Bicycletour Passau - Vienna - Balaton, July 88



In the last year I made a bike tour from Goettingen to Passau following the European hike trail E6. In consequence of my philosophy to start the next tour at the end of the last one opens the difficult question: where to go from Passau? Who doesn't know the answer? There is the most famous bike trail of Europe leading from Passau to Vienna at the Danube. There is everything a cyclist wants, landscape and gastronomy etc. It is easy to convince a part of my family to this trip and so this will be the first family tour.

It's Heidi (female spouse), Martin (husband) and Verena (15 year old daughter) who start at Sunday, 10.7. with their car to Passau, the bikes on the roof. At Passau there lives Heidis friend Ingrid, where we can deposit the car for the next two weeks. We are heartily welcome and at first get corresponding to the outstanding tour a piece of "Sachertorte" (Sacher is a famous Cafe at Vienna). Thereafter we make a walk through Passau. Others have written of the attractions of this town so I can resign. It is true: you feel yourself in vacancies at once here.

Monday, 11.7. Passau - Linz 95 km

Early in the morning we start. The panniers are fixed and a big farewell and shooting photographs precede the departure, finally we disappear round the next corner. Amidst much traffic we ride to the city down at the Danube. It is so steep that Heidi prefers to walk with the unusual weight on her bike. At the shore of the Danube the sun is reflected by the waters. Some steamers are anchored at the quais and wait for passengers. We cross the bridge of the Danube and just then a bundle of about 50 bikers are around us. For we go slow at the beginning those lots of cyclists are soon out of sight.

At Obernzell we buy some proviant and now have a quiet route up to Jochenstein short before the Austrian frontier. A rest at a meadow and then we head towards the border. And we nearly do not believe, there are two custom officers at the wooden guard house though only cyclists can come here. The family before us can pass without control, but we must get our passports from the bottom of our panniers before we can go on.

Once we meet a biker on a single day trip and have a chat. We tell of our tour and something of "Budapest" so he announces: "Dös is a Wahnsinn" (This is crazy). The next attraction is a ferry boat for cyclists only and we cross for few money from one shore to the other. It will be a hot day, fortunately the trail leads in the shadow of trees. Near Schloegen an extraordinary section of the Danube begins: for some distance the Danube winds it's bed through a narrow valley, there is no road and it is completely silent. So we decide to have a rest. Just there a man comes out of the water wearing no swimming trunks. Then he takes his towel and rubs around while we try to look in another direction.

Old storage house near Obermühl
Now we pass Obermuehl. At this point I arrived at the Danube last year. I can remember the atmosphere of that moment: the silence, the autumnal haze, the happy feeling to have come here by bike. Today it is not so romantic, in the sunshine we ride ahead and feel well. Through many woods we reach Aschach and have a coffee and an icecream. More and more it gets hot now. Behind Aschach the valley becomes wide again and the Danube is dammed here. There is an interesting trail with signs to learn something about the fish here. The last distance to Linz we must go on the main road. The colour of Heidi's face turns to be red, so we are glad to arrive at Linz after some time. While Heidi and Verena enjoy a "Radlermaß" (beer and limonade mixture) I fix the accommodation at the tourist office: Hotel Goldener Anker (Golden Anchor).

At a backyard in the hotel we have our dinner. A nice walk around through Linz, the market place is a great building site, but in the streets some musicians and other actors enjoy the warm summer evening.

Tuesday, 12.7. Linz - Ybbs 80 km

Past the nice weather of yesterday today we have pouring rain. So we have plenty of time during breakfast. At 9 am we start in spite of the rain. We ride on the left side of the Danube, at the right side there is a dull industrial area. What's about the quality of the waters here? We don't know. After some time the rain stops and while we blindly follow another group of bikers we find out to be wrong. But we cannot go back now, so we get on the right side again to the town Enns. To go back to the bike trail we have to use a main road to the next bridge at Mauthausen. Within we enter a snack bar and feel discontent. At Mauthausen we decide to go at a small road via Naarn and Ruprechtshofen. May be we make better progress so for we have by now made many kilometers but not much distance this day.

