Two Approaches

Mailberg to Vienna: Thursday 13 July 2017

11:45am. Kleinweikersdorf.

Breakfast is ordered. Eggs and mushrooms, and a glass of orange juice. Won’t be the from-the-garden fare of Lisa and Joey, who are admirably living self-sufficiently, according to permaculture principles, with a chilled, open outlook to life and people.

Lovely friendly welcome from all, including their Workaway volunteer, Natalia, and their wonderful dogs – Laika and Nino.

The wine we took as a thank-you gift was soon open and Joey began waxing lyrically about permaculture, forest-gardening, and the like. A topic and approach similarly close to our own hearts, and something we wish to learn more about on the way, and put into practice when we darken Poland’s doorstep once more.

And dinner was served: a lovely personally grown and sourced meal of millet, apricots, cranberries, nuts, honey (they also keep bees) and other yummy stuff my unskilled palate enjoyed but was unable to identify, with side-dishes of melon, watermelon and apple. Accompanied and followed by more wine, and a chill evening of relaxed chatter and banter until shortly after the midnight hour, when my day’s ride – geographically and emotionally – told me it was time to sleep.

Finally, as I lay down, with a tired body and weary mind, my thoughts refused to let me go: thoughts of home and family, and the remains of my mum clinging to her present form…

…till sleep finally claimed me and took me to where I know not.

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Waking to the sounds of a family starting to go about their day, and the dogs, Laika and Nino, wishing to give and receive a little love. A beautiful way to ease into the morning 😄

Then a smoothy made with ingredients all plucked fresh from the garden, then coffee, and honey straight from the hive. Fantastic!

Then we pack and are unfortunately unable to say a proper ‘thank you’ and ‘farewell’ to our fantastic hosts. Sorry for that, but good luck to you guys, and keep the faith.

Peace and love.

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A non-remarkable Northern European breakfast of mushroom omelette, juice and coffee. A functional eatery, where you eat. Some are here getting busy on the beer and wine, and chatting. Doesn’t feel like that kind of place to me: more like a motorway services, with a more personal service, but each to their own; and we’re functionally serviced and ready to roll.

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Paused for a hopeful ice-cream in Uglynomagicplace, aka Großmugl (ahem), but find it’s half-day here.

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We climbed out of Kleinweikersdorf pretty much non-stop, but not too steeply for about 150 metres, which rewarded us with a stunning vista and view of the Alps, seemingly nurturing all beneath their benevolent gaze. Yes, stunning, breathtaking and other apparently trite and clichéd adjectives apply here – this is just what they were designed for, and I almost regret using them in other situations that now cheapen their meaning (if I have). Then a good, solid, exhilarating descent to return to the plateau upon which we began. Lovely place and riding.

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Lovely.

Now, where is A?

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Michal & Zuza

Valašské Meziřící to Valašské Klobouky: Wednesday 05 July 2017

Up: 7:45am. 22ºC. 208.93km covered. 15 hours 41 minutes 16 seconds riding done.

Destination: Valašské Klobouky

13:10. 29.5ºC. 240.62km covered. 17 hours 40 minutes 47 seconds riding done.

Destination: lunch 😃

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Michal: our mountain-trail-climbing hero.

424 metres plus Kraków above sea level.

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50km/h downhill: “Yee-harr!” Bee. Face. Bee. Mouth. Bee. Ouch!

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273.53km covered in total;  64.6km for the day; 20 hours 15 minutes 09 seconds of riding in total.

Arrive.

A yummy warm welcome of apricot dumplings thrust into hand on arrival.

Protective dog from Mexico who decided to adopt me 🐾

Didn’t help with the harvesting, though the human dynamo that is Michal was straight in and at it 😵

Me: contaminating the drinking water in our canteens with my under-rehearsed showering-in-the-tent technique 😨

Thunder and lightning all night in the mountains (at a present altitude of Kraków plus 111 metres)!

A magical, beautiful region.

An amazing day of amazing experiences.

Thank you Michal and Zuza: this day belongs to you.

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