Friday, 17 October 2014

AUSTRIA part 1

+ 1060 km

Monday Oct 6th

Right after our arrival in Austria, we saw an old lady crossing the bridge too. It was odd to think that probably there were times in her long life, she couldn't cross that bridge so easily. Even for us, it hasn't been always "natural" to cross european borders like we do now, even not noticing it sometimes.

The first good thing in Austria is that the cycling path continue and always in perfect quality. Alessio's theory is that Austrian are also very proud so they could not do something worse than their swiss neighbor :-) :-) 

We made several tiny stops for food and dried fruits. I was in perfect shape, unlike yesterday. On the other hand, Alessio started to feel some knee's pain. We ended the day anyhow after 96km at 18h. We wanted to stop a bit early in Bludenz but it was way too expensive (33E for a night) and the lady was kinda snob. When I asked her whether she worked there, she answered with this air like she was vexed " no, I am the owner!!!"

So we needed to ride some extra km to Burs, for a nasty camping, overwhelmed by the cars and trucks noises from the autoroute, way too expensive for 16E (at least they had hot water!!!)

Tuesday Oct 7th

We expected the morning would be freezing but then it was just as usual. We picked up some pears fallen from the trees and they were so tasty, miam miam. 

Today is promised to be a hard one. Very hard. As we had to go uphill for some 40km and 1200m of difference in heigh (from 600m to 1800m).

 Needless to say that we rode most of the time with the smallest gear and had all the pain in the world to move ahead. The sceneries were wonderful but I had no heart at it. All I did was to concentrate on my breath: In/out, in/out and to manage my efforts. Some parts of the roads were really bad with rocks and mud, which worsened our case. It's also a misery to go up the way, when you roll at tiny speed, with cars and sometimes trucks passing so fast and so close, blowing this damn wind - an extra difficulty to keep your balance.... But the worst was to go through those dark tunnels!!!! Fortunately, for most of the time, we had the cycling path and luckily enough, we didn't have the wind on the face. More over, the worst tunnel of some 800m of darkness and dust, we had it on the other side of the hill.

Before attacking the hardest part, we stopped for some sugar: a huge torte and a coca for each. It was such a pleasure!!!! If one had ever told me that I would love coca one day.....

So after some 40km of hard labour, we had the last 10km of downhill during which, finally, we could enjoy the wonderful view and have some rest. We even need to brake from time to time because it became dangerous to go that fast. Anyway, here, we broke our speed's record established in France of 57km with the new one of 63km/h.

We ended the day,after some 53km, completely exhausted but so proud of us,  in Pettneu Am Alberg a campsite after Saint Anton, the famous sporty town. The way in was such a slope down that we got scared for the next morning. The pitches are quite bad but the facilities were very confortable. And it was for the first time that we had to pay for the shower. 30 cents/minute!!!! WTF!!! So we had a quick shower the two of us together, to pay a bit less (yes, it seems so ridiculous but that's the way one finally does when one travels for a long long journey. There are things one can't accept, such as to pay 17E and do not have a hot shower!!!!) 

Wednesday Oct 8th

We got up a bit later than usual, around 7:30, a luxury that we gave to ourselves after such a hard day. The weather was quite cool, so I kept my jacket for almost all day. The goal of the day was to arrive to Innsbruck which is 100km further. We started the day with some serious downhill to compensate with yesterday. We went down the 500m within no time. It was wonderful. And then it was mostly flat, which didn't spoil at all our pleasure :-) . We've been very lucky with the weather so far. Always sunny and warm. And the autumn colors of Austrian mountains are simply breathtaking. We enjoy so much rolling in the middle of the nature, breathing the fresh air, filling the whole lungs with the perfume of pines forest, corns fields, wet grass and of course also sometimes of cows'  and horses' dung :-) :-) And by the hillsides, all those little towns that look so peaceful. Sometimes, you can see their existence only by the church's tower that pierces the wood. One funny thing is that the cows always stop sprouting to look at us.

We followed the Inn river and its clear blue water and arrive finally to Innsbruck's suburb at 4PM. The first camping was empty and the reception would be open at 6PM. Don't know what to do, we started to undo the bags, trying to dry the tent. And I was picking some nuts fallen in the garden when the owner interrupted, completely furious " what are you doing here?" "Oh, we are waiting for the reception to be opened at 6PM". "But the nuts are ours, you can not eat it" (WHAT? The nuts that are fallen on the ground and get perished without no one cares????) "Oh I am sorry, I didn't know it would bother you" and I poured all the nuts by the ground again. 

In fact he first took me for "someone from the streets" (WTF? Is it my asian face or do I look that miserable? Or is it Alessio's beard???) but calmed himself down when he knew that we are French/Italian!!! 
Anyway, we moved from there and go to the other campsite nearby, which was way better, less expensive with way nicer people (not that hard though!!!!)

The Kranerbitterhof camping is really lovely with one side, grandiose mountains, and the other, the view of the valley. It has wonderful facilities with big kitchen and dining room, so we can have dinner, comfortably seated at a table, warm and relaxed.

Thursday Oct. 9th

We decided to stop being travelers for a while but tourists. We spent the day then visiting Innsbruck. It was funny to ride without all the bags (that we left in the tent at the campsite). It's a very lovely city, small but quite rich in every term of culture, history and economy. We can't resist but jumped into a very nice bakery to taste some "viennoiseries". Hm hm delicious. The touristic information office served also as a ticketing center, so we bought our bus tickets to Munich the next day there too. 

Then we paid a visit at Alpin's museum. The weather was so lovely that we decided to have lunch out at the French' market: wrong decision. It was bad and expensive!!!!
We continued the day strolling amongst beautiful streets, nicely dressed people, noisy Chinese tourists taking selfies everywhere with their long sticks.....

Friday Oct. 10

As discussed with the lady at the campsite's reception, we attached our bikes with the bags at a pitch visible from the reception, tried to secure and to cover them as much as we could. Then took the bus to town. The bus driver, seeing that we were tourists, called us back to show us the right way when he saw that we got out at the wrong stop for the connecting bus to down town. It was a pleasant surprise to see one could be so nice. In general, we find Austrian a bit cold and distant but at the same time courtois and helpful.

Before taking the bus to Munich, we couldn't help ourselves from going back to our bakery and have breakfast there. Miam miam bis :-)

At 11:30 AM, we got into the bus. Bye bye Austria, Munich here we come!!!

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