Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

No kangaroo’s In Austria….

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Crossing the border and into Austria was fast, we still expect to get stopped at borders! But we’re in Europe, its so easy, no more passport controls.
We ride through the Brenner Pass, a mountain pass that goes through the Alps along the border between Italy and Austria, and is one of the principal passes of the Alps.

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It is the lowest of the Alpine passes, and is used during the summer for cattle grazing and lots of vineyards and wineries…

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I just thought I would add in an interesting fact in- On March 18th 1940 Hitler met the Italian leader Mussolini in his railway carriage in the Brenner Pass, to have a little chat…
The pass was also used as a way out of Germany for some Nazis after collapse of the government in 1945.

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We decide not to get on to the busy toll road to Innsbruck and ride the calm road, below the 190 metre bridge pass, which is now towering above us, the roads were good and not too much traffic about, the sky was blue but the air was cold, but who cares, we were in a stunning part of Europe, mountains on either side of us covered in alpine trees, which sometimes made way for the lushest, tidiest grass I have ever seen, it almost looked like it had been brushed with a comb…

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On arriving in Innsbruck we needed to find a hotel, we notice there are coloured signs that tell you how far and what the names of the hotels were, we thought this would be easy, but we managed to turn it into something frustrating lol, it didn’t help that most of the roads were on a one way system and there’s tram lines running everywhere …

The few hotels we found were either closed waiting for the snow season or priced out of our range, so what do you do in that situation?
Go to the nearest MacDonald’s for a coffee and chill out for a bit, so inside the ultra modern Macca’s we have coffee and a huge ‘Milka’ chocolate muffin, it was the best coffee we had had in ages, sorry Italy but your coffee was not up to our standards…
There were now black clouds looming on the horizon, so we have to find a hotel soon…

Getting back on the bike we head out of Innsbruck and through the small town of Tirol, Clive got excited as we passed a huge Louis bike shop, may have to check it out tomorrow! it started raining again and was starting to get dark it wasn’t long till we came across a beautiful Gasthaus.
The wooden inn was run by a lovely family, they were very welcoming…after we booked in the heavens opened and the rain poured down,we were shown through the maze of corridors (this place is small but its like a rabbit warren) and into our massive wooden paneled room, with everything we required finally, a safe place for the bike, free Wi-Fi (take note the rest of Europe), breakfast, hot water and its clean, I think we won the lotto here!

Next on our Schedule for the day was hot showers, washing a few clothes, catching up will e-mails etc and maybe a tête-à-tête with the kids on Skype.
Feeling not at all hungry (cakes earlier) to eat anything we settled on a cup of tea and an early night.
Waking up early to the sound of the rain, didn’t fill us with the excitement to get up and pack…welcome to Europe late summer…
Feeling hungry we make our way through the ‘rabbit warren’ in search of the breakfast room, going round in circles and up and down to different floors, and we still couldn’t find it, how can that be, this place is not that big lol, eventually we find the brightly light room, we were greeted by the owners daughter, who told us to help ourselves to the plentiful buffet and we sure did…

While Clive packed up the bike, i tried to dry off the last of the washing with the hair dryer, which I couldn’t even walk away from it at it was one of those hair dryers that you need to keep your finger on to make it work!

Now with everything packed and back on the bike, we made the decision to back track a bit to the motorcycle store we passed yesterday, we really need waterproof boots if Europe was going to be continuously wet!
The rain decided to follow us to Louis motorbike store…
Wow once inside the store even I was impressed, it was massive, so much choice, everything for the motorcyclist and a good price too…
They even have a wind tunnel for trying on new helmets to see how they buffer you in a real scenario!
With our bike boots no longer holding out water, they have served us well though, countless river crossings and the punishment we had given them to get us here so far away from Australia has been amazing, remembering back to travelling through Turkmenistan in 54 degrees, where the glue on the soles was melting, we decide to splurge and buy some new boots and a new motorbike jacket for me, as mine was leaking like a sieve and was not keeping the cold out, Clive’s was holding up not to bad…

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Good bye old boots, hello waterproof boots…

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My old jacket was not keeping out the rain anymore…

The shop assitant gave us a good deal she even gave Clive’s jacket a extra waterproof spraying for nothing…
Our boots and jackets would have a great test today as it was raining even harder when we got outside the store, so onto the wet bike we ride in the direction of Salzburg,it looks like theres no end in sight with this rain as the sky was a deep grey. We did have patches between the showers and lifted our spirits.
The countryside was stunning, lush green fields sitting in front of mountain ranges and a few farms and houses dotted around-impressive-just as we had imagined it to be…

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One of the things you notice is how clean and tidy this place is, no litter, no falling apart houses even the grass looked like it had been brushed all the same way…
We stayed off the autobahn for most of the journey, one, as we didn’t want to pay and two, because we wanted to see more of this impressive countryside, even if it was showery, to this point of our trip we hadn’t seen a lot of rain!
Part of the way we followed the Saalach River, passing through gorges and snow capped mountains, a bike riders Haven…

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Carrying on the rain got a lot more harder, so we were on the lookout for somewhere to stay, we saw a few signs to some guesthouses and followed the signs through a pretty village, but it was not much fun, not only were the streets narrow, but the roads were mostly unsealed and slippery.
We stopped at a couple of really pretty guesthouses but they were either closed for the season or full, so we turn around and ride back to the main road, we past a supermarket, that had a café attached to it, we pulled up and parked the bike under cover near the door way, and entered the café dripping with water, luckily as it was late in the afternoon there wasn’t a lot of people around and the barista didn’t seen worried about the water mess, i think she felt sorry for us…
While Clive ordered hot drinks, I took off into the supermarket to get supplies incase we needed to camp in a bus shelter!

