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J178 - Monday, April 12: Vienna - Bratislava

73.53km – 10H46’
Altitude : 183m

Yesterday, after debating about which itinerary to follow to leave Vienna, we take the national Route 3 to cross the Danube.  The town stretches out for 15 km then all of a sudden we find ourselves back in the countryside.  The land is flat near the Danube and the fields stretch out peacefully.  At km20, before we reach the Orth, it starts to rain and does not let up for the entire day;  not a drizzle or a light rain but a good heavy rain the likes of which we haven’t had in a long time and which we did not miss.  The temperature remained between 5° and 9°C, definitely not heart warming.

The Danube is crossed again before Hainburg an der Donau.  We can just barely see the medieval castle, which looks down on the city, because a thick fog has rolled in.  The border check point, a thing of the past, is deserted and before we realize it, we are in Bratislava.  It’s rather surprising that a city on the border of a country would be the capital.  You haven’t the time to get used to the atmosphere of a place and you are already at the heart of the country as you cross it from south to north.  We won’t have the time to get to know Slovakia because tomorrow we will be in the Czech Republic.  This country came into existence when it seceded from the Czech Republic in 1993. Until that time, they were one country, Czechoslovakia.  Slovakia is ten times smaller than France and became a member of the European Union in 2004, at the same time as Slovenia.  Since 2009 the euro has replaced the Slovakian crown.  It will be the last country with the euro that we will see for a while.
Serge, who has been sloshing around in the water for 8 hours, is really enjoying his bath this evening.  We are staying in a hotel on the outskirts of Bratislava and it’s a real pleasure to hear him sigh with contentment as he relaxes.
Luckily, we had a small ray of sunshine to cheer up the day: ham-filled puff pastry and hot chocolate and coffee for the support team. These small details are a real luxury on the roadside in the rain.  Thanks “Adrienne”!

Town : Bratislava

GPS : N 48.10’00.0° E 017.04’50.6°