London To Venice – Days 7 & 8

Day 7 (Badsee)

Yesterday was a great day. It was great for many reasons, but for me personally, it was great because we got to ride the Danube again for 7 miles along the same path as we did on the first journey Matt and I cycled (actually cycled – all the way), to Budapest. I’m soppy like that, and it was great seeing the mighty river again.

After Matt had picked himself up off the ground – yes he actually fell off his bike – which was surprising given his self processed legendary bike handling skills. we stopped for lunch in Tuttlingen, just as we did 4 years ago, by the river.

We had always planned on yesterday being a rest day – so instead of full on resting we decided to do a bit more inter railing. And get ahead of the itinerary. It was becoming increasingly clear to us that 100 mile days with large uphills just were not achievable, at least not if we wanted to have some semblance of an evening. And so we spent the afternoon on trains getting to Kempten. This achieved 2 things – it gave us some rest, and it reduced today’s ride through the Tyrol to 40, achievable miles. From here on in each day will be 40 miles or less, albeit with mountains thrown in. We think we can achieve that. It also gave us an amazing journey around Lake Konstanz – something I’d never seen before – and our first view of the alps ahead.

One thing that is not ‘resting’ is dealing with the bikes on and off the train. Normally pretty easy, however on the 4th train yesterday (An ‘ALEX’ service from Landau to Kempten), we encountered issues. Largely a crazy German conductress who had a keen, perhaps stereotypical, passion for order. Our bikes were in the correct place – but not to her liking – and so she just kept shouting “ZEEZ IZ NOT CORRECT”. It took a fair bit of time to calm her down, smile a lot, and pay her some cash before we could relax. Not before she had marched me down to her office on the train shouting at me like a naughty schoolboy – I was mortified.

A short ride from Kempten we set up camp for the night. And to be honest we were both whacked – so it was food and an early one for us.

Day 8 – Lermoos

Today we managed, as per our pact, to ride the whole way – and we were rewarded for it. Pretty much climbing all day we rode into the Tyrol (Austrian alps). Just beautiful.

We decamped pretty rapidly – after we had removed an army of slugs off the tents, bags, shoes etc…. Urgh!! Oh, also, I spent the entire night in the tent bursting for the loo – there was a strange noise coming from outside – couldn’t place it, was worried it was some sort of alpine frog snake – and so was too scared to go outside!!

However before we could set off Lamby first had to do a mending job on his cycling shoes – they had broken at the eyelet for his laces and so a bodge job was necessary – cue tent pegs, corkscrews, sharp knives… Sadly this was the first of Matt based mechanical issues we would have today – not unprecedented.

The riding was fantastic, challenging, but fantastic and we made pretty good progress – I’ve never been in the Alps – and so was just lapping up the scenery. I sent Mum a picture (above) – she said it could just be Scotland – I’m not so sure (sorry Mum).

Progress was halted however around 10 miles from camp – Disaster – One of Lamby’s spokes snapped. Could have been a disaster – should have been a disaster. although not unpredictable.

Luckily we were 3 miles out of a fairly large town – and more luckily it had a bike shop with a very capable mechanic. The bike went in for 2 hours and came back out sorted. We had lunch whilst this was going on – over which Matt attempted to tell me that was the beauty of his bike – the unpredictable nature of it – never a dull moment!!! Total dobber. I fear more of the same over the next week – and pray for similar luck. I could list the things over the years – but it would take just too long.

We got, miraculously, back on the road and cycled the last 12 miles into Lermoos. Is becoming a bit of a motif after last years ride – that is to say staying in out of season ski resorts is. The scenery is stunning, but the vibe a bit eerie.

Tomorrow we ride to Innsbruck (hopefully) – and from there onwards over the Bremner pass and into Italy.

Some more pictures of the day.

Ciao.

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