Back to the beginning; we arrived in Salzburg this afternoon completing our 982 mile round trip of this wonderfully scenic country, together with glimpses of Germany and Slovakia and a slightly longer look at Slovenia.
The final two short cycling days continued along the Salzach river, partly through a dramatic limestone gorge. It was a case of ‘no room at the inn’ last night when we ventured out for something to eat at the only restaurant in the small village we had pitched up in. We ended up with a cup of coffee and Leberkäse (think spam mixed with cheese) in a bread roll in the cafe area of a BP service station. It was actually surprisingly tasty and did the job.
Gavin tempted fate yesterday morning by stating that the services of the team puncture repair lady had not been required this trip… Not three hours later the glue was out to mend a slow one in my front tyre!
We highly recommend Austria for cycling touring, there are well maintained and signed bike paths everywhere; the scenery is unbelievably beautiful; the accommodation is reasonably priced, comfortable, varied, often quirky and the people reserved but welcoming. To (mis) quote one of Austria’s most famous sons, we’ll be back.
After two and half weeks on the road, we almost had a day off! Yesterday (Thursday) we took a picture postcard ride, with bikes in tow, on a narrow gauge train to Krimml about 25 miles up the glorious Salzach valley from Mittersill. A couple of miles pedalled up through a forest track got us to the foot of the, three tiered, Krimml Waterfall. The trek to the top, some 400 metres of vertical ascent, took over an hour on foot but provided spectacular views of the plunging water and valley below. The bike ride back to Mittersill included a few lumpy sections as we weaved through the meadows and tiny villages either side of the valley bottom but was an absolute joy on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Our delight and wonder at the stunning vista of the Salzach valley continues. Today’s 25 mile ride to the skiing resort at Zell am See was accompanied by clanging cow bells and sweet bovine smells from the delightful brown and white cows which eye us up as they chew the cud in their rich green pastures. All this to a backdrop of snow clad peaks and the burbling of the river which gives the valley its name.
Fortune smiled on us today; on arrival, the guest house we had booked was all shut up with a note directing us to its, rather more grand, four star, sister hotel next door. Part of the package also included a free pass each for various local attractions. Taking advantage of this allowed us to take a cable car up the mountain to some 2000 metres giving a panoramic view over the horseshoe of mountains, the lake and the valley bottom which will be our route back to Salzburg over the next two days. Sitting on top of a mountain in the afternoon sun with a small beverage… Well it almost felt like a day off!