I was very excited to update our blog this week….on Sunday. However we are only now finding the time to sit down, with a charged laptop to do so, #nomadlife! What a week and a half it has been. 3 countries, 2 Capital Cities and a night spent under the stars, we have done a lot the past week or so and seen some wonderful things.
So, I will have to go back a little…
Our last night in Hungary was spent in a lovely little campsite in Kimle called Camping Cvika, this was a beautiful little site located on a river bank that cost us just 6 Euro each to stay for the night. We swam in the river, drank wine, that we worked out it cost just 57 English pence per glass, a price I liked and we booked our hotel for Vegas! A lovely way to spend our last night in Hungary and got us excited about the wedding which is approaching pretty fast!
The next day we had Bratislava in our sights and we set off to try to make it there that day. We succeeded in doing this despite being caught in a pretty bad storm. The heavens opened up on us that afternoon and we got absolutely soaked. I got to try out my waterproofs for the first time and we took shelter in a bus stop to avoid the storm. Something that is actually becoming pretty common place for us. We hid in a Lidl for about an hour the other day too! Once it died down we carried on and we made it to Bratislava in pretty good time.
For this part of our trip we ditched the camping for a few nights and opted for a hostel instead. We stayed at Brickyard Hostels, located in the city centre and it costs us around £75 for us both for two nights. So a bit more pricey than what we are used to but it was a very nice Hostel, with great staff and it was very clean. Mel and I shared a room with 4 Italian guys, also on their travels. A very friendly bunch, so we where happy.
We put our stuff in and went out to explore Bratislava, it was here we decided we would let our hair down and go out for drinks and find some live music and I very much had in mind a night like they have in Eurotrip. However I was told by numerous Bratislava residents that the film is not actually filmed in Bratislava and is also a pretty inaccurate representation of the city. However we were not short of places to drink and have a good time. Its a beautiful little city with so much to do. We went to the old town and decided to settle for the night in a bar that had a live band on. They where brilliant, we had a great time there drinking and singing and dancing away. Then very randomly, as the band had been playing very traditional Slovakian music, You’ll Never Walk Alone came on. At this point Mel and I had drunk a fair amount so we where up singing and swaying along to some funny stares from the crowd but we loved it.
The next morning I was up bright and early (somehow) and ready to explore the City in the day time. We had a few things on our agenda for this day and the main one was ‘Soup Bread Bowl’. First of all though we went to the top of the Bratislava Castle, the views from up here are stunning and it is free to go up there if you don’t mind the uphill walk. It is certainly worth it when you get to the top. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for the walk. After that we headed towards One Slovak Pub, voted the 23rd best pub in the world and I see why it’s rated. It was fantastic in there and it felt very traditional. This is the place we would get our soup in a bowl made of bread. I was not disappointed. It was absolutely delicious!
We walked the streets for a while and took in all the street art and lovely scenes that surround the city. Then settled in at a bar called 17s Bar. It was a funky little place with a very cool interior and pretty cheap drinks. Table service in there was fantastic, which meant we never had an empty glass. That is turn led to another rather wild night. We had a great time in Bratislava. It is a fantastic place to for little get away.
The next morning we set off for Vienna, all the drinking in Bratislava had caught up with me so it was not a very pleasant ride and a reminder that it is not a good idea to drink the night before you are cycling across country…who would of thought! Cycling to Vienna though we stopped upon a little place, Schloss Eckatsua. A beautiful building, kind of in the middle of nowhere. It gave me a taste of just how stunning Vienna was going to be. it also had little hanging baskets from the tree’s to sit in and Mel and I had an amazing nap in them. Much needed after Bratislava. We cycled along the Danube again until we arrived at out Campsite, Neuw Donau. A great little site about a 10 minute train ride from the city and a good cheap option.
The next day we got up nice and early as to spend the whole day in Vienna and what an incredible day it was. The second we got there I was just in love! Everywhere was just stunning. I spent the majority of the day with my mouth hitting the floor in awe of all the magnificent architecture and beautiful surroundings. We took a free walking tour at 10 am with Ava, she was great. Very funny and incredibly knowledgeable about the City and its history. We went to many of the must see points, including the statue dedicated to Mozart and essentially his final resting place and place people can visit to pay tribute as they never knew where exactly he ended up. Something I did not know.
After the walking tour Mel and I walked to Schonbrunn Palace and I literally couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the place. We both gasped because it was so breathtaking. We walked around there for a few hours and just took it all in. It was wonderful. As beautiful as Vienna is, it is a rather pricey City and not one for budget travellers to explore too much and we found ourselves in McDonalds 3 times that day to eat as to not over spend on eating out as we wanted to spend the whole day there because we had splurged on tickets to a live concert in St Peters church that evening. So after a day wandering around this ridiculously attractive City we stood in a corner by the church and changed from our shorts and T-shirts to our shirt and dress we had stored in the rucksack for the show.
