Monthly Archives: June 2017

Day 18: Munich to Dillingen an der Donau

We had 120 km to ride, with 577 meters up and 690 meters down

We have one new rider who joined us in Munich – Catrina – who has come to ride the last section with her husband Peter M, who has done the whole ride. Peter has done one other and Catrina did a section. They are from Seattle and have two children. Peter is an ED doc (he examined my wrist) and Catrina is a pathologist. Catrina is riding a bike she bought here and has not ridden it before.

IMG_2865.JPG

Peter and Catrina

To start off today was the dreaded convoy, for 14 km. We did not leave the hotel until 8:20am and it was after 9:30am before we were free to ride off by ourselves.

IMG_2836.JPG

Convoy out of Munich

Lots of bikers commuting to work, lots of them parents with babies and toddlers in carriages, front and back seats.

IMG_2911 (1).PNG

Frustrating I had a message from the the blog editor just as I was leaving, to say she had never received the blog for 12 June, but she did get my short version of the notes I jot down in the iPad at the end of each day.  No record in my sent box, very annoying as I remember doing it, it had quite a lot of detail. Never mind I will have to do again. Nowhere near as frustrating as in Bolivia where I lost 10 days worth, that were sent and disappeared into the ether, also with no trace in my sent mail.

About 30 km out of Munich, we came to Dachau concentration camp memorial garden. This was the first of the concentration camps and the model for later camps. Overall 200,000 people (Jews, political prisoners, and other so called ‘undesirables’)  were detained here from as early as 1933, and 40,000 died.

Today we are mainly on bike paths. I was looking forward to getting onto bike paths and away from the traffic, however they were frustrating as within the space of 10 k you can change paths 5 times, and it was starting to feel like a navigating challenge rather than a bike challenge.

IMG_2846

Bike path Altomunster

During the day we rode through many fields of crops, through farmland, and through shady forest areas. We also crossed the Danube River (which I did not notice at the time as it was only a stream).

25 km from the end of the ride we had a thunderstorm, huge drops of rain pelleted down, but it was so hot it was a relief.

The traffic here is such that they are happy to stop and give you the right of way, even when it isn’t yours, they even stop on the highway when they can see you are struggling to cross. No tooting or monstering you from behind (sitting right on your back tyre almost).

IMG_2840

BMW headquarters

When we got to the hotel we were a bit underwhelmed by the exterior, not helped by the scaffolding as it was being painted. It was a tired old place, but the staff were friendly and it was clean.

Dinner was delayed as one of the riders was not in. It turned out it had taken Peter and his wife until 4pm to get to lunch (65 k) and then Catrina got the lunch truck, and Peter continued from there. It was just after 7pm when he got in – a long day!

Dinner was potato and ham soup, crumbed Pork with croquettes and sauce, and dessert was Ice cream Sundaes. We had dinner with John, and mine was washed down with copious glasses of cold sparkling  water.

IMG_2847

Aichach

IMG_2850

Aichach

We had a balcony, but it looked out to a yard and was too hot to go out into. No aircon again, and once again very hot trying to get to sleep. Plus there was quite a lot of noise – it sounded like people jumping on the floor or banging on the walls. Once I fell asleep, I slept quite well.

IMG_2853.JPG

Hotel Dillinger Hof balcony

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 17: Rest day in Munich (19 June)

During the night I got lost in the bathroom! I went in and closed the door, and the light was on the outside! As I was half asleep I was disorientated, and it took a few moments to realise that if I could feel the toilet, then the door must be right in front of me.

The room, whilst it had no air con, it did have good black curtains, so I didn’t wake up till about 7am.

I went and had breakfast and spoke to a few of the riders who were leaving, and then caught up on some emails, the news, and the blog. As we had only be riding two days and the next segment is only 3 days, we decided not to do any laundry as we have enough clothes to last.

Then I headed off with Brett (we were joined later by Graham) to the Hofbräuhaus House, for a steins and sausages. The litre stein is so big it took two hands to pick it up and drink.

IMG_2819 (1).JPG

Hofbräuhaus Brewery

There was a walking tour, that most of the TDA riders seemed to be on, filing past us making comments about NZers and Aussies and beer. The hall was huge – it seats 3,500 people! There was a traditional band playing, luckily only in short intervals as they were very loud.

