Today was all about 50 hairpin turns, or Reidn in the local Carinthian dialect. We spent the morning negotiating the mountain roads of the Nockalmstrasse, a national park in the Nockberg mountains near Tamsweg. Peter, our guide and local expert, turned us loose on the road to ride at our own speed, and to enjoy the twists, curves, and amazing views as much as we pleased. Video for today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlvOaeh9Ikk
We stopped for lunch of fantastic local favorites at the Glockenhütte, the highest point on the road at 2,024 meters. Riding the road on the motorcycle was a huge amount of fun, but I was amazed at the cyclists who chugged their way up and down the 35 km road. We actually had to stop more than once to let the local cows cross the road. They were completely unfazed by motorcycles, bicycles, hikers, cars, and tour busses!
We then wound our way along more narrow back roads, inspired by the scenery and the threat of impending rain, until we stopped for an afternoon snack (who says riding motorcycles isn't hard work?) at the Prebersee. Rain finally arrived, so we suited up in rain gear for the final 6 miles back to Tamsweg.
The best part about being a pillion rider on today's ride was the scenery. Mike had to pay close attention to the road and traffic, while I was free to look from side to side, and at times even on the road behind us, to not miss any of the mountain peaks, steep hillsides, and deep valleys.
Tomorrow we leave Tamsweg, headed for mountain passes in Slovenia and Italy before we cross back into Austria for the night. More fun in store!