Mountains for two
The day started early - very early, which was a bit of a shock to the system. We had breakfast alone as nobody else was stupid enough to have woken up this early.
Tip # 24. Always take a coat with large pockets or an empty handbag to breakfast. The continental breakfast consists of bread rolls with meat and cheese - which makes a great lunch.
The BOSS was picked up in the minibus by the lovely Michael who organises bike hire in the summer and ski trips in the winter - except when stupid Aussies come along and want to snowboard in the summer - then he will quite happily relieve them of their money and organise a private tour. The minibus also contained the very cute Tom, the snowboard instructor (see picture) but I will let the BOSS tell you all about her day.
I took the bike and relieved of all her weight, she flew up the mountain along the Brennerpass. I followed the Autobahn south into Italy but I used the minor "B" road which winds and twists underneath the highway. I passed under some amazing bridges built right over the top of the valleys. There was very little traffic so the ride was easy and fun but above me on the highway there seemed to be a problem or two. It looked like some sort of protest was taking place with a truck blockade 20 kilometres long. When I got to the border control it was a parking lot of trucks - nothing was moving in either direction. Luckily I left that route and headed off higher into the mountains along the Jaufenpass and then the Timmelsjoch pass. The road was packed with motorbikes in both directions and riding was great. It was such a thrill to be doing three amazing passes in one day with unbelievable scenery all the way. I ended up riding for nearly five hours although it was only about 200 kilometres. I didn't notice the time passing, or my muscles aching or my stomach grumbling - I was just riding!!
Today I had a fabulous day on top of a glacier, snowboarding, in the Austrian alps, in the middle of summer!! My day started off with me being picked up in a mini van and taken to the bus stop where me and my snowboarding instructor Tom, a young English guy, hopped on the bus that would take us up the mountain. The bus trip to 'my' snow was a slow, sleepy, hour long trip that helped me catch up on the sleep I'd lost from waking up so early. Once the bus had dropped us as off at the bottom we had to take the gondola up the rest of the mountain to get to the snow that hadn't yet melted. When we got to the top, the place was dead, there was no one on the slopes, the millions of cafes were closed and only one chairlift was open, it was the most perfect conditions to learn to snowboard. I was fitted out with boots and a board, with no hassles at all and we headed off to the only chairlift to finally get me on the slopes. At the top, Tom started teaching me exactly how to snowboard. After a few tiring hours we had a break then were promptly back to it, going down a steeper slope this time, which was the only way back to the bottom. By that time I was a pro boarder ready to take on the olympics. With only one spectacular, face diving, bellyflop fall sending me half way down the slope not putting me off, I was up again in no time and back to gliding down the slope. By the time we got to the bottom we had been boarding for a good four hours and the sun had come up and decided to destroy 'my' snow, into one big slushy. My snowboarding day was sadly over, but my snowboarding days have just begun. After eating an average lunch, we jumped back on the gondola down the mountain and back on the bus to take me back to Innsbruck. With one very good day on the snow to tire me out, I returned to mummy waiting for me at the hotel - in desperate need of a sit down and a large cup of coffee.
We decided not to stay another night in Innsbruck so we loaded the bike and headed towards Salzburg. It was just on 5 o'clock and the weather was closing in so we rode for only an hour. We reached Worgl, found the most stunning traditional gasthaus, bought some groceries for dinner and settled in to watch the thunderstorm that had followed us from Innsbruck.