Rust to Bratislava
Lesson Learned: Don’t overdo the start!
Distance Traveled: 95km/56 miles
The final destination for this day was Bratislava – my home town. I knew I had around 52 miles ahead of me at one point, but I was so excited about going home, I pushed it to the limit and sped as much as possible. My advice to anyone who will ever take a bike tour in the future, don’t use all of your energy in the beginning of the day! Try to resist the temptation to go fast, you’ll need all of your energy for the entire day.
The beginning of the ride was great – I passed hilly countrysides with vineyards full of mature grapes on one side and a lake on the other side. Later I passed little villages with alleys of historical cellars. It’s possible to stop by, taste a little wine, have some “Schafkäse“ (sheep cheese) with bread and go on.
The second half of the trip on this day was not my best moment. The closer I got to Bratislava, the more I felt the 217 miles I had rode in my legs. I had to stop almost every 30 minutes and was seriously considered calling somebody to give me a lift. Finally, I arrived to the last village on the Austrian border, Kitsee and biked the last few miles to my house in Petrzalka.
I chose to not do the tour of the city on this day as it was my home town. With experience and love I can say that Bratislava is a city well worth visiting. Especially for those on a bike. Two bike routes, one leading from Hungary, another from Austria, meet at the Danube river in Bratislava. You could bike along the river, see the historic center with the Dome where Habsburg Kings and Queens had been crowned, the medieval castle up on the hill and bike all the way to the Devin castle from 9th century.
Here, on the confluence of Danube and Morava rivers, you could symbolically end your trip again on the former Iron Curtain. You could even see the remains of infamous barbed wire here – this time, fortunately, only in the form of a heart shape that was placed here on the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, that put an end to the communism era in Czech and Slovakia.
Along the way I learned that perseverance and tenacity are powerful motivators, and as with any journey’s end, I was reminded that there truly is no place like home.
Check out our archive of solo travel adventures!
By Elena Strapkova for PeterGreenberg.com