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Slovakia (6)

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Yo dudes and dudettes,


Greetings from Bratislava capital of Slovakia!!!


Thought I'd send another email as I guess the northern European leg of my

journey is over as I now enter Southern Europe specifically the Balkans.


As irony would have it, since my last email I've done nothing but meet

people. I guess it was to be expected as the Danube Cycle route is a

cycling mecca and so the opportunities increase exponentially. The cycle

route itself is fantastic. Over a thousand miles of flat, mostly tarmac

extending from south-west Germany to Budapest. The German section appears

to be a favourite holiday route for families and it's not unusual to see

entire families including grandparents and kids. As an introduction to

touring it's ideal with beautiful cities and historic sites all along the

route as well as plenty of camp sites and rooms for rent.


In Passau I met a dutch guy and we spent the night drinking and talking

cycling. Interesting bloke who broke up with the love of his life four

years ago and decided he wanted some time out and has been cycling round

Europe since. Seems a common theme that massive cycling tours start with

something sad.


On the way out of Passau I hooked up with a French bloke called Ben and

we've been cycling together since. It's been good to have the company and

it's also helped on the cycling front as we share the lead and managed 105

miles on our first day together. The contrast between the two of us is

interesting. He's basically has a tent, a duvet and a few days clothing. I

almost feel embarrassed when I pull out my state of the art camping

equipment. I cooked him his first hot meal in two weeks as he basically

survives on bread, cheese and tomatoes. He's also a lot more forward then

me and is happy to ask people if we can camp in their garden over night.

Being typically French he has no real idea where he's going. I think today

we're going to go our separate ways as he heads back home via Zagreb and I

head down to Budapest.


Last night we met two Austrian women. We'd stopped off in a small town to

ask for water at a house. We were going to ask if we could pitch in the

garden but it was a B&B and it felt a bit cheeky. As we were leaving town

we saw two women, one whose bicycle had a puncture. Being the man carrying

the entire world I offered to fix the puncture as they were on a short tour

so weren't carrying any equipment. They were also looking for a room and I

pointed them in the direction of the B&B we'd been given water. I then had

the bright idea of getting them to ask the owner if we could pitch in the

garden as we all know men are a sucker for a pretty female. Obviously the

guy agreed and so we had a prime bit of camping for the night. Afterwards

we joined the girls for dinner (after they suggested we shower) and they

insisted on paying for the meal. As usual, the bar had the standard local

drunk who insisted on singing Bob Dylan songs to us and inviting us to a

party which we had to decline as I suspect the party consisted of just him.

I told him I was trying to break the world record for solo cycling round the

world so had to be up early. It just goes to show what a single act of

kindness can achieve good company, good food and a cracking night.


Yesterday we also did a quick tourist tour of Vienna. Another beautiful

city but like Hamburg a bit too city. I prefer Bratislava as, apart from

being cheaper, it seems a lot more personal. I'll probably head out from

Bratislava this afternoon down to Budapest. Being on my own again will be

difficult to get used to as it has been enjoyable having someone to ride

with. I guess the Danube trail has been a break for me from the usual

hardship of hills and sleeping in the forest. After Budapest it's down to

Athens which I'll approach from the north-east and then fly to India. The

weather also seems to have improved as I've headed south which was my

intention from the start. Chasing the sun.


I may have a few days off in Greece. Maybe lie on the beach and read while

I wait for my flight to India. We'll see as always. One thing that this is

teaching me is that anything can happen so plans need to be pretty loose.

The miles keep clocking up and I've done just under 2000 miles.


I'm off to see the sights of Bratislava with Ben the Frenchman now before we

say our farewells.


Catch you all later and as always lots of love.



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