Author: Mr A
Location: Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria
Tuesday: Austria has been a really mixed bag of experiences, from the absolutely brilliant time we spent getting to know local friends, pushing our pedals around through scenery that was just so perfect, driving roads that made us go ooh and ah every few minutes. Yet every so often something happened that took the shine off Austria momentarily.
For instance, we had identified the campsite we wanted to stay at on the edge of Innsbruck and called them to be told “just turn up before 5pm you will have a place”. We turn up at 11am and are told “we are full”… I reiterated what we were told over the phone, so the story then changed to “well we might squeeze you in… it’ll be 35 euros per night (AU$57/£33)”. It was a muddy field with a reception/bar that smelled of unwashed toilets. I looked a little shocked at the price and said I will check with my wife… who just walked in the door at that moment… to hear the receptionist say ” you can just leave if you don’t like the price”… I said the price was high but we can pay it. She said “No! You can just just leave”.
Now this isn’t the first time we have come across this attitude where there is so much demand for camping and so few spaces. Australia has delivered its fair share of surly camp staff, but we’ve never seen such extreme arrogance. Travelling in popular places in high season certainly tests my patience with the way some people seem to relish displaying such rudeness from their position of power.
We left and drove down the road and booked on to a site that was 59 euros a night without flinching because the reception was polite and friendly and explained what we get for our money, which was a luxurious big site, free buses into Innsbruck, and 5 star facilities.
So a bus into town and we are soon exploring Innsbruck, and what a lovely setting it’s in, nestled between soaring peaks.
Catherine headed off to the imperial palace while I wandered the shops.
We met back up to catch the bus home and I managed to fall down a step, scraping skin and denting pride. Then we got on the wrong bus back to our camp in the rush, and it was pouring of rain. When we realised our mistake we told the driver, and guess what, he dropped us off and called a taxi for us! Now how about that for service.
Mind you any positive thoughts about the bus company were then dissipated when we waited nearly two hours the next morning for a bus that never turned up, and the company said it had no idea where it was! I mean..really…
Wednesday: Eventually we made it back into town and headed up a series of cable cars that popped us out up in the mountains at over 2,300 metres.
A fabulous view, and a quick bit of lunch, in what was billed as a culinary masterpiece.
At Restaurant Seegrube, guests can enjoy traditional delicacies and culinary delights that leave nothing to be desired.
A frankfurter in a dry bun with some pickle didn’t really quality for that level of praise in my mind. We’ve had one lovely traditional dining experience in Austria here with our friend Maayke, but really that’s it. We did discover some wines though we really liked, and wished we could have found somewhere to try more.
Austria you have been a mixed bag…scenically amazing…cycling heaven…met some fabulous people, but not been the best experience as a customer in high season. We always knew August was going to be a challenge though and it likely would be the same in any country. I guess it could have been a lot worse. We’ve been enjoying cool weather and always found somewhere to camp…at eye watering prices compared to everywhere else in Europe, with the UK a close second!