June 29 - July 1: Kramsach - Nußdorf
Peter and I learned a few things yesterday, in the heat. Number one - we need to start biking earlier in the day. In the afternoon it just gets too hot. Number two - we need to go for less distance. Our pace is far, far lower than the average biking pace - at least what our mapping app shows - and we probably shouldn't aim for more than 30 kilometers a day, at least on the hot days we've been having.
One more thing I learned - I should bring a few more Ambien sleep pills with! I've been taking a half Ambien pill to help me deal with jet lag, but I continue to wake up for hours in the middle of the night, and I could use a few more of them.
So after the standard breakfast buffet at the hotel we were at last night, we were on the trail by about 8.30. The actual bike path itself is fine - always either a separate path or very little traffic - but going off the bike path to get to the hotels can be stressful because of the traffic.
The main event of the bike ride today was that the Inn bike path was blocked by a landslide! We went over a bridge, just where my mapping app told me to go to follow the path, and it became a very narrow and wooded dirt trail. And then - boom - a landslide. Peter had told me earlier that the sign for the bike trail was pointing in the other direction, but I didn't see it, and so went by my map - which was probably correct years ago, before the landslide.
Once we got to the hotel, around 11.30, we had to go out again immediately to get some food. We stopped at a tiny Spar grocery store down the street, and bought some bread, spreadable cheese, salami, nectarines, yogurt, and a few snacks to eat while biking. I think that's part of what made us so tired towards the end of the bike ride this morning - no snacks.
Later in the afternoon we biked to the old town, just a few minutes away. And - bonus - they were having a festival! There were lots of traditional dances and singing, really enjoyable to watch. I wanted to talk to people but though I spoke German really well as a child, but now my spoken German is very clumsy, so I felt a awkward about trying to engage people in conversation. There was a kid's area with, among other things, a climbing wall and trampoline jump that would have required pages of liability waivers in the US, that kids could just walk up and try out here.
Walking around the festival, I felt pretty dowdy. The clothes I'm wearing are designed for one thing - to be useful on a bike ride. They're quick drying, and give a lot of sun coverage. They are definitely not at all dressy. Many women were dressed up to the nines, though. Some in beautiful "Tracht", which is the traditional women's outfit. And some women, even on bikes, wore dresses and makeup!
Here's a few more picture from throughout the day.
A rest day in Kufstein
Today we took a rest day, because it was supposedly going to be extremely hot. It was definitely hot, but didn't feel so extremely hot. But maybe it's because we weren't biking!
I finally slept through the night last night, even though there was a loud wedding reception here. But we had a fan on, and the noise didn't bother me. I'm finally getting over jet lag.
The breakfast buffet at the restaurant was meant to be very exceptional - and it was fine, but some of the extra touches that were meant to be exceptional didn't work. For instance, the plum jam (I love plum jam) had...cloves in it. Some people may like that, but it definitely gives it a weird flavor.
The main plan for the day was to see the Festung Kufstein - the fortress on top of the hill in Kufstein. We got there right when it opened at 9, to beat the heat, and saw no other guests for about an hour. It's an absolutely wonderful place to wander around and learn some history. What a lot of wars they had back then!
Peter's favorites in the fortress were playing hide and seek in some of the rooms with all the little alcoves, and also in the prison, among all the cells.
Also the deep well, where they supplied the fortress with water - he was able to swing the chain that led to the water (60 meters down) and then wait a few seconds for the swing to come back up again!
There were some wonderful views of the area from the top. You could see another fortress on a neighboring hill - many wars back then meant many fortresses.
Here's a few more pictures from our fortress visit.
There was an organ concert at noon, and they had a big crowd of chorale singers watching. After the concert, the singers sang an impromptu song.
After a rest in the hotel room in the early afternoon, we went to the local swimming pool. Along with the rest of town. Seriously, the place was absolutely packed - as it would be on, on the hottest day of the year, which was also a Sunday.
It was really astounding how many people were foreigners, not speaking German to one another. I wonder what percentage of the population were born outside Austria?
Peter had a great time going down the slide. They had 2 slides there, one really high one that you had to wait for, and one "kiddie" slide that still looked like a lot of fun, but multiple kids could go down at the same time.
One the way back to the hotel we stopped at 2 restaurants, trying to get a meal. At one place, they didn't have a menu outside the restaurant so I asked for a menu. But 2 things - I used the word "menu", which I thought was a German word, but they didn't understand it. I should have said "speisekarte". And they didn't seem that interested in understanding me, were more interested in getting our bikes out of the way, so we left.
