From Seeboden to Mautendorf: defeated by the big, bad Austrian Alps

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(This map includes Thursday 6th August’s journey)

Friday 7th August

Miles: 42

I woke still feeling ecstatic that the powers of Austria had deemed us guilt-free. Our holiday wasn’t ruined. Hooray!

In the morning Eric went to give his witness statement, while I posted a few letters (including a form to an insurance company with a witness statement from Eric about the first road accident we’d seen. Seriously!). The three of us were off by 10AM.

We climbed steadily up from 435 metres above sea level for a while, before we reached a mountain road which took us to 1670. It was hideous, with the incline frequently at 15% or more. It was so steep that there were roadsigns warning cars to come down in first gear.

On the way up (before it got super steep. No visual records of the incredibly steep mountain were made, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that we are like, super tough).

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Halfway up we did something that we hadn’t done for months: we got off our bikes and pushed. For a long time we’ve been proud of the fact that during and after the French Alps we’ve never given up on an incline, so me and Eric didn’t feel too pleased about doing this (Steve’s feelings remain to this day unknown).

We reached the top and had a drink at a hotel bar, where they had a giant table and chairs.

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Then downhill we went, along an incline that was as steep as the way up with the added bonus of poor road surfaces. It felt quite dangerous. We stopped several times along the way to let our brakes cool down.

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I hadn’t enjoyed today’s cycling all that much. It had been physically very tough, and the incline was too steep for a heavy bike like ours. I enjoy a challenge, but this was just misery! The Austrians seem to like building long, straight, steep roads, unlike the French, who favour hairpins and lesser inclines. So far I think that the French Alps are much more cycle friendly than the Austrian Alps.

… complaining over. Here’s some nice pictures!

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Saturday 10th August

Rest day

After a few days tackling the horrendous inclines of the Austrian Alps I was feeling shattered and requested a rest day. Eric and Steve kindly obliged.

Luckily we were in a great campsite which included some extra activities in its price.

In the morning we took a complimentary gondola up a mountain, and from there walked very, very slowly up to the peak.

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After having pizza for lunch we went to see the local castle (also complimentary).

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We saw a fight show.

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We dressed up.

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And generally amused ourselves.

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Then there was a huge thunderstorm. We sat around in the castle for ages. Eric and Steve wanted to leave and walk in the bucketing rain. I said no. (It wasn’t like we had anywhere to be – apart from a soggy tent.) Eventually it almost stopped raining. We ventured out, got food and walked back, dodging a few more downpours along the way.

Soggy walk through town.

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Back at the campsite it was cold and wet and the slugs were out in force. Camping in the sunshine is wonderful. Camping in the rain is not. Luckily there was a little hut where we could cook dinner.

The thunder boomed on late into the evening. The one redeeming feature was watching misty cloud tendrils crashing into the mountains around us.

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And we now have some in-jokes about slugs that will surely see us through many a silence in the years to come.

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