Thurs 14 July 2016 Vienna to Trieben

I wake up to the boom, diddy-boom of the train hurtling across the countryside and the sound of rain through my open window.

It wasn’t a bad nights sleep considering.

At 7.20, an hour before our arrival time, there is a knock on my door and the conductor delivers my breakfast. You have a choice of 6 items from a typical German breakfast menu,which you choose the night before.

I have to go and get my coffee from the conductors room at the end of the corridor,  but that’s OK as I need to go to the loo anyway.

Yes, unfortunately unless you go for a deluxe cabin, your in-cabin facilities consist of a tiny,  cleverly concealed washbasin. And on this train, unlike the previous,there are no additional shower facilities, so it’s a cat’s lick and a promise for me this morning!

The train goes through a very long tunnel, and luckily the weather improves the other side and it is now dry.

The train pulls into Vienna’s main station, but those of us with vehicles have to stay on board as the Motorail is a little further down the line( make sure you go the the right place if embarking at Vienna!)

We get off the train, but once again no-one knows what to do!

The transporter carriage is moved from the end of our train, to the end of the carriage you can see in the top right hand corner of the photo above.

There is nowhere to leave our luggage safely, but luckily a car passenger agrees to stand and look after it.

The bikes are unhitched by the staff and then it’s another head-down, slow, careful ride through the carriages…

…riding directly out onto the station.

We all park up on the platform and load up our bikes.

It may not be raining, but it is very windy. I prefer rain!

My first stop is to a petrol station, to fill up but more importantly to buy a Vignette, which you must have to ride on the motorways in Austria. Even if you don’t plan to ride on the motorways, I would recommend buying one as I beleive the fine is currently about 200 euros, and it is possible to accidently join a road that needs one. Just sayin’!

My route today is a boring one. All motorway, as it’s about getting to Trieben as quickly as I can, about 3 hours away.

My GPS navigates me through the city and I’m on the motorway,  a VERY windy motorway. Not an enjoyable ride.

The wind continues for the next 50 odd miles on the A2,  but lessens once I’m on the A6/A9.

Once again, I am very happy to have my cruise control, especially as there are many sections down to one lane and 80km speed limit.

I finally make it to Trieben, find the hotel and more importantly Sue.

After a shower, it’s downstairs for that all important first beer.

Over our beer, Sue tells me about her accident – she had an argument with the road and broke her collarbone; -her bike, currently in storage in the town ; and the rest of her holiday so far.

After our beer, we go for a wander round town,  and to get some wine and nibbles.

Our hotel on the right.

The ribbons on the Maypole blowing in the breeze.

Then it’s back to the hotel room to discuss plans on how and when Sue will get home.

It’s so sad that we will not be able to do our trip together,  but I am glad that I was able to get out here and support Sue, and that it is just a collarbone broken and not a worse outcome.

In the evening we eat in the hotel, opting for one of their specials, a sharing dish for two which turns out to be a meat fest! We do not do it justice, especially as we also had a Carpaccio starter each.

Then it’s back to Sue’s room for a good girlie catch, as I haven’t seen her since November whilst we finish off our wine!


Wed 13 June 16  Home to Dusseldorf 

An early 5.45 am start to catch Eurotunnel train departing at 7.20am.

Weather is wet and chilly, so I decide to wear GoGoGear leggings. This does mean taking two pairs of biking trousers when I am trying to travel light, but it turns out to be a wise decision.

All packed, and waterproofed up ready to go.

Because of bad weather last night,  I pack up the bike this morning, definitely not my preferred choice to do first thing.

I arrive at Eurotunnel just in time for check in, but miss the loading for my 7.20 crossing by 4 cars, but no problems it means I have time for a coffee.

It seems that Eurotunnel have changed how they load,  in the past bikes were always loaded last, but I am mixed in with the cars.

There are no seats for us bikers, so I sit on the floor to enjoy my breakfast.

The train journey goes quickly, then it’s a damp boring motorway ride to Dusseldorf.

On the way I stop for petrol in Belgium, and forget that their credit card machines are hidden at the end of the pumps,unlike in the UK where they are right next to or integral to the pumps,  so I stood there like an idiot waiting for the petrol until I realised. Duh!

I arrive at Dusseldorf station with hours to spare, I wanted to be 100% sure I didn’t miss the train.

There are a few cars parked already, but no bikes. I’m not sure about leaving my bike with all the kit on it, strange as I don’t normally worry. Luckily another biker turns up, a Dutch guy, Arnold, who offers to keep an eye on the bikes.

I go off and have a meal, and then return the favour.

A few other bikes turn up and we all quickly make friends and get busy chatting. Another Brit, and his gorgeous 54 year car, and a lovely lady, Lizbet, from Vienna join us in the banter too.

Nobody really knows what is meant to happen to board, not even me who’s been on the train before, so thought I should describe it so that others know what to expect.

#Motorail from Dusseldorf 

You can purchase your ticket here from Db Motorail.

You need to purchase a separate ticket for your vehicle, and one for yourself, including a cabin if you want one.

The cabins are pretty small so I would suggest going for the best you can, for example I paid extra to ensure I had a cabin to myself.

The website has an English option, but the online tickets are in German, so I used Google Translate.

It says they start loading an hour before, but the station guy was there about 2 hours before.

He spoke to us bikers in a group, and in English, which was handy!

He hands out 4 loops to each bike, which once you are onboard you have to attach to your bike, 2 on the front, 2 on the back.

You also have to take off all soft luggage, which is a pain as previously we could leave it on. Hard luggage can stay.

There isn’t really anywhere to put it, so we put it on the ground near the hut, the railway guy keeps an eye on it.

You are told when to drive on. You will need to keep your lid on as the roof is very low and it is difficult not to bang your head.

It looks quite scary ,but it’s not so bad, honest!

Once you’ve ridden on, your bike is tied down using the loops. I always wait round to check that my bike is secure.

You then go back and pick up your kit, and walk to the main station platform, where hopefully your train and your carriage is waiting.

On this train we were given a welcome bag, with slipper, a tiny towel, soap, earplugs, water, and pretzels.

The conductor also brings a glass of Sangria.

She is also available on this train for you to order snacks,  light meal, and drinks which are sold at reasonable prices. But you need to check as the previous train I travelled on did mot have this option.

See tomorrow ‘s post for how I slept and what happens when we arrive in Vienna.

I’ll end this post with a photo of my new international train friends: Arnold, Tim ( from UK), Slobodan ( from Sweden) and Lizbeth ( from Austria).