Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Italian Job

Mauthausen  -  Schwanenstadt      85.7kms        451’ ascent
Remarkably, we have dried out and, after discovering what we were doing, our landlady became positively effusive and insisted on our making an entry into her guest book.
We found ourselves sharing the breakfast lounge with another couple, the male half of whom hailed from Newcastle! (Just can’t get away from these Geordies, although he did have the good grace to support Everton!). We enjoyed a long conversation with the pair of them and discovered, amongst many other things that they now lived in Switzerland, he was a musician and she was a teacher of English.
Leaving a little later than planned, we did a quick shop for the day’s supplies and then came the hard part. Finding our way to the right place with only the map Alan had ‘borrowed’ from the last b&b. This was no mean feat and a lesser man than Mr. Master Navigator may well have thrown his toys out of the pram but not our man. After much head scratching, communing with the GPS, and swearing, some twenty kilometres later, we were on our chosen route. Much relieved, we set off with renewed confidence along a well signposted, and well surfaced route towards Saltzberg. The riding was relatively undemanding, although Alan had omitted to mention that, although we were following a river, it was upriver! After some fifty kilometres of slight, but incessant climbing we hit a gravel track. Simultaneously, the clouds started to gather with an ominous deep grey hue. The wind velocity increased and we readied ourselves for a second drenching in 24 hours. We were quite successfully outrunning the rain when our path was a ‘no go’ with big red crosses through the sign. Now, at more than 75 kms, and threatened with an imminent soaking, we headed for the nearest town and, hopefully, somewhere to stay. In the process, we met two tandem riders, one of whom was blind, who found themselves in the same predicament. We approached a passing couple with a request for information on a guesthouse. They were local, but unsure of what was available, and generously offered to give us a lift to find somewhere. An offer we declined but appreciated. Up the hill into town where a full blown Italian market had been installed in the main street! There seemed little evidence of a guest house and we had resigned ourselves to a soaking and more riding, when one appeared on the horizon. ‘A room?’ ‘No problem.’ Ten minutes after installing ourselves and the bikes under cover, it tonked down. Lucky or what! We even like Italian food. Might stay here for our rest day. We’ll see what the morrow brings.


  1. Ooh Austria with a hint of Italy - lovely! Good to hear the traditional Austrian Wilki weather welcome hasn't changed! I'm sure the tradition will continue and the sun will come out just when you thought it had gone away forever! Happy cycling. Lots of love (miss you) -x-

  2. Oh and Dad, I like Austria too...