I really just want to write about our ride to and evening in Tulln, but first I need to talk about something else, because it comes back to the why we are doing this piece a little bit. One of the things Angie and I have been talking about a lot, especially when we are riding (when we talk about all manner of stuff) is the “what do we want to do when we grow up” thing.
We both agree that we want to do something that is about giving to the world or trying to make it better, but one thing Angie is adamant about is that it also needs to give us joy. I agree.
I believe that living your life in truth and joy is crucial to making the world a better place, and at it’s not just about doing good somehow. This has really been brought home to us in some of the experiences we’ve had when we’ve stopped at cafés along the way, where we did not feel that we were made to feel welcomed. I know that not everyone is in their dream job, and that some people work in customer service jobs because it’s the only work they can get. However, if you are the proprietor of a cafe that advertises at many spots along the very popular Danube bike route as being bike friendly, don’t you think you should at the very least greet the cyclists who come into your café on a cold day? We went into such a café 65 kilometers into our ride today. It was chilly and windy and drizzly for much of the day, and we really would have loved a cup of coffee, a sit, and of course the bathroom. The proprietor, and then his wife, made no moves to welcome us or to even see what we wanted. It was clearly much more important that two of them work together on melting chocolate in a saucepan than that either of them maybe, you know, get us to buy something from them. Much as we wanted the coffee and the loo, we left, and made do with a bench to sit on, and a snack from our own food supplies before trekking the rest of the way to Tulln, our destination for the day. This was such a contrast to our experience with the Croatian woman the other day, and was the second time this week that we were totally ignored when rolling up to a cafe directly on the bike route!!!! We didn’t give those folks our business either.
Angie and I had settled on Tulln as our destination for today for a couple of reasons. First, we are scheduled to arrive in Vienna tomorrow and we know that biking into a large city is challenging and stressful enough without having been on the bike for several hours beforehand, so we wanted to get relatively close. Second, it was one of the few places between Melk and Vienna that had any places to stay with vacancies at any price. So, we knew it would be a long day, especially now that the weather has turned autumnal and there are leaves and other messy things on the ground. When we map out the route beforehand we know that the mileage is approximate, but we expected we’d be riding close to 50 miles today, and that’s what it turned out to be, a touch under 50 miles. As I said, the weather conditions were not the best, but we managed to see some cool things along the way. We were riding through Austria’s wine country for the biggest chunk of the day and the scenery, even with the heavy clouds, was lovely, as you can see from these pictures.
We saw tons of these today along with numerous apple and pear orchards, and almond and other crops. One of the other major “crops” on our route was apricots. We had some apricot soda from the region the other day and really enjoyed it. It was a nice contrast to the endless cornfields we’ve seen along many of our routes in Europe.
We made it into Tulln before 3:00pm, grateful that we’d gotten an early start out of Melk. We were thrilled to discover that for perhaps the first time our hotel was right on the bike route!
After checking in, securing the bikes, and cleaning ourselves up, we set off in pursuit of that elusive cup of coffee. Maybe it’s fine that we had to wait so long because our Wiener melange at Cafe-Konditorei Koestlbauer was fantastic, as were the confections we had with it. And the service was delightful and gracious too.
We ended our day with a 15-minute walk (with a little confusion as to location) to the top restaurant on Trip Advisor for Tulln. It turned out to be hidden behind a fence and hedge! The restaurant was called Gasthof zur Sonne Sodoma. It serves traditional Austrian food. There was no English menu but our waiter kindly helped us out. We both selected the same dish, a piece of chicken served with a sort of Mediterranean rice pilaf and a brown gravy. It was delicious. One thing we’ve experienced with our last two dinners though is that if you don’t order a soup or appetizer in some of the up market joints, the restaurant likes to stick it to you by bringing you a plate of bread, vegetables, and cheese/oil/tapenade/butter, and then charging you for it, even though you didn’t order it. We loved the vegetables tonight, but didn’t love being exploited. However, it was good to refuel after our long day in the saddle and to feel like we may be equipped for what will be our last day on our bikes tomorrow.