At Naarn there is a smaller problem with Verenas pedal, some oil will help and a screw has to be fastened. We say Heidi to go on until we come from behind. As we are ready with the pedal and look up Heidi has disappeared. OK, up up and away we rush into the declared direction. After 50 m there is a junction. As to be seen from the map you must turn to the right here but we did not talk about this before. So I leave Verena at this place and ride off as fast as I can. But until the next village there is no Heidi. So back again to inspect the other direction. The same result: no one to be seen. The only thing we can do now is to wait at the "pedal place". What if we never meet again? And what will Heidi do far from home without money and passport?

It is up to us now to do the right and that seems to be: to do nothing (We do not know the later pop song: All we can do is sit and wait..., Sydney Youngblood, 1989, otherwise we would have had the idea to sing this). Some time I hurry around inside and outside the village yet, but finally to give up and sit on the pavement and to hang down our heads. The inhabitants around start to look at us with surprise. This lasts one long hour, one of the longest in our life. (Nowadays they distinguish between the real and the felt temperature, someone should introduce the real and the felt length of time). And Heidi reappears. Like a thunderstorm. She has been short before Vienna - she says, and now had to go all the way back? So various discussions arise, who is responsible for this desaster? If there is any doubt - the leader and reader of the map has to take it all. Finally we are so happy to be together again.

Now we enter the road which should offer the pace. At Wallsee we reach the Danubian bike trail again. This now leads through swamps at the shore of the Danube to the village of Grein. Before Grein the trail is somewhat exposed at the right side, so Heidi determines to stay consequently to the left side. At Grein a woman offers an accommodation to us, but Heidi says "It is too early yet, we should continue". Nice to hear this.

Grein is a touristic place and we feel as to have holidays. At a nice Cafe we sit down and watch the other people. My two female companions soon become victims of their own laughter and it's up to me to calm them down. After this we head for the last 20 km of this day down to Ybbs. We have to use the main road but the landscape is fine.

Instead of a hotel or pension we get a private housing at Mrs. Katzensteiner's estate. This is fine, and after regeneration, walk around and dinner this day finds its end.

Pilgrimchurch Mairataferl

Monastery of Melk

Wednesday, 13.7. Ybbs - Hollenburg 80 km

Mrs. Katzensteiner offers a splendid breakfast and we get a lunch package. Today we have the pilgrims church Mariataferl above, a slight wind from ahead and the famous monastery of Melk via Poechlarn in front. Now this monastery forces to stay for a while but first we go shopping. I buy a new tire for the old one seems to explode soon (but will do this not before back at home). Finally we enter the monastery and find a big building site. The sightseeing tour amongst the hectical tourists now seems not so attractive and we resign.

Meanwhile it has become hot and we are happy to ride in the woods. The path gets worse until we realize that we have entered a military area. Though the tracks are well bulldozed by tanks and other chainwheels our bikes are not the right vehicles for this affair. So we have to return, we are good in time yet this day. On the way back we meet other bikers on their way to the manoeuvre. Some can be warned, others are not willing to believe in it.

We enter an authentic road now and climb up to a high bridge. On the other side the Wachau begins. Up on the bridge there is a wonderful view and one thinks to fly. Suddenly I remember: Heidi does not like such airy places nor passages. So it is up to me to occupy the place between the rail of the bridge (parapet) and my dizzy wife.

Now at the left side the Wachau begins. The road passes one scenic place after the other. Within the motorized traffic has to go on the "Wachaustrasse", new built and straight ahead at the shore. The bike trail instead winds its ways through the vineyards and old fashioned villages.

At the Wachau

As we arrive at Krems we are not far from a sunstroke. At the entrance of Krems we speak to a Canadian family and find out, that they are relatives to the owner of the elegant castle and hotel just in front of us. In spite of that we do not try to get an invitation as guests of honor, may be we do not look like those anyway.

