Wednesday, 22 August 2012

26. July 21st- Nearly there

The rain, which had started at about half past two the previous afternoon, continued all night and well into the morning. At about three in the morning I heard Fred plaintively call out, 'God, I wish it would stop,' my sentiments exactly.

The situation was not helped by the fact that my tent had, by now, given up all pretence of being waterproof, and every now and then I would get dripped on from the roof. I was also very aware that the water, running down the sides, was forming a puddle around me. I had taken the precaution of lining the inside with paper towels I had liberated but once they became soaked through the water began to seep into the rest of the tent. I was lucky in that my self inflating mattress just kept me high enough off the ground to prevent me from being soaked but by half past five I had had enough and went for a shower.

In the shower block I met a disconsolate German lad who had been sitting there since three o'clock because water had seeped up through his groundsheet and soaked his sleeping bag. His mattress had not been thick enough, unlike that of his companion who was still asleep in their tent.

After a time I was joined by Fred and Bruce and we set about the washing machine and tumble drier and spent a very companionable couple of hours doing the laundry, speaking to other campers and waiting for the rain to stop.

At about half nine the rain finally ceased and we packed up and went in to Tullin for a coffee and a pastry- the town had few of the charms displayed by the other towns along the Danube so we set off for the short ride to Klosterneuburg.

We were three miles out of Tullin when we stopped to record a memorable event- the eight hundred mile mark. Fortunately, and with great foresight, the Austrians had placed a bench on the very spot so we could prop our bikes up and record the moment for posterity.

Bruce was clever enough to work out the timer on his camera so all three of us could be in the photo. The aforementioned bench is acting as a camera stand.

These are included because they show the bench- if we had known it was there we would have taken a brass memorable plate or something.

 We made the eighteen miles to Klosterneuberg by two thirty. On the ride we had stopped and ridden onto a bridge over one of the huge locks on the Danube. These locks impress both by sheer size and as feats of engineering.

Having got to our last site on the trip we were pleased to find that it had excellent facilities and was only about eight miles out of Vienna.

Arriving at such an early time gave us the chance to do the tourist thing and actually walk around the town. As in lots of the locations along the Danube and Rhine, the town was dominated by a huge abbey that had been added to over the centuries. Therefore there was a strange and not entirely harmonious blending of the Roman [ some of the walls], the medieval, and the 18th and 19th century imperial styles.

After wandering the town for quite some time we sheltered from the rain in a bar and went back to the campsite prior to going to the town once more for a meal.

We selected a small pizza cafe run  by an Asian gentleman and his family. We ordered pasta and were treated to an excellent meal, freshly cooked, and with a perfect creamy sauce. The ironic thing about this is that it was the sort of place where normally you wouldn't contemplate going for a meal and yet the friendliness, the freshly cooked food and the price all made this meal memorable. This was a lesson we had absorbed during the trip- don't be fooled by the outside look of a place- some of the best food we had was freshly cooked and prepared in very unprepossessing surroundings. That being said I still don't think we would be able to get Anthea, Hilary or Mary into some of the places where we ate.

Anyway, after yet another trip to a bar we returned to the campsite for our last night under canvas- or whatever tents are made from these days.

No comments: