I like to be able to dismantle my abode, pack and leave a campsite so quietly that the neighbours wake up to a shock that I’ve gone. I think my French neighbours will have scratched their heads when they surfaced. No such problem about Stupid O’Clock for the Swedes as they marched their brood to the washroom for calls of nature first thing.
I keep waking earlier and earlier and I’m now on the road between 7.15am and 8.00am. I also finish between 6pm and 7pm. These are long days with generally two breaks for 30 minutes or so.
Despite the site being rural in its setting I was soon in Salzburg city. Believe it or not I had cycled to Salzburg before. Around 18 years ago we had an organised family holiday (my wife and two young daughters) cycling in the foothills of the Alps on fairly flat routes. The ride was about 15 miles a day and the luggage was carried for us from gasthof to gasthof. We ended the trip in Salzburg and did all the tourist experiences such as a visit to the castle, Mozart’s birthplace, a ‘Sound of Music’ evening etc. It is a delightful place. Today I skirted it on the inner ring road, took some pictures and kept going west.
In fact I was soon over the border and into Germany. The traffic was busy on the main roads and my concentration was always intense to keep a straight line and not swerve into traffic approaching from behind. The road did not remain flat and whilst never mountainous then going up and down through the gears was a continuous job.
In a conversation with Anna she remembered well our visit to Chiemsee. This is a very large beautiful calm lake with steamers crossing it and bikini clad girls soaking up the rays on its banks. Her recollection, however, was less happy as apparently it was here that for reasons lost in the sands of time I chose one evening to try and keep pace downing Austrian lager with a much more talented drinker. Her memory told her that I was very ill before I went to bed and mine remembered feeling distinctly rough the next day as we pedalled off in search of apfelschorle and or ice cream for the children. (Only a woman would keep this transgression stored away!)
My friends, the ‘cycle paths’ returned. However they stopped and started regularly and often they were indirect and generally I preferred not to use them. The popped up in more offbeat rural areas (as in the photo below) and often on busier urban routes. However the volumes of cars meant that I often briefly used them to give the queue of traffic behind me an opportunity to get past.
In fact given my optimism that the brutal climbing was over then I had a rude awakening as I clambered up some unforgivable hills to get to a campsite on the side of a lake. It was a small site with mainly caravaners in transit. It was also close to a noisy motorway and the Danes, Dutch and Germans were stopping off on their drive to Croatia or Slovenia. The grass was mowed to the length of your front lawn and I had no complaints at €15. However the malarkey that you paid €0.50/3 minutes for the shower just seems plain mean and bureaucratic. As usual friendly Dutch were on hand with mallets and small coin change.
I think I zipped up the outside of the tent at 9pm and despite the hum of high speed traffic I was soon in the land of nod.