By cycling in the burning sun all the time we urgently need a rest now, especially Verena. We walk through Krems and certainly miss the sights worth to be seen. Down at the Danube shore we find a restaurant to have a cool drink. In view of the white guest ships going to and from Vienna we think about it all. But the inner cyclist wins.

For today we soon have to look for an accommodation. We want to go to the next town or village, but before (I) have to carry the bikes downstairs from a high bridge. So we reach Hollenburg and we ask at a grocer's shop for an accommodation. This times it works in the following way: they phone up at a family for a room and some minutes later there is Robert, the son of the family to take us there. Fine!

At the evening we have regenerated to visit a pub accompanied by our host and two workers in canalisation business. It gets pretty late.

Thursday 14.7. Hollenburg - Klosterneuburg 70 km

The last section of the way to Vienna begins. The landscape at the shores of the Danube is not as picturesque at this part. Soon it begins to drizzle, and not much later a steady rain comes down. We have to put on our rain clothes and hope the best. At Traismauer we reach the ruin of a nuclear power station, ecological arguments have helped to stop this project in the past. Under the building there are open rooms like catacombs where we can change some wet clothes. Before we get cold we continue. It rains and rains and rains, you proceed monotonically and ask for the sense of life especially of cycling.

At noon we reach Tulln soaked wet, shivering and hungry. We buy something and eat from the paperbag, change some clothes and enjoy a hot coffee. Finally the rain stops 20 km to go to Klosterneuburg yet. This section is nice again, eventually the rain still irritates us. At about 2 pm we arrive at Klosterneuburg and fall on a bench in front of the tourist office which will be open soon.

As the responsible officer arrives we soon hear that all chambers, rooms, pensions and hotels in and around Vienna are booked up. We should enter a new built camping site near by. Helpless we sit at the bench again and think things over. I would go to the camping site but the other two will not for they feel cold yet. Suddenly the officer comes out and is lucky that we still hold the place. He just got a call that an appartement has become free. And this is very comfortable, warm and with a bathroom.

You can imagine how we will enjoy this after that all. We have a short nap and then feel like the Turks in front of Vienna. It is early in the afternoon and time enough to go by bus or metro to Vienna. We reach the Karlsplatz, enter the Karl's Church and stroll towards the Opera. Did we mention this "Sachertorte" already? Here it is, the Cafe Sacher but watching the pricelist I try to draw off my ladies. But Verena is annoyed and so we enter a table at the columns and arches as if we were old guests. Verena gets her Sachertorte at this place, we are satisfied with a cuplet of coffee. Heidi and Verena finally inspect the toilets and return with shining eyes: mirros and marble.

Next is the Stephansdom and this time I success to avoid such a round tour with one of those coaches (Fiaker). We will have a round tour by bus the next day instead. We visit the site of the Hofburg and then feel hungry. While we do not know the restaurants and find high prices everywhere we finally end at a place named, I nearly do not dare to tell you: "Wiener Wald". In the restaurant a kind gentleman at a table nearby cannot be stopped to declare our way back to Klosterneuburg by all kinds of public transportation.

We walk to the station of Hernals and come back to Klosterneuburg without opportunity to buy a ticket at the officer.

Friday 15.7. A day at Vienna

This time we go to Vienna in the morning for we urgently need a visum for Hungary from the tourist office IBUZS. We need portraits for the passport before and Heidi and Verena enter a shopping mall for an automate. But all of their experiments fail, the coin returns all the time. The manager is called and he declares to the annoyed customers that the automate has just been maintained. Before further wars arise they find out that they have used a German coin of 5 DM instead of an respective Austrian Shilling coin. There is still much to learn in the wide wide world...

After we have completed the bureaucratic obligations we are informed that we can receive the visa the next day. Now we start the round tour by bus. The passengers are divided in two parts of different language. We find our co-passengers to come from Spain. So it needs some time to the start. Then the bus curves into the traffic jam and the guide declares lots of historic places and buildings. It is difficult to have the speed to look out of the windows and identify the corresponding sensations.

