Thursday, 14 June 2007

Day 22 - Innsbruck

Well this place is a bit cheaper so I dont have too rush so much, 130p hr instead of 900p hr!

By the way there is one thing I miss and that is a chair. Most of the time I am not bothered but when it comes to writing the diary I really miss it.

Liechtenstein was ok, wet, but not over exciting. Where I was camped I was surrounded by a group of Dutch motor cyclists. There are hundreds around me all day so it is only fitting that I should be surrounded by them during the night as well.

The following day started off wet and got wetter, but it only lasted a couple of hours. I was heading up a main road, the only real option for the direction I was heading and I was stopped by the police. Apparently I shouldnt have been cycling on it, although it was nowhere near a busy as the roads at home. I guessed that was why I was being stopped but I just put on a dumb foreigner look, you know, my normal look, and spoke to him in English and that did the trick. I managed to follow little roads up hill and down dale through the villages until a cycle route pointed back down the main road, so I rejoined it. Soon the guys from the campsite passed and gave me a wave. I had to leave it again to avoid a very long tunnel but soon I was at the top of Wolfgangpass at 1650m and dropping down into Davos.

Heading out of Davos up the Fluelapass I passed a couple of guys with mountain bikes and rucksacs. They were Germans and on a 6 day tour. We kept passing each other when we stopped for breaks or to take photos. The top of the pass was at 2383m and the high passes are defineately the best as you get well above the treeline and the scenery is far more open and spectacular and you can see the road way up above you and soon enough you are looking back to where you where hundred of calories ago. We stopped for a chat at the top and they changed their tops and I put a jacket on. They were suprised that I did not change my top but they probably didnt realise that I have only been wearing it for 3 weeks so it obviously doesnt need changing yet. They both picked up my bike to feel the weight and then patted me on the back and shook my hand. It was then a hair raising steep descent and I had to stop to let my rims cool down form the breaking. At the bottom was the pretty village of Susch where I stopped the night on an odd little campsite with perfect grass and a shower 300m away and a little cabin with the rest of the facilities. There were just 2 tents there, the other one had another 2 German cyclists in.

Yesterday I had a bad morning and just lacked energy, but progress was at about the same rate and thankfully not too much climbing. I entered Austria and went to Landeck. I was relying on getting a map here as I only had about 10k of map beyond it. I did get one and it is quite exciting looking at the new map and deciding where to go. I carried on about another 20k to Imst where I just beat the thunder storm that was creaping up behind me unawares. I sheltered at the campsite office whilst it blew over and I quized the guy in the office as to the best route to Saltzburg, so it was time well spent. He also gave me some ideas for the route to Vienna and it looks good, but far from a straight line.

Today has been a short ride of 55k to Innsbruck. I started off on cycle routes to avoid the main road but it turned into a mountain bike route with steep gravel hills and far from fun on a heavily laden bike, so I went in search of the main road and used that instead. I saw lots of other cyclists on the main road, so may be they knew better too. I got to the campsite at 11:30 and the sorted myself out and got the bus into the city. It took 2 buses with a total waiting time of less than 3 minutes. I am sure more people would use public transport in the UK if was clean and efficient as it seems to be here.

The city is a pleasure to be in and it has been a good afternoon wandering about. The architecture is a delight and its a colourful place too, and with the backdrop of the mountains what more could you ask for. The churches are pretty amazing too and totally different to those in France. They are intricately decorated and clear glass windows throughout. Stained glass would just have been too much. Seeing this place has really made me look forward to Saltzburg and Vienna.

I shall probably take 2 or 3 days to get to Saltzburg where I will have a rest day to give me time to do my washing etc, but tomorrow has another pass over 2000m, so there is a long way to go through the mountains yet.

I am still finding it hard to take in that this is a new way of life and not just a holiday, at least a temporary way of life anyway. 3 weeks I have been on the road now and normally that is as long a holiday as I could have, but this feels as though it has only just started.

I few more photos have been uploaded as well. The photos of Innsbruck are hot off the press!


aoiffe said...

I love the idea of looking back over calorie miles - sadly for me it just doesn't work on a moblility scooter!

Sounds to me as though the campsite with only one other tent had been forwarned that a dodgy english guy who didn't change his shirt was on the way and mass exacuation procedures were initiated.

James would have been good competition for you this past weekend as he returned home from camping at the download festival as unwashed as you are...probably worse. his great delight upon returning home was having a loo to sit on rather than the latrines provided! Simple pleasures.

aoiffe said...

(Sorry for the spelling - that was meant to read evacuation!)

chris said...

I'm glad to see you didn't change your top. In fact, I'd be rather disappointed if you've taken more than one top with you! If you have you're clearly going soft in your old age - unlike you're top I suspect!

Also, there seems to be a distinct lack of information on what you're eating - not had any sausages yet?

Harpo said...

...and another whinge...

Can we have dates please. June 14th is much more meaningful than plain dull Day 22, which sounds like a prison sentence countdown.

Thank you.

Harpo said...

By the way, the new seasons footy fixtures were published today and can be found on the BBC Sport website among others.

I tell you this because I know that it matters to you. :)

Lorna said...

Sorry, harpo, but your whinge is unfounded. Day ... will be great when it gets up to the hundreds:-) Besides which the actual date shows on IE above Day 22, for example.

Imst, Innsbruck (think there's a big ski jump looking down onto a cemetery?)Salzburg, Vienna - all amazing. Hope you get to sample some of the wines along the Danube...

David & Lindsey said...

Hi John

Great Blog site. We’re really enjoying your comments and photo’s, and are in awe of you and the other cyclists who climb through the mountains - it really must be the best way to see and appreciate the amazing scenery.

As you might expect your tales and comments have struck a cord with us and our round-the-world trip, in particular the ‘this is not a holiday – this is an experience’ (our mantra when we were in Sri Lanka). It took us about 3 weeks into our trip before we really got our heads around it, but be warned, although there appear to be many months ahead of you, time goes very quickly, especially when you get past the half-way mark.

The other comment we found interesting was that you’re not missing anything in particular and I think we felt the same (we had supplies of marmite!). Eating rice everyday for 12 consecutive weeks became normality, we only realised what we missed about the West when we arrived in Australia.

Another one of our mantras was ‘we’re on a budget’, so fully understand your concerns about the cost of internet caf├ęs.

Ringing for 2 weddings today in Stonesfield! £xtra beer money!

P.S. Norwich City’s first match this season is Preston away on Saturday 11 August.

Caff said...

Hi David and Lindsey - I was a guest at my friends 4pm wedding in Stonesfield that you rang at - you will be pleased to know I was impressed with the ringing standard! and thank you for ringing so well as they are very dear friends of mine! As you rang down friends commented on the change of ringing style and I was delighted to share my knowledge with them. Was tempted to come up and join you but didn't want to deprive you of your beer money!! I did look out for the ringers when you'd finished but you know what weddings are like, you know conversation and chit chat and before you know've missed the ringers cos they've hot-footed it to the pub!! Sorry to have missed you.

Zibs, enjoying reading about Austria and that you enjoyed Innsbruck as I loved it there too, albeit many years ago. I too loved those exilerating mountain views especially when you've gone to the trouble and hard work of getting up to the top by........cable car!!!