Salzburg – Austria
The last weeks cycling from Prague has been some of the lovliest cycling I’ve done on this entire trip. With a factory visit to KTM’s factory near Salzburg already arranged, and 7 days to do the 500km or so between the two, I could chill out and relax, which was the complete antithesis of the previous weeks cycling to Prague.
I would normally get up late and take an easy trundle through the beautiful rolling Czech countryside, where flowers were tentatively beginning to peep out of the cold ground and surrounded by the glorious sound of birdsong. Spring was in the air, and for the first time since Uzbekistan, it was hot enough to let my white legs out from under my winter leggings. I would bumble along contentedly until I found a small pub or restaurant to stop and drink some chilled beer and perhaps eat some of the hearty stews and soups that were available. Camping was idyllic and I usually had time enough to stop before sunset, set up my tent in some old leafy forest or river bank, and watch the sun descend over the horizon as I drank Czech beer accompanied by crunchy mixed pickles.
It occured to me that many people probably think that this is what cycle touring is, and is what we’ve been doing since November, but unfortunately, such easy weeks have been few and far between. With 30,000km to cycle, we have to maintain a certain pace and thus have to be relatively regimented, thinking twice about stopping for a beer, to take off a layer, or get the camera out of the handle bar bag. I admit though, that I find it difficult to maintain motivation on such short, easy days, and with too much time to spare, I lose focus, and end up like a ship without a rudder, without direction.
But now we’re in Salzburg at the foot of the Alpes, where we’ll cross into Italy, and I look forward to being back in the mountains, though with a few thousand meters of climbing ahead, it’s definately the end of Easy Street.