IMG_2816.JPG

Hofbräuhaus Brewery

IMG_2815.JPG

Outside Hofbräuhaus Brewery

Then it was time to go back to the hotel and have a nap to wear off the effects of the beer. I am finding it really hard to remember to watch out for the bike paths that are half of most of the pavements. The bikers ride really fast, and you could be seriously hurt if you were knocked into by one.

On the way back we stopped near the hotel at a handmade ice cream shop called “True and 12” and tried the ice cream. It was ok but I didn’t think it was as good as the ice cream you can get in NZ. This was the only time we came past when there wasn’t a long queue. Last night when we were riding into Munich, there were about 35 people queued along the street.

IMG_2822.JPG

Pots and Pans Reindeer (Editor’s note: This is all the information I have about this picture)

For dinner, we went to an Afghanistan restaurant called “Chopan – am Gasteig” which was close by. The dish I had was “Qabili Palau” which is the national dish, it was fantastic, very nicely spiced.

IMG_2827.JPG

At Chopan – am Gasteig

We had a bottle of Rose with it that was very drinkable, plus two bottles of sparkling water.

Then back to the hotel to get ready for another hot night, even with the window open, and another’s day riding tomorrow.

Introducing 3 TDA staff:

Caitlin from Canada is the bike mechanic for the trip, plus rides sweep or does flags
Balaz is from Hungary, his background is IT and economics. He is usually on the lunch truck but sometimes is sweep
Ozgur from Turkey, his background is an engineer, who does the either flags or sweeps, and occasionally does the lunch truck.

IMG_2633 (1).JPG

From left: Caitlin, Balaz, Ozgur

IMG_2818.JPG

At Hofbräuhaus Brewery

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 16: Garmisch-Partenkichen to Munich

103 k to ride with 409 meters to ride up and 603 meters down

95% of the day was on bike paths. The paths ranged from paved, to rubble through forest, fields along lakes, and towns.

IMG_2799

Bike path along Lake Starnberger

The last 25 km into Munich there were hundreds of bikers. These ranged from mountain bikers, families with babies in seats or carriages attached to the bike, other touring bikers, individual riders of all ages and sizes, and a number of them going really fast.

Along river Isar coming into Munich, there were so many people swimming and picnicking along the banks. About 25 km there was a raft full of people drinking, playing loud music, and even a barbecue on board.

A number of the cyclists were going really fast weaving in and out between other cyclists. It was the first time I have been more concerned I will come to harm from fellow cyclists rather than a car!

Some paths on the way in were steep up or downhill and some were very rocky rocky, and I would get off and walk. One bit you had to ride up over a bump, between a gap in the fence, which other riders seemed to be able to do with no trouble. I of course had to get off and wait for a gap. I commented to John W that I would never make a mountain biker, and one mountain bike rider who had waited for me to come through was laughing and agreed.

We got to Hotel Holiday Inn at 2pm, and the rooms were not ready so Brett, Graham, John and I (later joined by Tony) waited in the bar with a cold beer. This is Tony’s first TDA ride, he is from USA and is an organic farmer and hobby wine maker.

Riders leaving in Munich are Tom and Miriam, Walker, The Sydney Aussies (Tony, Kerry, Robert, Torpe (in the picture from yesterday with Daryl. Torpe is retired, he used to own a kitchen ware and related goods, store his real name is also Robert), Alex and Daryl), and Tony from USA

Interesting I was also somehow on the list as leaving the ride in Munich! I was asked when I wanted to box up my bike! Just as well that was quickly sorted, as otherwise I may have had no accommodation tomorrow night!

We had Dinner at restaurant called Wirtshaus In Der Au. First we had a wheat lager beer called Erich Sattler it was really nice. Then we had a Wine called Cronos red, with the house speciality which was Duck and pork crackling dumplings, sauerkraut, and gravy.

We had a really friendly waitress who had hitchhiked from Invercargill to Auckland, and commented that many friendly NZ males were happy for her to stay over at their places. I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact she is young and pretty.

IMG_2808.JPG

Waitress at Wirtshaus In Der Au

Two weeks later I am still wearing plasters on two of the bites from the second riding day. I suspect they were sea lice which I reacted badly to, at least I don’t seem to be adding to the list of afflictions.

