A night in the Tyrol.Austrian Alps

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August 1st 2013
Published: August 8th 2013
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Gretchen reckoned that the towns church bell chimed every quarter hour all night and so her nights sleep was disturbed while I slept like a charm!

Despite our night in the 'cheap seats'the room rate did include breakfast across in the main hotel and a good one it was too.

The car was still there despite what we thought might have been a demand for parking money from the old guy last night.

With another cloudless sky we set off for a bit of a wander in the Bavarian countryside as it was only a short drive to our next accommodation had we gone direct.The town of Bad Tolz sounded an interesting place to visit and that would take us east from Peiting and we would then cross the border into Austria and to the village of Obern at Leutasch in the Tyrol.

We took a minor road that actually turned out to be quite busy,perhaps because of the holidays and the fine,warm weather.We would take a look at Bad Tolz and then have to double back to cross into Austria on the R2 from Germany and onto the R11 into Austria.However as we passed the R2 on the way to Bad Tolz we noticed that an' Umleitung' sign which didn't bade well for crossing the border using that route.There were other options and we decided to wait until we had visited Bad Tolz before deciding what to do.

With the upcoming rugby final in Hamilton this Saturday we were talking about trying to find a TV channel that might be broadcasting the game so we could watch it live when all of a sudden there was a large fibreglass cow on the side of the road painted in Chiefs colours of black,red and yellow.How strange that was!We never did find out what the cow was advertising and we should have gone back to take a photograph of it but the queue of traffic aws long and it would have been an exercise turning around.

The countryside had now changed to more like we remembered from Bavaria on our last trip to Europe with mainly pasture land and fir or pine trees between the picturesque small towns and villages.Here there were actually cows out in the paddocks rather then spending their days in the barn like we have noticed in northern parts of Europe.

With the recent fine,warm weather and the prospect of more of it to come farmers were busy cutting hay to bale up for autumn and winter feed.

A feature of almost all towns and even small villages in Bavaria are the blue and white striped poles that stand in the middle of town usually outside or near the 'rathaus'(town hall).They are usually erected on May Day and in some places taken down at the end of May although many are left in place adorned with all sorts of decorations.On our drive today it got to the point where we were actually looking for towns or villages that didn't have a pole erected!

As we drove into Bad Tolz the temperature topped 30C and the cool looking river running next to the town looked very inviting.One thing that has been missing since this spell of hot,dry weather started a week or so ago for us has been wind, to give some relief.

At the foot of the Alps the medieval town has a lovely relaxed feel about it with a shopping precinct that is given over to pedestrians making it a pleasure to stroll through and admire the beautifully painted murals on the buildings.We took a look inside a church of gothic design built in 1466 and spent some time listening to soothing organ music being played.

With the road we had intended to take into Austria probably closed because of the diversion sign we had noticed earlier we planned a new route to get to the border which took in a secondary road joining up two more major roads.Little were we to know while we were doing this plan what an interesting road with stunning scenery it would be.

We took a boot lunch near the river as we headed towards the Alps and followed the route we had planned despite Vickys bleating to do u-turns and recalculating the distance to travel as we drove on towards the R11/R2.

The road started to climb offering a different view of the Alps around every corner until we crossed a bridge over a lake and entered a forest only to come up against a man jumping from a hut on the side of the road wanting a toll from us to drive further on the R307 following the Isar River with the Austrian/German Alps towering up to our left and ahead of us.

So that was what Vicky had been on about for the last 20 minutes....warning us of the tolls ahead.We of course have the 'without tolls' option ticked at all times.

However,the €4 seemed a pretty good deal considering the scenery that was ahead of us and also we would have expended a fair amount of diesel in taking an alternative route further east and then south into Austria and also the extra time taken to turn around when we were looking forward to getting to our destination.

The 'toll man' confirmed that the road was a good one and fully sealed,just a bit narrow in places.

We stopped a couple of times along the 15 or so kilometres on the private road to take in the mountains which after weeks of driving across flat,featureless land, were a pleasure on the eye.

We were very pleased that we had noticed the Umleitung sign earlier in the day as it had given us the opportunity to drive a road that we would probably have not gone any where near otherwise.

We drove on through the border town of Mittenwald which was packed with tourists and we hoped that by staying a little further on the crowds would be less which is what it turned out to be.

Our hotel room was very spacious with a separate sitting area,something we have not often had,plus a balcony looking out directly at the Austrian Alps.

After a walk around the widely spread village we prepared for dinner at a restaurant next door to the hotel with pre dinner drinks on the balcony taking in the majestic scenery.

We had another walk down a river that ran behind the hotel to walk off the very filling dinner and caught the sun setting on the mountains which in itself was an impressive sight so much so that we wanted to get up early to see the sun rise on the other side of the alpine valley.

With a luxurious bed and no church bells chiming every quarter hour it might be a challenge to wake in time to see the sun rise.

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