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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Biking in Burgenland...

The highlight of our short vacation for Noah was the biking we did on Friday. Burgenland is a cyclist's dream, with bike paths everywhere - between every town and to and around the large lake, the Neusiedler See.

The hotel where we were staying, the Hotel Zur Post, had a collection of 10 bikes for renting and we were helped by the hotel owner, Otto. Noah couldn't find a bike small enough so we had to go the short 2 blocks to the main bike rental store. We swapped out his larger bike for one that was just the right size and we were on our way.

Our plan was to bike to the Neusiedler See and then take the ferry to the other side and bike to the Hungarian border. We had a false start by heading the wrong way on one of the bike trails, and ended up in the next town over from Illmitz further away from the lake. We retraced our way back to Illmitz and soon were on the right path to the lake.

On the way we passed a farmer with his herd of cattle, and there was much other wildlife to see. We got to the lake and quickly found where the ferries departed. It was 25 Euros (about $38) for roundtrip passage on the ferry for the three of us and our bikes. Ferries depart every 30 minutes but we were lucky and one was just about finished loading. We were the last passangers to board and off we went for the 20 minute trip across the lake to Morbisch.

Noah with his bovine friends.

Resting on the ferry crossing lake Neusiedler See to the town of Morbisch on the other side.

Everyone on the ferry had a bike. Bugenland is a paradise for bikers, even casual ones like us.

Because of recent EU rule changes, there is an open border between Austria and Hungary.

We made it to the Hungarian border, which is just a few kilometers south of Morbisch. Not much to see, really, but at least now we can say that we were in Hungary.

We went back to Morbisch and decided against biking to Rust seven kilometers further north. Instead we went back to the ferries and again got lucky with one boarding as we arrived. Upon arriving back on the east side of the lake we decided to have lunch at one of the restaurants with patios overlooking the lake. The food and service were quite good (and the prices not bad either). Then it was back to Illmitz and the end of our little ride. I figure that we travelled 25 kilometers, or about 15 miles. That's not very far for seasoned bikers, but it was the longest bike outing as a family.

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