The drought buster

Looking out the window before breakfast. A bit dismal….maybe it would look better after breakfast.

We packed up and bid our host farewell. He quizzed me as to what I was wearing…I revealed 4 layers on the top half. He said the weather would be crap all day. Great! He also told me he’d see me next year ( this is my second stay at his guesthouse in 12 months).

Just in case, we took a photo outside his guesthouse. Muhlbach is a pretty little village, and his guesthouse is great.

He has signs everywhere welcoming cyclists. His mother is the best dressed 75 year old, fussing over breakfast, immaculate from head to toe in a very trendy dress.

We headed out on a bike path cut into the side of the steep hill. We stopped at the waterfall briefly to make further clothing adjustments. Looking across the valley the clouds were low.

A little further on, we passed a lake that has a dam. These were the last two photos taken from the bike today.

Some friends joke that bad weather follows me. It is a reality here in Europe. I work in the area of regional and state economic development and think I have the answer for all the drought affected areas of Australia. Send me on my bicycle to tour the area and it will rain!!

We have had bad weather for many days now. Cold and wet. The forecast for today was shite and concerning as we needed to cross the high alpine pass, Brenner Pass, at over 1500m.a.s.l.

On most days, the rain gives up…eventually!

Today it just kept getting heavier, and the temperature dropped to around 4 degrees.

There was a train track running parallel to the road and we thought hmmmmmm. If there was an alternative we decided to grab it as it was not pleasant and Tony is recovering from a head cold, and I think I’m getting one.

A bit of googling whilst taking shelter in a tunnel we had two options. Continue riding towards Brenner Pass for about 15 km, or go back about 3 km. I normally prefer the forward option but we were both wet and cold so we headed back the 3 km.

Purchasing a train ticket was easy enough, despite it being an unmanned station. There was only one train heading to Innsbruck in the next few hours so I purchased two tickets from the machine. The problem was the bikes! Normally there is an option to buy bike tickets.

A lady told me that bikes were not normally allowed on ‘the German train’. Sure enough, the train was heading to Munich and was of German origin. Someone else told me that ‘possibly’ the conductor would allow it. Stress!!!!

I cleaned the bikes as the train was delayed. It was very cold on the railway platform with a wind tunnel effect being very cooling. Cleaning the bikes gave me a focus, helped warm me a tad and take the edge off worrying about the conductors decisions. I also thought if they looked clean we might have a better chance.

The train arrived and we tried to open the door with bike markings. The male conductor shouted NO! We ran up to him and he said to go to carriage 452 and to run! We were running and a female conductor said NO!

She looked at our tickets and screamed a German lecture at us…I explained I was Australian and did not speak much German. She rolled her eyes and told us to run to the very last carriage.

It was a long train, we are running pushing our bikes, metal cleats on our shoes in the wet…..grrrrr. We literally threw the bikes and ourselves on the train. The train started moving and we breathed a sigh of relief. Ah but there was more to be said.

The next lecture was in English and we were both rattled, and all I could say was ‘sorry’. The gist was that we should have known to buy the bike tickets on line, the previous day! Anyway, there were two spare bike storage spots in the carriage, and 20 Euro later she left us alone.

Now we are in Innsbruck, my third time here, Tony’s first.

A very famous local landmark, with the ‘golden roof’ was a 15th century residence of Duke Friedrich IV. The roof is covered with 2,657 fire gilded copper tiles and was commissioned by Emperor Maximillian I ( 1459- 1519) to commemorate his marriage.

This next building reminds me of some of my daughter Hannah’s toys she had as a youngster. The ones where little doors could be opened.

You can see from the photos all the tourists and their umbrella’s.

We paid to walk up to the top of the City Tower, constructed between 1442 and 1450. in 1462 a fire alarm bell was installed. How many rings indicated where the fire was. For example, the Imperial Palace was five rings.

Tower sentries worked at the top, keeping a lookout until as recently as 1967.

The stairwell to the lookout is very interesting. There are two sets of 133 steps, one going up, one down. They create an interesting image. The second photo shows the glass you walk on at the top overlooking the vortex.

We stood in the rain at the top. On a clear day you would see the mountains that surround Innsbruck. Today the views are a tad localised, including the Olympic ski jump.

We stumbled into a Swarovski exhibition. Quite amazing but on the garish side. The display below is coloured by Swarovski crystals. The exhibition leads into a massive shop, akin to an IKEA store! That is, hard to get out of quickly.

One more photo before we headed back to the hotel.

Back at our hotel we discussed tomorrow. We are due to ride to Sankt Johann. Rain and cold conditions are forecast for the day. In fact, Central Europe has been issued a weather alert for lots of rain and flooding to potentially affect millions.

There is a train. We are not stuffing around in such situations if there is an option. Safety and health first and foremost. Disappointment we just have to suck up. Our final decision will be made after breakfast when we check the up to date forecasts.

We have a brilliant view out our hotel window of the Old Town. The third photo is from the City Tower. Our hotel is the salmon coloured one, and we are on the third floor ( so 2 stories above us). The two windows on the very right are ours.

We decided to walk back into the Old Town, braving the rain to visit the Cathedral. On the way we past the Imperial Palace, that had closed for the day.

St James Cathedral has nicely painted domes. It commenced life in around 1180, as part of the legendary Way of St James medieval Christian pilgrimage.

The Cathedral was badly damaged by earthquakes in the 16th and 17th centuries and substantially rebuilt between 1717 and 1724.

We sat down for dinner. I am glad they clarified what kind of kids were being fried! Not sure about ‘foal’ in my goulash either.

So that’s it. This trip is potentially ending not the way planned, but that’s life isn’t it!

Thanks for reading


2 thoughts on “The drought buster

  1. Alison Fairley

    Guys, you are doing the right thing! Safety first always. So sorry the weather has turned pants. Hopefully things will pick up for your last days. Super photos as always – especially liking the Cathedral dome.. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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