Vienna to Bratislava

Trip Start Jul 04, 2013
Trip End Aug 29, 2013

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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Thursday, August 1, 2013

After 3 wonderful nights in Vienna, it was off to Slovakia. With a strong tailwind, it didn't take us very long at all to complete the 40 mile ride. In Bratislava, we stayed on a "Botel", a retired river cruise boat. I really enjoyed that - LOTS of open windows with sunlight and fresh air.
The city historic centre had alot of cool little shops and restaurants but overall the city seemed somewhat rundown and in disrepair (many missing cobblestones, pieces of marble off steps, torn up path, old paint, etc). However, the price of food and goods dropped to half of what it was in Western Europe.
The ride the next day from Bratislava to camp in Komarom, just across the Hungarian border was long with not much in the way of sightseeing. This area seems to have been stopped in time, say 1973. Per Wikipedia, Slovakia became an independent state in 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia and is a "high-income advanced economy" but maybe I just don't know what that looks like. I try not to make comparisons to the States and appreciate each country as it's own entity with it's own culture. But I have to admit I was a bit puzzled by the 60s mannequins in the storefronts in Komarom wearing $100.00 polyester 3-piece suits. Just saying.....
But wait! The BEST thing about Slovakia is that it produced a delightful couple that is traveling with us - Peter and Vilma. They are from a small village 100 miles east of Bratislava. Peter is our bike mechanic and Vilma is our photographer, assistant cook, sort of "Girl Friday" if you will. They've been married 6 years though they both look 16 years old (they're actually 30 and 26). Peter's English is a little better but Vilma tries hard and her beauty and smile have charmed everyone in camp. Her great grandfather helped hide the grandfather of the owner of Tour D'Afrique during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Peter is a blast and his great sense of humor often shines through despite a language barrier.
So now we have just arrived in Budapest. A shower awaits and I'm anxious to explore the city.
And tomorrow we walk...and walk...and walk...
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