IMG_2800

A home on the shore of Lake Starnberger

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 15: Innsbruck to Garmisch – Partenkirchen (aka GAP)

64 km of riding, with 815 meters up and 666 meters down

IMG_2768

Today’s ride

My arm and wrist is very painful today, which is most likely because like an idiot I stopped taking anti-inflammatory as I thought I no longer needed to take them. I am back on them now.

The first hour of riding was along flat bike paths, and we rode 21 km. The next 20 km took two and a half hours! This was spent pushing the bike up 17% gradients with slippery gravel, riding when able to and and pushing my bike down hill, with rockslides, gravel and some steep gradients.

IMG_2771

Pettnau, Austria

At some point we crossed into Germany, some of the other riders said it was when we went through a field full of cows with bells.  https://www.facebook.com/tdaglobalcycling/videos/10154728790261314/?pnref=story

IMG_2776

Tidy farmhouses in Krün, Germany

There are lots of other cyclists going both ways on the bike trails, some are friendly, some look like they are having a horrid time, and some ride two abreast and only swerve at the last minute back into single file, which is a bit nerve wracking.

The last 15 km on was mostly tar seal, so despite the 2 1/2 hours to do the 20 km we arrived at the hotel at just after one pm, to find the rooms were not ready. We got changed and walked into the city centre to catch up two of the riders, Daryl and Alex, at an Irish Bar. The Irish bar had the most amazing view of the Dolomites.

img_2783.jpg

At Garmisch- Partenkirchen – view of the Dolomites in the background

When we arrived the TV was on, playing the NZ national anthem then the Maori All Blacks did a Haka. It was quite nice hearing and seeing it over the other side of the world.

IMG_2780.JPG

Maori All Blacks on the TV at an Irish Bar

I had a lager and Brett had a Guinness and got given a bag of Guinness chips (or chippies as we call them), they were seriously delicious.

Daryl is one of the Aussie 6 from Sydney, and had been here a couple of weeks before the ride doing training. Daryl does ultra marathons where it goes over three days. Day one swim in the ocean 10 km and bike 150 km, day two bike 240 km, day three run 84 k (2 full marathons). Daryl is in his late 60s and the last one of these he did was last year, and he currently holds the record for his age group. This explains his incredulous look when he saw me sitting outside the hotel when he arrived. “Take the truck did you?” he asked, and when I said no he wanted know where I had passed him (the Aussie group stopped for coffee at the top of the second 20 k). Daryl is retired but was a stock broker.

Alex is also one of the Aussies group from Sydney, he is the oldest in the group at 74 but is a very strong rider, and often leads the Aussie peloton. Alex is also retired and had a career in some sort of advertising.

IMG_2731 (1)

Alex and Anthony

On the way back through town we stopped at a Chocolaterie called Amelie, it was amazing – so many different types of chocolate, and so many tasting platters! Yum!

IMG_2794

Chocolaterie Amelie

IMG_2788.JPG

Chocolaterie Amelie

Back to the hotel for a shower, and then we went to dinner where we had the most unfriendly waitress ever, and she stayed consistently unhelpful and unfriendly for the evening.

 

Initially I was sitting with Jeff and Dianne, Robert, Graham and Brett. However it was so noisy, and there was quite a long wait so Dianne and Jeff left to eat elsewhere. Robert is one of the Aussie 6, and I never got round to getting a photo of him. He is a psychiatrist who works both in private and public in Sydney.

Dinner was a nice tomato soup, followed by mushy vegetables and tough chicken, with lovely mushroom sauce, and fried potato medallions. Dessert was fresh fruit and sorbet, all served with a frowning, unfriendly waitress. The waitress asked where Jeff and Dianne had gone, and I said they were having problems with the noise and hearing. Her response was “People with hearing problems shouldn’t travel in groups”.

IMG_6743.JPG

Jeff and Dianne, with Miriam (in high vis)

Tomorrow we get into Munich, the end of this stage. A number of riders finish here, including Anthony the cardiologist and his wife Kerrie who is a maternity nurse, who provided assistance when I had the tachycardia the first day riding. I had been planning to get them a bottle of wine all trip and finally did so today. I gave up trying to explain to the wine waiter that I was buying it for another table, as I wasn’t getting anywhere, so just ordered it and when it arrived I took it over to them.

