Posted on May 28, 2011 by rodney
Tags: austria

Hello again from sunny Austria. We are having two rest days in Fürstenfeld, one for rest, having come from Vienna through Burgenland, and one day cancelled due to inclement weather. It has been warm and sunny for a week now which seemed strange, and we weren’t surprised that it started raining last night and kept going all morning. It is also nice to have such long days, i.e. sunrise at 5AM and sunset at 9PM.

We have been making our way south towards Slovenia using a Freytag & Bernt 1:150.000 map we bought in Vienna. It is actually pretty rubbish. It’s not detailed enough (i.e. 1:200.000 detail scaled up), it’s out of date, and sometimes it’s just wrong. I’m pretty sure it’s not just my navigation… I will check the GPS tracks against OpenStreetMap later. It also has some cycling routes marked on it which are not complete and do not correspond with the signed routes. Also the dotted line marking the cycle route is offset about 200m from its actual location, which doesn’t help. The other thing is that it cost 9,90€. It’s often possible to get cycle route maps for free from the tourist information offices in the regions. For example the south Burgenland map has most of the signed cycle routes drawn on top of the Freytag & Bernt one that we bought.

Anyway, enough whinging about the maps… We have been getting a bit of hay fever being out in the fields all day. The farmers are often out mowing their grass or using a machine to spread and turn it, or baling it up. Also one type of tree drops seeds in covered in fluffy cotton which floats around on the wind and sometimes we have to ride through fluff blizzards. Vicki is getting it pretty bad and is chowing down the antihistamines. I get it a bit but not too bad except sometimes when we pass a certain plant (I think) I get a massive rash of itchy lumps on my arms and neck. Other than that the environment isn’t too harsh when it’s warm.

I’m a little bit concerned about the weight we’re carrying. The laptop is probably the single heaviest luxury item, but it brings blog entries such as this. I am throwing out a shirt and one or two pairs of old cycle shorts. Also I am seriously considering cutting my travel towel in half or thirds and squeezing out excess toothpaste. Yesterday Vicki rode over a bump too fast and emptied the entire contents of her handlebar bag over the ground and I found a small bottle of mouthwash which I made her throw out. But yesterday for consolation I bought her a sewing kit.

I’m trying to put up our GPS tracks on a map but they’re not quite ready yet, hopefully soon.

As Vicki said, we took in a little bit of the culture Vienna has to offer by going to the art galleries for the low price of 21,40€. It was all fairly interesting except for the furniture sections which they always put in art museums for some reason. There was a Klimt exhibition on and the paintings that they had weren’t as nudey as some of his other stuff (I know this because a friend has a book of his paintings) but some of the stuff downstairs in MUMOK definitely pushed the boundaries of good taste!

The final point I have for this post is that shop opening hours suck in Germany and Austria, in that they are quite similar to WA opening hours. You pretty much can’t buy anything on Sunday, and not after about 7PM on the other days. It’s quite a problem for disorganized bike tourists who can’t carry much and easily forget which day it is. But we are learning to load up on Saturdays and eat at a restaurant on Sunday.

Anyway, bye for now… our next blog entry will probably be from Slovenia which will be really exciting I think.

P.S. Vicki wants to add that Rodney has two extra pairs of cycling shorts compared with her, and the mouthwash was nearly empty and weighed about 20g.