Posts Tagged With: Wine

Day 28: Arnhem to Amsterdam

99 km today, about 400 meters climbing, but mostly a down gradient all day.

I woke up very excited, as tonight I am going to see my daughter Shellbe who flies into Amsterdam this evening. It is nearly a year since I last saw her ūüėÄūüėĬ†She lives in London.

When we set out it was once again looking like rain. The first 30 km was a slight up gradient on a bike path, but in one direction. It was great to ride a few km without having to check which way you needed to be going. The only delays were the traffic lights. We went through a small few towns and stopped at a patisserie and chocolatier at about 40 km. I had a really nice strawberry tart.

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Food stop last ride day

The bikes have the right of way when you are following a bike path across a road, unless there are lights say otherwise, which takes a bit of getting used to. I hesitated a few times as I was not sure that cars were going to stop as they seemed to be going quite fast, but they always did.

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Checking out a thatched roof.

At the lunch stop I took a photo of Esther, Gergos wife also from Hungary, and their son Lawrence who is nearly 3. Lawrence was happily playing as small children do with water, puddles, and sticks while we waited. Also took a picture of Gergo and Judy from NZ.

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Esther and Laurence

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Tour leader Gergo and Judy at last lunch stop.

We got to the lunch stop at 70 km at about 11am, to find that Gergo had now decided that we would all meet here and convoy in together. It would have been great if he had shared this earlier this morning, as there were a number of places we could have stopped along the way, instead of waiting an hour and a half on a piece of grass with nothing but the road to look at, while we waited for the rest of the riders to arrive. This was not helped by the darkening sky and the feeling of impending rain.

As it turned out, most of the other riders in the end ignored him and just headed off, but about 12 of us waited and went in the convoy.

We went through another star shaped town Naarden (like Palmanova) it was very picturesque with the canals and boats and wharves.

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Rode as a convoy from lunch to the finish. Passing through Naarden Vesting.

Then back on a bike path where it started to pour down (I was trying to ignore my irritation that if we had not waited an hour and half to convoy we would have been at the hotel by now). As we came up to an underpass there was a group of about 100 children and teachers sheltering from the rain. Just as we got there, they decided to no longer wait and about 30 took off in front of us. The next 5 km was spent trying to pass young boys who were serving all over the path.

 

We had to go up over a really big bridge – Nescio Bridge – made just for bikes and walkers and then road the last few km into Amsterdam. Getting through the outskirts of the city took awhile as there were lots of students going home from school. Thankfully by this this time the rain had stopped.

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Nescio Bridge (photo from website)

We arrived at the Mercure Hotel at about 3pm. The bikes had to be left outside in an open area, which a number of us were not that thrilled about. We managed to move the hotel bikes around and at least managed to get our bikes locked to the bike stands. The hotel bikes, like the white bikes at the Muller Kroller, they were really heavy, at least twice the weight of my bike.

Then checking in: what a mission! The biggest and busiest hotel for the trip. The person behind the counter was not helpful or friendly:
1. He insisted there was no booking for my daughter – I had to go and dig out the paperwork. When I took it back to another person they found the booking without the paper work.
2. When asking if we could stay in the same room the next two nights we were told “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow until tomorrow”!!

Not quite as frustrating as Janice from Townsville who had her partner Philip joining her here, who was told her and Philip had been put in a room with Cathy. This was sorted out by TDA quickly, but the person behind the counters attitude was not helpful.

We had a get together at the hotel on arrival, with some bubbles and snacks to celebrate our arrival and finishing the trip, then off to get cleaned up and ready for dinner.

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Arrived at finish hotel Mercure Amstel

We met down in the lobby at¬†6pm¬†to taxi to the finishing dinner at D’Vdff Vlieghen in central Amsterdam. The traffic was chaos.

I am unsure by what manner the finishing venue is chosen, but this was not a good one – we were cramped in, and apart from one long table of about 12, everyone else was sitting at tables of 3 to 4, ¬†and there was no room to move around and interact. So it didn’t really feel like a finishing dinner, more like just a normal riding day dinner. Brett and I sat with Graham, with a seat saved for my daughter Shellbe.

The menu was an entree of smoked fish, a piece of chicken with an onion (no carbs, no salad or veges), and a piece of chocolate slice and ice cream. Plus red or white wine. Luckily they had bread rolls, otherwise there would have been a lot of hungry riders.