It was unbelievable, inside the church was just magnificent. Every inch of the building was just so beautifully decorated and grand. I felt like I couldn’t open my eyes wide enough to take it all in. Then when the music began it was such an experience. One I will never forget. Listening to such a beautiful sound, echoing around such an impressive building was truly magical and a beautiful and thoughtful gift from Mel. We loved it. After a day I didn’t think could be topped, as we made our way back towards the tube, we ended up at the film festival which was taking place on that same day. Down by the town hall had been turned into a giant screen that was showing an opera film with 100;s of seats for viewers and also dozens of pop up bars and stalls. So not only did we get to enjoy classic music in this amazing City but also caught a bit of opera. A truly amazing day!
We left Vienna, with it being firmly in my top 2 days so far, along with Lake Bled and we got on a train towards Gmunden because finally a Warmshowers host had come through so we had a place to stay that evening. We headed straight to near by Traunsee and I was back in my element, surrounded by beautiful mountains and still clear lakes. Then we went to meet our host, Roland and his family. They greeted us at their beautiful home and couldn’t have been a nicer family. They took our bikes and stored them, showed us around and offered us a beer. Their house was beautiful and they where a very welcoming and kind family. Rowland was there with his brother Bernard and their two friends who were also brothers and we all sat and chatted before they took us out for dinner down by the lake. We went to a beautiful little restaurant known for making the best Schnitzel and had a great meal there. The food was incredibly tasty and very good quality. We chatted away with the guys and we all had such a great time, to the point my face was hurting from laughing so much. Then Roland even paid for our meal on behalf of him and his family. An incredibly kind and generous gesture. We arrived back and sat in the garden with them all and their Mother and Father joined us for a while and it was just a great evening all around. In the morning after a lovely nights sleep, Roland prepared breakfast for us and printed us off a map and gave us a couple of options for the best routes to take through Austria. This being my first experience using the Warmshowers hosting, it really couldn’t of gone any better, such a great family, beautiful home and so kind and helpful in regards to our onward trip. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough as a means of finding a place to stay on a cycle tour and the fact it is all free is just unbelievable.
So we set off on one of the routes suggested by Roland and this was honestly the most beautiful day so far for cycling. Austria is just a stunning place and we had numerous places to stop throughout the day to swim in crystal clear lakes and relax surrounded by mountains and the beautiful thing is that nowhere is overran with tourists and too busy, it was all just so peaceful and quiet. Roland had suggested we get coffee in a famous coffee shop along the way called Zauner, so we stopped there for an iced coffee and it was great. We then headed towards Wolfgangsee, this Lake was stunning and we went on to find a campsite near by, this is when it got tricky and our perfect day started to sour because it became very clear as we approached the campsites just how busy they all where. We tried 6 and all of them full. So we had a bit of a dilemma, so we just went down to a nice spot by the lake to think. We realised we would have to wild camp so as we wouldn’t be paying for accommodation again we treated ourselves to a meal at a gorgeous little twinkling restaurant on the lake. Then we went to a lovely little spot right on the lake which seemed quite popular and considered setting up camp there, however there was a sign saying that it was prohibited to have tents up between 8pm-6am. So we thought about not even bothering with the tent and just getting our mats out. A couple of guys from Estonia came over and chatted to us who had the same ideaand also gave us some Estonian beers. So that night once everyone had cleared out, we just slept without a tent underneath the stars. It was actually the most amazing night. We both woke up in the night to see thousands of bright and shining stars filling the sky. I woke around 5 am and swam in the lake and it was the best feeling in the world. So we really enjoyed our wildcamping.
We had a pretty tough uphill battle the next day to get to Salzburg and I have continued to have problems with my neck so it was a hard day but at the end of it we found a lovely little campsite and set up tent. We are here for three nights before heading toward Munich.
Yesterday we explored the city and all it has to offer. It is another brilliant place, we visited Hohensalzburg Fortress which was incredible and offered some stunning views from the top, along with a very interesting audio tour and museums to explore. We visited Mozart’s place of birth, that now has a spar at the bottom of it and then we headed to Augustinabrau, a giant beer hall to meet Gemma and Campbell, the creators of Highlands2Hammocks. highlands2hammocks.co.uk A lovely couple who are also currently travelling Europe, we had a lovely afternoon together sharing our stories and drinking huge beers. It was so nice to get to meet like-minded people and all through the power of Instagram haha! We hope to see them again in the future and may very well do as we may have convinced them to give cycling a go.
So it has been a very eventful and ever amazing few weeks and we are now on our final leg of our European journey, a few more days in the beautiful Austria before heading to Munich where we will part with our bikes before flying to Vegas. Its been an exciting journey so far and really this is just the beginning and we are excited to continue and explore new places, meet new people and try new things. So far it has been making us very happy and that is what it is all about.
Well wishes to everyone back home…. next stop Munich!