I sit here writing from an empty apartment in Linz, Austria. It's rainy out, our bike clothes are drying on the heaters and coffee is being poured. God provided a little sanctuary.
The nature of this journey by bike is a crazy one. Nearly every day we set out not knowing where we will sleep, how many miles of uphill or downhill we will encounter or what the skies have in store for us. My California nature is not used to this cold rainy weather, but by Minnesota roots come alive at the sight of fall colors and the smell of rotting apples. We experience extreme highs- the euphoria of cresting a long arduous hill to the sight of the valley below. And the lows- being dirty and wet from camping, and town after town has nothing in it but a smokey bar to get a cup of instant coffee. But we order them anyway for something warm to drink. The pedaling in between is full of time to think, to notice and to reflect. We often burst into song, mostly Gregory Alan Isakov.
Yesterday encompassed many such emotions. The morning was a gorgeous flat ride out of Cesky Krumlov along the river. Around lunch time, the weather got quite a bit colder, wetter and more windy. There was a tough climb and long descent into Austria, which was cold but enjoyable. Coasting downhill, it's hard not to think of the uphill climb that will most likely follow...which it did. A long uphill battle with limbs like molasses. What we were not expecting was the 14km high speed descent into the city of Linz in the pelting rain. I don't want to be dramatic but, I had to sing at the top of my lung to keep myself for bursting into tears. One of the most terrifying and thrilling experiences that left us all shaky and in need of a cappuccino-which we promptly indulged.
Coming into Linz, we still didn't have a place to stay. We ended up following a tip off to a bike kitchen, where we got a recommendation for cheap food. Cold and soggy and a little discouraged,we made our way to a tiny falafel shop. In about 30min we had met a young French Syrian dancer who offered us his empty flat (he was in the process of moving). In no time we were dry and warm and so extremely thankful.