I have just returned from wandering the streets of Vienna for what may well be the final time. On a warm late summer’s evening it is easy to see why Vienna is regarded as one of the most exquisite cities on Earth. It seems that everywhere you go there is a surprise waiting for you. I spent quite some time sitting outside the Hofburg Museum complex while the sun set behind the Rathaus. As the sky darkened the lighting was progressively switched on throughout the historic buildings. The most spectacular lighting is that on the elaborate towers of the Rathaus, making it really look like a fairytale christmas tree.

While I sat spellbound by the scene that I was witnessing, my attention was drawn by a distant singing. I decided to follow the sound and was led to an outdoor mass and religious procession which was just setting out towards the centre of the city. The haunting sound of the litergy seemed just so appropriate to the surroundings. This is a memory that I will long cherish.

It is hard to believe that so much has happened since we arrived in Ulm just under three weeks ago. As far as our cycling is concerned we were met with nothing but warm smiles and waves wherever we went. There was no sign of the road rage that is so common in Australia. Even when we made some stupid errors in our riding, we were not abused, but met with tolerant smiles. Because of our distinctive yellow jerseys we were often asked about Australia and why we had come so far to cycle in this country. We even heard a few chants of “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi Oi Oi”. There certainly seems to be a lot of affection for Australians in both Germany and Austria.

Tomorrow we leave for the Czech Republic. What awaits for us there ? We will soon find out.