Castle of Schönbrunn

The main attraction is the castle of Schoenbrunn and a longer guidance there. Chambers and halls of the ancient residence of the Austrian empire are passed through. One of the Spain visitors never lets the viewfinder of his camcorder away from his eye, another is bothered by his rumouring children and the anger of his wife all the time. So this guidance is very interesting. Besides in each room of the castle we learn, what the famous empress "Sissy" (Romy Schneider in her best known movie) did here and did there.

After all have assembled in the bus again we go to the estate of the former "Prinz Eugen dem edlen Ritter" (brave knight). You can make a walk around the building, the inner rooms are closed.

Now the round tour is over and ends at the opera. We decide to have seen enough for today. We buy a fried chicken at a "Wiener Wald" again (do you know the advertising slogan: "heute bleibt die Kueche kalt...", means: "today the kitchen stays cold..."?). We take the chicken in a thermo paperbag with us to the appartement and have a nice dinner there. Then things have to be picked up and packed for the next day.

Saturday, 16.7. Vienna - Soppron 60 km

We say farewell to our nice appartement at Klosterneuburg and use our bikes again along the nice shores of the Danube. At Vienna we at first must get our visa which cost nice a lot. After that we can continue and head to the famous "Hundertwasserhaus" which is built in a bizarre architecture. The fact that lots of tourists come here to see this house shows the desolate character of the usual architecture. If there would be more of those phantastic and creative ideas in the world it would not be neccessary, that they all come to Vienna and to this place.

Now we enter one of the numorous rail stations and use the city train out of this huge capital town (bike transport free). We leave the train at Neusiedel, it is noon now and pretty warm. At a sale place for vegetables at the street we chat to the girl there (she is 85 years old, comes from the Semmering and named Mizzi). She tells to us in the best Austrian slang which I cannot translate: "What are you looking for in that Hungary, come to the Semmering instead, that would be much more beautiful...". We start to feel doubts, but I will se the Alps one year later (see that report).

Our pockets are filled with peaches and pears now. We use a bike trail between the Lake of Neusiedel and the Leitha mountains, we pass the places Breitenbrunn, Purbach and Rust, famous of it's stork colonies.

Lake of Neusiedel near Rust
Afterwards you have to climb up some hills until you reach the village Klingenbach at the frontier to Hungary. Another slope leads up to the Hungarian checkpoint. Now we feel somewhat of adventure at our prickling skin for it is the first time we enter a socialistic country at the east of Europe. And we feel courageous on the other side, for we hide the Hungarian money that we had changed earlier in our luggage (it is forbidden to import any Hg. money).

At the checkpoint we ask the officers where to change money around here. The answer is "Nothing change, Sopron!!" and we are on the way. At one side we are happy having passed the frontier but on the other side we are strangers now, do not speak the language and do not know what awaits us. Running downhill we soon arrive at Sopron.

At a place we stop and look around for an accommodation. Nothing to be seen. If we ask some people they don't understand and we neither. We stroll along the main street and try to read the letters at the houses. Then there is a restaurant with some people hanging around. I go there and ask for a hotel. They explain something to me and passing some corners we soon stand in front of a ***-hotel in the center of Sopron. As we see later this is the only hotel of the town. The price is cheap if compared with our western level.

We get a nice room, the size of the bathroom seems to be one of a gymnastic hall. We want to stay for two nights and they say we could get a more comfortable room the next night. We cannot understand, our present room is good enough really.

After the regeneration period we enjoy an elegant meal down in the hotel restaurant. And the price inclusive a good beer (Pilsener Urquell) is that of a snackbar at home. Afterwards we stroll through the nighty Sopron and feel romantic.

At the way back we fall into a beer cellar and chat to a couple driving through Hungary with their car.

Sunday, 17.7. A day at Sopron

A sunday and a nice weather shall be the background of a fine day at Sopron. First we go to the market place. Verena and I climb up to the tower of the castle. Heidi stays at the ground, she does not like airy places as you know. At the market place a concert takes place, people sit in front of the cafes and you feel like to be in southern Europe.


