Trip archives: Central Europe 2010

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Highlights and Lowlights

People keep asking us what our favorite part of our recent cycling trip to Central Europe was. It’s a tough question to answer, since we both enjoyed the trip quite a bit, and each day brought different experiences. But I thought I’d gather a few thoughts on the high and low points of the trip….
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Damage Report

All in all, the bikes arrived relatively unscathed. However, there were some minor issues discovered when unpacking. Luckily, it is easy to deal with these things from the comfort of our own home. On the scale of things, these are pretty small issues. We’ll have the bikes up and running again in no time. Jennifer’s…
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Back Home

The train ride to Frankfurt was relatively uneventful. We arrived just after 4AM, and after some coffee and pastries we had a smooth ride in the dark to our hotel. Luckily they let us check in very early, at about 6AM. Jennifer had her bike packed very soon, so we went out to look for…
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Berlin: Lessons in Recent History

After arriving in Leipzig, we counted up the number of days we had left before our flight home, the number of days it would take to bicycle to our next destination, and the couple of days we needed to get to Frankfurt, pack up our bikes, and catch the flight home. The conclusion: more long-distance…
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Off river, in Leipzig

It took us two and a half days to reach Leipzig from Dresden. The first day was spent riding down pleasant paths along the Elbe river. We stopped midday in the town of Meißen, which was dominated by a large medieval fortress called Albrechtsburg. There we were able to stock up on some important supplies,…
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Two National Parks and One City

When we were planning this trip, one of the reasons I wanted to try ride the Elbe River route was because where the river crosses the Czech-German border, both countries have national parks — Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic, and Saxon Switzerland in Germany. They sounded like pretty nice places (descriptions such as “the…
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Czech national cycle route number 2

We set out from Prague on a rather cold and gray afternoon. After climbing a steep hill we were rewarded with some nice views of Prague and the Moldau river. Heading through the suburbs, we passed some pleasant parks and some nice paths, and finally got back down to river level. We hit a brief…
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Budapest and Prague

We have spent the last few days exploring Budapest and Prague. My impression of Budapest: pretty and gritty. There are many pretty buildings, monuments, etc., and at the same time the city has a kind of an edgy feel to it, and many of the buildings are greyed with soot, probably from an earlier, more…
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Baths, Mud, and Goulash

For the final leg of our Danube trip we rode mostly in Slovakia, but ended up spending our nights on the Hungarian side of the river. The road conditions are somewhat dicey. We encountered various grades of gravel – some mixed with grass, and mud; more about that later –, small roads of varying quality,…
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One Day, Three Countries

On Monday morning, we set off from Vienna towards Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Although it’s quite feasible to reach Bratislava in a single day’s ride, we thought it would be more to our liking to stop in the Austrian town of Hainburg for the night instead, and ride the last 15 km into Bratislava…
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Vienna

Vienna is the biggest city we’ve been in so far, so I was a bit overwhelmed by all the crowds and the transit system. Nevertheless, the first night we made it in plenty of time to figure out how to get to the opulent Musikverein concert hall for a performance by the Wiener Mozart Orchester…
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More Austrian Danube

The last few days, we continued riding down the Austrian Danube, again switching from one bank to the other of the river in search of the best route, the most interesting sights, etc. Unlike the previous German section of the Danube, we were almost always riding on paved surfaces, either bicycle trails or very lightly-traveled…
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Into Austria

We made it into Austria this morning, and noticed several differences right away. The river valley is closed in on both sides of the river, leaving little room for roads, bike paths and towns. The railroads have disappeared, and the bike path is nice and smoothly paved, with very little car traffic. We’ve noticed an…
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More German Danube

In the last few days, we have been continuing down the German stretch of the Danube river. A few highlights and notes… Zach’s GPS is working again — apparently the problem had to do with where he had put the phone. In his pocket it works; in his bike bag, not so much. So we…
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Random Observations from Ingolstadt

Mountain Biking on the Sat-R-Day A fair amount of the riding we have done has been on unpaved trails, something we don’t encounter much at home. Zach doesn’t have much trouble with the gravel, but on my 2-wheeler that’s not really made for mountain biking, if the gravel is deep it’s a bit unstable. I’m…
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Along the Danube

The Danube is the second longest river in Europe, and runs from the Black Forest in Southern Germany all the way to the Black Sea. We are planning to ride only as far as Budapest in Hungary. There is some debate on where the Danube actually begins, but the official source is located in Donaueschingen….
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Into Germany

On the third day riding north from Elsau, we finally reached the start of the Danube bike route. We rode north from Elsau to reach the Bodensee in Steckborn. Riding in Switzerland is fun, and as we were following a national cycle route, we didn’t have any trouble figuring out where to go. We saw…
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Exhausted but here!

We had a rather long first day of the trip. After the 4:45 AM cab ride to SeaTac Airport, we flew to JFK airport in New York, and from there to Zurich, arriving at around 8:30 AM the next morning, which was about 11:30 PM Seattle time. Neither of us managed more than a few…
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We’re on our way

After all the preparation and packing, the departure date has finally arrived. We’re off to Europe! Expected arrival time in Zurich at about 7:35AM local time Thursday. We’ll unpack the bikes, ride to nearby Winterthur, and hopefully the next blog post will be from Europe.