Over the Top and Seeing Double…

Two more days ‘in the bag’ with the total miles travelled standing at 840. We parted company with the beautiful Drau river valley this morning, in the Tirolan city of Lienz, after cycling almost half of its 430 mile course. The day into Lienz is one that will stay with us forever for the sheer beauty of the increasingly breathtaking scenery on a perfect sunny autumn day.

Drau River approaching Lienz

Our northerly route out of Lienz followed the river Isel upstream for a relatively gruelling 30 miles to a height of about 5,300 feet. The first twenty miles were on quiet lanes through very pretty villages where the houses typically have wooden first floor balconies bedecked in colourful pelargonium and / or surfinas. We also passed a succession of tiny mobile milk vats awaiting collection by the ‘Tirolan Milk Company’. This and the clanging of cow bells as the, mostly simmental, cows grazed seemed at odds with the crops of maize and larger agricultural machinery in evidence.

The last ten miles of our climb to the Felbertauertunnel through the Alps was on a busy road with little or no shoulder, so was not as enjoyable as it should have been given the magnificent scenery in the snow clad mountains. As cycling is not allowed through the 3.3 mile long tunnel, we were taxied through. The ten mile downhill the other side to the town of Mittersill was world class if a little cold,  despite being fully zipped up, and the omni present traffic.

Gavin is still on a high after spending our night in Lienz in a small hotel attached to a brewery. The rooms were all themed with pictures of the brewing process, furniture incorporating beer crates and light fittings made of beer bottles.  The finishing touch was the bathroom where the sink was made of a metal beer keg and the door handle and tap were both the sort of tap used to pull a pint. The view from the window was just stunning though.

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