Monday, 1 August 2011

Then It's a Beautiful Day

Schwanenstadt  -  Thurgau     67.2 kms     695’ ascent
We did decide to take yesterday as a non-riding day. Weather was rubbish and we had peace and quiet to service the bikes and trailers, find some maps and chill for a while. So today started early and we were breakfasting before eight. Not the most exciting of breakfasts but nourishing, unlike the four gentlemen who arrived for their morning wine and beer! We left the town to the loud and almost continual jangling of church bells. Not sure if it was all the same church or a competition between several. Absolutely no chance of a Sunday lay-in.
We set off in intermittent sunshine, along a fairly main road, but it being Sunday, traffic was relatively light. It has to be said, this was not a pretty route, lined as it was, with shopping complexes, the railway line and large factories with chimneys belching forth smoke. Finally, we found our cycle route and for some ten kilometres we followed the signs until they pointed in opposite directions! Scratching our heads and perusing the map, we were approached by a man in a car who rolled down the window to offer assistance. Our ‘We only speak English’ was met with ‘That’s fine. I have worked in Wrexham.’ Not only that, but he put us on the right path. 
A path which led us to a countryside in direct contrast with the one we had so recently been through. In a trice, we were riding alongside an aquamarine lake surrounded by mountains, some with their peaks hidden by the clouds. This was obviously a playground for the rich; boats on the water, another millionaires’ row, Ferraris and Porches abounding. Mind you, they had to queue up behind two bikes with trailers the same as everybody else when the road narrowed, which it did frequently. Sadly much of the actual lakeside was out of bounds as every piece of land was ‘verboten’ to joe public. We did eventually find a spot which was not ‘verboten’ and sat down to enjoy our lunch. For no apparent reason, the water in front of us began to bubble and we fearing, at the very least, a deadly man eating monster, were relieved to watch several divers surface and fall around under the weight of all their clobber.
Having enjoyed one lake, we greedily moved on to the next. Alongside this one had to be the coolest cycle track in Austria, if not Europe as it sported a tunnel just for use by bikes! It was long and lit with little off-shoots to the lakeside. We were well impressed.
Having left behind the water, and with the sun now dominating the sky, we meandered our way through truly Alpine meadow accompanied by the wholesome odour of cow and grass. Tomorrow we must negotiate Salzberg! Another challenge for Mr. Master Navigator.

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