Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Into Austria

Today started with the alarm waking us at 6:30am so we could pack, eat breakfast, and be ready to leave by 8:30. Breakfast featured warm Brรถtchen, and Mike was in heaven to enjoy his favorite German breakfast.
We successfully fit all the essentials into our two side bags, a tail bag, and Mike’s tank bag. Essentials on a motorcycle tour mean warm liners for jackets and pants, rain gear, and basically one change of clothing. When you’re on the bike all day, that’s all you need!
We rode through mountain valleys and up and down two fun mountain roads into Walchsee where we stopped for a morning snack after 2 hours of riding. Apfelstrudel and hot chocolate enjoyed in an outdoor Konditorei hit the spot.

After a half hour break, we wound in and out of Germany and Austria on side roads lined with wide open fields bookended on both sides by the Alps. The mountains are so tall, I had to crane my neck back to see the tops. It’s a good thing I wasn’t driving, because I spent all my time looking from side to side, and often backwards to catch all of the farmhouses, small towns, and mountain views.

Lunch was in an outdoor cafe in Salzburg, followed by a walking tour of the city known as the birthplace of Mozart, the gorgeous Mirabell Castle and gardens, and the Hohensalzburg fortress high on a mountain on the outskirts of the city. References to the Sound of Music were interspersed throughout the tour, since the story takes place and the movie was largely filmed in and around Salzburg.

Everything looks very familiar in this part of Austria because Stratton ski area near our home was founded by Austrians who copied brought their architecture to Vermont, and the von Trapp family settled in northern Vermont.

The afternoon was spent twisting back and forth up and down mountain roads into Tramsweg, our stop for the next two nights. Hot, sunny weather finally gave in to clouds and a misting rain as we scaled the last mountain, and by the time we pulled into the parking lot at the Hotel Gambswirt, it started to thunder. Video:
Our first full day of riding lasted 10 ½ hours, but the time passed really quickly. It was fun to catch sight of the other bikes in front of us as we negotiated the hairpin turns in the mountains. The R1200GS is really comfortable for both Mike and I, but I definitely would prefer a different tailbag as this one digs into my back. It’s a small price to pay for incredible views, the fresh smell of pine forests, and time spent with Mike on the road.

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