Riding to Romania – 15 (St Anton)

Riding to Romania

September 14 – 29, 2019

Day 1 ** Day 2 ** Day 3 ** Day 4 ** Day 5 ** Day 6 ** Day 7 ** Day 8 ** Day 9 ** Day 10 ** Day 11 ** Day 12 ** Day 13 ** Day 14 ** Day 15 ** Day 16

Saturday

Map

In looking at a road map of Austria, it is a very linear landscape. There are a lot of valleys to navigate, so moving east to west isn’t always easy to do unless you stick to the main valley along the Inn River. So that’s what we planned to do.

The forecast was for rain, which was a big reason that we were so far north and in Austria. If the forecast had been drier, I probably would have routed us to stay further south and sticking to the mountains through northern Italy. And while we’re no strangers to riding in the snow, it isn’t something that I usually seek out – especially at the end of such a long ride.

It was with mixed feelings that I woke up to see that it wasn’t raining.

Great building – and sunshine!

Today’s route took a slight detour – through Italy. I hadn’t checked the GPS very carefully when I plotted things, so even I was a little surprised when I saw the border crossing. The road itself wasn’t that great, to be honest. There was traffic and it was much straighter than I would have liked. Still, it was dry and clean and it was a good day.

Cheese!

This must be where my Italian strawberries must come from

The road turned north and headed for Brenner Pass. I had vague recollections of coming through here before, but at the same time, it all looked so new to me!

Some day I’ll figure out what this ruin is called

I think I have this same picture from a previous trip – I should go find it

Ha! I found it: from our return from Croatia in 2017

The road over Brenner was a fast one. With the gorgeous weather we were experiencing I was really wishing that I had been able to plan a more interesting route through the mountains. This is a beautiful area of the continent, and one that I really look forward to exploring it more in the future.

Franzensfeste

Brennerpass was a disappointment. It was not what I would call a “real” pass, and the overwhelming amount of commercialism was off-putting. I felt more like I was at a mall than a mountain pass. I was only too happy to put it behind me and begin the descent back into Austria.

While we may be taking the most direct route to our evening’s accommodations, that didn’t mean that we were going to take the motorway. I set the GPS to avoid tolls and we enjoyed taking the back roads to Innsbruck.

Don’t ride faster than your guardian angel can fly!

That’s the motorway up there. Losers.

So much more interesting down here…

We were at the bottom edge of the clouds

Anti-target fixation road markings?

Ski jump at Innsbruck

Having just been in Innsbruck last April was really helpful in navigating our way through the city again. It also made me recall just what a great city it is, and that it is another place that I want to visit again.

And out the other side of Innsbruck!

Winter crop planting

Spiderwebs!

My clever plan was to find the quietest, most secluded, and yet “connected” place to spend the evening. I wanted a village to explore at the end of the day, a choice of restaurants, and the quietest night’s sleep ever. The winner of my research was “St Anton am Arlberg”. How did this sleepy little mountain village grab my attention? Because while most villages somehow border the edge of the motorway, this one was above it. The motorway enters a 15 kilometer-long tunnel to the east of St Anton, and finally exits the mountains to the west of St Anton. There would be no droning highway noise to disturb my slumber tonight.

We entered St Anton, found our hotel and got the run-down from our host. Johannes was a young guy and we could tell that he had done (and was still doing) a lot of work on the old building. The results were excellent and we couldn’t have been happier with our suite.

Our hotel, Alpenrose

View from our room

Yes, the neighboring garage roof had goats

After unloading our bikes and “slipping into something more comfortable”, we went for a stroll around the village and see what it had to offer.

Not much, apparently.

We appeared to have arrived in the “in between” season between summer and winter. The locals took this time to close up shop and take their own holidays. I could confidently say that 90% of the village was shuttered. It was beautiful to look at, nonetheless.

Empty streets of St Anton

Closed

Random musicians passing by

This made me laugh: “We also love to vacation in the Alps”

This cherub went overboard on “leg day”

Since most of the town was closed, our choice for dinner was pretty slim. We found a place open (the only one, I think) and we were the only guests. Our hostess informed us that today was their last day, as they would be closing for two weeks. Good timing!

Restaurant Maximilian

Just to backtrack: I was impressed with our quarters. It was cozy and well-appointed. Dan and I both agreed that we could happily live in this space. I took some photos, because, well, that’s what I do!

Comfy bedroom

Kitchen, living area and looking back to the bedroom

Open, modern kitchen area

Nice living area

Central lobby area

Tomorrow was it: the last push for home. It had been a great couple of weeks, but with the end it sight, I knew that it would be good to be home.

Day 16

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