In the afternoon we make a walk and try to find the other hotel outside of Sopron. This is more elegant and more expensive, so we are content in our own choice. At this site you see all the tourists of the busses. Besides that there are several hostels for vacancy, where the socialistic idea of happy factory or mine workers is made to reality.

On the way back we have coffee (Hubertusklause). It must be said, that many houses look poor. At one side many old houses are still alive and have not been broken down for new buildings, on the other side there is not enough money to restore the decay.

At the hotel we speak to another family coming from Canada. They are on their bikes too and want to go to Prague.

Monday 18.7. Sopron - Janoshaza 110 km

Now we start for the inner areas of Hungary. But the landscape is not so nice, it really looks like in northern Germany, and this landscape is known to us. There are some colonies of storks anyway. We reach Fertoed with its castle of the Esterhazy principality. Today at Monday the guidance is closed. The Canadian family who has come here especially for this sight is very sad. Before we depart Verena gets a sticker of the Maple Leaf as souvernir.

Esterhazy - Castle
We reach Kapuvar, Beled and Celldoemoelk. The landscape is mainly farmland, large fields of cucumbers, sunflowers, corn or poppy and sometimes you can find an enrichment of your proviant (if no one is around). But you can buy things in every village, at most we prefer something from the fist: sausage, bread, chocolate.

At Celldoemoelk we want to get our accommodation, it's a greater town there and is half the way to the Lake of Balaton. But everything fails, there is no hotel nor pension nor nothing. And no one speaks German or English, so we cannot ask anyone. We dare to get in panic again. I ride through the town and back. Meanwhile we get answers to our questions: a camping site 25 km ahead. But my ladies have another idea. They want to enter a train or a bus. But there is no train to the Balaton now and the bike must be sent as luggage. This will not work.

The driver of a bus makes signs to us that he is willing to help. The bus goes to Szombately and there is a hotel. We unpack and deposit the panniers at a bench. I look at the road map. There would be additional 100 km from Szombately to the Balaton, if we use the camping site, we would have only 50 km yet. Now it is easy to convince the ladies of this idea. The panniers are packed again (imagine you were an observer of this discussion and activities - you would have been highly amused, I am sure). We have a tent with us so we head towards the camping site, 25 km yet.

We hope to find any other accommodation on the way. In most cases when we ask someone at the street lots of people assemble around us and shout: "Camping, Camping!" And they sign into the direction we gradually learn. And if you look back: a huge black wall of clouds is coming up...

We reach the camping ground or what it should be before the rain starts. There is no single tent around, only a caravan from Belgium. But there is a restaurant for the cardrivers of this national road. I enter the restaurant to check in. "Take your place" they say and I look for a chair to sit down. But soon I notice: they do not mean a chair, they mean we should choose a place outside. So I retire and go back to my waiting and tired ladies.

We find a place under a small tree. Somewhat fatal is the matter, that the complete area inclusive the sanitary rooms are occupied by a herd of sheep. And you can imagine the trace of this everywhere. We have to hurry now the thunderstorm will start in a moment. Now a new critic falls on me. I have missed to bring with us the outer shell of the tent which is against the rain. The inner part is no shelter, it is only for not to be seen from outside. And now the rain breaks it's way.

We catch the half built tent and hurry under a ceiling built of plastic between the trees. There must have been a festival or party some time ago and they have built this for the guests. At some places huge waterballoons have sunk into the plastic and hang down. We choose one of those to build the tent under it (but not that you wait for a certain sensation: the waterballoon did not explode as long as we were at this place).
As the rain pours down now we have a dry place for us, our bikes and luggage.

Some time later we sit in the restaurant and have a fine meal. When we go asleep the pouring rain continues. During the night two events occur: at midnight the lights of some motorcars flash around our tent and we feel as if they will roll over us. Near the morning the sheep start to cry. Heidi gets angry and cries in the same manner but only wakes up us other two.

Tuesday 19.7. Janoshaza - Keszthely 40 km

In the morning it is still raining and we have our breakfast at the restaurant. The menu looks somewhat strange to us for the most meals are offered with brain variations. We resign and choose something like scrambled eggs. As long the rain endures we have a lot of time and slowly fix our belongings. At the final start it still rains. But at the junction from the national road towards Suemeg we say farewell to the rain (for the rest of the tour).

The last section to the Lake Balaton passes Suemeg with the impressive ruin of a former castle up on a hill. We turn to a smaller road to head for Keszthely and arrive at noon at this place. And this is the beautiful castle where many tourists stroll around.


We have much time to look for an accommodation today. In spite of that this time we get it immediately. Besides the castle at a fence there is a sign: "Zimmer frei" (Free Room) so we enter the estate. The house belongs to the former lodgings for the numerous employees of the castle. Painted with yellow colour they look nice. We ring the bell and knock at the door but have to wait some time. Finally a sleepy and halfnaked figure of a man appears. After rubbing his eyes a while he shows us the room. It is the living room and there are two beds. For we have thermomattes and sleeping bags one of us can sleep at the floor (guess who of us will do so). So we take advantage of this opportunity, it is good enough for these few days we want to stay here.

Istvan - that is the name of our host - though still sleepy turns to make some coffee, meanwhile we arrange our stuff and feel to have reached the destination now. "Never on the bike again" Heidi says with a sigh of relief.

In the afternoon we inspect the town and begin with preparations for the return. So we get a bitter punch now, for it is impossible to pay with Hungarian money for a ticket to western countries as Austria or Germany. You need a western currency for this and we do not own any Dollar, DM or Schilling now. And you can get them nowhere here, the change rate is very disadvantageous: you loose half of the sum. May be you can arrange something at the black market but this is not that attractive for us. The only way is to go to the Hungarian frontier by train, enter the bike there, pass the border and then find the next railway station to go back the rest into the golden west. For this intention the bikes have to be sent as luggage, we choose the town of Mosonmagyarovar near the checkpoint Hegyeshalom / Nickelsdorf. No one can tell us the time this will last, we have two days only. And once try to vocalise the word: Mosonmagyarovar.

After all this we have a nice evening with Istvan and Irma, his wife. Istvan is a lorry driver and is on duty at night. Irma works at a hotel and is on duty during the day ("Ob-la-di, obla-da" - if you know the corresponding song of the Beatles...). Our conversation is assisted by the language of hands and feet and gestures, so soon we are aquainted with all the animals like dog and cat, rabbit and hamster and we tell of our own animals at home.

Wednesday 20. 7. Keszthely

We have a sunny day at the Lake, swim and lie in the sun. The life is cheap here and you can have a good meal everywhere. We feel very well with Istvan and Irma, they are as hospitable as known from the inhabitants of eastern countries. We think of a holiday the next year here, but at the other side the Lake of Balaton is not as attractive to us to make this long trip again.

Friday 21.7. Keszthely - Györ by train

We have to say good bye, Istvan offers two huge sausages to us and we cannot blame him. So the luggage gets heavier. Wave of hands at us, wave of hands at Istvan may be we have seen a tear in his eye? We will ever remember the time here as one of our best at all our trips.

We enter the railway station and wait for the train. Lots of swallows whirr around and there are hundreds of nests at the walls. The train then rounds the western part of the lake. At Boglarelle we change to an express train towards Budapest. We share the compartement with two Algerians and a Hungarian couple.

As the conductor arrives he declares that we have a problem. We have no reservation tickets and have to buy these now for some coins. The result is: we sit in our cabin with 7 persons, all well booked - and all the other cabins nearby are completely empty.

We look at the countryside out of the window and that is interesting along the Lake of Balaton. Lateron the landscape looks like at home again. At the late afternoon we arrive at Budapest. To change to the next train we have to change the railway station too. We have a taxi and so manage this difficulty but we get no sight of Budapest, we are too excited anyhow.
Finally we enter the train to Györ and give a sigh of relief. Two stations before Györ a wild lot of Russian soldiers enter the waggon. They cry and swing their wodka bottles around. Soon they have thrown an eye on our daughter and she is so silly and gives a smile to them. At Györ we all leave the train and we quickly part from this wild gang.

