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Kevin, Tom and Brent's
Cycling the Danube Bike Path
From Vienna to Budapest
Day 1: Vienna to Bratislava

 

 

Photographs on this website were taken by Kevin Rodger, except where noted.

Map shows our route

 

 

Day 1 - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - Vienna, Austria to Bratislava, Slovakia
- Distance: 81.0 km, Cycle Time: 4:14, Average Speed: 19.1 kph -

At 08:00 we left the Hotel Nestroy for a quick bite to eat at a local café. Here Tom picked up some fruit for the journey ahead. We then walked back to the hotel to gather our panniers and Kevin’s bike, and proceeded to walk to Pedal Power. This is the bike shop where Tom and Brent had rented bikes for the trip. The bikes they were presented this day were actually lighter than the ones they had tried out the previous day, but still were quite heavy compared to what they were used to. Tom was initially disappointed at the weight of the 24 speed KTM bikes. But his hesitation proved to be ill conceived as the bikes, with their front wheel shocks, were well suited to the occasional rough paths that we were about to experience in the days ahea.

The staff at Pedal Power was very helpful, as they provided us with information on the route from Bratislava to Budapest, and recommendations on how to return to Vienna by train. After installing our panniers on the bikes, we headed towards the Reichsbrücke Bridge that took us across the Danube River. We cycled for several kilometres along a narrow island surrounded by the Danube until we reached a chemical plant, and a smokestack that was painted with alternating red and white stripes. Along this section of the Danube we saw many unnaturally tanned nude sunbathers (which we affectionaly referred to as Viennese fishermen - although there were "fisherwomen" in attendance as well). We had been warned that the road through the chemical plant was not obvious, and indeed we missed the turnoff. After about a kilometre, while consulting a map a hiker came up and re-directed us to the proper turnoff. Yahoo - we got to pass the Viennese fisherman once again!

Once past the chemical plant we rode on top of the berm of a dike for about 15 kilometres, most of which was quite straight. The path was in excellent condition and there were many cyclists. This area was not very picturesque. Eventually we reached the Bad Deutsch Bridge in Altenburg that we used to once again cross the Danube towards Hainburg, Austria. We had lunch in a café overlooking the Danube, where we watched tour boats and barges slowly ply their way up and down the river. We cycled into the centre of Hainburg to take some photos, then returned to the bike path leading us through Austrian farmland towards Bratislava. By now we could see Bratislava in the distance, prior to crossing the border from Austria to Slovakia. At the border we could see remnants of an old Soviet style border crossing, which was now abandoned; otherwise the border was not even noticeable.

We once again reached the River Danube and crossed over the Novy Most Bridge which took us into the centre of the Slovakian capitol. We entered the old town where traffic is restricted and streets were occupied by pedestrians and cafes. We had difficulty finding a hotel – not that there were none available, just that we simply could not find one. Brent utilized his French language skills by speaking to a local bartender who was able to assist us with directions to a nearby hotel. Even now, knowing the hotel location, this hotel did not stand out; indeed we had ridden past it several times without even noticing it.

The Art Hotel William was a very modern hotel with nice amenities. The entrances to the hotel were within a small pedestrian mall, one of which took us out into the main square, while the other was located adjacent to a small grocery store. This hotel cost €140 for the three of us, including breakfast. Once checked in, we went back to the pub to have our first Slovakian beer. We strolled through the old town that has evolved into a cultural and tourist centre. There were many busy cafes, bars and restaurants. In the late afternoon, a band was playing in the town square. Later that evening a movie was being projected onto a large screen set up in this same square. Several hundred locals were either sitting or standing in the square, watching the movie. The building architecture was very stunning at night, and was well lit by external spotlights.

The ride out of Vienna

The Bad Deutsch Bridge, Altenburg, Austria

The Bratislava "UFO"

Monuments in Bratislava, Slovakia

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