Flat day on EV7–Bruck to Bischofshofen (50/18,080ks, 360m)

(written by Dave)

First a quick report on dinner last night.  We managed to find a traditional Austrian restaurant on a deck overlooking the Tauern River.  In celebration of beating Grossglockner, we had our first authentic Austrian schnitzel dinner.  I’m not sure how healthy it is, but it was quite tasty.  But that could have been the red wine as well.  Best of all was dessert – we had the best apple strudel of the trip, with ice cream.  There was a great guitar soloist but I’m sorry to report that we did not make it to his second set.  We were both pretty tired.

With all the excitement of yesterday, today was bound to be a little flat.  We originally planned on 90+ks and reaching Salzburg.  But our inn was a little late serving brekkie and we were both moving a little slow.  Even though it is downhill from Bruck to Stalzburg, there are some ups as well.  We could feel every hill in our legs, even the little ones.

But first brekkie.  We had our first B&B/Inn Austrian brekkie today.  We were both hungry and looking forward to chowing down.  When brekkie finally came, it consisted of two plain rolls, a few thin cold cuts and some jam.   We were the only ones eating at the early hour of 7:30 so it wasn’t even possible to pinch a few extra rolls.  From the time we lived in Amsterdam, we knew that this part of the world put a low priority on brekkie but somehow we hoped that it would be different.  We may have to start taking our own supplements in the morning if we stay in many more Inns.

Ok back to the ride.  There is a bike path the entire 90+k from Bruck to Salzburg.  As we found the other day, these paths are not very direct, sometimes considerably hillier and occasionally gravel.  Today we alternated riding the path with riding the road.  There is only one road for much of the route.  It has no shoulder and today it had quite a bit of traffic.  We’d get tired of meandering gravel, switch back to the road, only to get tired of the traffic and get sucked back to the path on a nice paved section.  The pavement would end and the whole cycle would repeat.  We really don’t have a schedule but so after a little over 4 hours of this, we decided to pull the plug and stopped at a campground.

Until we reach Salzburg, we are officially in the Alps.  Even though our route today and now tomorrow is essentially following a river, the mountains on both sides are definitely the Alps.  Even though there were a few clouds about, we had great views of mountain tops peeking through the clouds all day long.  Our campsite looks right up at a random rocky Alps crag.  I’m sure it has a name but there are so many peaks, we’ve never pick this one correctly if we had a map.

We’ve been roughly following the EV7 bicycle route but until today we had not seen any signs.  We were kind of starting to wonder if it was just a marketing creation.  EV7 is supposed to be “gentle” so not seeing signs route over Grossglockner should probably not have been a surprise.  Anyway, today we joined up with the moremellow route from Villach and sure enough, the sings appeared and we were on EV7.  We have 4 or-500 miles of following EV7 planned now so it was great to see that it is actually signed.  There may be days where we tire of the bike paths but here at our camp site, EV7 actually follows the road.  We’ve gotten out of the narrow part of the Tauern River canyon and there is motorway and surface road.  The surface road has a shoulder and it is the EV7 route – how exciting.

It is starting to look more and more like rain and I am sitting outside (looking up at the Alps).  The senior editor is napping in the tent so I’ll have to wake her for a proof-read.  I may be in charge of dinner tonight.  Tomorrow we will ride the last 50k to Salzburg and see what turns up.  We’ve done some searching on the net and everything there seems quite expensive so we me end up camping again.  Here’s hoping that a good night’s sleep helps us feel peppier in the morning.

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