Passau-Wien By Bike - Part 1 By The Donau

Son is now taller than me as you can see!
Large and gray, more green than blue dued to the heavy rain and the cloudy sky, the big river Donau seems a beautiful old lady doing great with her age. 
I stop riding and breath the humid hair. History shaped the river for long eventful centuries but looking at it, it's Nature that strikes you first: intense green sweet hills, young tidy forests and tidy fields, vineyards. 
Small villages, some ancient town, unchanged - a baroque church, a teological school (stift), a square with a fountain, a votive column to thank god for an excaped danger (a war, a pestilence, a natural disaster). Few small houses in bright colour surrounded by small tidy gardens. An old factory (a sawmill or a distillery) and a new one (harder to detect what they make). Seldom a city: a big public park first, with a great playground, then modern high functional buildings and larger roads to penetrate into the ancient center (church, fountain, column and all). Shops and restaurants. 
The presence of the river, crowded of boats bringing goods and people but also threatening with frequent floods, all diligently noted on a city wall. Only Wien is different because Wien is the capital city and was the capital of an Empire. Almost the Capital of Europe at one time. History rules in Wien.
But here where I am, foot on the wet ground, Wien is still far. It was raining this morning when we decided to ride anyway, refusing to take a bus till Melk. We are a short group, only seven including Lisa, our guide, a skinny girl imperturbably zen. My son (12) is the youngest - and the fittest as well - two young meticulous men and an aged dymamic couple complete the gang. We met in Passau two three days ago and pedaled together for two days already: from Passau to Linz and from Linz to the small village where we slept last night. There are big differences among us, not only in age, but also in our social and cultural back ground. I feel as if I'm dragging around my studies sometimes: sharing is normal but I risk to give a speech and that's pesky. We ride in silence the most or talking with our mate from home, me excluded because my son rides in front giving Lisa the works with tons of questions. I see that opinions are not welcomed too: we had an unpleasant conversation about Israel and Gaza 'they are all the same' and another one about the supposed moral superiority of a 'natural', premodern way of life... As a philospher I find very hard to reply to those bullshit with a polite "Really? do you think so?"
In the end I came to ride not to talk, moreover not to argue. 

No comments: