Day 24 Thursday 16th June 2016 85 km (2179km in total)
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Gustave Flaubert
The resting was unfortunately over and it was time to start cycling again. It was slightly strange to be leaving, I felt I could have had another rest day! Before I left I decieded to lose some weight as the alps were fast approaching. I was still carrying all of the maps right from Norway and had way too many clothes.
I sent two t-shirt, a jumper, a pair of bib shorts and about six maps home, along with some goodies and a taste of Salzburg. I was now 2.75kg lighter! If I was on a road bike, that would be a massive difference, however, I could bearly notice the difference as it was only a small dent in my luggage!
There were many different options to get over the alps into Italy and with limited maps it was hard to see the best route. After much deliberation, I chose to go via Innsbruck, which went south west compared to the other routes going directly south.
In order to get around on of the mountains surrounding Hallein, I had to head back towards Salzburg and skirt around of the city. I had thought this way would avoid the main climbs, but I soon came to my first real test. A long climb up a 25% hill. I was in my easiest gear well before the steepest section. Each peddle felt like doing leg presses at the gym, with the bike just wanting to go back downwards. Most people could have walked faster than me up there!
The views at the top made it all worth it. Mountains in every direction with my favourite kind of houses in the view. The wooden huts are the best looking houses I’ve seen this trip. They seem to fit into the landscape so well and all must have fantastic views from the wooden balconies. What a place to eat breakfast every day! If learning German meant I could live here, I’ll start straight away!
I kept popping in and out of Austria for the next few kilometres as I was basically following the border to Germany. However, soon I crossed the border a final time and I had to say bye Germany. It had taken longer than I expected to cross Germany, but I had just about done the north to south, maybe there’s a ‘Lands End to John O Groats’ equivalent?
Refuelling at a service station, I got talking to a local cyclist out for a ride on his mountain bike who said I was making a mistake going via Innsbruck way. The roads were busy with little cycle paths and major climbs. He said I should instead go back south and go on the Euro Velo 7 route. All signed and although there are a couple of big climbs, nothing impossible, with much better landscapes and surroundings.
Trusting him, after all, he was local and seemed to know the routes, I changed direction, feeling like I was going in a big circle.
I slightly regretted the change in direction as although the mountains coming into view looked magnificent, it looked like a snow storm was heading straight for me. Luckily, only rain reached me!
I raced the rain to the campsite and just managed to pitch the tent before I got socked. However, like normal, the rain stopped just after I had rushed to put up the tent and hide my belongings in dry places.