Techno Techno Techno. F**cking Techno being played at a party about two miles down the Danube means not much sleep for poor Richie even with really good earplugs and my scarf round my ears. Up at 5 in the dark and away by 6. Whilst packing I manage to lose another tent peg, the second since deciding to send the spare ones home to save weight. I pray to the god of woods and forest and ask that he takes this offering for services to me in the last month.
Due to the hour or the festival or that it's Sunday the path is pretty much deserted. It's a good opportunity to get some kms done. Unfortunately some drastic decisions have had to be made. Because I don't think I'll make the plane by the 29th I have decided to take the quickest route to Vienna and perhaps have to miss out a few places. I will re assess there. Although I will skirt around Melk the trip to the barbers will not be posssible as it's a Sunday, so perhaps I'll get a shave somewhere else.
Somebody has got back to me and has offered to host me in Vienna which is excellent news. 20Km down the road I realise they are not in Vienna and can't get wifi to check where they are. I might have gone past them already. At 8.30 I stop for my second breakfast amid laughs from the other cyclist who have stayed in camp sites and guest houses, as the bench I am frequenting is full of all manner of paraphernalia, ie stove, pots, pans, mocha pot, bananas, oats... you get the picture.
The Radweg One or R1 down the Danube is excellent, it's flat, its delightful, it's virtually empty and I clock up 70km and land in Ybbs in no time. To my delight I spy a sign poiting to a bicycle museum and the leaflet explains that you can sit on a penny farthing. "How good is this?" I think and off I go, only to find it's closed on Sundays in september. Missed it by one week or 3 days. !!!
Just outside Ybbs I stop for lunch and have a nap on a bench. The next 25km are absolute torture, my body is having none of it and although I didn't eat that long ago it's crying out for food. I decide to stop at the first eating place I find and roll into a welcome looking guest house. I chat to two German cycling girls outside who are camping here and they say chuckling how they saw me asleep on the bench earlier on. It clearly wasn't enough to make up for last night though and my legs are finding it hard to support myself. I wobble into a seat in the garden and order a large Heffe weiser and some goulash. Heinz's mum has got me craving for it now. About an hour later the alcohol has soothed me and the food has filled me. I feel so much better. I believe what happened to me is known in the cycling world as bonking. Revived I set off East again. I decide to cross the bridge and it turns out to be a bad choice as all the good camp spots are on the side I was on.
The sun has been high in the sky all day, and although a pleasant 24 degrees it seems to have sapped me. I stop off at a stall selling skerchlen fische. I think it means fish on a stick. Cooked or smoked over coals. A family run the makeshift stall. Mum takes the money and dishes out the gerkins, dad takes the orders and tells the son what he wants. The poor fat son wobbles over to the fish, dripping and sweating and removes a stick of fish and brings back to dad.
I ride on a further 20km from Melk and as the radweg takes me down some quaint old streets I spy a doorway selling produce from their land including the much talked about “Most”. I had it explained to me that it is the drink for the peasants who can't afford wine (or was). To you Britishers I call it pear and apple scrumpy. I find an old man at work in his garden and order a glass pronto. He comes chuckling down the garden covered in a swarm of mosquitoes and wasps and poors me a mug from a rude demijohn full of light brown cloudy liquid. I receive two dead mozzis and half a wasp stuck to the glass. If it had been in a chilled clean branded chalis I dont think it would be the proper experience. I swig it down and say goodbye. I pick up a tomato from his display, he waves me off and camp spot looking I do go. There is quite a lot of life here so this equals houses. Unlike the rest of the 120km I have traversed today. Typical. I settle for a shelf of sand up the river bank and below the barrier of the road. From my tent I can see the colour of the car drivers hair. Although I'm not that hungry I make myself a massive pasta dinner and watch half a 70's Jamaican reggae film on the laptop 'til the battery dies and then I pass out.