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Cycling down the Danube

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Day 18, 22nd September 2008

Wien - Eckartsau - Stopfenreuth - Hainburg - Walterskirchen - Zollamt Berg - Bratislava


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From Vienna to Bratislava - 70 km (974.0 km from start)

Photo: Google maps



We left Vienna on the way to Budapest, but if I did it again, I would take a cruise ship or the train to Budapest, and cycle back to Vienna. That way you are heading back to a place where it is easy to find accommodation, and where you can sell your bicycle easily, and you are always getting closer to a bicycle friendly part of the world.

The further you head east from Vienna, the more it feels like a chore, and it is harder to find accommodation. Once you leave Austria there are language difficulties even if you speak English, German and French, and the experience is much less bicycle friendly.

In eastern Europe, especially if you are getting on a train at Budapest to head east for example, bicycles cannot go on the fast trains. You must use the local trains, and change as necessary. Bribery is necessary even to buy a ticket, not to mention the bribery needed to take bicycles on Hungarian and Romanian trains. We did not realise this when we travelled from Budapest to Romania by train with bicycles, and travel would have been much easier if we had bribed all officials. If you get information from a clerk, put a few Euros in a brochure, folded piece of paper or whatever, the idea is to do it without onlookers seeing it, and slide it across the desk. The same for train tickets. One clerk refused to sell us tickets, and turned her back on us. Another took pity on us.

From Maria's Diary:

We got up early and packed then completed our final cleaning of the flat before walking over to Ursula's apartment. We took the bikes out of the storeroom and packed our rucksacks on the back. Ursula rode her own bike for several kilometres to guide us out of Vienna and onto the Radweg. This was a tremendous help as it is always tricky to get out of cities.

We took the left bank route after crossing the Praterbruecke to Donauinsel. From there Ursula guided us along the Insel track to the bridge that crosses to the left bank of the river. Here we said goodbye and we were on our way again. The Treppelweg was excellent and we were soon approaching the enormous storage tanks near Lobau. The track follows an internal road beside the tanks in order to avoid the loading docks and inlet.




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We were grateful to Ursula for getting us out of the city. This is always a problem in a large town.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Pontoon bridge from the island in the middle of the Donau. River traffic (apart from small pleasure boats, who use the small arch to pass) uses the branch on the other side of the river.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Storage tanks near Lobau. The Lobau tank farm is one of the biggest tank farms in Austria.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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The Lobau tank farm can store around 1.63 million m3 of crude oils, semi-finished or finished products and additives in 81 tank containers in the Lobau tank farm. This volume is also used to bridge supply shortages if needed. The largest tank can hold 130 000 m3 and the smallest 50 m3.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008
Text: http://www.cpp-net.com/home/-/article/32218883/37255821/Trace-heating-for-oil-pipes/art_co_INSTANCE_0000/maximized/






From Maria's diary:

On the other side of this facility is an entry to the Donau-Auen National Park which is very large. The Radweg now follows a straight track through the park on the Marchfelddamm. It was quite scenic and easy riding so we covered a big distance in a fairly short time. Along the way we met some workers removing posts from the forest using these tractors.

There are a number of lakes and small inlets near Schoenau and at one point we spotted what looked like a Stag ahead crossing the bike path and heading over the levee to the nature area on the other side.




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This section was beautiful. A good bicycle path through woods in the Donau-Auen National Park.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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These workmen were getting logs out of the forest.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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We were still on Radweg 6, so all was well.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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The park was wonderful. There were waterbirds everywhere.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

We continued riding for several more kilometres to the Orth exit. As the sign above suggests, it was important to look for the No 6 as that was the code for the Danube cycleway. From this crossing point you can go south across the river to the right bank and the village of Haslau.

We decided to stay on the left bank as it was a dead straight track and the surface was quite good. We had lunch here and I noticed masses of wild Crocus growing in the fields everywhere.




