20th March Ravensburg, DE > Lauterach, AT (Jon).
Having passed my luggage on to my very own personal chauffeur, I had a fantastic cycle into Austria with the bike performing with a lot more zap! I noticed here how much my fitness had improved, managing to keep up with some roadies’.
After my first glimpse of the Alps I paused for a quick photo before enjoying the rest of the ride down to Bodensee. On arrival at the house of the Dörler family, I was presented with a mass of schnitzel, which of course, I gratefully devoured!
21st March > 23rd March Lauterach (Jon)
The following days were spent in Lauterach, near the Bodensee.
Went on a few day trips (without the bike!) in Vorarlberg and had a lovely time with Melanie, Jürgen, Pia, ‘Graffix’ and Anna. THANK YOU!! I imagine a big trip to the supermarket was in order after my visit! Mike arrived on the 23rd, and we met up with Irena for a walk around Bregenz before her mum cooked us up a brilliant local dish.
Lauterach > St Anton 24th March
We both knew that this today would throw some challenges at us, namely, the 1800metre Alberg pass. Meeting up in Dornbirn also proved quite a challenge for one of us, taking a road back to Bodensee instead of heading east! An hour or so later we enjoyed a coffee and a cake by the church in the main square before setting off. It was another warm one today, with suncream starting to become the norm. The first few hours of cycling were completely flat and we enjoyed the scenery of the surrounding mountains. After stocking up on food, we began to make our ascent. This was subtle at first and we were surprised when we started to pass patches of snow, although of course it was not so long before the subtlety subsided and the real challenge began. There were a number of tunnels we came to where we had to be very careful here as they were of course dark and not designed for cyclists, especially those creeping up the mountain with 40kg bikes! Following some advice given by some locals at the longest tunnel, we took the decision to take the side road around it. It wasn’t long before this road was thick in snow, so we had to push our bikes the remaining mile. After bring photographed by some local skiers, we continued the slog up the mountain and made it to the top of the pass for sunset. Riding down into St. Anton was incredible reaching speeds in excess of 60kmph. It was clear on arrival that there would be no where cheap to stay as this really was tourist town, with the English outnumbering the Austrians! After having a scout around, we carried on down the valley until we found a suitable place to camp behind some trees, and slept there.
St Anton > Innsbruck 25th March
It was great to wake up knowing that we would not (or at least should not!) have to ride up one hill today. We stopped for a coffee after some minutes, and ended up staying for a breakfast beer – a bit strange, but it seemed like the right thing at the time! We followed the River Inn all to Innsbruck, picking up a brilliant cycle path, which took us through forests and fields, all of the way into the city. The scenery today really was incredible, and definitely the best days riding on the trip so far. It was lovely to arrive back in my old flat, and to be home again.
Innsbruck 26-29th March
Innsbruck > Salzburg 30th March
I left early this morning with the aim of reaching Vienna in three days. After popping round to Flo’s for a quick coffee, I made my way along the Inn cycle track toward Kufstein. This was a route I had cycled many times before, but of course still enjoyed it, particularly with the brilliant tailwind! On arrival in Kufstein, I explored the city and made lunch by the university. After assessing my route and progress, I headed for Salzburg. Having been told that route would be flat, I was surprised to find myself panting up to the snowline! I continued to make good progress all afternoon, and felt proud to reach Salzburg after 195km. I spent the night in the house of Betti, Andy’s (one of my Innsbruck friends) mum. It was lovely to arrive here and of course very much appreciated! Nina the dog was also seemed pleased to have me stay! I did make one small error here; whilst in the shower i noticed the shower gel was quite strong. I was of course very tired and realised that I had managed to wash myself with bathroom cleaner! Oops!
Salzburg > Vienna 31st March – 1st April
Although long, the next two days to Vienna were slightly easier, especially knowing i could get some good food in the naschmarkt! Suffering with a lack of sleep, I was woken up in a field by a policeman checking that I was still alive! I stayed the first night of these two days in Amstetten with Edda, a long friend of the Nemec family from Innsbruck. The prevailing wind from the west continued to push me along all the way into Vienna, of course boosting my average speed somewhat! Arriving in Vienna was quite exciting, entering such a large city after a long period away from big populations. Navigation was fairly easy, as I had spent some time in Vienna before and vaguely knew my way around.
Vienna 2nd – 5th April