Schwatz – Gries (still just in Austria!) 64.7 kms 1250’ ascent.
Yesterday’s cycle track proved to be just as effective this morning as it was the day before. It is true that it took us all around Innsbruck and then into the centre but with never a moments anxiety about being lost; that we covered some 30 plus kms when half that might have been sufficient was small price to pay. Anyway, the centre of Innsbruck is very attractive and it was a long time since we had visited the city. Armed with a map of the town, courtesy of the Tourist Information, (well, not exactly courtesy, as I had to cough up the princely sum of 1 Euro for a very small piece of paper) we headed for the bottom of the Brenner Pass. We shared the first few kilometres with the traffic accessing the motorway but by the time we had passed the Olympic ski jump the volume of traffic had reduced considerably. (From the top of the ski jump you look directly into a grave yard miles below! We didn’t view it this time but from memory it looks absolutely terrifying!).
The hill climbing up the Brenner was manageable and, by the time we stopped for lunch, confidence levels had increased. Looking up we could see the motorway which at that point was crossing a very long and high viaduct. Looking again with incredulity, we could see the brave or stupid, depending on your point of view, bungie jumping in an obviously well organised operation! Accompanied, as it was by howls and shrieks, it made for a very entertaining lunch break.
We had hoped to reach Italy this evening but with all the deviations around Innsbruck, time ran out; very fortuitously as it happened in view of the torrential rain which began falling as we put our bikes in the garage before hurrying up to our room for the night. A few more kilometres and a few more hundred feet and we will make the top of the pass and Italy tomorrow torrential rain or not!