My daughter Shellbe arrived halfway through the meal, I was delighted to see her again.

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Mum and daughter find each other

After the meal Gergo advised us that it was up to the riders to get themselves back to the hotel – about an hour walk, or 15 minutes in a taxi.

We caught a taxi back with Graham, and then sat in the bar catching up on the news with Shellbe for awhile.

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Having a drink with my daughter Shellbe 

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Day 27: Wesel, Germany to Arnhem, Netherlands

89 km and basically flat.

Had to put on riding shoes that were still damp, but everything else is dry and hopefully will stay that way. The forecast has 4% chance of rain ūüĎć.

Today riding was mostly on levees on bike paths. We went through a town called Rees where there were concrete statues of town people so had to stop and take a photo.

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Rees township

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Riverside path in Rees

Then back on the bike paths. Some bike paths are shared with walkers and some are just for bikes. This changes frequently and occasionally you are not sure which is the correct path for bikes. So a couple of times we accidentally went on the wrong path, and within a minute or two a German striding along – often with walking sticks – would politely or extremely rudely wave sticks around to direct us to the correct path.

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Countryside after Rees

There were lots of people walking dogs, and they were frequently off the the lead but when there were riders approaching they were all called to heel and sit, waiting for them to go past. Well almost all of them, a couple were joyfully ignoring any commands from their owners.

There are lots of dogs here, they are allowed on trains, buses, in restaurants and hotels.

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Bike paths, good riding, with climbing today of only 48 metres!

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Loaded coal ship passing Emmerich am Rhein

We crossed the border into the Netherlands at 49 km. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, riding on levees lots of other cyclists, walkers and dogs. Lots of canals appearing, and the pasture was very green.

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Border crossing

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Crossing the border from Germany into the Netherlands

There were quite a lot of sheep grazing along the river banks. Different from our sheep in NZ, there was one that had black spots, and quite a few black sheep.

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Black and white sheep

We got to the Hotel at¬†2pm,¬†and quickly got changed and went by taxi with John W and John H to Kroller Muller museum and Sculptor park, 40 km away. When the taxi arrived I thought “this cant be for us” as it was a gleaming new Mercedes S something series, with sunroofs and leather seats. The driver (also called John) was immaculately dressed – this is nothing like the Wellington cabs. John agreed to also pick us back up at 430pm so we would be back at the hotel in time for the riders meeting.

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Driver John

The Kroller Muller museum has the second largest collection of Van Gogh in the world – 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Plus works by Monet and Picasso and many other artists. There are 25 hectares of sculpture gardens, plus a surrounding 5,500 hectares of forests, grasslands, and sand drifts. These are home to deer, mouflon (wild sheep) and wild boar. There are over a 1,000 white bikes at various places around the park that you can use for free to ride around the park. We could have spent all day here but we only had 2 hours.

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Vincent Van Gogh – Terrace of a cafe at night

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Vincent Van Gogh – Self portrait

The Kroller Muller museum represents the life work of Helen Kroller Muller. Between 1907 and 1922 she and her husband Anton bought 11,500 works of art. One of the largest private collections of the 20th century.¬† Helen’s dream was to have her own museum where she could share her passion with other art lovers. This dream was fulfilled in 1938 when the Kroller Muller museum opened.

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Claude Monet – Monet’s Studio Boat

I had a great time looking around but I felt like I only skimmed the surface.

John the taxi driver picked us up on the dot of 430pm, and drove us through the park grounds on the way back.

We got back to the hotel just in time for the riders meeting and dinner. I had¬†dinner with Brett, John W, Graham, and Henry Gold.¬†I had bell pepper soup which was rich and tasty, steak and salad with fries, cream br√Ľl√©e, and¬†red wine.

Tomorrow is the last day of riding!

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Tolkamer, The Netherlands

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Day 19: Dillingen an der Donau to Schwabisch-Hall

The original schedule for today was 111 km, but Gergo has got a new book of bike trails in Germany and so now we are still going from the same start and going to the same destination, but the distance has increased to 129 km.

Today we climbed 546 meters up 688  meters down.

One of the riders Yvonne is not well so she is taking the bus, hopefully this won’t be the start of another bout of gastro throughout the group.

Not long after we left, I saw a huge weeping willow tree, and was thinking about how they were my mother’s favourite tree, so couldn’t resist stopping and taking a photo.