IMG_2729 (1).jpg

Kerrie (left), and Torpie and Darryl (in blue shirt)

We are staying at Mercure Hotel.

IMG_2772.JPG

Editor’s caption: I received no caption for this photo. Nor is there any mention of it in this blog entry. However, I am doing my due diligence and including it here for your enjoyment. 

 

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 14: Rest day in Innsbruck (16 June)

It was nice to wake up today and not have to pull on the Lycra and head off on the bike. The biggest challenge today was trying to work out amongst the many selections which was black tea.

My arm and wrist was very sore when I woke up this morning, but I think this is most likely because of all the braking, especially on the downhill yesterday.

After breakfast the first job was laundry, followed by the continuing hunt for conditioner. On the way to the laundry we went past a shop selling shampoo etc so stopped in there on the way back. Success! I now have conditioner called Pfledge -Spulung, moisturiser, more sunscreen, plasters and a new toothbrush 👍.

IMG_2747.JPG

Golden Roof

Back to the hotel for a couple of hours to catch up on emails, blog and the news, then we went for a wander around before lunch in the old town.

IMG_2761.JPG

Inns River and Old Town

There were a number of street performers, a lady all dressed in silver with her dog with a hat and a plaster on his paw. Real or not, it evoked sympathy and cash, followed by the Headless man and Charlie Chapman.

1.jpg

The Silver Lady

IMG_2743.JPG

With the Headless Man and Charlie Chapman

2.JPG

Where’s the Silver Lady gone?!

There were a number of stores selling souvenirs, but nothing of enough interest to try and fit in my bag for the next three weeks.

We had lunch at a restaurant called the Golden Adler.  I had fish fettuccine which was with a fish called Bio Char. It was nice, not creamy like the fettuccine I am used to though. Brett had braised leg of lamb with cremolata, garlic sauce, polenta and vegetables.  We had a bottle of red wine: Kaiser Josef Blauer Zweigeit classic 2015 winery Philip Grass from the lower Austria region. This is the most common red wine grape in Austria.

IMG_2752

Lunch at Golden Adler

While we were eating a nun with twins turned up and settled them both into high chairs. One of the twin boys was very friendly, and kept engaging me in smiling and chatting. The mum said they were 12 months old but were born 12 weeks early. One of the boys was smaller at birth and is still smaller, he was not as friendly but I did get him smiling a few times with peek a boo, hiding my face behind a serviette. I felt quite honoured when the mum asked if she could leave the friendly twin with me while she took the other one off to change him.

IMG_2754.JPG

Gran “baby sitting” while mum changes other twin.

At the back of the restaurant outside the hotel, there was a wall list of names going back to the 1494 Kaifeng Maximilian the first century, two of note: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1773 and Albert Chamus who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1952.

IMG_2755

The wall

After lunch we wandered around for a bit more, and saw a pretty pink bike with flowers and a basket – I thought if my daughter Kelly rode a bike, I think it would look like this. Then it was back to the hotel for a nap and a couple of messenger calls with two of my children Kelly (blog editor) and Tracey.

IMG_2763

Found a bike for Kelly 🙂

We caught up with Janice (who had fallen off her bike yesterday) and she had been and had a CT scan, and thankfully nothing ominous was found.

We had dinner at a restaurant called Ottoburg. It was really nice being able to sit outside and eat without having to worry about the gusts of Wellington wind. I had a really nice rack of lamb for dinner.

Afterwards it was back to the hotel to pack, and get ready for tomorrow.

IMG_2766.JPG

Central Plazas

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 13: Brixen, Italy to Innsbruck, Austria

94 km: 1,369 meters climbing and 1,426 meters down

The first 3 km was down a steep hill, then for the next 52 km it was mostly up. We went past vineyards and went mostly on bike paths. Some were paved, some were rocky, and some were steep with gradients up to 19%, with slippery stones so I got off and walked.

We spent about 5km on one track that had slips, it was really steep and hard to navigate. When we got to the end of this track it had a barrier across and a sign that the track was closed!

IMG_2712.JPG

Coming out of the closed off bike path

The last 15 km to the Brenner pass / border was a rail trail – yay mostly 2.5% gradient and no more than 4% gradient.

IMG_2722.JPG

Beautiful rail trail – only 2.5% gradient.

IMG_2719

Passing through village of Vipiteno

IMG_2716.JPG

Scenery from the bike path to the Austrian border.

