Bratislava, Vienna and Wild camping An Der Donau
The journey into Bratislava was an easy ride. It was less then 30 kilometers into Bratislava and Slovakia was the first country that we were using the Euro, so everything just got more expensive In Bratislava we stayed at a Hostel called Downtown Hostel and it costs 15 Euro per person, but we had our Hosteling International cards so we got a little bit of reduction to 13.50 Euros which is not much, but now that we are in Europe every cent counts and at the Hostel we were surprised that another Malaysian, Jia, had also checked into the same hostel. He is a young man doing his masters at a University in France and he has about 2-3 weeks left before he heads back to Penang. It was really good to meet up with a fellow Malaysian after so many months and be able to converse in BM. Speaking in BM was good but it was also a little odd after so many months of only conversing in English with other people whom we meet while on our journey- haha! We had quite a good time together and chatted a bit about things back home, like politics and also how much we missed the food back home. Jia also warned us that Paris is a very expensive city so maybe we will skip Paris altogether.
Bratislava is a quite a small city with some very nice old buildings and beautiful sculptures but it is not as vibrant as Budapest maybe because the people there are more laid-back and it is not a big city. I didn’t fully enjoy being in Bratislava and Vienna mainly because I was just very, very tired and lethargic. I guess my body is starting to feel the effects of not getting the right food and nutrition and also now that is is very hot and dry we get dehydrated very fast. This leg of the journey is getting a little harder due to the rising costs. As we can no longer afford the luxuries of sleeping in pension houses or hostels as often as before, we will have to depend on wild camping so that also means that we wont be able to blog or keep in touch with family and friends as often.
When we left Bratislava it was a hot and sunny day and after cycling about 12km out via the cycling lane, we stopped by a small abandoned complex, which looked like an immigration checkpoint so we asked a fellow cyclist if we had already crossed into Austria, and he told us that we were already in Austria and there is no more border checks looks like I won’t be able to collect anymore country stamps for my passport from now on. We also asked him if the bike lane leads all the way to Vienna.When he told us that it leads all the way into Vienna, I was really overjoyed to hear that. The trail that leads all the way to Vienna goes through “Donauauen” national park,which is a forest reserve, that is well maintained and also very clean. It was a really great experience to be in such a beautiful park . While enjoying the natural surrounding of the park, I even spotted a deer running around. There were also hundreds of cyclists using the trail going on their day trips to Vienna or Bratislava. Somewhere along the trail we bumped into another cycling – tourist, Daniel Jessen (from Germany), who was taking a breather by the trail, and decided to join him. He was also heading towards Vienna so we chatted for a while and told him about our plan for the day (that is to find a spot for wild/free camping). Daniel told us that he was also having the same idea and it will be his first time trying it out. So we decided to join forces and camp together. We found a hidden spot by the side of a road a few km. out of the main trail at a small village. While it wasn’t the best spot (as it was next to a road) we thought we would just try it out. It turned out to be a wonderful spot and it was a good experience camping out in the wild. We felt so relaxed just chatting and cooking while waiting for dusk to set up our tents. After we finished our dinner, we decided to call it an early night. With my tummy filled, I fell into a deep slumber
The following day we broke camp and proceeded to cycle into Vienna. Once we were in Vienna we managed to find a nice hostel with the help of Daniel (Wombat’s Hostel) and so we had to part ways,which was quite sad, after Daniel received confirmation that he could couch- surf at his friend’s place (the plan was to try and wild – camp for another day in Vienna)
While in Vienna, we didn’t go out at all as we arrived quite late and we were quite drained plus it was a Sunday and all the shops were closed. We decided to move out of Vienna the following morning as staying on would be costly. So we headed out towards Klosterneuberg about 25 km out of Vienna, to try out a paid camp- site that Daniel recommended. We arrived at Donaupark Camping and after enquiring we decided to try it out. The cost was 20 euro for 2 people with the fee for the tent included. At the campsite there were about 50-60 camper -vans parked. Camper-vans are very common in Europe, so most of the camp- sites cater for these campers. Most of the campers at the camp-site were elderly folks just enjoying the spring weather. These campsites provide the basic facilities such as toilets and a basic kitchen for you to cook your meals. Some also do offer Wi-Fi but you have to purchase a ticket to use it and it will cost about 10-15 euros for 10 hours of usage
The following morning we headed towards Krems and we are now cycling alongside the Danube for most of the way and there are many small villages and towns by the Danube with beautiful summer houses along the river. People were also doing water- sports activities like jet- skiing and also kayaking. So the plan for that day was to cycle as far as we could and before dark we would find a place to wild- camp. So about 2-3 km out of Krems we managed to find a spot just by the side of the road. There was a path leading down to the river and there was a nice flat spot behind some small trees where we could pitch our tent. I guess it is quite safe to say we could be the first Malaysian to ever wild-camp by the Danube