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Today felt more like a navigation course than a bike ride, with some bike paths only going about 200 meters before having to change to another path! We spent a lot of time figuring out which way we should be going, the flagging was not good and often conflicted with the notes. It was a hot and frustrating day.

The bike paths went through fields, through towns (at one stage through an archway in a barn!), through forests, saw a couple of castles and monasteries, and we went along in the baking heat along side roads.

We went over some bridges that had roofs, which is to stop the bridge getting covered with snow in the winter.

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Bridge with a roof

Going along one forest path, a black squirrel ran across the track in front of me.

We stopped at about 80 km and had a cold drink with Peter and Catarina who were there already. Catarina decided today to ride from lunch with Peter when he got there.

Unfortunately after what had been a long and hot day already, all the climbing was at the end of the day. We had some quite steep bike paths, and then 10 km from the end we could not work out which direction to go.

I went into a supermarket to get a cold drink. So no cold drinks so bought one anyway, then paid and the checkout clerk barked something at me, when I didn’t immediately answer, he barked it again 3 times in a row. I said “English?” so he said it again about 5 times each time louder!

I am not sure why people think if you don’t understand the first time you will get it if they keep saying the same thing over and over, but louder each time! Finally he angrily points to the receipt!¬† And I shake my head, I don’t want it! By this time Brett has worked out which way to go.

More bike path, then a steep climb up to Schwabisch -Hall. What a pretty town. Sadly we only have time to shower and change before the riders meeting and dinner, as I would have liked to look around.

The town is having some type of performance tonight (turns out it’s a play) and there are rows of chairs set up outside the hotel, and the stage is the steps of a church with a small platform facing the square. We are told that if we have a room facing the square we are not to look out the window, or have the window open! Plus the door to the hotel will be locked from 7pm to¬†11pm,¬†so no after-dinner stroll around the town.

The hotel is a beautiful old building, with no lifts. When you walk towards the stairs the old doors open automatically which you don’t expect. The stairway has lots of old pictures, plus rows of books for guests to read.

The room is really big and looks right out onto the square. You have to be a bit careful walking, as there is a definite slope from the window to the other end of the room, where the bathroom is.

We had dinner with John W, Ruth and Peter E. The restaurant had made up a special menu just for us – mixed salad, nice and fresh with a light dressing; chicken with croquettes, and a token piece of round carrot as the vegetable; and Ice cream and apple.
Washed down with a cold beer and then a merlot (or 2).

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Special menu for us

After dinner it was so hot in the room, of course I opened the window! Then I poked my nose out to have a quick look. Would you believe there was a man in a red outfit, whose role was to stand in front of the hotel looking up, and as soon as I looked out he saw me and started making angry gestures! So I didn’t look out the window again, but I didn’t shut it either. I was pretty tired, so the noise of the play didn’t keep me awake.

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View from our room

Introducing

 

Ruth and Peter E, both retired and live in Toronto. Ruth was an Air Canadian flight attendant, and Peter an investment broker. This is their 3rd TDA ride, they did the TransEuropa for their honey moon in 2014.

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Ruth and Peter E

We stayed at Hotel Goldener Adler

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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.

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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.

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Hofbräuhaus Brewery

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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.

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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.

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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.

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From left: Caitlin, Balaz, Ozgur

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At Hofbräuhaus Brewery

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A home on the shore of Lake Starnberger

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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 ūüĎć.

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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.

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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.

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The Silver Lady

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With the Headless Man and Charlie Chapman

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Found a bike for Kelly ūüôā

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.

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Central Plazas

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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!

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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.

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Beautiful rail trail – only 2.5% gradient.

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Passing through village of Vipiteno

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Workmen & women figurines

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Day 9: Rest day in Trieste (11 June)

It was very nice not to have to be up at 6am with breakfast at 7am, and then out on the road. Instead I made it to the dining room at a leisurely 9am. English breakfast tea in a tea pot! Bliss.

After breakfast we set off to the laundromat or Lavanderia (as they call in in Italy), we caught up with Janice and Gregg, and Yvonne and Scott there.

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Janice and Gregg (left) and Yvonne and Scott (right)

There was also a good looking Italian woman who was very frustrated as the second dryer was not working, as someone had put the wrong coins in. Of course all the men set about trying to sort it for her. Brett went back to the hotel and got the tweezers out of his bike tool kit, and came back and removed the two coins. She was very grateful and told Brett he was just like MacGyver.

