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Published: April 15th 2010
The first few miles
Just inside the border
Austria - 12 Days Diary extracts in italics
On Day 50 I crossed into Austria and was instantly impressed by its beauty as I cycled north crossing the Alps to arrive in Zalzburg.. Day 50 - 47.0 miles
I left Kranj at 2pm and started cycling up, up and up in the direction of the Loiblpass at 1389 metres above sea level - was fucking steep at the end, Ljubelj had a concentration camp which I didn’t visit as I thought I had another 12km of climbing. I passed through a tunnel to cross the border and was just a little bit pleased when 3 Austrian bikers told me I was at the top - they offered me a place to put my tent tonight but they live about 20 miles away. Beautiful scenery, very mountainous, lots of lakes and alpine woodland. The quimming mossies are welcoming me to Austria - I look forward to this country.
Day 51 - 39.8 miles
Its beautiful countryside, loads of Alpine woods, log cabins, hills, rivers, all very pretty and I´m about to sleep in a wooden stable, that I think they
Crossing The Alps
Loads of christmas trees
keep calves in, in a really nice valley.
Day 52 - 41.3 miles
I didn’t sleep that well, the stable thing was nice with hay to soften the floor but I woke with a 23 blood sugar level then struggled to get back to sleep. I think the farmer saw me come out but he didn’t seem to care.
A nice cycle through a valley to get to Tamsweg - a nice town, it seemed very Austrian in style and right next to a chain of snow-capped mountains. I was over the moon to find out it was 1030m above sea level meaning I only had to climb up another 700 metres - I was thinking about double that. I could have gone over the pass (with a huge kick up the arse) but im in no hurry at all - Austria is a pretty small country and its beautiful countryside here in the Alps. Also I found a wicked little park thing to camp in and might even have a fire. I need to buy a new tyre - I had to botch up a hole with superglue and duct-tape which I hope will last until
Salzburg. Tomorrow should be sweet as, avoiding any disasters, I will arrive in the Austrian lake district - the Salzammergut. I like Austria lots so far an abundance of mint scenery, toilets, drinkable water and friendly people - shame about the expensive tuna. Today I ate pate sarnies, one can of tuna and biscuits for din-dins.
Day 53 - 63.4 miles - (€13)
A fluffing amazing day.
Tonight I will give myself a whole-hearted pat on the back. This was the first time since my food poisioning that I beat 50 miles and I did it in style - I had to do 2 ½ killer climbs and my stomach was aching like hell, some of the things coming out of my arse would have made satin blush and so fecking frequent.
Anyway so I woke early and jumped on the saddle for 9am and started the climb up to Obertauern. It was a gorgeous ascent, steep as you like in parts but fantastic mountain scenery. Obertauern was a huge, closed ski resort, which fascinated me and at the top I sat looking at a really nice shaped mountain for a while.
The descent down was
quick and painless and I arrived in Radstadt, a nice valley town, in time for pate sarnies. This country is worse than Italy, I nearly nutted the chick who wanted 7 euros for 4 Duracells - lucky for her I found a shop with an offer of 8 for 8 euros. I then cycled up and down, round another stunning snow covered mountain before another big climb over a couple of toes of the huge Mount Dachstein to enter into the lake district.
The road down from Gosau to Halstatt was quality - going down through some mountains following a river through the woodland - my favourite road so far and I reached 43 miles an hour.
Im about to camp next to the lake 3km from Halstatt, its very pretty and surprisingly chilly for 400m - more than last night when I was at 1100m.
Had a shit-hot fire last night, part of the reason im so tired now.
So a brilliant day, crammed with mountain after mountain, little alp town after little alp town, waterfalls, rivers simply fantastic - MAGIC.
Wandering around the gorgeous Unesco world heritage village of Halstatt was a joy.
Salzburg was nice, I wrote “The old centre is a world heritage site and is very nice too, I walked around for a couple of hours. There were lots of nice building, including the bright yellow house where Mozart was born - Salzburg is famous for Mozart and ‘The sound of Music’, I haven’t seen the film and couldn’t pick out a Mozart number for love nor money. There were some people actually wearing typical Austrian clothes and the best thing I saw all day was an upside-down helicopter next to the cool horse fountain in the main Residenzplatz. I tried the famous mozart chocolate - little balls that were okay, I decided to leave town when I overheard some old English prick make a joke about Mozarts and I also saw an American family taking photos of the kids outside the Austrian mcdonalds.
So I left along the river, after nearly getting hit by a bus.”
After Salzburg I cycled robotically as the weather was rainy and I was still having stomach pains from the Italian mackerel. That I and wanted to arrive in Vienna where I was able to stay with a friend and
Dachstein Mountain in the Austrian Lake District
my body needed to have a rest. I passed through Wels and Linz and cycled mostly along the Danube cycle paths, for some great scenery. After 180 - 190 miles I arrived in Vienna where I met my friend, had a great shower and began to chill. I spent 4 nights and managed to sort things, I fixed stuff like my tent and sunglasses and more importantly my physical condition improved dramatically with some warmth, sleep and some company, we played some wicked games of yahtzee and golf.
On day 62 I cycled 63 miles, north into the Czech Republic.
Tot: 4.721s; Tpl: 0.053s; cc: 16; qc: 82; dbt: 0.0663s; 3; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb