I was super happy to leave Linz behind me. For the third largest city, it was the 1st lamest — Saturday night and nothing going on. Only a few people on the streets and nary a smile between them.
Today was a bit of a struggle for two reasons: it was the first time it rained a shit ton, and it was the first time we got lost. Now for the rain, it wasn’t really a big deal. We both had waterproof everything and remained dry on the inside. Besides that it’s kind of fun cycling in heavy rain and I took every opportunity to dare the gods to make it rain harder or make it windier. The gods appeased me on both counts.
In the same vein of tempting things to get worse, we’d been joking the whole time that one can’t get lost following a river. We’re going East so either we’re on the north side and the river is on our right or we’re on the south side and it’s on our left. Well at some point it was on our left and our right because we were in the middle. I’m not exactly sure how we got there but we were in the middle of the river on an islet where the trail abruptly stops. Later we found on the map that there is a small ferry that continues the path but it definitely wasn’t running in the off season.
We cycled about two kilometers through a large industrial yard filled with a variety of shipping containers and a giant crane on rails for loading them. We were cycling towards a bridge in the distance to get us out of the middle of the river. With the bridge over our heads, we pushed our bikes up a steep grassy footing and got on top onto a highway. It wasn’t long before we were back on the Radweg but we’d been cycling for 2 1/2 hours and only covered 28 km. Having a shit time is what we have come to refer to as character building.
Getting to Enns, we stopped at the first pub we found that looked open since at this point it was still pissing rain and we were ready to murder a couple schnitzels. They had beer but kein Essen. That wasn’t the end of world since riding with a slight buzz from one pint on an empty stomach is fun. It’s actually kind of ridiculous: my consumption of beer has gone up on this bike trip, averaging about 5 pints per day.
As we got to Naarn, we found a large pub with a family leaving which means there must be food since children usually aren’t there just for the beer. We sat down and ordered two Radler. Radler is the word for cyclist and is beer mixed with sprite so as to be less alcoholic for cyclists. This was my feeble attempt to drink less.
The menu had Reh and Hirsch. Reh is deer but we weren’t sure what Hirsch was so I asked the waitress what it was in English. She didn’t know and after returning from the back, it was apparent no one knew. Being the intrepid traveller that I am, I wasn’t going to let a little language barrier get in the way, so I asked if she could zeichnenwhat Hirsh was. Not being an artist, she came back with a photo to point at. James claimed it was an elk but the internet told us they were both deer or rather venison.
In order to make up for our detour today, we decided to push forward to Grein which was another 35km. The cycle was fun as the weather had cleared up and we got a beautiful sunset over the rolling hills dotted with a farmhouses and a church. Well after dark we rolled into Grein, and, while standing outside of a guesthouse and discussing where we should try to find accommodation, a woman came out and told us the only one open was down the road. We checked in and found out that yet again we were the only guests. The hostess was a very likable older woman who kindly poured us a couple pints and gave us directions to a pizzeria.
Shower. Pizza. Pint 2x. Schlaff.