The next two of days spanned 4 countries: the castles of Czechia, a brief muscat-scented dip into Austria, the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, and a border river run in and out of Hungary. To leave Austria for Slovakia had to cross the river Morava, after wolfing down a last schnitzel, I headed for the crossing point to find a deserted 'moving bridge' (ferry) rather than a more permanent one. Two other touring cyclists also approached to find the abandoned crossing, and told me it was 40km up or down the river for an alternative bridge. Some major recalculations in mood and movement seemed inevitable. At that moment, I saw a passing boat, and did as any self-respecting shipwrecked sailor would, and madly waved, hollered and prayed. The passing fire-service boat duly obliged, dumped their existing cargo (small children on a school trip) on the river bank, and carried us cyclists into Slovakia.

The second 'run-in' with the Morava was a bit more literal. After gliding several km down an impeccable riverside cycle route, albeit with a few puddles, these puddles started to become more significant and became one with the river more generally, and there was no helpful fire service at hand this time. The ensuing scene brought to mind a favourite bedtime story book that may be familiar to a few: 'We're going on a bear hunt'. The chorus line of which is 'We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we can't go around it, we have to go through it.'

The next two hours was spent barefoot, sometimes wading rolling the bike in thigh-high freezing river-water, other times cycling with water covering most of the pedalstroke - the two wheeled version of an amphibious 'duck-truck'. Big shout out to the waterproof Ortlieb ('Made In Germany') panniers at this point. Certainly a more intrepid moment of the trip, before a more gourmand and indulgent period of cycling the Danube with Asli.