As the end of the journey approached, we woke up on the final morning of our journey knowing that we had crossed Holland (where we were arrested), Germany (hills and more hills), and the Czech Republic. All we had to do was cycle a simple 100 km across a small part of Austria and into Slovakia.
The night before, we had made ourself a big meal using discarded potatoes.
We ate this hearty meal under a bridge, 1 km short of the Austrian-Czech border, hoping to avoid yet another thunderstorm.
When morning came, I woke up like a kid on Christmas, full of excitement at the prospect of a warm shower that day. In a month on the road, we only had the opportunity to shower on three occasions and washed mostly in rivers and fountains.
As ever, we had picked ourselves a bag of wild fruit while cycling, so we ate it in our porridge for breakfast.
Then we cycled a whole kilometre, to find ourselves entering Austria. Knowing that the rest of the journey would probably be flat was a special moment.
Before we knew it, we had cycled around 80 km and found ourselves in Slovakia. There were some days on this journey (in the mountains) where we cycled all day and only travelled 30 km. Pumped with excitement and on flat ground, we cycled the 70 km without barely stopping for breath and arrived in Slovakia before lunch.
We were then very grateful to be met at the Slovakian border by the mother of our Slovakian cyclist who had brought along a delicious picnic. We devoured it and then gave her our panniers as we cycled the last few kilometres through the forest, feeling like we were floating on air. I was so ecstatic, that I didn’t notice a concrete block and ended up face planting into the sand, bending my handlebars, locking my brakes up, and cutting my leg. Despite this, we were only kilometres from a shower.
After stopping for a quick beer and some pear spirit, we arrived. We were overjoyed. After showering, we realised that we’d picked up some pretty bold tan lines.