St Anton to Innsbruck 104km : Total to date 1738km
I slept well but David didn’t. That sometimes happens after a really tough day. We had a lovely breakfast with the family and then we were off again. The first 25km were fairly steeply downhill to Landeck. How can legs and head and body feel sluggish with a long downhill? It didn’t seem fair! It was partly because it cold and we had had no warm up first but mostly the after effects to pushing bodies to the limit the day before
I still was still pondering on how on earth I got up the last pass – the answer is that you just always do – but it does take a toll when you are past the half century (although to be fair it would have taken its toll when we were in our twenties and just did not have have the excuse of a middle aged body). That is our excuse and we are sicking too it!
After Landeck it was a very gradual downhill following the river Inn all the way to Innsbruck. We soon picked up signs to a bike path signposted Innsbruck which kept us away from the main road most of the time – mostly on small roads or paved paths but sometimes on firm dirt road.
A smaller path took us through an amazing gorge which we shared with the single track railway and white water rafters on the bounding slate grey river. Rafting the Inn looked great fun as we took photos from one of the many wooden bridges we criss crossed over the river.
As the valley opened out the road became easier but after a sunny start to the day the drizzle started, We managed to find a suitable bus shelter in which to have out lunch and even brewed up a cup of coffee on our stove as the traffic on the road in front zoomed past and the odd cyclist looked aghast as they passed. We were lucky that no bus arrived.
A brew in a bus shelter may not appear sophisticated (and is not to be fair) but it was dry. it also gave us a bit of zip for the final 30km to Innsbruck. Hans had recommended a more scenic route but as it was cloudy and rainy we elected to stay on the direct route even though the last 10k were on a dirt road sandwiched between the motorway and the river.
David did a good bit of navigating again and we easily found the hotel we had booked (which was fortunate we did – today was a bank holiday for the Feast of the Assumption and the hotel receptionist told us the next day she had turned away more than 100 people that day without a booking). By mid afternoon we were soaking in a hot bath – bliss – this ‘quiet’ day’ was still over 100km!!
After a prolonged rest we dragged ourselves out to have a look at Innsbruck and were immediately taken with the city – full of incredible architecture from many ages, but the Hapsburg influence was strong. This was their summer playground with Wien (Vienna) for the serious stuff.
We climbed a tower with great views – me plastered against the wall and refusing to look down but seeing good views into the distance! We had toyed with spending the following morning in Innsbruck then tackling the Brenner pass in the afternoon – but having examined our brains that seemed a very foolish thing to do, Why were we rushing? There was clearly loads to see and climbing the tower steps (which was not that high) confirmed our aching legs. Sometimes we just need a bit of time to see sense over a nice Chinese meal and agree with each other that the next day would be a proper day off!