Joy, really

Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to remember that. Our ride from Tulln to Vienna was not really that hard or long, but it was cool, drizzly, and not particularly attractive. We can see why some of the tour companies skip that bit. The high points of the ride were bird sightings, including what was probably an Oriole, and something blue that Angie saw that we haven’t been able to identify yet. The ride into Vienna proper was ok but as hairy as riding in any city is.
We were/are both in mixed minds about the fact that the bike touring part of our trip is ending. We’re kind of over riding but not really, though we are very excited about the other stops on our itinerary. I don’t know how else to put it. The weather from here on out is less likely to be summery, and the further east we go, the harder and more expensive it’s probably going to be to send the bikes back to London without us. And we’ve loved the riding but we knew that the weather would not be great as fall fell, plus we didn’t want to carry the extra weight that would be required for us to keep riding to Prague and beyond.
To be frank, whether we will be able to get the bikes back to London or not has been the greatest cause of anxiety for me for this whole trip. And as of now, we are trying to be optimistic but are rather concerned. We went to a couple of bike shops last night, heard of one place that was a likely contender, so went there today. To find that the shop’s idea of boxing a bike would likely not meet the specs for FedEx or British Airways. I guess that’s why the fellow at the shop thought it would take 20 minutes and cost us only €25. The box he showed us was significantly larger than anything British Airways might accept. He did very kindly suggest two other shops that were not too far away. But of course, we didn’t think about the fact that it was already 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. Which meant that the shops were likely to be closed (and indeed they were). The only reason the shop we went to was open was because they run bike tours from there seven days a week.
So to digress on that for a minute. In the US, I’m sure most bike shops (and many other types of stores) do most of their business on the weekends. Not so here, clearly. Most of the shops close around lunchtime on Saturday, and don’t reopen again until Monday. As Angie said, our culture in the US is such that people work like dogs, and if they’re lucky, they get to run their errands and play on the weekends. Here, people have a different approach, plus despite the actual separation of church and state, Sundays are a rest day in much of Europe. So even the folks in the bike shops get most of the weekends off.
Of course this leaves us in limbo on the shipping bikes issue until Monday, and also means valuable touristy time will need to be devoted to that during the week. There are now at least three more places we can try, plus I’ve dropped a support request to Bikeflights.com, since their site didn’t seem to be able to identify a shop in Austria without an exact post code. Keep a good thought for us that we can resolve all that first thing Monday and don’t have to devote too much time to it.
I don’t have a ton to say yet about Vienna and our Air BnB place but I will try to write more about that in another entry.

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