Day 34

So the first month is down and 1289.7 miles are on the clock. I am sat in a t-shirt in Vienna and spring has sprung. I am starting to feel a lot further away from the office.

We left Prague and all the fun that it entailed with some random free presents from kind strangers and headed out of the city and went up and down for more miles than I care to think about. The czech republic appears to consist of hills and nothing else. That and snow. There was still half a metre left above 600m and the effort it took against headwinds to make it up each one then pedal as fast as possible down the back of it to try and gain as much distance as possible was to put it bluntly soul destroying.

The country itself is a bit of a surprise, imagine a very poor germany and you are there. Lots and lots of older cars, homesteads, little farms and the constant smell of wood smoke and sound of dogs barking as we ride past. Strange pubs with hundreds of stuffed animals on the walls, old farmers driving lada´s, families of deer walking through the snow, holes in the road and 24 hour night clubs on the borders which cost 65 euros to get in. It would have been nice to have more time to explore but time was pressing and we wanted to get through the worst of the weather and get onto the flatter plains of north Austria.

So in the end it took three days to get from Prague to Hollabrunn in Austria after sticking it on the main road and dicing with crazy truck drivers for the last 65 miles where we stayed with Danie from hospitalityclub who I had visited on the last time through the area.

The simple pleasure of there being no snow in Hollabrunn in comparison to the conditions I had to endure last time meant that it was a holiday within a holiday. An evening at a club that is a converted slaughter house watching a punk band, a vegan restaurant in the middle of nowhere with Danies friends and a very pleasent couple of days rest meant that we entered Vienna fresh with a following tailwind.

So Vienna is still Vienna. After the last time of working for some very shady people, baseball bats with teeth marks, serbians getting stabbed and a couple of months of schwarzfahren it is nice to come into the city with some spare cash in my pocket. Sachetorte in my favourite cafe, afternoons at the national gallery looking at the dutch masters collection, sunbathing in the park and drinks at mozarts make the old memories fade away. Getting back here more than anything feels like I have picked up on the old route and the journey is really starting. Either that or I am finally gaining closure. Best not to analyse it too much and just keep going. It is what it is.

Malte and I went to a map shop this morning where I spent the best part of 70 quid on maps for all the countries left as I felt it is easier to carry them on the bike then try and find them along the way. It is somewhat scary opening up the maps looking at the distances involved but if I can maintain the present pace then it should all be ok.

So from here onto Bratislava tomorrow which really should vanquish some demons after the last time which nigh on nearly killed me when I got caught in a blizzard then it looks like a dip into Hungary then Serbia and then someway down to Istanbul which will probably be made up as we go along if we can avoid the landmines, pot holes and the hospitality of the locals :)

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