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MacGyver saving the day 

After the laundromat I went back to the room to catch up with the blog.

Then off for lunch, we decided to go back to Eataly for the 2nd course we hadn’t tried on the blackboard menu.

We had white wine: Movia Sauvignon Blanc, and we shared two different courses РFiletto di orata gratinato ai pistachio gamberi e zucchini (a very nice fillet of fish with a nice coating and cheese)  and Frito misto croccante (fried squid and prawn rings).

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Lunch at Eataly, day 2

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Wine in a bucket with slushy ice pellets

We then wandered around for awhile, then had an afternoon siesta.

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Super yachts on waterfront berths

Later on the way to dinner, we could not help noticing the number of motor bikes and scooters parked at each curb.

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For dinner we had a wine РBastianich Vespa Rosso, and Brett had fillet of beef which was was very nice, I had slow roasted pork which was tough because it was overdone.

Then back to the hotel to get organised for tomorrow.  We have 120 km to ride, but only 650 meters climbing.

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Goodnight Trieste, riding again tomorrow

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Day 5: Split to Sibenik

88km, 800 meters climbing and 800 meters descent, with no hill more than 80 meters in total

Not sure how it will go with riding, my arm feels better today than yesterday but is still very sore. I took 2 Panafon and an anti inflammatory, and headed down for breakfast.

Breakfasts generally consist of some sweet cereal, even if it’s rolled oats it’s full of little chocolate bits, so I stay away from it. Generally scrambled eggs or omelette , yoghurt, and a range of cake, meat, fruit, cheese, and bread and rolls, some days a toaster and juice. I generally have a yoghurt and toast if there is a toaster, or bread and cheese if there isn’t. Black tea is hard to locate, but thankfully I have a box so I bring a couple of bags with me each morning.

After breakfast we had to bring the bikes down the stairs from the 3rd floor which was a bit of a challenge with my arm, I had to carry the bike on the other side and stop after each flight.

At 8am we left in a convoy, only a 7km one today. Getting on and off my bike is difficult but possible, and I can use my brakes. My arm is uncomfortable – 4/10 on the pain scale but compared to sitting in a truck most of the day it is doable.

Riding along, having trouble getting on and off the bike and braking, I was thinking about my friend Wendy who had a very nasty accident a couple of years ago, which has left her with very limited use of her right hand – I had a small insight into her world.

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A town called Marina

Thankfully the riding today is easy, fresh legs, and no big hills. Before I know it we are at lunch. Beautiful spot for lunch, jaw dropping view, amazing harbours, clear blue water, sandy beaches. Every turn is more beautiful.

 

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Lunch stop

I found it a bit difficult going through the towns with the traffic lights, having to get on and off my bike, and the last few km had a couple of climbs but then a descent to the hotel along another promenade. We stayed at the Hotel Jadran, not as flash as the one in Split but pretty nice. The hotel is very dated, another place that would have been grand in its day. The carpet is worn but the room is small, clean, and comfortable.

There is quite a lot of noise outside which turns out be a basketball tournament which goes on until about midnight.

Before dinner we walked up and down the promenade looking at the boats and ships. They are all in beautiful order. They range from small to charter boats to ships.

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Sibenik Waterfront

Tonight I had dinner with Brett and John and Walker, both who rode with us on the Trans-Europa. John rode from St Petersburg to Barcelona, and Walker and his wife Carol joined us in Venice and rode to Lisbon.

Dinner was a vegetable soup, over cooked fish / over cooked chicken / mushed vegetables and cold chips, and a really nice lemon and strawberry ice cream.
Plus we shared a couple of bottles of chilled red wine, can’t remember the type.

 

I went to sleep with the loud music blasting.

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Day 4: Rest day in Split

I slept off and on, there was a full-on party on the promenade most of the night. When this fizzled out the street cleaners took over.

My arm is pretty sore, it’s not too bad holding it straight, but as soon as I try to rotate it, ouch! Luckily this trip has a number of doctors: there are 3 ED doctors Kathy, John H, and Peter M, plus Tony the cardiologist. So when I went down to breakfast I pretty much picked the first doctor I saw, which was Peter M, and got a consult. Sure beats spending hours waiting around at medical clinics.

