Days 3-4 - Austria (Tyrol) to Slovenia
I got to a campsite at Lake Constance the previous night, near the border with Austria. Woke up in the morning and went to pay for the campsite. The only option was to pay by cash though, and I only had my mum’s credit card with me (since I left mine at home). Went to the nearest village to take cash out, and then back to the campsite to pay.
Started heading towards Austria. Ride along Lake Constance wasn’t very exciting, traffic wasn’t very heavy but heavy enough to make it hard to overtake.
This was the route I did that day:
Lake Constance (Germany) – Arlberg Pass (Austria) – Flexen Pass – Lech – Lechtal Strasse – Fern Pass – Innsbruck – Gerlos Pass – Zell am See (Kaprun)
As I got into Austria roads started getting more twisty and fun. I got to the Arlberg pass about mid-day:
After Lech views just kept getting better:
Here’s the video from this part:
When I went down the Arlberg pass and stopped at some car park for a bit, I got a message from my mum. She sent me a picture of a letter I got from the police. It was a speeding ticket – I was in Northern Ireland few days before this trip for North West 200 bike racing. On the way back it was obvious that there would be a lot of police when everyone was on their way back. Everyone slowed down except me (and few others).. I didn’t see any police but they must have activated speed cameras that I thought were usually switched off. Or there was some speed camera van hiding somewhere.
Anyway I continued towards Innsbruck.
Fern Pass would have been good if there was less traffic. It was slow and hard to overtake. Gerlos Pass – some parts of it were a bit bumpy and not great road condition but views were nice and not much traffic. Actually I was behind one car for quite a while and didn’t bother overtaking them. Didn’t take many pictures for the rest of the day, just this one on Gerlos Pass (and couple of screenshots from helmet cam):
Here’s the video from Fern Pass, Innsbruck and Gerlos Pass.
I wanted to get as close as I could to the Grossglockner (Zell am See) so that I could do it the next day. I found a campsite in Kaprun, near Zell am See. It was quite expensive for a campsite but that’s sort of expected near popular destinations like Grossglockner.
I was tempted to jump into outside swimming pool, but it was getting dark and by the time I had a shower it was pitch dark and I just went to my tent.
Woke up in the morning looking forward to Grossglockner. It was a “must do” of this trip, something I was looking forward to the most.
Packed my tent and set off. Got to the tolls where you pay to get on Grossglockner. But it turned out that it was still closed to bikers as it was still slippery higher up, it was only open to cars.
Disappointed I thought ok, I will try again on the way back after I do Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro.
This was the route I ended up doing this day instead:
Karup (Zell am See) – Grossglockner tolls – turned back – Badgastein – Mallnitz – Lienz – Strassen – Villach – Villach Alpine Road (Villacher Alpenstrasse) – Lake Faak (Faaker See) – Kranjska Gora (Slovenia) – Vrsic Pass – Bovec – Udine (Italy)
I set my sat nav for Mallnitz. My sat nav started showing that I will need to take some sea crossing soon. But there was no sea? I kept going and got to the dead end. There was some train on the right hand side and something that looked like a toll to pay in front of me. Went to the toll and they were shouting something – train was just about to depart so they wanted me to hurry. I didn’t know how these trains work, how do I board it etc. I paid and sort of turned back towards the side of the train but they waved to go to the back and ride onto the train. They then secured my bike using straps to the hooks in the floor.
I had to go to passenger carriage. Train didn’t take long at all and when I arrived in Mallnitz, sun has came out and views were pretty spectacular. Road was nice and smooth all the way on Mallnitz – Lienz – Strassen part, with not much traffic at all.
Here’s the video:
From Strassen I headed east towards Villach on road 111. Now this road wasn’t as smooth anymore, it was narrower and bumpier (some sections were perfectly smooth though). My helmet camera was running out of charge so I had to stop for 10 minutes couple times to try and charge it but it didn’t last for long. Eventually I just left it to charge for an hour or so, until I got to Villach.
I zoomed in on the map and I saw some twisty road near Villach – Villach Alpine Road (or Villacher Alpenstrasse) and decided to try it out. It turned out I had to pay to get on it but usually that means that road is well maintained.
This was the view at the top:
It was 2pm so I thought I will make it to Slovenia today. Went to check out Faak Lake first (Faaker See). I couldn’t find good view spot though and light rain has started, so decided to move on and go to Slovenia.
I picked the most twisty road I could see on the map in Slovenia, through Triglav National Park (Triglavski Narodni Park). It turned out to be Vrsic Pass 1611m high, which is the highest pass in Julian Alps. It has 50 hairpin turns, most of them cobbled. Also it was raining so I definitely wasn’t trying to break fastest world record riding through wet cobbled hairpin bends! There was also a section with roadworks so I had to ride on wet mud/gravel – at first I was thinking if should I turn back but it wouldn’t be like me to give up so easily and just went for it. It was dead easy in the end. Views were well worth it though.
My jeans were all soaked through. When it first started raining I thought maybe it will stop soon and never put my waterproofs on. It still wasn’t stopping after an hour or so, but at that point my jeans were all soaked. Decided to put waterproofs on at this point anyway to stop getting even more soaked (if it was even possible to get more soaked at all).
Here’s the video from Vrsic Pass:
It was getting late in the afternoon so I had to start thinking where to stop for the night. Since I was all soaked I didn’t fancy camping and wanted to find cheap room. But there was nothing near by (not cheap anyway) so I eventually ended up in Italy, in Fagagna near Udine.
It was a family ran B&B with kids running about. They didn’t speak English but still tried to sort of talk. They made meatballs with pasta for dinner and I was pretty hungry so it was good to eat something. It all cost me a total of 10 pounds – bed and dinner, they also gave me some breakfast in the morning. Cheaper than some campsites!