Sunday, April 28, 2013


Tonight, I am feeling many things. The most prominent is pain. This is localised primarily in my knees and kiester. Also notable is a sense of gratitude. I am grateful for two things in particular: one, that my legs did not give out halfway up the hill to my house this afternoon as they were threatening to do, and two, that the distance I have to bike over cobblestones tomorrow is relatively short.

I went on a biking adventure today. It was awesome. And now I hurt.

On setting out, my plan was to cross over onto the Donau island (Donauinsel), and bike down that for a while, before crossing back to this side, passing through the Prater, and coming home via the canal. It didn't entirely work out that way, in the end. My dear friends and family, you may be happy (or bemused? stupefied? please don't roll your eyes at me...) to know that despite my world travels, I have never acquired a sense of direction. When I hit Klosterneuburg, which is 10km north of home opposite to the direction I was aiming to go, I turned around. (I knew that castle was supposed to be getting further away.)

The main problem was that I kept coming across these signs that said "Donauradweg". I know what Donauradweg means in English (Danube biking trail), but I don't know what it means I should do when there are three such signs pointing in three different directions with no other clues as to where these paths might lead. Eventually I made it to Donauinsel. There were lilacs (der flieder).

Do you know what? I had forgotten how nice spring smells. Back in Sydney, whenever I imagined the smell of spring, it was always that early-March smell of damp earth and melting snow. It's the sweet scent of flowers that's in the air now. The sweet smell of hay fever for those so inclined. I love it.

After the Donauinsel, I went on to the Prater and made a couple false starts before figuring out which direction I needed to go. And by 'false starts' I mean I biked about a quarter mile, changed my mind and turned around, then went half the length of the park in the opposite direction before I realised I'd been right the first time.

I found the Gasometer with relatively little trouble, which was good, because by then I was running out of steam. These are former gas tasks that have been converted to apartments. They make up a marvelous bit of architecture, despite the fact that they're not haunted.

And then I was back on familiar terrain. I'm getting good at the canal. All you have to do is keep the water on your right and the ice cream on your left and avoid the mothers with baby carriages and the tourists and the old ladies, all of whom tend to congregate right in the middle of the bike path and give you looks of death if you try to pass them.

There's another feeling I'm experiencing right now. I believe they call this one fatigue. It's almost 10pm and I'm totally going to bed. Over and out.

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