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Published: September 22nd 2009
Sunday 20th September
From the Austrian Alps Into Bavaria
Staying overnight far up in the Austrian Alps certainly meant no traffic noise and it was only the clinking of the cow bells that told us dawn had almost arrived.
The weather gods are continuing to shine on us and the day is fine and clear overhead with just a little cloud over the tops of the mountains.
We leave Austria behind today and head into Southern Germany and the distance we have to travel is not that great but we do have a mountain saddle and another pass to drive over to get there.
The road up the valley was very busy yesterday despite a fast new motorway available to cars.And this morning was no different to yesterday although much of the traffic we encountered as we came down the valley through the little villages was people going to and from church.It seems everyone here goes to church!!At Matrei am Brenner we stopped for photos of the narrow main street with fancy painted buildings and in doing so we had to go down a side street to turn RR around.However we came up against people leaving church and it was a
bit tricky negotiating the narrow street and opposing cars.
We stopped at the high viaduct that carries the motorway over a deep ravine arriving just as a bungy jumper was on his/her first bounce.The viaduct is so high that the bungy only travelled about half way to the bottom of the ravine and after the jumper had bounced a few times he/she reached out to catch hold of a rope and they were pulled back up to the platform set on the side and below the bridge.
We deduced that the platform had to be placed where it was so that drivers on the motorway wouldn’t be distracted by people doing the bungy jump.
At Innsbruck we had planned to take a short walk around the old city but a detour slowed our progress down and we decided to keep on going once we found our way to route #171 which we needed to get us on the westerly course we needed initially.
The Holzleitensattel took us up from the floor of the valley and over into another smaller valley surrounded by more mountains,the ones on the northern side being very impressive with sheer granite faces.
The road, now the
#314,then commenced its climb up the 1209 metre Fern Pass.As we looked ahead there didn’t seem to be any way over the mountains but the road wound its way backward and forward and we climbed steadily in heavy traffic.Then it was down the other side and our last few kilometres in Austria.As we came down the mountain pass we were faced with a split in the road and opted to stay on the one we were on only to see a sign that required us to have a vignette to travel through a 5km tunnel !!There had been nothing earlier about this short piece of road being effectively a highway and our atlas map doesn’t show it as such either.With no where to turn around we boxed on towards the tunnel hoping that we wouldn’t be pulled over in the short distance by a policeman.We did take comfort, once we got over the shock and entered the tunnel,that it was most unlikely that there would be a police patrol car inside the tunnel !!Once we emerged the first sign we saw was one showing that a vignette was no longer required to drive on the road ahead.
We stopped in
at Reutte,the last town of any size in Austria on this road,hoping to find a cafe open with options for a sandwich for lunch.But this is Sunday and almost everything is closed in the rural areas and the couple of cafes that were open didn’t have anything light like a sandwich on their menu cards.So we went for an ice cream to keep the hunger at bay until we arrived at our hotel and could have a coffee and whatever else we might find in the bottom of our chilly bag.
We wouldn’t have known that we traversed the border on route #314 except for a small sign showing we had entered Germany as there were no old border buildings left at the point where you leave Austria and enter into Germany.
Finding the small village of Oy-Mittelberg was easy as was finding the Gasthaus Ratskeller on the main street through the village.We were shown to our very well appointed room and then after a cup of coffee and something more to eat we set off to walk the village.Gretchen had seen a sign for a craft fair being held in a building at the entry to the village so
she went in while I sat on a small hill overlooking the local soccer ground to watch two local teams play.
Gretchen came back with her credit card intact and we wandered down closer to the soccer ground to see if some local sheep would like their photo taken with Murray.One of the sheep was all for it and after several photos and some handing feeding of juicy grass that it couldn’t reach because of a fence we headed back to the hotel for a pre dinner drink.
We are doing things local here in Oy-Mittelberg and we have breakfast included in the tariff but we will also have dinner here tonight and pick something Bavarian off the menu,if we can understand enough German.!!
The Gasthaus has a small restaurant for its guests and locals and was half full tonight.The proprietors wife,(or we think she is)doubles as waitress and after telling us that she was getting menus in English in October(she laughed with us) she helped us out deciphering what to order.Gretchen went for schnitzel(well we are still close to the Austrian border)while I had sausage,bacon(although it has a different name in German) and chicken with a large portion of
chips all washed down with a tangy white wine and a local beer.
We ended the day with a short bout of CNN,the only channel of 40 odd in English(they even dub Married with Children, in German.....!!)
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