Hoooooorray readers! This will be a quick series to update during the cycling - The tough days!
Current Position: Koper in Slovenia.
After warm days on the Wild Elephant hostel in Bratislava, it was time to hit the road again. Weather forecast predicted sunny days with winds picking up from south, didn't sound as good as wished, but cycling is like that - you don't control the weather.
My original plan was to follow the Euro Velo 9 which would lead me across Austria from north to south, but as you may have read on the previous update I decided to leave Austria to seek new adventures in a new country, Slovakia.
I could either go back to Vienna, costing me another train ticket I was not willing to pay, or change the plans to suit my needs, that's what I did. Instead of following the Euro Velo 9, I would now go through the Euro Velo 13 - The Iron Curtain Trail. This new bicycle route draws what once divided western Europe from eastern Europe, sounded interesting, different and with the same end point that I had previously planned, the north of Slovenia.
Don't Trust the Forecast
In the beginning I knew about the possibility of some snow and the acknowledge of headwinds softened the bitter thoughts on my mind; if there's one thing worse than cycling on the rain, it's for sure cycling against the wind. Nothing could be done though, just pedal.
Snowy spots here and there, gray sky, farm lands, forests and nothing else to see were my companies on the road. Since the trail goes right on top of the border between Austria and Hungary I was constantly swaping countries with not a single guard to stop me, no boring and grumpy immigration officers - it was almost utopic.
I continued until the sun started to fade away on the cold horizon, it was time to find a nice wild camping spot again, anywhere on those farms would be nice. That night would be my first true winter camping. Is it cold?
Persistence or Stupidity?
If there's one thing about me is that, when I have an objective, I'll keep on trying no matter the conditions. I may become grumpy and my mood may change when in severe situations, but I will keep on going. Wet, freezing, against wind, walking, cycling or hitchhiking - I have experienced them all.
Even though it was all white, it felt refreshing to cycle on the snow, all you have to do is wear appropriate clothes and keep a good nutrition. Of course, you'll need to like coldness as well. That's how the second day passed by, cutting through snowy fields until I found the beautiful Neusiedler Lake, one of the most freezing sunsets I have ever seen.
The Mighty Wind
The snow campings were gone on the third day, sky started to clear and I could picture the warmer lands of Slovenia just kilometers away, at that point still far away, but one can dream, right?
That's when I discovered the powerful, unpredicted and sharp south winds hitting my face with 30-35 knots of speed. Progress was miserable, legs were trembling, not to mention the boredoom of being amidst farmlands with nothing really impressive to see. Just me, the bicycle and the absurd battle against the elements. To the front nothing, to the back all the incredible 20 kilometers conquered throughout hours of intense cycling; on that rate It would take me several days to get to Slovenia.
The only pictures that day were to ilustrate the boredoom and the happiness, of when I saw a big tractor working by the road - one of my big fascinations are the tractors. The act of stopping to take the camera had became too much at some points, standing still holding the bicycle was a challenge. What was I doing there?
From sailing adventures and stories, I hear a lot about the winds and how people navigate according to windows provided by the Mother Nature. Sometimes sailors sit on a port for days waiting the perfect opportunity to carry them to the destination; those who are brave enough may try to battle it with modern boats and different sailing techniques.
Going back further in time, sailors had no technology and the square sails would only navigate downwind, thus the famous stories about frustrated sailors who wanted to cross the Cape Horn in South America. Some of them perished, others were wise to turn back up - this is what I was thinking that day.
Should I be one of the sailors who perished, or should I just go back and try again later? For sake of sanity, I entered a small train station and boarded the next train back to Vienna. I decided that I had had enough, my mind was starting to go crazy on such a terrible wind. For sure it would be costy, both in monetary values and time, but I was not even thinking properly, I just wanted to get out of there.
Come with me ladies and gentleman! Are you enjoying?
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~Love ya all,
Disclaimer: The author of this post is a convict broke backpacker, who has travelled more than 10.000 km hitchhiking. Following him may cause severe problems of wanderlust and inquietud. You've been warned.