1 – 2 August: Tinkering around Tyrol

Author: Mrs A

Location: Kitzbühel area, Tirol, Austria

Thursday: Our journey out of Salzburg took us past lovely views of the castle, gleaming in the sunshine after yesterday’s torrential rain. Before long we were heading out of Austria and into Germany for about 20 kilometres, before returning to Austria, upping our 2019 country count to nine (if tiptoeing across a little corner counts!).

Farewell to Salzburg
View from our windscreen as we cross the country

Our destination was a little campground close to the village of Hochfilzen. The drive across was gorgeous, as rocky peaks revealed themselves, the land around us seemingly lifting up above our heads with incredible scenery. In the winter, this region is full of skiers with several resorts servicing the slopes, but as was evident as we drove in, summer is all about cycling. Our first impression as we drove the final few kilometres of our journey was that there are way more bicycles here than cars – fantastic!

We’re on a great campsite, surrounded by the mountains, hiking and biking paths starting right on our doorstep (and apparently in winter, the cross country skiing starts right here too). There are only about 20 sites on this family run campground, and it’s very friendly.

We had just finished lunch with my friend Maayke arrived. She’s another friend I have made through the support group I run for people with rare breathing disease idiopathic subglottic stenosis (iSGS). We had a brief catch up before all jumping on our ebikes for a tour of the area

Most of the routes we took are shared paths…
Having lived in relatively flat Australia the past 20 years we’re blown away by the majesty of these mountains
Really enjoying this!
Hard to stop smiling – Maayke tour guide extraordinaire and I at the start of our ride

And what a tour she gave us! Originally from the Netherlands, she has lived here in Austria for fifteen years and knows the cycling and hiking trails like the back of her hand. She and her husband are extremely active, as always making the curse of developing iSGS all the more painful. Thankfully Maayke found an excellent surgeon in Vienna who has hopefully removed the stenosis, and so far she’s doing really well and is back to a high level of fitness.

It was hard not to constantly stop our ride to take photographs, the scenery so stunning. After about 15km we reached the village of Waidring and Erika Schmid‘s cafe. It is famous among locals for its delicious and huge slices of cake and giant cups of tea. Everything in the cafe is home made, and upon hearing I was dairy free and hence unable to sample the cake, Erika whipped me up a fresh raspberry sorbet – delicious!

Takes some muscles to lift these cups of tea!
And as for that slice of cake!! (Maayke helped Mr A out a little)

After that feast, and given it was still such a beautiful evening, we decided to continue our cycle making it a just over 50km circuit.

Temperatures dropping a little as the day progresses
More photos as the sun starts to drop
The sun setting over the Lofer Range – 2,510 metres (8,238 ft) of rugged alpine mountains
The fields look unreal with the long afternoon shadows
Amazing skies as the sun sinks low

We toasted the end of our ride with a glass of Italian Rosata before retiring for the day.

Friday: It was a slightly disturbed night as a thunder storm roared over us in the early hours, echoing around the mountains and the rain sounding loud on Truffy’s roof just half a metre above our heads.

Maayke arrived just after 9am to take us on our next cycle tour, the scenery very different post-storm.

Mark and Maayke cycle off towards the mountains
Villages with views
An ever changing scene with the clouds hanging low

Friday morning is market day in the village of St Johann in Tirol, so we jumped on the bikes again to ride the 22km over there. We had purchased fresh bread from the baker delivering to our campground, so bought some additional ingredients at the market – an heirloom tomato, some freshly made dips, smoked fish, and added a cucumber from Maayke’s garden and we had ourselves a picnic. We enjoyed that in a nearby park, before continuing our exploration.

The endless search for sheep cheese
Smoked fish – a Mr A dream come true!
Mr A and I have honed our picnicking skills over the years – can prepare food on any surface!

Before long, the sky was darkening and our mountain views were rapidly disappearing. We decided it might not be wise to be cycling when the storm hit, and so rode to the nearby train station. As tourists, on arrival we were presented with personalised tickets allowing us (and our bikes) free travel on all buses and trains in the area – fabulous.

The train stopped a couple of kilometres from our campground, so it was a short ride back to camp for a cup of tea and showers.

Maayke was back again at 6pm, this time in her car, to take us to dinner. She took us to a local favourite, Gasthof Adolari in St Ulrich am Pillersee, beside a fifteenth century church and overlooking Lake Pillersee.

The 1404 St Adolari church is on a pilgrimage route
An ornate interior
Frescoes coat the walls and portraits of archbishops overlook the alter

We tried some delicious local dishes we probably wouldn’t have tried by ourselves, including a dessert – Kaiserschmarren, which was like a baked broken up pancake with apple sauce – made dairy-free especially so I could try it.

Delicious food and wine…as you can tell by our empty glasses!
Dessert unlike any we have tried before – Kaiserschmarren

A fabulous evening….we’re really enjoying getting to see Austria from a local perspective.

2 Replies to “1 – 2 August: Tinkering around Tyrol”

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Ann, but sorry to hear you have to have surgery. Main tips are for recovery post op – you WILL lose weight, so it might help to gain a little before the operation so you have some wriggle room! Post op you will only be able to eat very small meals, and for the first week or two only very soft food…tiny portions of mashed potatoes, soft flaky fish…well cooked vegetables. It might be useful to make yourself some of your favourite soup and have it handy to eat little and often. Because meat will be a challenge to eat for the first few weeks, I suggest looking at other sources of protein to keep your energy up – well cooked beans and lentils are great…there are lots of suggested menus online if you search for post Nissan Fundlopication surgery diets…you can adapt those to your taste. And bubbles will be a challenge for the first couple of months – I can now have some, but not too much 🙂

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