There were lots of cyclists going both ways, some independent touring with panniers, and others in groups, and a surprising number on E bikes.

On the whiteboard we had been told the profile of the day was up to the Pass and then downhill to Innsbruck.

When we started going down the road. it was really busy both ways. I have never seen so many cyclists and motorbikes. It was like it was the national “ride your motorbike” day.

We had about 15 km downhill, and then turned to the right and started climbing again! This was totally unexpected, and not at all welcome. I had pushed really hard in the morning in the belief that it was downhill in the afternoon.

I was hot and tired, and although the views were magnificent, I did not enjoy the next 15 km of steep (up to 17% gradient) up and downhills in the beating sun. Finally the 10 km downhill into Innsbruck.

IMG_2727.JPG

Into Austria, descending down to Innsbruck

Riding through the city to the hotel, I was very careful with the tram lines as they are just the right size to get your bike wheel into and get tipped off. Also the edges of the pavements, if you hit them the wrong way they can also tip you off your bike. Sadly this happened to Janice, one of the riders, just 300 meters from the hotel – she clipped the pavement, went down with a crash, broke her helmet and knocked herself out! Luckily she was riding with Cathy and Peter M who are both ED doctors.

After checking into the hotel we had a cold beer in the hotel bar, and chatted to the Aussie riders Kerry, Tony, Robert, Darry, Torpe and Alex. After this we went out for some dinner and went into a place called Stiftskeller. We ordered red wine and food, and it arrived within 5 minutes! It was actually nicer than I expected given the preparation time!

I had pork cooked in beer and shared a mixed salad with Brett – a different type of mixed salad than I have ever had before: sauerkraut, potato mash with onion, and grated carrot. It was pretty nice. We had a bottle of red wine Blaufrankisch 2014 Weingut Hansigley, which was pretty nice.

IMG_2734

Dinner menu and wine

On the way back to the hotel I noticed a balcony with a number of dummies dressed up like workers. The streets were pretty deserted at only 8 pm at night. We found out the next day it was because the previous day was a holiday. It was Corpus Christi (Roman Rite Liturgical solemnity celebrating Jesus Christ). Corpus Christi is the second Thursday after Whitsun (which is the 8th Sunday after Easter).

The hotel we are staying at is called the Hotel Central.

IMG_2735

Workmen & women figurines

Untitled.png

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 12: Cortina d’amezzo to Brixen

68 km – 680 meters climbed up and 1,290 meters coasted down

We had the most amazing views of the Dolomites most of the day today. For the first 30 km we were on a rail trail, so pretty easy gradient. The trail is used in summer for cycling and in the winter it is used for skiing.

IMG_2677.JPG

On the bike paths

There were what I thought were old railway stations approx every 6 km, but it turned out they are actually houses. There were families living in them, and it was the job of the father to check the section of line he was responsible for every morning, and confirm it was free of avalanche etc and safe for the trains. This would be done over the phone. Also, he was in charge of maintaining that section of the line.

IMG_2681 (2)

On the rail trail today

There were a number of tunnels to go through, it reminded me of the Rimutaka Incline in NZ (but the tunnels were lit). There were quite a number of other cyclists today, heading both ways.

IMG_2679

Tunnels on the bike path

We stopped at a monument showing the different climbs on three of the peaks. The climb grade is an 11, which is pretty serious. It has the name and dates of people who have done the climbs.

IMG_2700

3 Peaks Category 11 climb in Parco Naturale Tre Cime

You can go hiking up in the middle mountains, and walk between mountain lodges without having to come down. There are no roads up to these lodges, and they pull the food up on things that look to me like ski lifts, they have big balls instead of chairs that the supplies go in. The lodges have big dormitories that can sleep up to 200. The thought of that is like waking up in a nightmare!

The bike trails are a mixture of rail trails and bike paths, rather than one large trail. A number appear to go through people’s properties – at one place between a barn and a house.

There were lots of cows wandering around with bells on so they can be found.

We are still in in Italy but the buildings and the furniture are very Austrian.

IMG_2694 (3)

On the way from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Brixen

We have had the largest groups of cyclists out on the paths I have ever seen. We were playing leap frog with a group of about 25, as we would each be on different trails and then keep intersecting. I was surprised at how well some of the cyclists were doing, until I noticed they were on E bikes (electric bikes).

