|Since our last entry we continued along the Danube River to Vienna. The portion of the route between Passau and Vienna was by far the most beautiful! We rode right along the river and were surrounded by high hills covered in vineyards and orchards. Along the way we spent a day at the Mauthsusen concentration camp memorial -a very chilling and moving experience, in stark contrast to the beauty we seeing all around us. We made it to Vienna and enjoyed a couple of days of relaxing in the city of music, beautiful buildings and good food. We had bratwurst and beer at a wurst stand (a required Viennese cultural experience), went to a classical music concert, spent an afternoon at the house of music, and a lot of time in bookstores checkng out maps and possible cycling routes. After much debate and several ice cream breaks (it's very hot here) we decided to change our plans (yet again) and forgo Budapest and the rest of the Danube route for the challenges of western Hungary. While the Danube route has been awesome, after 1100 kms we were ready for something different. So we are now in more uncharted waters! We rode south along the Eastern edge of austria and into the far western region of Hungary. The change on crossing the border was stunning. The road surface deteriorated into a potholed track, the road grades became insanely steep and the houses became cinder block shacks with barking dogs. Things got better as we continued on though and we've been riding through beautiful forest and rolling farmland. Villages are tiny and rather bleak looking for the most part but some of the slightly larger towns are quite lovely. And the food is AWESOME! And so is the local wine. Things are cheap here compared to the other countries we've been in but the currency is confusing because everything costs thousands of florints. We'll only get a small taste of Hungary as we head into northern Croatia and the mountains (yikes) today but it's been very interesting. The next phase of the trip will be even more challenging as there is little touist travel in the northern parts of Croatia.
We are both having a great time and really enjoing the ride!
Cheers for now!