland. My back tire of my bike is slowly falling apart, I have to pick up a new one urgently - hopefully tomorrow! No more flat tires please! 🤣 Today's route: Burgas - Shumen. Km cycled: 135.
Day 4: To the Black Sea Coast
Today I made it to the black sea coast! What a beautiful morning ride through the Strandza national park - green forest, almost no traffic, lots of holes in the road, lots of hills 😂. For lunch I stopped in Zarevo, nice town on the coast where I had my first Shopska salat! Bulgarians put cheese on everything - that's the best part of it! Lots of memories of my last trip to Bulgaria in 2008 came to my mind, cycling was easy distracted by all the funny memories. My dear friends Julia, Maria and Eva know what I'm talking about!😍 Today's route: Malko Tarnovo - Zarevo - Sozopol - Burgas. Km cycled: 128.
Day 3: From Turkey to Bulgaria
From Turkey to Bulgaria After entering the European continent 3 days ago I made it to the European Union which means Bulgaria today! When travelling on other continents I still answer that I'm from Austria but as well then I'm from Europe, I feel to be European. And the European Union is just the political and economical integration of European countries and the best idea what politicians on this continent had the last about 70 years. I've been attacked by stray dogs on the border that I almost missed the exit point of Turkey, I got really scared - seems that dogs are crazy about bikes. But here I am, save and happy in Malko Tarnovo, a small town not far from the Turkish border, it's actually quite nice. Wanted to make it to the black sea today but it was just too hilly all the way - tomorrow! Today's route: Vize - Kirklareli - Border - Malko Tarnovo. Km cycled: 106.
On Turkish roads 🚴♀️! Some of them are really good and some the opposite - more a dirt road than a tarmac one - it might have been a sealed road once. Geographically I'm already back on the European continent, the landscape is getting greener and greener which I love. Dilara, my host, prepared a delicious Turkish breakfast for me and we had so interesting political discussions - this is what you don't if you stay in hotels and it's one or even the best point of warmshowers for me. I'm learning so much about the countries and the people I'm cycling in. If you haven't heard about it yet, warmshowers.org is a page where the cycling community offers you a place to stay. Today's route: Büyükcekmeyce - Sivilri - Saray - Vize. Km cycled: 109.
After an emotional reunion with my bike yesterday, it was time for the start of the last part: Istanbul to Vienna! When I checked my bike in the morning it had 2 flat tires! Amazing start 😂😂😂! Had to go through where the first public speech of the newly elected mayor of Istanbul took place. The opposition guy won by only a few thousand votes - lots of people celebrating! The second obstacle: one pedal fell off and I had to go with only one pedal for 5 kms till I found a bike shop and the mechanic saved me from my own stupidity! Third obstacle: crazy traffic on big roads and a tunnel which really scared me. A turkish guy on a bike stopped when he saw me quite clueless on the highway. When I told him where I wanted to go he just answered: follow me. Best decision. He didn't speak English but he was my hero of the day after I left my hero of istanbul: Melike, who spent 4 days with me with amazing breakfasts, good conversations and lots of talking to the airport about my bike. Thank you! Today's route: Melikes flat in Tuzla - Kadiköy - Ferry - Büyükcekmeyce. Km cycled: 88.
Reunion with my bike!
After 3 days the bike arrived in Istanbul! Time to celebrate!
I'm still in Istanbul - don't know when I'll start back home! My bike didn't arrive with me on the airport :(. Melike, my lovely host in Istanbul has to deal with a couch potato just eating and sleeping all day long for 3 days already, but she is my hero and hopefully she will not regret her words 'you can stay with me till they find your bike'. She cannot believe that I'm not stressed about my bike - I'm optimistic, hoping for the best!