I am alive, and in Austria. Of the 150 pictures I have taken, I am unable, despite what appears to be strong signal, to upload any of them. I suppose words must suffice. I have been riding through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Gigantic gorges and fertile valleys inbetween jagged, severe mountains. I camped seven days in a row, and loved every minute of it. I am in Austria because I was stuck in a slot canyon and could find no camping. My knees are sore from all the climbing, and I was ready to stop at 4 in the afternoon, but ended up riding four more hours in search of a spot to set up. I have been bathing in cold alpine creeks and writing a lot. I have had some encounters with dogs in the night, and have heard more wild pigs. I am becoming a bit feral myself, I think. Austria is lovely, and what little German I know is bleeding back into the forefront, but it is almost useless. I know more German than Italian, which means almost nothing. I have started to study Russian, and looked up a few phrases in Slovak, which is all turning my brain to mush. I have searched all over Villach for spare parts for my pannier, which has been broken for two months now, to no avail. I am also on the hunt for a straw hat of some sort, but three garden shops and a perusal downtown have failed me. I could, however, easily buy a full Oktoberfest outfit, there are lederhosen, dirndls and accoutrements for sale everywhere! I like the wool hats that are traditional to these folk, but I would treat one poorly, and they are expensive. I am in another Hostel International hostel, and, again, they pissed me off. These are the worst hostels around, not i n quality, but in business structure and communication. I think I spoke of my trouble with thisin Porto. There have been other ridiculous circumstances too, but they are not interesting. I am ready to hit Southeastern Europe, excited to close in on Turkey!
I have very much found my rhythm- my rituals are precise and efficient, my mind is becoming adapted to the lifestyle. I miss things, but I also know this phase of my life will be over before I know it, so I am trying to really savor it. I endeavored to undertake such a journey to give me time, space, and peace of mind to reflect on where I am at and how everything is unfolding. At last, something is starting to happen. Vague and wandering thoughts are crystallizing and being herded together, the fog is clearing. I am much more relaxed, loosened up.
Having fallen so far behind in my blog, and with pictures, I am hard pressed, I admit, to put much energy into this. I like the mountains, and so does my budget, and I think posts will be few and far between, but we will see. I am healthy, I am contented, and the sun is out. (The night before last I did get stuck in a hunting blind for an hour, hiding from a torrential downpour that hit before I set my tent up. I waited for the rain to slacken from “run for the ark!” to “I wish my shower at home had this kind of pressure,” and set up my tent, the inside of which was soaked by the time I got the rainfly on. That was an interesting night, and the next day, after two weeks of shorts and a tank top, I donned gloves, hat, jacket and tights again. I couldn’t believe it!) Two months are gone, seven or eight or nine or ten more to go! I am already eyeing New Zealand, which, from Singapore, is on the far side of Indonesia and Australia. I figure I ought to hit them while I am in the neighborhood. We will see how my funds and my sanity are doing then, cross that bridge when it appears. Thst’s about it, I am sorry about the lack of pictures! The way of the road.