Traismaier to Vienna

There is absolutely no doubt that Vienna is one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities. It would be impossible to wander the streets near the famous Stephenplatz area on a warm summers evening and not be mesmerised by the surroundings. The amazing buildings, the history, the music, the lighting and the sense of romance all combine to make this a place that you just want to sit back and experience. The only blot on the horizon is the fact that the entire city seems to be clouded in a sea of tobacco smoke. Europe is at least a generation behind Australia in its fight against tobacco addiction and it is a pity that it is virtually impossible to enjoy an outdoor meal without being choked by second hand smoke.foreign

Today was the final day of our GRUVE ride (Ghostriders Ulm to Vienna Expedition) and from this point on our group will start to fragment to the 4 corners of Europe. Ten of us will be continuing on to Prague to resume our ride along the Elbe River to Dresden. The rest will be going their own separate ways.

The weather today was fine and sunny (more sunburnt noses) and was one of the longest stages of our ride so far. The Danube has steadily grown from a moderate river to a magnificent waterway about 500 metres wide. The elevation at this point is only about 180 m above sea leve although the Danube still has over 2000 km to travel before it empties into the Black Sea. That is less than 100 m of fall for each 1000 km !

Our hotel in Vienna is in the Prater region, right next to the huge Disneyland like theme park. Some of the thrill rides are rather incredible. Will I try them out ? No way – I paid for my dinner and I wanto to keep it for myself.

When we arrived at the hotel there was a collective feeling of shared accomplishment which is hard to describe to anyone who has not participated in a challenge of this type. There was a cheer and a lot of handshakes and hugs all round. For many of our riders they had never before ridden more than 40 km in one time. To have now completed a 900 km ride across two foreign countries is something that I am sure they will cherish for many years into the future.

The next couple of days will be spent catching up on laundry and exploring this magic place.