I woke with the light and started to pack up the tent – to avoid potential witnesses to the heresy of camping wild – as soon as I awoke. When I’d rolled all the bedding up and put it away – I looked at the time: 05.30hrs! Could have knocked me down with a feather! But my strategy worked: By the time the first early morning dog walkers and cyclists came down the path, I was sat on the bench at the end of the grassy lane, loading up Rowenna with the luggage, innocently. By 7am I was moving, having removed an entire generation of slugs and the odd snail from the tent and panniers. By the time I’d found a place to stop for breakfast I’d already ridden 15miles alongside the canal.
Highlights – watching three ducks make a synchronised landing into the water – they quacked at each other, afterwards, as if comparing notes. Checking out the stoppers at some of the turbines – falling in that little waterway would be lethal, I suspect – unless it’s more shallow than it looks. I made up for the early start by sitting around blogging until midday…
The trouble with getting off to such an early start is it gives me an excuse to mooch. When I made it to Wiener Neustadt, lunch was a good reason to stop again – then the rain started (not heavy) so I waited a while for that to clear up but then I ran out of excuses and got going. The rain was actually warmish, just coating the surfaces with wet.
I got my first glimpse of steep hills (the edge of the Austrian Alps?) that afternoon – some topped with castles. The valley is closing in and there are far more trees around. This is skiing territory now – though I’m following the River Pitten – which is a fast flowing alpine river and looks like it would be an interesting paddle in a kayak.
Into section 6 of the Eurovelo 9 route, and I’m looking about for accommodation again. A helpful couple (who, incidentally, had stopped at the roadside to look at a large leech on the damp pavement!) – pointed me in the direction of Gasthof Pichler in Petersbaumgarten which is where I pitched up. (Pitched up in Gasthof Pichler – groan). Comfortable room and the guy running it was friendly and helpful – showing me a place to hang my tent out to dry etc. and bringing me a beer to have in my room (since they were shutting up downstairs by the time I arrived).
Tomorrow I have a hill to climb to the ski resort Mönichkirchen.