One of the riders got an instant fine of €17.5 for riding through a tunnel with a sign saying “cars only” – there was an alternative route for bikes and walkers next to it.

We stopped at a Cafe with seating outside, attached to restaurant. We had the most amazing apple strudel I have ever tasted. It was nothing like anything called apple strudel I have ever had before.

This place also has the award for the most beautiful cafe or restaurant bathroom, with a great big marble basin so big you could almost have had a bath in it, and a range of soaps and hand lotions, and real hand towels.

IMG_2704 (1)

An old fort as we approached Brixen

I had dinner with John, Walker, Tom, Graham, and Brett. Dinner was salad from a salad bar, pasta with tomato sauce, shoulder of beef with apple and horse radish sauce, tiramisu, washed down with sparkling water.

The Internet is not my sending emails again! Frustrating as I can get emails and use Facebook. I wanted to send email to two friends who are having surgery before they had it. I tried being in the room, and the bar, and the restaurant, and just can’t get anything to send.

Introducing

Jeff and Dianne from Colorado, USA. Retired, they had a business setting up video links etc. They have 2 children and have done 7 TDA rides, they are not currently planning any more. (Editors note: but do they have any pets?! I’m pretty sure this is the first time you haven’t told us about a rider’s pet status!). 

The name of the hotel we are staying at is the Temhof Hotel.

IMG_2708

View from the room balcony in Brixen

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 11: Maniago to Cortina d’amezzo

The whiteboard said 120 km, with 2600 meters up and 1100 meters down. I was not sure what the gradient was going to be and was a bit daunted as we set off from the hotel.

We pretty much started climbing straight away, with some sections not so steep. At about 15 km I realised I must not have done the top on one of my water bottles up properly as I have lost it. Hopefully we will pass a shop so I can refill the bottle I have.

We seemed to go up and up and up and up, some tough gradient. At about 30 km we had some very pretty lakes and not much of a gradient for awhile, but then the climb began again. We had a couple of small tunnels, so it was nice and cool inside. At an average speed of approx ten km/hr this was going to be a long day.

IMG_2683

Old rail trail

We passed through a number of villages, and all the houses had impressive stock piles of wood ready for next winter.

At 52 km we went through quite a long tunnel, but it had gaps on the side and way below it was a very pretty town. We had a fantastic 10 km downhill to the town, then climbed up to turn and leave the main road, to go along a side road along the river to the lunch stop.

IMG_2650.JPG

Big climb Day. Check out Kaye’s eyes “WTF have you got for me around the corner you bastard hill?”

At 1:30 pm, after 5 and a half hours riding, I got to lunch. By this stage I had climbed 1,330 meters with only 68.5 km ridden. At this stage, looking at my riding speed I wouldn’t get to the finish until 8 pm. Taking into account my cold and my sore arm, we decided Brett would ride ahead and I would take the truck.

The only problem with that idea, is that on this trip there is a lack of infrastructure and the truck can only take 4 riders – and 6 riders wanted a ride. We tried to order a taxi, not but not surprisingly a driver from Cortina (60 km away) was not keen to come to pick up people from a ‘river’, with not great directions and language barrier.

The next option was to get the dinner truck (the one that goes straight to the hotel and flags the route to come back) which meant a couple of hours wait. Then this wait would be even longer as Gergo, who was driving the dinner truck, had to go and pick up Tony who had come off his bike. We were not clear about why he couldn’t then continue to come and get two of us. So then we had a bit of a standoff: none of the 6 of us now want to start riding, as another hour has past and we will be looking at arriving at 9pm instead of 8pm.

Without any other solution apart from two of us riding, and not wanting to be involved in deciding who that will be, I asked John W if he is prepared to hitch hike with me.

John W and I set off taking our helmets (but not our bikes as they can go on the rack on the back of the truck) with us to hitchhike. To start we had to walk back the 3 km to where we left the main road – while wearing our cycling shoes.

Luckily once we got there the 12th car stopped for us. The male driver was Italian and spoke no English, he wasn’t going as far as Cortina but agreed to give us a lift to where he was going. He wanted to know where our bikes were, but with the language barrier we were not able to explain.  We did manage to convey that we had accommodation in Cortina, and John knew how to say it was a beautiful country.

