This unassuming path along the Danube River runs from Passau, Germany to Vienna, Austria and beyond. For cyclists both avid and occasional it is a 300-kilometer exercise in pure two-wheeled pleasure. For those traveling this way it is a close-up view of the political beauty of Europe.
That oval sign behind our tandem bicycle is a simple pronouncement of one's entry into Germany. That green railing is keeping our tandem from falling over into the narrow, non-descript Dantlbach River which, without the signs, could hardly be taken seriously as an international border.
Crossing Borders: The Gentility of Traveling in Europe
Yet an international border is exactly what we are looking at. Turning from our view of Germany we see the Donauradweg rolling off into Austria, following the flow of the Danube, heading for Vienna.
No gates, no guards. No passport control. Not even a guy hawking postcards, or cold Apfelschorle. Just a modest, paved invitation to keep right on pedaling.
Whenever in the course of my travels I find myself in a new place one of the first things I do is seek out the local markets. I do this for two reasons.
1. There's a genuine vibe here. No menus in English. No matching furniture. No board of health. You want to get an authentic taste of a place - literally and figuratively - this is where you come.
2. Compared to most markets my kitchen looks pretty damn clean.
I love exploring these places. Taking in the unusual sights and the unidentifiable food. Soaking up the atmosphere, from the odor in the air to the squishy, sticky mess underfoot. And yes, eating. Always.
Although once in a while I have to pass.
This photo was taken in Chau Doc, Viet Nam, on my first day in country. I didn't have a dictionary or a phrase book with me. I am comfortable enough without one. Usually. Of course the woman manning this cart wasn't selling manure sandwiches, but a brief look beyond the bread and veggie display told me only that 'dùng' was likely a form of meat. I'm not a vegetarian but I am a know-what-I'm-eating-ian.
Back in 2007 I passed on the dùng. I just now tried to figure out what I missed. And I can't. The 'cha' up there means sausage...maybe. Or father. Jambon is French for the same isn't it? Sausage I mean, not father. But that dùng has got me stumped. Google translates it into a variety of words: use, employ, handle, manipulate and, among many others, consume.
So all I can gather is the woman is advertising the use of sausage. Which may or may not be your idea of lunch in public but like I said, you want a taste of the local culture, this is where to find it.