24 – 25 July – Continuing our cycle exploration of southern Austria

Author: Mrs A

Location: Pirkdorf, Austria

We headed east from Ferlach and drove just 45 minutes to the small settlement of Pirkdorf. We then spent two days and 55km exploring the R1D, a signposted cycle trail through some of the quieter lanes and roads through sleepy hamlets and villages.

Setting off down a quiet lane – heading for the hills!

One of the reasons we enjoy cycling so much is the ability to see and experience things at a slower pace to the car. Yes, we are on electric bikes, which essentially give us the option to smooth out the hills, but we also get some exercise too – after all our legs keep on moving and we choose how much the motors help us.

The cycle route took us past houses and gardens, through picturesque agricultural lands – the wind whispering through fields of corn, the sunshine gleaming off the smiling faces of sunflowers, the lush green of fields of carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, all ripening in the summer weather.

A typical village scene with the church taking centre stage
Always we are accompanied by breathtaking views of the alpine peaks
Sunflowers and corn add a splash of yellow to the countryside’s palette
And always wildflowers by the roadside

It was midweek in the middle of what is the European school summer holidays, but there were few people around. The occasional person gardening, but otherwise all seemed deserted. There was not even a pub open for us to have refreshments.

Mr A cycles though another picturesque village

Every village has at least one little chapel-shrine (small buildings by the side of the road), often in the centre of the village, but also often on long country lanes, far from houses, probably for the workers to tick off a prayer or two while they’re labouring.

The other thing we noticed was the Austrians’ love of colour. Very rarely would we see a bright red or blue house in the UK or Australia, or two toned colourful shades, but it is frequent here. And they are all newly painted – every village looks affluent and smart, with not a scrap of graffiti or rubbish to be seen.

Schloss Elberstein (Castle Elberstein) built by a local artist in the village of Globasnitz during the 1970s
Mr A checks whether anyone is home…they’re not…when it is open, the public can explore the ornate interior and artwork
Just a few of the colourful houses we encountered on our ride…a veritable rainbow…
Even the local fire station is beautifully painted with a mural on the wall

My bike ticked over to 1,000km since we first purchased it (1 April) meaning we’re averaging more than 250km per month. They have definitely been a great investment. Mr A’s ticked over to 1.000km a couple of weeks ago – he had my surgery time to tick up a few bonus kilometres.

A thousand kilometres in four months…

It’s been a great introduction to Austria. Our only challenge has been the lack of English spoken by anyone. It gets a little lonely only talking to each other, we’re dying for someone else to converse with!

Tomorrow we start heading north. We’re expecting it to get a little busier the closer to the cities we get, but we know there will be more adventures and great scenery ahead.

Our stay in Pirkdorf concluded with a fabulous dramatic thunderstorm, followed by a beautiful sunset. Just lovely.

Our view from our lakeside camp
Truffy under the sunset

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