July 11, 2018
We were up early ready for an early start and a few hills to climb to St. Johann im Pongau.
Ralf had said it had rained in the night, lo and behold it started to rain at 7:30. That’s o.k. we could wait it out. Not so lucky it continued to rain. We left Salzburg under grey skies and a light drizzle at 8:30. Farewell Salzburg we enjoyed visiting you.
We were both wearing our heavier rain jackets and I was wearing socks. I am such a fashionista, yesterday red plastic poncho today socks with my cycling sandals! I am so glad I was wearing my merino wool socks as it was rather chilly today – average temperature was 12.5 degrees (54 degrees F).
However, despite the rain and drizzle the scenery was lovely. We cycled through small towns and villages with window boxes overflowing with flowers. The houses were perched in the hills like photos on a chocolate box. We crossed one stream where the water was so clear, it looked as if it could be used for an advertisement of Evian Mineral Water.
We were so enthralled about the scenery in one valley that we cycled through we got misplaced. We have to be very careful reading the signs, as there are a few different cycle routes. We are following the Tauern Radweg, Ciclovia Alpe-Adria Radweg and the Eurovelo 7. We followed a different sign which could have taken us on a mountain biking route. We spotted an old fella near a small trout farm and Ralf asked him for directions back to the Tauern Radweg. I asked Ralf what he had said as I didn’t understand one word of what the fella had said, his accent was so strong. Apparently neither did Ralf, he said “I don’t understand Mountainese”. We turned around and headed back to where we think we made the mistake and found the Tauern Radweg sign. This route likes to take you through the small villages, not away from them.
We also broke the law! We came upon a tunnel or you could push your loaded bicycles over a steep incline. We looked down the tunnel, it wasn’t very long and there was a sidewalk, although it said no cyclists or pedestrians we headed through, rear lights flashing and within 500 metres we were safe on the other side. The tandem riders that were pushing their bike up the steep incline were no where to be seen.
About a kilometre on the other side of the tunnel there were road works. I pedalled like a demon so that I didn’t hold up the car drivers. Fortunately, they were very patient.
We arrived in Werfen, where there is a large castle and lots of tourists.
We carried on to Bischofshofen and stopped for lunch and some coffee to warm us up. There were about 6 other touring cyclists. One lady had a lot of stuff on her bike and a bike trailer with a dog (Shar Pei) in the trailer. I complain about what I am carrying, but a dog – no way.
Leaving Bischofshofen we spotted this art work. I especially liked the world showing Australia.
The route today was mainly on roads with a few sections on gravel paths, about 20 kms on gravel, it was well compacted and quite an easy ride.
Then onto the campsite in Saint Johan im Pongau, which I had read about from another blogger, who did this route last year. At 3:00 there was no-one at the camp-site or gasthaus. A note in the reception area stated they would open at 5:00p.m.
We knew we weren’t going to set up the tent, we would freeze in these cool temperatures and more rain on the way for tonight. Finally the Garmin did its thing and Ralf was able to call several hotels/gasthauses in the area to see if they had rooms for the night. One had apartment style rooms but didn’t rent for less than three nights, the other was over $150.00 for the night, even the Youth Hostel was E80 ($120 for two people).
We had passed a youth hostel coming into St. Johan and realized the hostel Ralf had called was half way up a beejesus mountain, not the hostel we had passed. We cycled back to the hostel – they didn’t open until 5:00. We sat on our bikes wondering what to do, it was only 4:00 but it would be nice to settle in to a room and have a nice hot shower. It began to rain and then the hostel door opened – the receptionist let us in early. We registered, secured our bikes in the bike room and were having hot showers by 4:30. This hostel costs E55.90 ($82.00) without breakfast.
We are the only ones in the hostel, it feels a bit odd. The reception is supposed to be open from 5:00 to 8:00, but nobody is there. Just a phone number to call. Ralf cooked our pasta on the terrace although it says smoking is forbidden. He wasn’t smoking he was cooking!
Due to the rainy weather Ralf didn’t take a lot of photos, but I think he got the essence of the day.
Tomorrow’s weather is going to be much of the same, we have already booked a room in Mallnitz.