In front of the railwaystation we first deposit our baggage and sit on the stairs to clear the situation. Nearby there is a hotel so I go there to ask for a room. We would just have enough money to pay one night there. At the way back a taxidriver speaks to me. There is a camping ground where you can have appartements which is much cheaper. Meanwhile another Russian soldier has approached, peers at our luggage and asks for the passports. Heidi mentions a phrase which could have brought us to the prison if the soldier would have understood it. With the assistance of the taxidriver we can convince the Russian that we do not want to sleep here in front of the station but are heading for the camping site instead. Uff!!

We get our appartement there and enter a restaurant for a meal. The kitchen is closed already, but we get a cutlet nevertheless. Aside there are tourists from the DDR, they are not much popular for they pay with coupons and have a noisy behaviour (this is to say about those we met here).

Saturday 22.7. Györ - Passau by bike and train

This will be an exciting day as we will leave Hungary. At first we have to ride the next 35 km to Moson...(you know). We enter a taxi to the station. The driver tells us, that it would be the same to go that town Moson... by taxi as by train. So we stay in the taxi and this brings us where we want. Though the driver thinks to be a professional racing driver as his colleagues all over the world. At the station at Mosonmagyarovar (let it be another time) we leave the taxi and sceptically we approach the luggage office. And: One - two - three - there they are all of our three bicycles, even the Kettler mountainbike, special edition (this was stolen two years later at a pub at home).

Highly motivated we now head for the last few km to the border. Unfortunately we have to use the national road. Once as we try to use a amaller road soon a Hungarian soldier stops us and checks our passports and visa. He then declares that this road leads to the checkpoint for trucks, we should use the main road again. Another soldier there stops us and checks ... (read above). We don't know why, we think he won't stop the cars so with his lengthy duty we are a welcome change for him.

Finally we reach the border. They take our papers again and check... (read above). This time we have to wait 30 minutes to get back the passports, no one knows why.

Meanwhile the heat is nearly unbearable and we ride 3 km to Nickelsdorf. At noon time no train to Vienna or elsewhere is available, so we have to wait some hours at a restaurant. We can eat and get some money from the post office.

Finally the train arrives but they have difficulties for the heat has deformed a switch or rail or both. At the next station Pandorf we must change the train and platform. As we misunderstand the speakers information we first rush in the one direction, then in the other and at last into the right. Heidi and Verena in front and when I start to cross the rails the train arrives - too late for me to reach the platform. What if the others enter the train now? I try to open the doors of the train at the backside but they are blocked (fortunately, for no one had seen someone entering the train with bike and panniers from the backside). As the train leaves off I still stand at the place and look stupid. But I am not the only one. At the other side there are two ladies looking stupid too (may be it was more angry).

So we get another free hour at Parndorf with no interest for the near or far surroundings. I figure out what to do in Vienna: change the station, buy tickets, send the bikes, phone call at Passau and so on. We have one hour to do all this. So as we at last arrive at Vienna we immediately start to ride to the West Station. That becomes a horror trip within the traffic jam, the cooking heat along the ringroads of Vienna. Bike tracks do not exist so at the junctions you stand among all the steaming cars.

Cooked and sweat we reach the West Station. We buy the tickets, send the bikes - everything OK. Now Heidi and Verena start to arrange a phone call to Passau. I sit at the luggage and breathe out. The telephon team seems to have difficulties again, they cannot succeed to get a connenction. Do they use Austrian coins? Yes they do. But the connection breaks down after some seconds all the time. The color of their face turns to red for some passengers watch the scenery with interest. Verena has the idea to read the instructions first. There is the trick: if you have the connection you must push a certain button and then the call can continue.

So they tell me. I arise like an experienced globetrotter and make a perfect call to Ingrid at Passau. The telephone team is annoyed. We do not have the strength yet to laugh about all that and enter our train in silence. Among Swedish girls and boys who are on Interrail tour we find a place and some hours later arrive at Passau.

At midnight we meet Ingrid and her family again, guess that there is much to tell about and so we finally almost lie under the table suffering from tiredness.