Day 25 – 24th July 2020 – … St Lorenzen, Tyrol to Aigelsberg, Polling im Innkreis, Austria
The first thing I do this morning is go out on to my balcony and take in the scenery..
I had a very good night and am down early for breakfast. There is just me and a group of 3 other people, who I’m not sure are travelling together. One of them, a young woman, seems to be doing all the talking… and I mean a lot of talking… but I wonder if she is practising her german skills as every so often she chucks in a English word. The other two people are probably my age if not a little bit older, again I obviously don’t know if they are together, but they manage to get a word in here and there… as it’s a young person I expect she has a lot to say, mainly about herself I shouldn’t wonder.
Carolina comes in with a young girl, obviously her daughter, the resemblance is striking, who is carrying a large, fluffy Rabbit. The older woman at the next table immediately jumps up and starts saying to me in English, ‘Oh you must meet my very best friend’, she means the Rabbit. ‘He is so wonderful.. isn’t he beautiful?’ She then motions for the girl to bring it over to me, obviously for me to pet it… excuse me I am eating!! I give the Rabbit a quick stroke, which seems to satisfy the woman who then grasps it out of the girls arms and almost crushes it… I mean it was all a bit bonkers to be honest.
After this the three of them disappear and I am left alone to complete my breakfast. Carolina comes in to clear away and we start chatting, I ask if Covid has affected her business, she says oh yes, normally this time of year they are fully booked but at the moment it is just us few. She goes on to say they have many bikers from all over the world come to stay and I am not surprised given the fantastic roads here and just mind blowing scenery. I ask about the winters, does it get very bad. She says it varies year on year but a couple of years ago they had over 7 metres of snow and couldn’t even see out of the windows.. they had to use a ‘land machine’. Just as we are talking her son has come in and when she says ‘land machine’ he corrects her; ‘tractor’ and she laughs, but I say land machine is absolutely the correct description of a tractor.
After a few more pleasantries I make a move, but first I must take some photos of the surroundings:
Gorgeous isn’t it… absolutely chocolate box! Now I must pack up the bike and get going.
There is only one road in or out of here so it’s back on the hairpins down to Kotschach
These religious icons are dotted along the roadside, I assume to commemorate someone… eek!
I ride through the town and then am back into the twisties going up the mountain the other side, but nowhere near as severe. I am then routed up into a small village and no sooner have I entered than I find myself up another road to nowhere… again steep and ending in a field… FFS Google Maps!!! A woman comes out of one of the houses and waves towards the road, obviously she thinks I have missed the turning, but google has actually routed me up here. Again with the reversing on tippy toes and brake control to get the bike back down to where I can turn around… grrrrrr
Back on track and I am delighted to be riding beside a river, it’s great
this carries on for a while, again the photos do not do it justice, and then heading north toward Salzburg I decide enough with the mountains and twisty roads, it’s time for a blat so turn to join the A10 autobahn only to discover it’s a toll road and the fee is payable on entry…. wait for it….. €10.50… ouch!!
I really should stick to my own rules, no motorways, no tolls…. however I am here now so plan to get my money’s worth. I ride the A10 all the way to Salzburg, but have definitely had enough so leave the toll road and ride into Salzburg to get back on the slower roads toward Passau in Germany and then hopefully on into Czechia today or maybe tomorrow.
Another issue is washing… things are getting a little desperate, I had to wash a few bits by hand in Venice and now it’s time for a proper wash day, so on the way to Passau I decide to look for a biggish town so that I can get some accommodation and get my washing done in the morning.
It is starting to get quite late and then I arrive at a place called Altheim. I ride around for a while then think this is stupid, better to find somewhere to stay and then check out the ‘Waschersalon’ in the area on my laptop.. much easier.
I find a reasonably priced place just a few miles further on at Aigelsberg so book that. I am then taken up a steep road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere and think oh no not again… another bloody goat track and it is really steep again, but just as I crest the rise I see a small hamlet ahead of just a few houses… surely this can’t be it, bloody google maps has fucked up again, but quite to the contrary this is indeed the place. It looks to be a group of farm buildings converted into studios, but it is very remote at the top of a bloody great hill of course, hence the berg in the name I guess.
The people seem to be very nice and indeed the main guy tells me I have been upgraded at no extra cost to a studio with en-suite instead of shared facilities… oh my that is great… but…. when I am shown the ‘studio’ it is a bit of a let down to say the least. There is no window other than in the shower room. The room itself is a box with one single bed, a table with a bit of cloth on it, a huge fridge/freezer and a two-ring stove top. When I arrived I was asked if I wanted dinner so of course I said yes please… I mean I am on top of a big hill in the middle of nowhere, hardly a gastronomic haven, so no choice really. He then asks what I would like.. this is while I am trying to unpack the bike.. flashback to San Marino.. he can make me anything I like… again I would rather like to see a menu but before I can ask he says, what about Wiener Schnitzel.. ok, yes that sounds good.
Just as I finish unloading my bags into the room the heavens open and a really heavy downpour begins… whew! just missed it.
Unpacked, showered and changed I head into the ‘restaurant’… you can see I am putting everything in inverted commas.. I think the idea of a converted farm is fabulous and when done well can be really something, but this isn’t it… it is quite shoddy and on closer inspection I note the table cloth in my room has long hairs on it… even typing this now is making me queasy, and half the plug sockets don’t work. Anyway, I go into the dining area and there is plenty of room. Only one other table is occupied by a large group of french people, several adults and a couple of young boys. I sit down and a young guy suddenly produces, from behind the bar, my dinner… Schnitzel and chips, it is enormous so I know I’m not going to eat it all, but I am a bit taken aback that my food has been sitting there waiting, I just hope it has been covered over to prevent flies having a nibble.
After dinner I retire to my room and get on with my blog… I also google the nearest ‘Waschersalon’ and the best revues is for a place in Passau, which is just over the border in Germany so I will go there in the morning and do my ‘dhoby’.