From: Vienna, Austria (May 10, 2013)
Spring has finally arrived. I set out to paddle and pedal my way across Europe in the winter in the name of slow human-powered travel, but I’ve gone so slow Spring herself as overtook me. The winter was a challenge; I am rueful to see it go. Oh, selective amnesia, you put that rosy nostalgic glow on even the miserable times.
There are a few drawbacks to winter’s departure:
Insects and spiders have arrived. The joy of camping is undermined by the creepy scrambling of spiders over the forest floor where you’d like to roll out your bed.
This caught me unaware. Turns out I was using the winter outdoors as a limitless, carbon-neutral refrigerator. All foods would remain tasty for days in my food sack stored outside my tent or strapped onto my bike/raft.
Come spring time and now I can no longer carry much meat (love them campfire steaks!). Also, sticks of butter now have a nasty habit of going soft and gooing everywhere.
Bugs - did I mention spiders? shudder
Florent, Chloe, Colin, and Felice
Outside Vienna I met an amazing French couple cycling from France to the Black Sea with their two young boys, a journey of over four months. I encountered them on the Danube bike path while biking around a lock. We said a few nice words, Florent helped me with a bag that had come loose, then we parted ways. Curiosity go the better of me however, so I turned back and asked if I could follow them to the campground they were aiming for.
“Why?”, I asked, “How did you choose such a trip?”. Their response was simple, “we wanted to go on a family trip that was fun and cheap”.
We shared dinner near at the campground in Klosterneuburg, it was a lovely evening that I’m lucky to have shared with this sincerely awesome family.