At the next place, the posted menu looked good so we sat down, and when the waitress came by I ordered some food. Then she said, "Only drinks after 6". Sheesh - it was only 5.30! Guess they weren't interested in our business either.
The place we finally ate at was in the town square. I ordered the Pressknoedel, because I thought - knoedel (dumplings) would be a traditional food, interesting to try. It turned out they were not what I expected at all - it was fried cheese, pressed into pancake shape. It tasted fine, but was just too densely cheesey. Good thing Peter and I shared a plate, because neither of us finished it. The German couple at the table next to use was doing some very detailed planning of their hike the next day, using a laminated map with different colors of whiteboard markers.
I'm learning how best to make hotel bookings. I think it works best to use Google maps to identify the area, then show accomodations, then book via Booking.com. I've tried emailing the hotels directly, I'd be happy to do that and save them the booking.com commission. But they just don't answer emails! At least, not in a timely fashion. The lady at the reception of the hotel we're at now actually said something like "Sorry I didn't answer your email yesterday, it was my day off." But - this is a hotel! And it's not a small hotel, either. If it's your day off, somebody else needs to check email. They obviously don't prioritize that - which is why booking.com makes money.
Starting tomorrow I'll have to do without internet as we're biking, or buy a German sim card. Buying a sim card, and registering it, and switching it out - that will be a hassle...I may try to do without.
This is my setup for writing these posts. A little folding keyboard, along with a folded up piece of cardstock to prop the phone up. The phone is the picture is the one that Peter is using for games - my phone as the best camera. It's not the easiest to type on, but is of course much lighter than bringing my laptop with.
A short ride to Nußdorf
It's tough to figure out how long we want to bike every day - there are so many dependencies like - how hot is it, where's a decent selection of hotels, etc. Today I planned a ride of 30 k, which is a reasonable short bike ride. But the Innradweg (Inn bike trail) was marked in two places - one a completely straight track right on the river, and another, meandering through towns. We took the first one, accidentally, and ended up getting to tonight's hotel at 10.35. It was about a 2 hour ride for us.
The ride itself was fine. There were some long straight stretches along the Inn, a large damn, and also I saw my first boat - which was a flooded ferry boat, meant to ferry people from one side of the river to the other. Seeing it made me realize that this was the very first boat I've seen on this river. And it was flooded - not operational. I wonder if that's normal, or if it's just because the river is really high?
Here's a few more pictures from the ride.
The heat has finally been relieved. There was a tiny bit of rain this afternoon, and a huge amount of thunder. But it's cooled down a lot.
The town of Nußdorf is a very small village just on the Inn. Not much is going on here, but there's a pretty little path through town that goes along the mill stream, plus another trail that Peter and I took, called the Roman trail, but I saw no signs explaining why it was called the Roman trail. The whole down smells like cows - cow manure, that is. It's not a terrible smell, but definitely tells you - you're in the country.
Dinner was an experience. I realized there weren't going to be many choices, so I figured we should start looking for something early. We stopped by the butcher, where we'd previously gotten a Leberkaese semmel (meat roll). It seemed like they were also a bit of a restaurant. But they were closing, right at 6. I asked where else we could eat, and they suggested another place down the street. It was a restaurant that was a little run-down looking, owned by a lady who looked like she was going to retire the next day. She told us immediately - I'll make you something cold, but I'm not cooking anything. But it was either eat there, bike to the next town, or eat nothing. We ended up having one salmon sandwich and one tomato sandwich, and they were fine - much more than enough.
After dinner we walked around town a little more, and found one of Peter's favorite places - a playground. I know I keep harping on this, but even a tiny little village schoolyard playground here is so much better than playgrounds made in the US, where it seems like only one company has survived all the lawsuits. This playground had merry-go-rounds, see-saws, a tightrope, swings longer than 5 feet, all kinds of fun stuff that you don't see in the US anymore.
I was going to add a few more pictures here - some really nice ones - but Blogger is not cooperating, and is only showing me pictures on my phone from the first part of the day. Maybe it'll work tomorrow...
Tomorrow the plan is to head to Wasserburg. It's a 46 k ride down the river, which is the longest we've done. But the other option - Rosenheim - is a really short ride, like 16 k. Two consecutive days with very short rides seems like too much.