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This made us laugh…

Back on the bike we rode into the centre of Lofer, which was only a couple of Klms down the road, we decided travelling on was too miserable and dangerous, the bike chain was making a bit of noise and needs to be attended to, so we will try again and find somewhere to stay..
I left Clive with the bike while I enquired at a small boutique Hotel, 120 Euro’s was to much for us, but we don’t have a lot of choice.
When I returned to the bike Clive had disappeared, i wasn’t concerned as no one is going to mug a wet smelly biker are they? I ended up waiting for about 20 minutes, he finally appeared, he had also found a place to stay, even though it was full, the manager said we could have the lower level of the Gasthaus for 80 Euro’s, I agreed to check out the room before making a decision, unsure of what this room was going to be like, I was hesitant, as it was the staff quarters that were let out from time to time, it was two large bedrooms with lounge rooms attached and both had bathrooms, cleanish, warm and we could either use one or both bedrooms either way there was plenty of space for us, the bike could be parked in a garage and if you were in the right area in the room you could get Wi-Fi…lol

So we booked in for one night maybe two depending on the weather, after a nice hot shower, we had to walk up the outside of the Gasthaus to get to the restaurant area for dinner, where we had secured a three course meal at a knocked down rate…

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The dinning room was very comfortable looking with its rustic chunky furniture, knickknacks in every space available and not forgetting the autumn decorations-mini pumpkins in baskets everywhere, also we got the feeling that we were being watched…Ekkk it was only the taxidermic animals that were on shelves above us, looking at us…
We got a few inquisitive stares from the older guests, not sure why, must have been because we were so young, either that or we looked ‘rough’… the over intentive waiter who sorted us with a room was great though and couldn’t believe where we had come with our bike…

It was still raining when we woke up, and the sky was dark and heavy, heading up to breakfast we could just make out some mountains that were just in front our guesthouse, didn’t notice them yesterday. It wasn’t long till they were covered up again, hidden behind the dark grey skies.

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Checking out the weather forecast we decide the sensible thing to do was to stay another night, as the following days forecast was meant to be better…
Still not sure if we made the right decision to be heading this way into Europe, but there seem to be so many great cities to check out over this way.
We arrived late to the buffet style breakfast, so all the ‘golden’ year guests had not left much for us and we still had few more weird stares from the other guests, Hmm why is that?…
We do a quick catch up on the Internet and then decide to check out this pretty little town, the rain had now eased off a little which was great, but it was cold, it was a good chance for us to where our new coats that we had been carting around with us that we bought in Myanmar at a really knocked down price, just for occasions like this…!

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Apologies to our Austrian and German friends, but this sign made us laugh when ever we saw it…

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The village of Lofer itself lies at just over 600m altitudes, the nearby Steinberge mountains, are a reachable range of peaks of around 2500m, its way to wet for us to climb, maybe another day!!! Only a short distance away is Austria’s highest peak the Grossglockner, at a height of 3797m, the chairlifts were closed so thats out as well.

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In the summer Lofer is a popular white water destination, and in the winter its newly extended 58 km of ski runs have made it a firm favorite with families pursuing a taste of traditional and unspoilt Austria.

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The tiny town was unbelievably quiet, only a handful of people out and about, but we are here right in between the summer and winter season, so that would explain it.
The shops are small and quaint and somewhat posh, most had massive amazingly coloured hanging baskets that gently swayed by the entrance of the doors.
Despite the colorful exterior the shops were dark inside, even though the bakeries still had bread and cakes on the shelves, we worked it out that the shops here close at about 12pm and reopen at 2pm or there about!

Our walk through this tranquil alpine village, which soon became a wet one, heading back to our Gasthaus, while the rain poured we stayed in to catch up on some blogs, Clive did some maintenance on the bike in the garage and talked again about our next destination which would be Salzburg via Hitlers Eagles Nest, we are so close and it looked worth checking out…
Dinner that evening was at the boutique hotel that I had first enquired about for us to stay in when we arrived in Lofer…we ended up having a delicious pizza, better than ones we had in Italy!

The following morning we knew if we didn’t get to breakfast fairly early there would be barely anything left for us (just like the pervious morning)…well this time we beat the ‘golden’ oldies at there own game, we were there first and loaded up our plates…
Over breakfast we decided as the weather was looking ok, we should take advantage and move on in the direction of Salzburg, but not without going to Hilters Eagles Nest…

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