The last week of our cycle trip has begun. We are in Sibiu in Romania and need to go to Vienna. From there it will be another 350 km by bike along the River Danube to Passau before we take the train back to home to Munich.
Sounds easy! Well, since three weeks we try to book the night train, but due the refugee crisis trains only go to Budapest right now, if at all.
I tell you, this is quite a burden: Time passes by, our day of departure comes closer and still we do not know how we will get back home. After four months cycling through East Europe we are at the end of our tether and so is our budget. So, staying longer or going by plane is not an option.
Three days prior our planned departure day we are finally lucky: The trains start running again! I am so much relieved. But we CANNOT take our bikes on the train! Whaaaaat, seriously!?
Together with a friendly ticket seller my Romanian friend Dumitru talks to the conductor for quite a while one day before we go back. Not a Chance! Our nerves are on the edge. Last resort: We take our bikes apart and try to take them on the train and stow them together with our endless number of luggage in the sleeping compartment.
For the past weeks the trains from Romania to Vienna via Budapest were not operating due to the refugee crisis. This week they are finally back on service – fortunately just in time as our four month bycicle tour through Eastern Europe comes to an end soon. Nevertheless, it is not possible to take bikes on the train! However, due to a lack of alternatives we are taking the risk and took the wheels off in order to make them at least a little bit smaller. All in all we have to carry a lot of luggage and hope that we will be allowed to take everything on the train. Please wish us luck, we really need it!! #travel #europe #nighttrain #cyclingtour #sibiu #romania
Immediately after entering the train the next day a conductor comes to check our tickets. After an eternity he agrees to the way we transport our luggage with bad grace. And we did not even had to bribe him. Man, I can tell you I have rarely been so happy and relieved.
After a 15 hour train ride we arrive in Vienna at 20 degrees colder temperature. Brrr… But what a great feeling that everything worked out well in the end. Now we only have to do 85 km for four days in a row by bike and then we are finally back in Germany.
We stop in Krems an der Donau and meet my blogger friend Elena. She invites us to her place and treats us with Austrian specialities and local vine. Thanks again Elena and good luck with your new book The Creative Traveler’s Handbook :)
The season at the Danube cycle path is already over but still we see as many cyclists in only four days as we have seen in total in four months in Eastern-Europe.
Last night – last highlight
As we have overseen one bridge, we find ourselves being back in Germany earlier than planned. No welcoming sign at the border like in all the other countries and no cycling path – only a narrow busy street. Wtf!? What a nasty welcome in our home country; too cold for camping and accommodations are way too expensive. We are sitting at the landing stage where a ferry takes over to the more beautiful Austrian side of the River Danube. We want to go back. But unfortunately, the next ferry will only depart tomorrow morning. An elderly couple starts talking to us and they spontaneously invite us to spend the night at their place. What a lovely coincidence! We enjoy a great evening with interesting conversations, delicious food and a lot of vine in an amazing house with an even more amazing view into the Danube valley. This last evening could not have been more perfect!
The next day we reach the city of Passau in Germany at the most bright sunshine. I am standing on a bridge where the three rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz confluence; a nice moment at the end of our journey that mainly has taken us along the Danube.
As we arrive in Munich later and cycle back to my flat from the main station, I am feeling empty. Often I have been traveling for longer time periods, but this time it is somehow different. Although I have been looking forward to being back home, I am not euphoric at all. Hopefully it will only take a few days for me to fully arrive.
This is the end of a story about cycling through 8 countries in Eastern Europe within 4 months. Thanks everyone for following me on my adventure :)