Don’t Look Down!!

Day 24 – 23rd July 2020 – Venice Italy to Austrian Tyrol

Today is a late start due to shopping.  Try as I might I cannot find the shop where I saw the gift for my Grand-daughter yesterday… I do find something similar and I think it is actually better so am happy with that, but it has taken a while.

By the time I get back to the B&B it is already almost 11 so I need to get a wriggle on.  All packed up I’m ready to hump all the bags back to the bike.  I had the forethought to buy a boat ticket yesterday ready, very unusual for me.

Some last piccies from the boat…

… I was a little saddened to see this, but one could almost miss it as they have tried to blend in, unlike the KFC, which isn’t in the old part of Venice anyway.
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By the time I’ve loaded up the bike and got myself ready it is almost 1pm, so a very late start indeed.  My ‘plan’ now is to ride towards Czechia, I may or may not actually enter, it depends on the weather really, if it is really bad then I might just go straight to Hanover.  

I am going to Hanover as my brother is buried there and I have never seen the grave.  He died 2 days after my first birthday so I never knew him, but there is a lot of mystery surrounding his death.  My father was in the British Army and we were in Hanover back in 1957.  My brother, Billy, was 3 years old and playing in the front garden.  My mother looked out and couldn’t find him.  The whole barracks was put on alert and searched for him; he was found on the assault course, drowned in one of the water pits.  My mother always believed he was abducted and murdered so who am I to question that.  The Army did an investigation apparently, but no one was ever charged as far as I know.  My mother never got over it really, but then who would!

After that I am meeting up with my DoB Sistas and good friends Dori and Janine and riding with them to Oldenburg so am really looking forward to that.

At last I am on my way.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my few days in Venice and really pleased that I made the decision to come here rather than Vienna.  It’s another really hot day, just beautiful.  I realise that I am actually leaving on the road I came in on, so I don’t take many photos as I already got them on the way in.

I need petrol and I stop at 3 stations that are either closed or self service, the first self service machine wouldn’t accept my credit card for some reason, the second one looked open but when I pulled up to the pump I could see they were all switched off… oh dear looks like I’ll have to use my reserve that I have now filled up.  That’s 5 litres so should keep me going for a little while.

Eventually I find a garage that is open and staffed so I fill up my tank and the spare.

I can see the mountains in the distance and it won’t be too long before I am up there again.

As you can see the weather up there is starting to turn… joy.

I will be taking a different road at some point as I am not intending to return to Slovenia.  I am very thirsty and need the loo quite desperately.  I see a garage ahead so pull in, but not on a pump.  A woman appears and points at the petrol pumps, I gesture that I want a drink, (I don’t mention the loo yet), she shakes her head and points to the cafe section, it is closed she says.  So, they obviously don’t have any water in the garage… I thought this was a bit mean to be honest.

I am soon starting to climb up into the mountains, via a different route towards the Dolomites into the Austrian Tyrol.

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It is starting to get cooler now and become darker.

Not sure what this is about…

 

Why would anyone live on the side of a mountain, there are plenty of flat bits..

Suddenly the road becomes even more twisty and the satnav is showing hairpins so sharp that they are actually stacked on top of one another… ohhhh this is going to be fun!!

 

Absolute murder… I mean I have been on some very difficult roads, including the Splugen Pass, which is one of the highest in Europe and of course the Tail of the Dragon in the USA and this one ranks up there with them.  It is the first time I have ridden hairpins inside tunnels… here is some film, its a bit long but I think I got the whole pass.

Having tried to upload without success, I have decided to add it to my You Tube channel so you can view it here.. I hope

 

So that was the Plöckenpass

This was at the top

It all seems to be about a war 1915-1918, not sure if it’s WW1 or some other conflict

 

On the summit is the border with Austria, so over I go.

The way down is much straighter apart from a couple of pins…  and I had to stop to take a photo of this… random

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I does start to rain as I cross the border, not too bad and it soon stops, but the day is still grey.  I arrive in a town called Kotschach

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and decide to find somewhere to stay tonight.  There is a place just 11kms away in St. Lorenzen im Lesachtal so I book it…. well, the road is very twisty, hardly a straight section and some of it without guard rails!  Also, the satnav is saying 23kms not 11, blimey this is going to take a while!

I pass through several villages and the scenery is just breathtaking… this is beyond beautiful and I must take some photos, just not right now as I try to navigate the road.

Then the satnav i.e. Google maps, starts routing me upwards and upwards and suddenly I am halfway up a goat track that turns to gravel and I only just manage to stop.  This is going up into a field!!!!  Here we bloody go again.. I am on a very steep slope with ruts either side of the bike.  I am just about able to put my toes down, but now I am going to have to reverse the bike back down the slope to another track that is going away to the left and is almost flat, but I can’t get off so have to tip toe using the front brake inch by inch.  I kid you not, I do not know how on earth I got the bike down, unlike Spain when Gilbert came along and rescued me, there is absolutely no one here and there’s a thunderstorm on the way, I can see lightening in the distance.  It takes a full 20 minutes to get the bike down to the flatish bit and turn her around, my tremor is going full pelt and I feel like I am going to faint.  I finally get the bike going back down the mountain track towards the village, I have binned google maps and am now using the apple maps on my phone which is telling me the village is just down the bottom of this track and to the right.

I get to the house and the woman, Carolina, says I can park in the garage; her husband even moves the car out of the way to let me in, how wonderful… I have to say I am really grateful to have found such lovely people after the experience I have just had.  Just as I am unpacking the bike, with Carolina’s help as well, the heavens open and it’s a huge storm… thank fuck I am off that bloody mountain side.

I haven’t eaten all day and Carolina tells me if I hurry I might just get something at the local Hof, although at this time it will probably be pizza.. I laugh…  She says, if you don’t get something let me know and I will find something for you.  I mean what a wonderful hostess and perfect english too.. so sweet.  Quick change and am about to leave for the Hof but it’s pissing it down, Carolina gives me an umbrella and directs me too, just fantastic.

I don’t let a little old thunderstorm stop me from taking photos….

 

Yes, it’s pizza again, but I don’t care… believe me I am very, very happy to be here.  As I leave the Hof it is getting dark, but the rain has more or less stopped.  I manage to take a couple of beautiful night scenes and look forward to taking more photos in the morning.

 

 

 

 

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