The consensus of Peter and John was there is no break at the wrist, and possibly a small crack in the radial head (which wouldn’t be plastered anyway) and badly sprained. Approx time to come right is about 10 days. Riding won’t make it any worse, and whether I can ride will depend how sore it is. Thankfully today is a rest day as I don’t think I would be able to ride with it today. Fingers crossed it is improved tomorrow.

Breakfast was an experience trying to do everything with my left hand. Amazing how difficult it is to use a spoon or butter toast with your non-dominant hand.

After breakfast Brett and I headed off to get the laundry, and then to a small supermarket. I have been trying to get some hair conditioner since I got to Bosnia but neither country appears to sell it. My hair is looking seriously messy! Back at the hotel I spent some time catching up with the blog (thankfully typing doesn’t require me to rotate my arm).

Then off to explore, we looked around for a while and then we went to a place called Chop for lunch. I chose the Angus Beef Burger and had major food envy as Brett chose Lamb chops and they looked amazing. Luckily Brett gave me one of the chops. Have a look at the photo, you will see what I mean. We had a very nice red Korlat Syrah.

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Next we went for a walk around in the old town, very interesting, lots of small alleys with the buildings very close together. Just about every alley had a few tables with sometimes the restaurants just inside, and sometimes a couple of streets away. You would see waiters weaving their way through the streets with food or empty plate.

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Old town

A huge underground shopping area, plus in the Diocletian’s palace in the vestibule were Dalmatian singers, stopping in between each song to hawk off their CD.

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The Vestibule at southern end of the Peristil

I bought some sandals with slip resistant soles (something I should have done before I left NZ). I also bought a couple of presents for the grand babies, a plug, and could not resist a quick visit into the lolly shop.

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Cathedral tower rising above the Peristil

After this we went back out onto the promenade and a pirate looking ship caught my eye. My granddaughter Lucy likes dressing up as a pirate, and pirate stories, so I decided to have a look at the ship and take a photo. When we got up to it we were asked if we wanted to go on an hour and half cruise. We asked when it was sailing and “Now” was the response, so we hopped on board.

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We headed out along the coast for about 35 minutes, it was really nice being in the sun and the breeze. Then they stopped and said anyone who wants to go swimming now is your chance. I had no togs (or swimmers as they are called in Aussie) but with the beating sun and inviting looking clear blue water, it was an easy choice: off with the sunnies, hat, and shoes, and over the side.

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It was amazing warm water, we spent about 15 minutes swimming. It was a bit of mission to get back in the boat, as I had to go up a ladder which started at the water line. This required hauling up my body weight, but not being able to use one arm. Thankfully Brett went up first and gave me a helpful pull.

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Heading back to the waterfront

Once we got back to shore we wandered around the old city some more. Whilst walking up on alley we noticed a sign “wine tasting”, so we stopped at Diocletian’s Wine House to try 3 Croatian wines.

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First was a white Kujundzusa, unfortunately I can’t make out the rest of the name on the photo. We tasted this with shrimp and feta
Second was a red Dingac Nikolica, we tasted this with prosciutto and cheese
Third was also a red, Bedalov Zinfandel. We tasted this with cheese and honey.

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This grape wine Zinfandel got a disease and was dying out in Croatia, there were only 25 vines left. Some of the wine makers took some of the surviving plants to other countries so the type of vine would have a chance to survive. 20 years ago the vine was bought successfully back from America and now this wine is made again Croatia.

While we were there, we asked about the sign that said they prepared traditional Dalmatian food. They prepare a dish called Peka, which is a famous Dalmatian dish prepared with meat or octopus and vegetables. The ingredients are placed in a covered pan and cooked in the embers of the fire. This type of cooking is often referred to as cripnja (under the bell) as the pans often have a bell shaped lid. As this is the only rest day in Croatia we booked in for this at 8pm.

We wandered around a bit more, then back to the hotel to tidy up and get ready for the next day.

At 8 pm on the dot we arrived back at Diocletian’s restaurant, ready for a new food experience. The Peka was good, it was very rich as the liquid content had reduced due to the long slow cooking. I thought it was just over onto the slight overdone side, but still enjoyed it. This was followed by a panna cotta with berries, also very nice but much thicker / denser than any panna cotta I have had before.

Then it was time to return to the hotel, another day riding tomorrow. Pretty noisy outside, but am pretty tired after last night so hopefully will sleep ok.

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Diocletian’s Palace

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