Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Marchland

The battle of Wagram was fought over a large area of flat farm land, not unlike Salisbury Plain in the UK. There are few proper roads in the area, and those that are don't go where we wanted to go. All of the villages are connected by farm tracks.

Therefore it was not suitable to explore by car. It was too large to explore by foot. It appeared to be ideal to explore by bike. And indeed it was, the problem was that I had not ridden a bike for about 20 years.

The day was warm and sunny, and at the start it was a delight to ride off into the flat expanse of The Marchland. We could go where we wanted, and stop when we wanted. We seemed to have the whole area to ourselves, except for the singing birds.

But it was not long before I was overheating, and getting very saddle sore. Jan was ok, she used a bike to go to work everyday and was leading the way without any idea of just how difficult I was finding it.

We followed the map, and found the main battle areas with ease. The villages were a little disappointing, as they had changed so much since 1809. But we could approach them through the fields, as the infantry had in 1809, and it was easy to imagine what it must have been like then.

By mid afternoon we had drunk all of our water, and were feeling very hot and thirsty. Each village we approached was empty, and all of the shops closed. It was only as we neared Aspern at the end of the afternoon that we finally found a large, and typical German style, pub. We had two huge glasses (steins?) of ice cold beer which we drank in seconds. As we had our second beer we could feel the first one pouring out in sweat!

An excellent day out, and by far the best way to explore this facinating battlefield.

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