Sunday 16th July – Phase 7, Aschaffenburg to Innsbruck

A little addition to yesterday’s blog. We went to a traditional Biergarten up on a hill but still in Aschaffenburg. Had an excellent view of the surroundings and could also see the skyline of Frankfurt.

We spent a couple of hours enjoying the atmosphere as well as the live band that was playing a mixture of English and German music.

The demographics were interesting as most people were in the grey haired brigade category with a few families. It seems the young ones prefer the clubs in the towns. This particular Biergarten is run and was also built by volunteers from the local community. We enjoyed our favourite Aschafenburg 🍻 beer called Slapplel Sleppel ( or at least saying it with a lisp) and pretzels.

On our way home we went via a very interesting gathering where they had constructed this pyre which had a base of wood that was stacked into a tower and then earth was laid on top. They kept adding earth whilst it was alight and would leave it burning for five days. The purpose of this in the old days was to great charcoal so that they could blow glass and use it at the carbon flux for early day steel making. Guess it is one of those old traditions they want to keep alive. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a photo.

So today is the start of Phase 7 of the odyssey. We will biking from Innsbruck to Salzburg over the next 17 days.

The bikes were loaded up with the bare essentials yet again and Horst and Elfi made sure that we were well fed for breakfast and left with a full stomach. It was another bike ride down to the station with great farewells from the guys with us promising to return with yet more washing.

Whilst we are away they are going to the Dachstein for next weekend. The Dachhstein is a range of majestic mountains in Austria and they have booked a chalet with their daughter Kristina, Stephan and little Fabian their grandson. They will then go to Graz to look after Fabian for the week whilst mum and dad have work commitments. It’s quite funny as when we are in Austria we will be only 50k’s from them but have a huge mountain range between us. Fras has been practising his yodelling skills!!

They will return very tired as Fabian is only two and has a lot of energy, so it will need to be us doing the cooking, cleaning and washing back in Aschaffenburg.

So our travels today included a train from Aschaffenburg to Darmstadt; Darmstadt to Munich and then Munich to Innsbruck getting us in about 9.30pm which makes for a very long day. We had an hour between each connection so no frantic shuffling of 🚴🏼 from one platform to another!!!

We got lucky and got into a Hilton Hotel for free as we had some points left over from all of Fraser’s travels when he was working. We better enjoy this luxury as after this it is back to basics.

Our first 🚂 was uncomplicated. The second, not quite so – what is it about us and trains. We had an hour between trains so was down on the platform with plenty of time and checked the board on the platform along with the layout of the train. It said the bike carriage was between B-C, so that is where we sat. Along comes the train and stops but the train carriages are in reverse which means we are at the wrong end of the platform and it was only stopping for three minutes. We were in the company of two other cyclists of which one spoke fluent English. Apparently we had misread the sign and should have been up the other end. Crazy, mad dash to the other end with Di leaping on her bike and actually cycling down the platform which is a huge no-no of which she wasn’t aware of. They let her get away with it this time due to the circumstances but other times it might well have incurred a fine. We are getting too old for this caper!!! Whilst waiting on the platform Fraser was gloating how he had this whole train thing Sussex – hmmm, he spoketh too soon!

The remainder of the trip was uneventful, thankfully. We were very lucky as the door to the drivers cabin did not have the curtain pulled so we could see what the driver saw and at 200k/hr it was pretty impressive.

We hung around our bikes most of the way due to the many changes. Fraser got most comfortable with them.

Our accommodation tonight is perfectly satisfactory at the Innsbruck Hilton – had better enjoy it as this is as good as it gets. Not a lot of time to enjoy it as did not get to check in until 10.00pm. So tomorrow starts another journey!!




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