Up into Obertauren, down into Salzburg

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Sunday 9th August

Miles: 35

Feeling fresh after our day of rest, we were off early to climb from 1150 metres up to Obertauren at 1770. In typical Austrian style the road up was essentially long and straight.

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I’d been finding the Austrian Alps really tough, but today the incline was hard work but fine. And the views were breathtaking.

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We stopped for a snack at Obertauren, and then were on our way.

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The road we took downhill was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

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We reached our campsite by early afternoon and had some time to relax. Eric and Steve did some more arm wrestling, which resulted in some crippling tendon pain for Steve. He paced around squinting and groaning for an hour, while Eric said things like: ‘What seems to be the problem Steve?’ Aren’t boys nice?


Monday 10th August

Miles: 53

Today we would be reaching Salzburg, and we had a lot of height to lose – yes!! Most of today’s cycling was downhill through mountain roads, which is pretty much my favourite kind of cycling.

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Unfortunately we had a bit of a downer (and not the good kind) in the form of a broken back wheel. We (meaning Eric) patched it together by strapping the trailer on extra tight. It held, but was making all sorts of funny noises, which made me feel quite nervous on some of the downhills!

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When we reached our campsite we set up our tents and then set off to find a bicycle repair shop.

We found a chain store called Giant and went inside. A guy in his twenties came to speak to us. He seemed to indicate that the entire wheel rim would need replacing, and told us he could get the part in by Wednesday. This would mean spending an extra day in Salzburg, so we were hesitant to go ahead. The man suggested another bicycle repair shop nearby.

We found the other bicycle shop, and could see from the shop front that it was independently run. A pile of old tyres was stacked outside the front door. The interior was filled almost to the brim with old bikes and bicycle parts. The owner was a small middle-aged man with stuck-down blond hair, an over-sized T-shirt and enormous, eye-enlarging glasses.

You don’t need to speak the same language as someone to understand that they’re a bit crazy.

He took a look at our bike and then went into the back room and rummaged around, eventually coming out and handing Eric a piece of metal – the replacement which we apparently needed. Eric held this metal thing looking rather embarrassed. With some more awkward communicating we managed to ask him if he could fix the bike. He said yes, he would call us tomorrow when it was ready. He told us the price, it was just over 30 euros, so not at all bad.

‘It does mean we can leave on Wednesday,’ said Eric. ‘Shall we do it?’

‘I don’t know,’ I said. The strange man wasn’t inspiring too much confidence.

‘It’s totally up to you,’ said Eric.

‘That’s not fair!’ I said, adopting the old hissing undertone. Then I inevitably caved: ‘OK, das ist gute, danke schun,’ I said to the man.

We left our bike and our phone number with him (he asked us to leave the bike outside, which was in itself a little worrying). On the walk back to the campsite we shared some doubts we had all been privately harbouring while in the shop. We came to the conclusion that all of us would have felt better about taking the bike back to the first shop. Oh well, too late now. Would this small crazy man be able to fix our bike?


Tuesday 11th August

Rest day

Today we were taking a day off to see the delights of Salzburg.

We visited the cathedral.

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Wandered around the town (it’s very pretty).

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Visited the castle and saw some nice views from the ramparts.

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Drank some Austrian Apple juice.

image I was delighted to learn that the most commonly featured coat of arms has a large turnip on it. Very Blackadder. You can just about see it here (bottom center-right)…

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We wandered around the shops and saw lots of cuckoo clocks and beer tankards. I really wanted a cuckoo clock, but at 150 euros plus they don’t come cheap.

image image Later that afternoon we went to pick up the bike. When we arrived at the bicycle shop it was closed, but it turned out that the owner had just gone out for some food. After a few minutes sitting on the doorstep he arrived and we had our bike back, all fixed! The only downside was that he had had to use a slightly shorter metal thing (don’t know what it’s called) to secure the back wheel, meaning that attaching the trailer back on would be tricky. We were just pleased that it had been fixed. Thank you, small strange man, we should never have doubted you.

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