Tuesday, 31 July 2007

"It could only happen to that dork"

Here's another one of my 'yeah right' stories. Early in the morning I went roving thorough Vienna on my push-bike, only to discover when I returned to the hostel, to my utmost horror, that my room key and dummy wallet were missing. I recoiled violently upon learning that the lost key fee was $60AUS.

With the utmost haste I set off, retracing my steps though this most labyrinthine of cities. When I neared the police station I passed on my earlier jaunt, I enquired as to whether anyone had handed them in. Here's where the plot thickens, and you may struggle to believe me.

My keys and dummy wallet were pickpocketed from my person, but another bystander apparently witnessed this action. He called after me, but I was well off on the bicycle. He summmoned the nearest policeman, who promtly chased down and arrested the pickpocket, and found my lost keys. I just happened to return to the right police station, and quote the number on my keys, ending my dilemma.


(Well, this is what I could make out what happened, as my grasp of the German and german/english languages is quite poor.)

Random Streetcorner

Road Bridge near town centre

Stephansdom, the most incredible church

Stephansdom outside

The mighty Goethe

Typical Viennese vista

Cafe Central, a historic coffeehouse where I had my (expensive) lunch

A clever man commits no minor blunders.

And now something completely different...

Everything is going fine with my health, the physical aspect that is. On the road I tend to talk to myself in a monty-python style english accent, but enough about that.

But it's not all spring chicken. I seem to be following a pattern. I wake up at 7:00am feeling like death, mainly because of my frankly crap closed-cell foam mattress. I stretch and have breakfast, and feel slightly less dead. Once I'm on the bike and in the zone, everything levels out. The next 90-100 km are fantastic, and I love it. Lunch comes and goes, most probably in the main square of the town closest to 12:00 noon.

However, recently, this is where things have turned pear-shaped. My goal of the day is usually a substantial town where I can find a campground or a place where I can stock up on food. The final 10km approach to these towns are horrifying. I end up getting lost, circling the town, and adding another 15km onto the total.

Repeat cycle.

However, the good outweighs the bad tenfold. I love the feeling that I dont know exactly where I'll be tomorrow, only that it will be within a couple hundred km's. I arrived in Vienna yesterday after a hard 3 1/2 day's ride from Prague. The city is equally as marvellous in architecture, but for some reason I feel more at home here. Too bad my pocketbook doesn't think the same way.

Monday, 30 July 2007

There's never a spanner when you need one, but there's always one in the works...

Yet another 'lounging by the water' shot

Rosenburg Castle

Rosenburg, my favourite town so far

Typical Austrian countryside

Breakfast on a park bench in my first substantial Austrian town

Into Austria. That's the Czech border post in the background

A touch Czech bastard

Road in Czech Republic

Hilltop Castle

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Just a few pics...

I'm about 1.5 km from the Austrian border, the Czech Republic was incredible to cycle through, but alot more hilly than the previous countries. Here's a couple of pics...

Rest by a lake

Forest path

One of the hundreds of lakes

Hotel window in Jindrichuv Hradec

Typical Cycle road

Another road

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Fairytale land

Honestly, everything you have heard about Prague and the Czech Republic is true. The buildings are incredible, the women are all models and the beer is cheap, tasty and free flowing. I will be staying awhile here for sure.

Astronomical clock

The above two photos are of the same street taken from different ends, just awesome scenery.

But it hasn't all been spring chicken. I was in the hostel bar having a few brews, when I slammed the glass into my mouth for some inexplicable reason. A large part of my front tooth had been smashed off and I looked like hillbilly bob. Rather than panic, I booked a eastern european dentist for the next day, and had it capped. Not only did they do a bang-up job, it was cheap ($80) and my teeth actually look better than before.

I was also stopped by the local police for some reason and taken to the watchouse where they checked my passport about 100 times. I think that I'm not allowed to ride in the city centre. I don't think my irrational, erratic style of riding helped the matter either. Luckily I'm a friendly chap, and I befriended the cops, and they gave me a couple more stickers to slap on the bike! (no fine)

Nothing else to report, except now I've decided to go through the Alps in Austria and Italy and head along the Meditteranean to Valencia in Spain.


Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Place of a thousand landscape paintings

The photos of the area around Dresden to Prague simply do not do it justice. There would be more photos if only my camera hadn't gone dead. I caught a incredibly slow train across the German/Czech border, similar to the 1800's one below, possible the most inefficient machine ever concieved. It was an cool experience nonetheless.

I had a rest at a town called Bad Schandau right near the border, and crossed into the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia). I also bought and fitted a 'girly-basket' (as Alisdair calls it) to my bike. You'll see it in the pics. It's pretty girly, but functional.

Similar train to the one I had the pleasure of riding

Bad Schandau, on the river near the Czech Border

Snippet of the awesome scenery

One of the many hilltop castles and fortifications

Ducks on the river

Monday, 23 July 2007

Berlin or Bust

Hello from the great divide of the East and West!

I've been in Berlin for two and a half days now, it's a rocking city with great sights and nightlife. You've more than likely seen photos very similar to the ones I've posted below, as they are major tourist attractions, and heavily photographed. But you see, mine have a certain something to them that makes them slightly better than all the rest. No, thats bollocks, but enjoy them all the same.

Branderburger Tor on the border between East and West Berlin

Branderburger Tor looking to the west

The Reichstag (Parliament)

Jamie Oliver. No it's just my mate Alisdair who bears an uncanny resemblance.

I presume this is Otto Von Bismarck

Big spire before Branderburger Tor (forgot its name)

Absolutely enormous Russian Embassy

Soviet War moument

Malik and the Author at Checkpoint Charlie

Thats about it for now, I'll post some pictures of Prague and the countryside, and maybe a video report of my trip so far sometime in the near future.


Saturday, 21 July 2007

Waiter, there's a pom in my soup!

I'm now in Berlin, after a mean three days cycling from Hamburg. Cycling in a pairs is definately more efficient, as you spur each other on. Today I intend to do some touristy stuff visit the sights, etc; I'll post some more impressive pics when I get them!

VIDEO OF FOREST IN GERMANY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLtU_yJ3lHs

Plaza, Berlin

Lunch on the #5 Freeway to Berlin

Brekky at a bakery in Domitz