Along with Budapest, Bratislava was another one of the places along our route that we didn’t know anything about, well, apart from the fact that the film ‘Hostel’ was set here (luckily for us our little hostel wasn’t a disguised torture chamber).
What it did have in it was an awesome set of room-mates for our stay. We were the only Brits in an otherwise all-American dorm. Among them were Jay, who was/is cycling round Europe too but started in Russia and has been in mainly eastern Europe, Calgary* and Virginia*, a Canadian/American couple who had been travelling Europe by train for several months (*not actual names but places they hailed from).
That evening we went out together for a few quiet drinks at a local bar, recommended by the guys at the hostel.
After several hours, far too many beers and lots of awful spirits (including one shot that translated as “revenge of the forest”) we stumbled home at about 4am, using the GPS as our guide.
The next day, nobody got up until about 10am. When me and Neola rolled out of bed still a little bit drunk and very headachey, we went to find breakfast in the hope that it’d fix us.
Neola wasn’t feeling too bad, but even a coffee and fruit crumble didn’t fix me and neither did a stroll around in the cold and rain, so we headed back to bed for another few hours.
Several hours and a few barfs later, we tried to explore Bratislava again. This time we headed up to the castle, to the west of the historic centre.
As it was now 5pm or so we enjoyed a nice quiet walk round the castle grounds and a lovely view of the city.
Heading back down into the city we stopped off at one of the less-touristy looking restaurants (if there is such a thing in a city centre) for some scram. Neola chose a garlic soup served in bread followed by some kind of fish dish and I, still not feeling too cracky, chose to look at some chicken soup after deciding I still couldn’t eat it.
I felt exactly like I looked.
It wasn’t until 2am when me, Neola and Jay went out to look for a kebab that I ate anything. Just the right kind of carbs for our cycle to Vienna the next morning.
Luckily, our day to Vienna was pretty flat and for the most part, following the Danube cycle trail again. It wasn’t long before we were out of Bratislava and out of Slovakia all together, crossing over the Austrian border (which was guarded by Alvin, Simon and Theodor) after just a few miles.
Still feeling the effects of yesterday’s hangover, we stopped at the first shop we could find to stock up on bread, chocolate and ‘molke drink’, whatever that is.
The Danube cycle trail, AKA Eurovelo 6 didn’t really follow the river at all for most of the morning, winding its way through little towns and streets which were nice, if not a bit dull/Austrian.
We hooked back up with the Danube where we immediately stopped for another snack, this time an overpriced coffee and cheese toastie at one of the many cafés that line the route. Yep, we’re definitely not in cheap cheap eastern Europe anymore.
As you might have guessed, now that we were in Austria, the cycle route that at times in Hungary and Slovakia didn’t exist at all was now super smooth and flat.
Almost at our campsite, we stopped at this curious affair which we decided was some kind of bike obstacle course. Of course I had a go.
About half a mile later we arrived at our campsite which was just outside Vienna, another city we knew nothing about, so we spent our evening deciding what to do the next day. In the end, we chose the Zoo…