How do you get out of a big city, going in the right direction, without asking anyone the way? Well, having ditched the idea of bringing a Garmin, I loaded up the app for OSM (Open Street Maps) on my phone and cached a series of Googlemaps. The two together provide options for ‘getting out of jail’. If I’m lost, OSM will tell where I am, and can tell me where campsites are. Using the cycling option on Googlemaps, in combination with a city map, I could trace my way out of Vienna without taking a single wrong turning. I was proud of myself! It doesn’t often happen like that…..
Today, I decided to leave the increasingly monotonous predictability of the Danube trail, and headed more directly to the Hungarian border, which I reached before noon
…changed my remaining euros into Florints, discovering I had some big numbers to adjust to
….10,000HUF is about £30, and at my first stop for refreshment, I asked the girl serving me to teach me my first words of Hungarian (which, incidentally, is distantly related to Finnish): excuse my phonetic spelling, but ‘Gusunum’ is ‘thank you’, and ‘Vislad’ is ‘goodbye’.
And I do love some of the accents on signposts!
But let me tell you about a couple of remarkable people I met in Vienna. When I got to the outskirts of the city, I stopped Markus to ask if he knew of a campsite
…not only did he tell me, but he also guided me there personally, adding a good 20kms to his ride, making it his longest of the year. My only kindness to him was to provide him with the opportunity to practise his already-good English.
Then at the campsite, Thomas (from Frankfurt) introduced himself,
…and within minutes we had decided to go for a meal together. Not only is he a mosaicist, but he had cycled from his home to attend a conference in Vienna. And I was further intrigued by his passion for cycle trekking in Asia, especially India.
Then a young German lad arrived late at the campsite, and looking at his bike, I knew he was on a long journey. He told me he had given up everything to cycle to Singapore…..but intriguingly, he was doing the section to Turkey without maps or any technical assistance (all he was carrying was an old Nokia phone). He was, literally, asking people the way as he progressed: “Which way to Istanbul, please”.
I tell you, adventure travel broadens the horizons…..
..and this is where I have pitched my little tent, in a near empty field (which is a campsite) with grass so long I probably won’t need to use my Thermarest mattress tonight. What a happy thought.