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We had lunch at this convenient roadside table and benches. Maria kept the lunch things in her basket attached to the handlebars.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Cyclist's heaven. A dry day, the wind kept at bay by a forest each side, an elevated path in excellent condition, and a dead flat straight road. It doesn't get any better.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Crocus.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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These signs were simply nailed to a convenient already existing wooden pole.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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A shelter for cattle, with a photovoltaic array, presumably to run a small pump for the water trough, and provide power for the electric fence attached to the rustic wooden fence made of bush timber.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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River groynes.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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The signs here were smaller than we had gotten used to, but all we really needed was the welcome number 6 denoting the main Donauradweg.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

Along the way we noticed some huge man-made gullies - no doubt they have a function in taking floodwater away from the villages and towns but they seemed like so much wasted space. They were crossed by the occasional bridge which allowed access to the river on the other side. Just before we reached Hainburg we had to cross the river to the right bank as the northern track petered out just past this point.

The bridge was very long because it first had to cross over the large depressions. It also had a very narrow cycle path which tested us as we tried to keep the bikes from touching the sides with out rucksacks. From the bridge we could see the historical town of Hainburg in the distance.




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These huge overflow channels were grassed well, and presumably they were used to grow and cut and dry hay for winter fodder.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Crossing the bridge to Hainburg an der Donau.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Hainburg an der Donau in 1900 from the opposite bank of the Donau.

Photo: Public Domain


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Pfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt

Church of the Assumption, Hainburg.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

We then cycled along the right bank and beside the town wall. We thought we would go in and find the post office so we entered through an access tunnel in the wall and climbed the steep road to the centre of town. At the Post Office we sent another parcel full of books, papers, brochures, etc. home. It always felt good to get these in the mail and off our hands. Hainburg looked like a great place - worth visiting again some time.



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The banks of the Donau 20 minutes after crossing the bridge, outside the Hainburg city walls. We turned into this tunnel and went up to the Hainburg city centre.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008






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Hainburg, around 2:30 pm. It looked like a pretty place, but we wanted to get to Bratislava, so after posting some stuff home, we cycled on.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

The Radweg now deviates away from the roadway a couple of times but we decided to take a few shortcuts and stay on the road rather than follow the official route. After Walterskirchen there is a track along the side of the road which follows it closely to the Zollamt Berg - the old customs and immigration point on the border between Austria and Slovakia. We could see Bratislava in the distance.

We now followed the official Radweg along the side of the Autobahn and then under it towards the main bridge. This bridge had a curious structure on one side but it looked impossible to get up to the saucer-shaped building at the top.




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Approaching Bratislava two hours after passing through Hainburg. It was about 4.30 pm by this time.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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This is the UFO restaurant!

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008






From Maria's diary:

We crossed the bridge and walked into the centre of town - no other bicycles were around which was curious. We looked for a bank automat and withdrew SK2000,- which we hoped would be enough for the next few days. We then walked into the older part of town which was quite beautiful and alive with pedestrians. There was a band starting up and sidewalk cafes everywhere. It had a really cosmopolitan feel. Along the way we looking out for signs of hotels. We found a backpackers but it looked like there was no way to take the bikes up the narrow stairs or to store them safely downstairs so we cut our losses and headed back across the bridge to what appeared to be a hotel on the other side.

We found Hotel Incheba near the bridge beside a Trade fair complex. It was a narrow high rise building and the entry was around the other side and a bit hard to find. The rooms were very comfortable, however, and the price was reasonable.

The only curiosity was the restaurant which had only one meal on the menu! It isn't a proper restaurant - more of a kitchen catering for Trade fair workers who stay at the hotel. Our bicycles spent the night in a storeroom off the lobby. This meant walking them across the shiny floor to get to the storeroom. They certainly didn't cater for cyclists - very different to Germany and Austria!




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Crossing the bridge to Bratislava. This cliff beside the river was used by the people of the paleaolithic to hunt horses by driving them over the cliff.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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In Bratislava. We could not find a suitable pensione or hotel.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Reluctantly we decided to leave the city, recross the bridge, and try a hotel we had seen on the other side of the river, coming in to Bratislava.

Photo: Don & Maria Hitchcock 18th September 2008


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Hotel Incheba Expo Bratislava

We found a room in this hotel which is set up for exhibitors at the trade fair beside the hotel.

Photo: http://www.bratislavahotels.sk/hotel-incheba-bratislava




Cycling down the Danube

 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 |  Day 10 |  Day 11 |  Day 12 |  Day 13 |  Day 14 |  Day 15 |  Day 16 |  Day 17 |  Day 18 | 

Day 18, 22nd September 2008

Wien - Eckartsau - Stopfenreuth - Hainburg - Walterskirchen - Zollamt Berg - Bratislava

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