Soon after the last post I met my friends Iñaki and Mariaje and their son Eñaut. We’ve known each other since the mid seventees. We don’t see each other often, them being in the Basque country and me in London, but when we do it is like if we had been together the day before. I love it when it is like that.
It was a treat being with them. I got a holiday from the panniers which allowed us to do longer distances and have time for talking, sightseeing, cake eating, swimming, more talking, drinking AND they brought all sort of Spanish delicacies that were eagerly consumed. We also discovered that cheesecake is as effective as energy bars and way more enjoyable.
I had some time off the bike in rural Austria and in Vienna with some good friends of Iñaki and Mariaje. They took us to really special places – a lake with pity black water and an old fashion spa where you swam in mineral water that gets bottled in the plant next door! Places I would not have been able to find on my own.
We parted this morning and for a bit I felt a bit lost and lonely and now here I am sitting in a hostel bed in Bratislava.
I can’t believe I’ve made it to Eastern Europe. This afternoon I crossed the point where the heavily garded Iron Curtain was. Now it is just a rusting blue gate that is always open. From the road in Austria you can see Bratislava with its castle on top of the hill and I wondered what it must have been like for people in both sides so close to one another and at the same time so far.
I went wondering around Bratislava this evening. The old town and the castle are beautiful. The place is full of cafes with people sitting outside trying to cool down, not surprising as it has been very very hot, over 40 centigrade at lunchtime. Luckily I’m heading for the Tatra mountains to do some walking with a friend from Bristol who is coming out to meet me. Lucky me!