An (almost) uneventful trip…

Day 394, Leipzig, 27.684 km

Vienna – Leipzig. A little less than 600 km. 4 days. 2 borders. Nothing to report. That’s it. An article that writes itself, no need to strike to make it short this time…

Some of you may have noticed, there is a parenthesis in the title. With a six-letter word inside. « Almost ». Which of course changes everything… For those who want to know more about « almost », the rest of this article is for you. For the others, just look at the pictures, or even better, take one of the previous articles and look at the pictures, it will make you travel a little further…

During the Viennese evening, I become aware of a detail that will follow me until the end of the trip: after more than 27.000 km, the equipment is breaking down… My watch doesn’t work anymore since Slovenia, and now it’s the charger cable that doesn’t charge anymore. Probably a little too much abuse. But nothing irreplaceable, a little walk in town and I have a new cable, ready to charge my phone until Hamburg! As I leave, I take the same road as last summer for a few kilometers, memories come flooding in, I feel like I’m rewinding the whole trip in fast forward… I enjoy one last time nice views on the Danube, before crossing a bridge and heading to the Czech Republic.

A last look at the beautiful blue Danube

The next part of the trip can be summed up in one word: countryside. I still have fond memories of the Austrian mountains, of those sparkling rivers and steep gorges, impressive despite the clouds, fog and rain. This time it’s the countryside, fields as far as the eye can see: corn, wheat, sunflower, vineyards, and even other more surprising plants (I let you guess by looking at the pictures), but nothing illegal apparently. Hobbits’ houses too, but they disappear as quickly as they appeared…

What would the general say?
Welcome to the Shire

The quiet climb to the Czech border begins. Based on my last experiences, I’m not sure what to expect this time. Control? No control? I come across the usual border posts, but totally empty this time. Finally a border as we like them! I am glad to be back in the Czech Republic, and the trip in my memories continues: the villages with unpronounceable names, the yellow signs of the bicycle paths and the blue ones of the county roads with their arrows not always well placed. I also remember that there are very few public fountains, that it is most often necessary to find the cemeteries… I struggle a bit, start to feel thirsty and find a well with a half-erased sign. I call a friend, Google Translate, who transcribes the sign by « Water to drink, even after overheating ». I tell myself that there is a hidden meaning in the sentence that I don’t understand, but I essentially retain the beginning of it and drink a good liter of water from this well… Excellent idea. A little later, I come across another well with a sign in good condition this time. Doubtful, I ask Google again to help me, and this time the answer is clear: « Water not to drink, even after overheating ». Very clever, but since everything seems to be going well, I quickly forget what I drank and concentrate on my path while avoiding the wells that seem suspicious…

After a good night’s sleep in the forest, on a soft moss carpet, my tormented story with the equipment continues: it is now the odometer that does not work anymore. Excellent! It’s going to be navigation at sight, with for only reference the time which passes, indicated by the hour sounded by the belfries of the crossed villages. It is not necessarily a bad thing, it also allows me to enjoy the landscape more…

The fishermen on the lake
The village of Vajgar

What I had forgotten a bit, but that the road is constantly trying to remind me, is how the Czech Republic is not flat. Not a single kilometer. Always going up or down. Moreover, with my mania for ignoring all prohibitions, I pass on a freshly paved road and find myself with sticky tires that pick up everything laying on the road… With the melodious squeaking of my pedals, I now also have the sweet music of the pebbles that scrape my fenders… A treat! Tired by so much hills, I wish for a more flat section. And as if by magic, the Vlatva (that I had already followed to get to Prague, let’s continue the trip in memories) falls from the sky. Flat, finally! On the other hand, I was talking about material, and well I realize that I broke not one but two spokes of my rear wheel. Great. Impossible to continue like that. The workshop where I stop tells me that they can’t take care of it in the evening but the next day first thing. I just have to find a place to sleep for the night somewhere in the area…

The Vlatva
Memories, memories…

The next day, I have again a wheel with all its spokes and I set off towards Germany. The road recommended by the GPS makes many turns and detours, so I decide to cut it short and take the highway (not the real one, don’t worry, rather a national road) to go faster. It will remind me of Italy! At the beginning everything is fine, then comes a construction zone. I say to myself « Great, it’s the right time to take this road, people will drive slower ». Of course, people are driving slower, but there is almost no space to overtake and a slower car is always too fast for a bike when the vehicle passes at 40 centimeters from you… Fortunately it doesn’t last and I finally reach Chomutov, the last big city before the border… Water refill and here we go again! A bike path in the forest that goes up quietly to the top, I tell myself that I will finish the Czech Republic as I started it last summer. Then I remember that there were also rocks. The rocks arrive, interspersed with strips of asphalt, sometimes only a few meters long, as to say « See, it’s comfortable, isn’t it! Well, take a dose of rocks! The border crossing is uneventful: I am back in Germany!

One last look
Nice this border…

I only have to go to Leipzig. A small quiet day. At least that’s what I think. The night is agitated, the siren of the close by firemen casern is triggered around 2:30 am, I wonder for a short moment if the forest where I settled is burning. But it doesn’t last and I go back to sleep. When I wake up the next day, my stomach is all messed up. « Water not to drink » remember. Impossible to eat anything. Useful for cycling. A little weak, I set off anyway. It’s hard, I tell myself that I almost wish I was back already. A little nap in the middle of the stage gives me some strength but it is far from a pleasant journey. Moreover I am supposed to ride along lakes, at least that’s what the GPS tells me, but they are all hidden by factories. Great! Leipzig arrives finally, last stop before Hamburg, with a good shower and a good bed!

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