Day 20 - Lindau to Igls (Austria)

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September 18th 2008
Published: September 18th 2008
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Thursday 18th September

I froze my cacks off last night. The last, unfortunately prophetic, comment I heard late yesterday evening “there will be a frost tonight” uttered with unbearable cheeriness from some geezer in a motorhome (smug b*stard probably had heating - I am the only actual tent here) had come to fruition. I pulled the drawstring on the neck of the sleeping bag as tight as it would go, so much that it would leave an imprint on my forehead in the morning. But it was still cold. The bag was rated down to -5° so either: The bag was now f*cked (it was quite old); I had gotten so skinny I was less impervious to cold or I was turning into a blouse. Probably all three.

So after a fitful nights sleep and a three hour defrosting shower I was well impressed to rip the f*cking tent on packing up. Arse. As useless males go I am reasonably domestically independent with one major exception - sewing. If a shirt sheds a button then that in effect is the end of the shirt - I am useless. So I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that it took me 2 and ½ bl**dy hours to sew up the rip and a 5cm x 2cm patch over it. I fixed the damaged pole as best I could with pliers and gaffa tape and then came to the heartbreaking decision that it was better to discover whether it would hold here, rather than at the end of the day next time I pitched camp. Eureka it held. It was a complete abortion tidiness wise, but it was strong - a bit like me I guess. In fact if I hadn't tried to resolve the issue of bust pole in the tent with brute force I probably needn't have ripped it - dickhead.

Not a good start to the day and by the time I then packed up it was 1 pm.

The route I had planned was to skirt the German/Austrian border and follow the 308 to Fussen, have a quick deco at the castle before hopping across the border and following the Tyrolian route 17 to Innsbruck. There was no way I would make Kitzbuhel now.

Brilliant ride - the 308 was a dream. Superb vistas of the foothills of the alps, picturesque alpine villages on Milka chocolate advert perfect plains, the race track quality tarmaced road twisted and turned and I woo-hoo'd out loud in my helmet. Things were looking up.

The castle wasn't much of a detour off route so I had a quick look before setting off down the equally delightful route 17 into Austria. It was now 4 pm'ish and I wanted to be in Innsbruck before 6 pm to catch the tourist office. Well I made the tourist office for 6 pm, by 5 minutes, but they weren't very helpful. I spoke to one hotel, which sounded ghastly and decided to abandon Innsbruck altogether. Another useless tip from Lonely Planet “... Innsbruck has something for everyone...” Yeah right. I had passed countless classic Tyrolean villages en route and yet it was more logical to stay in this, frankly, ugly town. No thanks.

So I started heading south out of the city and figured I would try Igls, which I vaguely remembered as a ski resort. It was now getting late and I was getting tired - holding the GPS in its cradle so it could receive charge and I was in danger of making a mistake on the bike. I was riding like a tosser.

I spent some time trying the Gasthouses in Igls which were either full or disgusting before in tired desperation trying the Hotel Eagles Astoria. The light was fading and the candle that BMW stuck as standard on the front of their bikes was woeful. No wonder people put extra lights on them. I was so convinced this swanky looking 4* gaff was out of my price range that I didn't even bother taking my helmet off. To my amazement it was only £50/night and that included full breakfast. This place is f*cking mega and must be the bargain of all Europe. Not only did it have a bath, but a sauna and indoor pool. Whoop-de-loop. I booked another night and tomorrow have an excellent walk penned in. Take the cable car opposite to the top and hike for 4 hours across a ridge. Then there is a courtesy bus that whisks you back to the hotel. Sweet.

So the day that started pants had finished exceedingly well. I took dinner in the hotel, again very reasonable and treated myself to a bottle of Austrian Pinot Noir. A Blauer Zweigelt 2006 from Burgenland, by Anita Nitthaus if you're reading Bruce.

Anyway if you'll excuse me I have an appointment with the bath...


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