Today was a pretty crappy day…not bad, four weeks in and the first bleugh day! I don’t know how real you want me to keep this but it’s not all sunshine and roses you know!
Also, I was missing Beth. She had cried on the phone the night before and I couldn’t hug her better…sorry for sharing Beth!
We left Alleghe early with a long ride ahead of us. Heading north and up through Austria into Germany. I had planned the route to go via several passes and to take in the reportedly beautiful Austrian scenery.
I have, for the longest time, ever since falling in love with “The Sound of Music”, dreamed of rolling through the Austrian hills with “The Hills are Alive” resounding through my head…and today was the day!
…or not 🙁
We woke to drizzly rain. That insistent type that seeps into you and chills to the bone. We hoped (in vain as it turned out) that it would be just isolated to the valley we were in but no, we were to spend FIVE hours riding in varying degrees of rain!
I was so disappointed. The roads were great but Iain had to take things carefully because of the wet conditions and so we couldn’t enjoy them properly. The scenery would have been amazing. I kept picturing how the photos ‘would’ have been had the weather been clear.
…and to top it all, I was cold. But, at least I was dry. The “Frogg Togs” are really working out well 🙂
We entered Austria and later Germany without any announcement, if there were signs we didn’t see them! I know I said this in the last blog, but I am disappointed with the borders, In the US there are big “Welcome to….” signs between States and I had plans for picture ops with such signs as we went from country to country! But, no, suddenly we were just there and nobody was bothered!
Our Hotel was fab! Wonderful setting that I chose specifically because it was right next to a waterfall. A wonderful view…but for the damn rain. Still pouring down and so overcast that we could barely make out the river 🙁
Never mind, after a hot shower we were warmed up and after a few beers and some red wine, we were even warmer! A wonderful supper, a sampler of Apfel Strudel and a couple of Baileys coffees later we didn’t give a hot damn about the bloody weather!
Waking to overcast skies again we were initially disappointed. But, by the time we were up and heading into town for an early breakfast, the clouds were starting to part and there were hints of blue skies!
The River Lech was incredibly powerful, not pretty due to the crazy weather and sheer magnitude of the water rushing through but so exhilarating to watch!
We were the first customers of the day in the cute little cafe we found. We enjoyed some very good coffee and wonderful chocolate croissants and watched the town wake up!
It was a beautiful town square with immaculately kept homes/businesses, adorned with flowers and planters.
We started the day as typical tourists and went off to visit the nearby Castles Hohenschwangau, the childhood home of King Ludwig II, and Neuschwanstein, the home he built for himself. A somewhat mysterious and reclusive character he lived in this magnificent structure alone!
Our jovial host from the Hotel had warned us to be there early, before the coach loads arrived, and I’m glad we listened to him! We were able to stroll around and take some good pictures unhindered. As we walked backed down the hill again, we were stunned by how many folks were heading on up and the lines for tickets, souvenirs and coffee were enormous!
We did have a little pickle with the stamp machine though – thankfully a young child was able to help us old dodders out!!After a coffee and writing the obligatory postcards, we set off on our way to our next overnight stop.
The route today wound us through quant and immaculate German towns where all the buildings are super well kept and most have interesting paintings/murals decorating their facades. We bobbed along the German border and back into Austria. There was actually a sign for this, but it was a “blink and you miss it” type of sign…we blinked!
Today I got my fill of the Austrian landscape and it was just as I had been dreaming! It was a super cold day and we were eternally grateful for that practice run back in March when we realized that we were not adequately kitted out for low temps! Today, we snuggled ourselves into our new KLIM layers and managed to stay warm. I even had to wear my gloves and I hate wearing gloves!
The roads were great and we wound our way up, down and round the rolling hills of the lush green Alpine meadow landscape. The only issues we had were in the last hour as we reached more towns and the traffic got heavier. For some reason cars kept pulling out right in front of us; most perturbing! We eventually arrived at our next hotel where we were warmly greeted and shown to another lovely room with a great view…again, I am seven for seven now! This is just an overnighter on our way back down south to Slovenia tomorrow via the Großglockner Alpine Pass 🙂
Großglockner day – hurrah!!
This was a big one that we had been looking forward to.
The day started with a bit of admin work (got to keep the business going!) and a little general maintenance; some air in the tyres and a little oil top up. The girls doing good. She’s at 3,300 miles into this trip now and not a hiccup!
The day dawned clear and over breakfast our hostess informed us that it was a great day to ride the Großglockner; the roads woud be clear and the weather conditions promised o be good.
Excitedly, we packed up and set off on our way!
There was a bit of a bump in the road when they charged 26 Euros ($30) for entry to the Pass, you know Iain and his wallet! But, we didn’t come this far not to do the Pass so, with barely audible grumbles, he handed his card and we were granted entry!
You guys, it was worth every penny! Arguably our favourite pass yet! It was just an all out enjoyable ride, Great road and fabulous scenery. Nothing was holding us up so we could ride and enjoy the road at a pace we wanted.
We got some great pictures and there was even a nice guy at the top who offered to take a pic of us together – yay!!
There was this super cool guy who was whizzing up the Pass with a wheelchair attached to his bike – Kudos dude!
As you reach the summit, there is a turn off that leads you even further up a cobbled path and directs you to “Bikers Point” and is the highest elevation at 2571m. We duly headed off up that road but near the top there was a bit of a hairy moment. A young female cyclist, on her way down, came off of her bike. Thankfully, the motorbiker following was on the ball. He managed to avoid her and come to a safe stop. If he hadn’t been paying attention, it could have been quite nasty. The girl was not badly hurt, just a bad chin scrape and some hand/knee scrapes but the poor thing was quite shaken up.
Carrying on up to the top, we were rewarded with the most amazing views!
We messed around for a while, taking pics and entertaining the folks, who seemed quite amazed at our American registration, before heading back down and enjoying the long sweeping roads until we stopped in the next town for a coffee and some more “Apfel Strudel” – delicious!
Ahead of us was two hours of amazing sweeping curves and great roads as we travelled south east down through Austria and enjoying the ride and breathtaking scenery. Here was my “Sound of Music” dream come true 🙂
A truly great days ride culminated in one final pass. The Wurzen Pass took us up to an elevation of 1073m where, most bizarrely, we came across an old abandoned tank!
Shortly after we crossed the border into Slovenia (finally a sign!) and carried on our way to what will be our home for the next two nights. Another great Airbnb find with a fabulous view – I’m 8 for 8 now!
Follow our posts as we prepare for our 13 week tour of Europe that starts in May 2018!