Will start this post more less like the previous; left the hotel in the morning and set course for Austria. A beautiful morning indeed.
However, it started earlier than the previous. Much thanks to a group of women talking loudly front of the hotel, VERY early. Must have been around sunrise. They sat not too far from my window which, due to heat the night before, I had left open. Stumbled over to close it, and managed to go back to sleep for a few hours.
Lower Austria or Niederösterreich
I had stayed right outside the town Nitra, about one hour from Bratislava and Austrian border. Started out on small roads but as traffic grew more dense , switched over to the freeway. It took me past Bratislava and into Austria pretty quickly which was the intention, the temp was climbing rapidly as day progressed towards noon.
Coming from Slovakia you enter Niederösterreich or lower Austria, the part where you find Vienna. A wonderful city, been there before. A place to go when/if hopping on a plane. This adventure was not about big cities. One hour into Austria, around Wiener Neustadt, I took off from the freeway and headed up.
Didn’t take long before I was rewarded by twisty roads, lower temps and great views!
I continued west in direction of Alps and the higher part of Austria, making a few stops to admire the countryside and getting refreshments.
I tried to stay on the small roads which in Austria means you have to pass through a lot of villages, but occasionally there are nice stretches of country side roads.
Lunchtime, lots of places closed
Places come and places go. Riding along now looking for a place to lunch I saw many great places at many great locations, closed down. It’s a tough business and with time demand changes. People travel over greater distances which means that many simply cannot keep it up anymore.
If the location isn’t ideal, then that have a business impact too. This was later confirmed by an innkeeper at my (successful) lunch stop. First sign of struggle normally is reduced opening hours, especially around lunchtime.
So I pressed on a bit more.
Meeting people roadside
There’s a lot I like about this form of adventure. One is, to run into people under the least expected circumstances, or at the less likely places. While coming through a valley and passing yet another village or small-town, I made a stop in the shades under a tree for some map scrutinizing.
So had others, two very nice young German blokes were out riding with their parents and had stopped for the very same reason. Recruitment to motorcycle riding wasn’t an issue in their family. We chatted for a while about this and that. No matter age difference or gap, always interesting to learn something from others!
MC recruitments & costs
In Norway we have a bit of a recruitment issue to our, prefer to call it .. culture. One reason clearly is economy, another time. A motorcycle may costs twice as much in Norway as in EU countries. Even between Norway & Sweden the price difference is pretty staggering.
Then in addition comes running costs. I know for a fact that a service might be near double of what you pay down in EU. For that reason many Norwegians combine summer adventures with motorcycle service. And the quality isn’t any poorer, I would say at least equal, sometimes better.
Onwards & a little about food
The weather in the east seemed a bit more threatening all of a sudden so I departed from the young guys, and continued westwards. Found a nice Gasthaus and stopped for a bite plus a beer (non-alcoholic of course!)
When out on motorcycle adventure I tend to stay with a certain types of food. Reason being, stomach stability. I’ve tried various combinations, also of the more healthy kind, more often than not it leads to “sub-optimal conditions”.
Of all the things worth avoiding when you’re on your own riding around in Europe are frequent toilet or restroom stops. An unsettled stomach is a recipe for adventure deterioration. So I tend to stick to simple things, and 3 meals per day. Lots of veggies and experimental, spicy foods usually is a disaster for me. So I avoid it.
My approach might not work for others, but it does work very well for me. Fried stuff is less likely to cause issues. Riding a motorcycle does in fact demand a lot more energy than you might think. And that despite being seated (for most of the time). One has to stay focused, alert and with keen senses. This all demands fuel, in well calibrated dosages.
Onwards towards the Alps
I kept on riding west and stayed off bigger roads as much as possible. At the same time I was wary of weather changes. It began to look like avoiding a shower wouldn’t be possible. Still, I’d been on the roads for days and not had rain once.
As a result I ended up riding through smaller side valleys, across mountains or hills, and into the next valley. And got to see quite a lot of this region of Austria, far west of Lower Austria or beginning of the higher part.
Meanwhile in the north things were changing rapidly. I had to keep up the pace to avoid what clearly looked like a pretty heavy shower. When/if travelling in these regions in July, it is what one has to expect. Fortunately there’s always the chance you can outpace it.
Into a new valley, made a stop at a cafè primarily as it seemed visited by locals.
After a while lost count of how many of these valley crossings I made. But the most important had been to stay out or rain, while remaining on course!
Looking for a place to stay
The day passed onto late afternoon. I had been on the road for around 11 hours, so it was time to start thinking about accommodation. Still on a western course I chose a route that had me climb up towards Turracher High (Höhe) Pass. Early evening, after a cool ride on a really twisty road I came up to the pass.
It flattened out a bit around Turrach See (Lake Turrach). it sits at 1,795 m (5,889 ft) and the temperature was in the mid 20s (Celsius). There were plenty of hotels on either side of the road. At first I could not make up my mind so I continued. Immediately the road started to drop into the next valley.
I decided enough was enough and made a U-turn. Based on the “eenie meenie miney mo method” I selected a hotel that looked cool. Turned out it was much better than cool.
I have absolutely no problems recommending Hotel Kornock any day. The staff was very nice, and the hotel even had a parking space reserved for Motorcycles! Now that’s not something you see everywhere!
Translated: “We kindly ask you to leave these parking spaces for our two-wheel friends”. I cannot recall having seen a sign like this anywhere else I’ve stayed. But it’s only my second trip down to central Europe with a motorbike.
Anyhow, after a great meal and a few beers it was time for a little leg stretch. As darkness settled over the pass and hotel it was time for retirement, charge batteries for the next day. And… high mountains and passes!
For next post (part 9) use this link.