Tuesday 4th August
We had some intimidating inclines to tackle today, so we were up by 6 and cycling by 7.40. We spent the morning going up and down, but mostly up until we reached Kranjska Gora, which stands at roughly 800 metres above sea level.
We had a large lunch and then, full of food, and with the sun at its zenith (we really didn’t think this through) we set off to cycle up to 1611 metres, over 24 brutal hairpins.
At the bottom.
Taking a break at 1100 metres.
It was one of the most intense hills I have ever done. The incline was steep and the hairpins were cobblestoned to slow down cars, which made the way up all the harder.
We made a slow and steady pace, stopping for breaks more and more as we neared the top. Steve’s cycling was pretty impressive considering that this was day two for him.
Finally, at 2.20PM we made it! We sat on a grassy bank, feeling smug, watching some sheep and scoffing a bag of dried prunes.
Some views from the top.
And then it was time to go down… yippee!
We arrived in an incredibly beautiful valley just outside of Borec, and spent the evening lolling about in the sunshine and feeling absolutely shattered.
Wednesday 5th August
This morning’s cycling was absolute bliss. We sailed gently downhill for miles, following a clear river, surrounded by stunning mountains (I would even go as far as to call them majestic).
Apparently, this is the area where they filmed the Narnia films. It’s pretty amazing.
Then the unexpected Mountain of Pain happened. We thought it was just going to be a little hill. It took us from 400 metres above sea level to 1100… almost as much as yesterday’s massive climb. We sweated buckets. We cursed the mountain.
We were in Italy! And it was downhill time.
The buildings immediately looked more run down. We cycled through Tervisio, looking for a shop selling icecream, but couldn’t find anything. We cycled up out of the city feeling disappointed.
It wasn’t long until we were in Austria (three countries in one day, not bad!). We passed through another empty border station.
We headed for our campsite, in a tiny place called Kuhweg. Our last bit of cycling for the day was a long, straight, agonising hill, which we crawled along in the dead heat.
That evening we sat in the bar, listening to the Tom Jones impersonator and watching a sea of middle-aged holiday-makers waving their arms in time to the music. I think we will have to reserve judgement on Austria for now.