We thought at least if we get to a town we will be better off. Well bless this man, there may have been a language barrier but he took us into the middle of a town about 20 km from where he had picked us up, and dropped us off at a bus stop. We offered him money but he wouldn’t take any.

So there we are at the bus stop trying unsuccessfully to read the bus timetable in Italian, when a bus turned up.
We asked the driver “do you go to Cortina?”
“No” he said “3 minutes”, then got out of his bus, locked it, and went across the road!
So then John and I are wondering does he mean he drives the bus to Cortina but not for 3 minutes?
Well exactly 3 minutes later the bus to Cortina arrived! To say we were happy would be an understatement! The bus took us to Cortina and dropped us off in the centre of town at the bus stop. Then we just had to find the hotel! Would you believe, right there in front of us: orange flagging  tape! Which we followed the 2.5 km to the hotel.

We arrived at the hotel at exactly the same time as a Brett, who had of course made excellent time not having to wait for me.

Tony, the rider who came off his bike, was unharmed but broke the hanger for the derailer and had no spare! Luckily the bike shop in Cortina, whilst not having the correct one for his bike, managed to fashion one to fit.

On arriving at the hotel I immediately had a cold beer with John W, Brett and Walker (all four of us did the Trans Europa in 2012).

IMG_2668

Safe arrival beers: 2 riders, 2 hitch hikers!!!

Afterwards, I had dinner with John, Walker, Brett and Graham. We had pasta with tomato sauce, Chicken schnitzel  (nasty and dry), Strudel and ice cream, and Red wine called Pinot Nero

The Hotel we are staying at is called Menardi Hotel.

IMG_2671.JPG

View from the balcony

Introducing
Walker and his Wife Carol – both retired
Walker and Carol did the 2nd half of the 2012 TransEuropa
They are from USA. Walker was an investment banker and Carol a music teacher. Carol is on a singing tour (she is in a choir) of the UK, whilst Walker is doing the ride. They have 3 children and 2 grandchildren, no cats or dogs.

John W and Marilyn (doesn’t ride), they have 2 sons, no pets
John is an almost retired university professor from Vancouver, he still does some consulting. This is his 4th TDA ride.

 

IMG_2665

1956 Olympic ski run

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 10: Trieste to Maniago

123 km: 800 meters up and 430 down

This is the start of another four day section, and this was the easiest of the four days.

Instead of having to take notes from a whiteboard like previous trips, this trip we get them passed out in their already printed version. Some riders pour over them, highlighting certain bits, others – like me – shove them in their pocket to be taken out if needed if there is confusion about which way to go.

We started at 8am with a convoy, which was meant to be for 4 km but after 1.5 km most of the convoy was out of sight due to having to stop at the lights. As Gergo doesn’t flag or give notes for the convoy to ensure riders don’t go off on the their own, it was just by good luck and guessing that we managed to stay on the right track.

The first 18 km was along along the coast, then we turned inward and took the last view of the Adriatic Sea (the top of the Mediterranean). The next time we see the sea we will be in the Netherlands.

We went through a town called Palmanova, which is an excellent example of a star fort from the Renaissance. This was built by the Venetians in 1593. The whole town is walled, and there are only entrances/exits through the walls.

1-Palmanova.jpg

An aerial view of Palmonova (picture source)

This is also where the Trans Europa ride we did in 2012 intersects with this ride, the Oydessy. In 2012, we came through here on the way to Venice.

IMG_2613.JPG

Walled town of Palmanova, inside the south gate

IMG_2615.JPG

Cathedral in Palmanova square

IMG_2616.JPG

North-west gate out of Palmanova, onwards to Amsterdam

There was a big market in the square with lots of stalls selling food, clothes, cooking ware, and lots of fresh flowers.

IMG_2614_edited

Market square inside Palmanova

IMG_2625.JPG

Through the palace gate to the Villa Manin

Where we stopped for lunch there was a man trimming his hedge who was chatting away to all the riders, and telling to make sure that they stopped in the next town Mortegliano to see the biggest bell tower in Europe.

 

IMG_2620

The locals reckon this is the tallest bell tower in Europe, Mortegliano.

One of the TDA staff Ozgur had made homemade lemonade for lunch, which was very thirst quenching. It’s made from lemonade, honey, water and soda water.

 

In the afternoon the breeze from most of morning was replaced by beating sun, it was 35 degrees C and felt hotter.

There were lots of very long straights, broken up with interesting small towns. All the town were deserted and the shops were shut as it was siesta time.

IMG_2618.JPG

Beautiful riding today through the agricultural flat lands north of Venice.

Whilst going around a roundabout I was bit/stung by bug (through my riding top!). I wasn’t sure what it was, but took an antihistamine just in case it was a bee or a wasp. Luckily I did, as later that night when I had a look I had a big welt.

The last twenty km of the day seemed to go on and on, a bit of an uphill gradient, and into a bit of head wind.

Although we were riding towards the Dolomites, because of the heat haze we did not get a view of them until about 8 km before the end of the ride, where they slowly started to appear through the haze.

IMG_2626.JPG

Approaching Maniago and the end of the flatlands. Next 3 days climbing up to Passo del Brennero and entering Austria 🇦🇹

We got to the hotel at 5pm and found out dinner would not be until 8pm. To start off with I could not find my bag anywhere. I looked through the bags twice, and was starting to get really worried. I then went through the bags again, bag by bag. I had never noticed until now that my red bag is actually half black. The bottom half is black and it was upside down. Relieved, I went off to the room to get cleaned up.

The hotel room had a nice big bath so I had a relaxing soak and then I intended to have a quick nap, but ended up sleeping for two hours. I was more tired than I would have expected, as not much climbing, but we had had 9 hours in the sun and although there was not much climbing there was no real downhill, so we were constantly peddling all day.

Dinner was tomato pasta, grilled pork and potato, vanilla ice cream, washed down with sparkling water.  I had dinner with Brett, Miriam, Tom and Cathy.

Introducing

Tom and Miriam, retired they live in New York, and have 3 sons and one grandson. No pets. This is their 4th TDA tour. Miriam was a lawyer and then taught law, and Tom was an engineer.

Cathy is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She lives with her partner Peggy (who doesn’t like bike touring, so is not on the trip). They have no children and have a German short haired pointer. Cathy has done 2 previous TDA rides and is an ED doctor.

IMG_2631.JPG

Tom and Miriam on the left, Cathy on the right

Tomorrow is going to be a big day, 130 km and 2600 meters climbing and I am feeling a bit daunted. We are going to be climbing through the Dolomites.

The Dolomites are the mountain range located in north-eastern Italy, and form part of the Southern Limestone alps. The Dolomites are also known by the name The Pale Mountains, they take this name from the carbonate rock dolomite. The rock was named for the 18th century French mineralogist Deodat Gratel de Dolomieu (1750 to 1801) who was the first to describe the mineral.

The Dolomites are renown for skiing, mountain climbing, cycling, and BASE jumping.

The first week in July is the Maratona dles Dolomites, where in a single day, road bikers climb all 7 mountain passes.

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 10: Trieste to Maniago

EDITOR: Unfortunately I only seem to have received Kaye’s outline notes for this day of riding. I have asked her if she has another version, so will leave this as a placeholder, and then will post a new one if I get one – otherwise, enjoy the notes, exactly as I received them 😀

123 k 800 meters up and 800 down
This is the start of another four day section and this was the easiest of the four days.

Riders and notes

We started at 8 am with a convoy which was meant to be for 4 k
First 18 k along the coast then last view of the Adriatic Sea ( the top of the Mediterranean) and we turned in land next time we see the sea we will be in the Netherlands

Biggest bell tower
Man trimming hedge at lunch stop town with walls
Palmanova town built by the military shaped like a star have to hold through stone gates in wall to get in or out there are only 3 exit and entry points
Where Trans Europa intersects the oydessy
Market in square

Cool breeze most of morning then replaced by beating sun 35 degrees C felt hotter

Long straights interesting small towns

All deserted and shops shut
Bit by bug at round about

Last twenty k went on and on
Lost bag
Dolomites

Dinner not till 8 pm.
Hotel had nice big bath
Intended to have a quick nap slept for two hours
More tired than expected as not much climbing but 8 hours in the sun and no down all day so enough no significant climbing constant peddling all day
Tomato pasta
Grilled pork and potatoe
Vanilla ice cream
Sparkling water

Introducing
Tom and Miriam
Cathy

 

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: | Leave a comment