Lakeside landscapes and villages – Upper Austria’s Attersee

Gallery

This gallery contains 13 photos.

I am sure many bloggers and travel writers hit the same problem as me. I have been home weeks from a trip and published several items about the holiday, especially the cycling and the food. However I keep coming back … Continue reading

Riding, not despairing in Upper Austria

Salzkammergut mountain biking Austria

Mountain biking Upper Austria

Cycling Salzkammergut Upper Austria mountain biking

When I finished Velo-city I was exhausted, not just by the work and the hours but also because I was fighting a cold the whole week. (Insert man-flu insults here)

Going to the Attersee in Upper Austria with my wife was a planned escape to chill out and recover which for me always includes getting in a few bike rides of some type. Last year in Canada was my special treat to mountain bike at Whistler and tour across British Columbia straight after the event. If had even thought about cycling or mountain biking like that this year it would have been a complete disaster, I would hardly have made any progress.

For three days I was just floored and very happy to be carried around the lake by ferry and lie on the bank in the wonderful summer heat. I didn’t even hassle the landlady for the free bikes promised at the hotel which is very out of character. In fact I was dreading that feeling of a first ride after a break, the knowledge that my legs would be like jelly and in the heat I would really suffer.

KTM Lifejoy mountain bikeBut on Wednesday the bikes turned up and within a couple of hours I just knew I couldn’t resist. I also knew I didn’t fancy the busy road around the lake, I was just so tempted by the minor roads and tracks up and away from the side of the valley that decided to take the risk that I would expire and head up and away for a few km.

Up the first slope I was very grateful for the extra big sprocket provided by a Shimano Megarange 34 tooth sprocket because it was a real struggle. However then I looked back. Maybe just a hundred metres gained and I had a spectacular view over the Attersee.

Cycling Salzkammergut Upper Austria mountain biking

And then suddenly I was back. I just wanted to ride up and away to take in the views and get that sense of achievement that comes from getting to the top of a decent hill. I really did find myself saying “its back, I’ve got my mojo back” which does seem toe-curlingly embarrassing now.Cycling Salzkammergut Upper Austria mountain biking

Cycling route signs Salzkammergut Upper Austria mountain bikingAfter that I was able to enjoy the tracks that led up into the hills and do a great loop around the Wachtberg. Only a few km but quite a lot of climbing up around the beautifully tended farmhouses and then along wooded trails before a tricky descent back almost to lake level at Alexenau and back to Weyregg am Attersee with great views all the way along. The best 7km ride in ages!Cycling Salzkammergut Upper Austria mountain biking

Weyregg am Attersee AustriaOnce the ice was cracked I was into my riding for the next three days. The network of roads and trails was just stunning. Just as importantly they were brilliantly waymarked and I could almost have navigated without the map. I nearly made it up to around 1000 metres every day on climbs like the Gahberg and the scenery was just stunning, plus we had some great rides together. I didn’t complete either of them but the temptation of the longer distance Salzkammergut mountain bike routes like the Richtberg Runde and the Krahberg Runde were always there – maybe an excuse to come back.

Despite the bike being a very ordinary mtb clone the KTM Lifejoy it did at least have a Cyclist beware sign Salzkammergut Upper Austria mountain bikingtriple chainset and the Megarange so I could ride everything. Surfaces were not technical, mostly dirt road, so the challenge was steady climbing, not staying on the bike. I wasn’t properly kitted up for full cross country with helmet and toolkit so I had to be a bit careful not to get stranded in the middle of nowhere because there were certainly almost no other riders, astonishing given the quality of the riding.

None of the rides was longer than a couple of hours but all were proper summer holiday rides, great scenery , great weather, hardly anyone around and properly recharging the batteries.

A decent photo gallery too. (just take a look at the route profile on the final photo!)

Cycling Salzkammergut AustriaAttersee lake view Upper AustriaCycling Salzkammergut AustriaCycling Salzkammergut Austria

21st Century hunter-gatherer in the sunset

Weyregg am Attersee Austria

Weyregg am Atersee

In the time of our ancestors “go get me something to eat” was a significantly more challenging task than it is today. However in our family it has become a bit of an in joke for when I come back from walking the dog or cycling with something edible like mushrooms, satisfying my hunter-gatherer instincts Mrs Idonotdespair calls it.

However on holiday we had the most indulgent hunter-gatherer treat to start our week at Weyregg am Attersee when the hotel landlady told us on our first night that there was a party with food down by the lake.

A more chilled, self-indulgent evening would be harder to imagine.

Eight of the best local restaurants in the area have clubbed together to form a consortium called Kulinarium Attersee which promotes local food and cooking through a series of soirees and events during the year.Weyregg am Attersee

Kulinarium AtterseeEach provides staff for a bar promoting Austrian wine and beer together with a food stall cooking samples of their best produce and meals. In this case the Kulinarium was celebrating the start of summer at the tiny park beside the freshwater aquarium in Weyregg just a few metres from our hotel. We knew we were on to something made for us when we could hear the covers band playing from our window, the sort of guys who can clearly handle a good blues tune but whose repertoire stops in about 1975.

When we wandered over we were able to get gently sozzled on chilled Grüner Veltliner and Aperol spritzers while Aperol spritzesampling tapas sized portions of everything the area had to offer. So each time my wife said “go and get me something to eat” I was able to return with sampler portions of sushi, of smoked trout, lamb cutlets and red wine risotto or duck skewers all evening. By the end if you had asked me to hunt anything more demanding than a chocolate mousse the species would have become extinct.

Stunning, stunning sunset over the lake to wind down.

We were falling for Attersee already.

Lamb cutlet and red wine risotto

Attersee KulinariumDuck skewersWeyregg am Attersee, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace, summer palace of the Hapsburgs

Gardens Schonbrun Vienna Schonbrun Palace Vienna

If you read this blog regularly you might anticipate that all I did in Vienna on my is cycle, think about cycling, talk about cycling – and eat.

Not true! It is a pretty special city of course in its own right with an extraordinary heritage of the various versions of the Austrian empires. However I have always been so busy with the cycling blog posts I hardly get round to publishing the tourist photos.

Time rectify the balance a bit.

On the day after Velo-city my wife and I made our way out to Schönbrunn, summer palace of the Hapsburgs in the Vienna suburbs. According to Wikipedia it is the most visited attraction in Vienna, I went there last year as well and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was keen to go again which is quite unusual for me.The audio tour and other materials give a good feeling of the various royals who lived there and wrap them up with the history of this enormous empire at its peak. Inside it is just extraordinary opulence, outside it is all about scale.Gloriette Schonbrun Vienna

This time it was hot and sticky so the gardens and courtyards were blazing but the gardens looked great. No photography allowed inside so this post is just a short gallery of the outside including the views across the gardens to Maria Theresa’s Gloriette looking down on us and the more secluded spaces like the orange garden.

Oranges at Schonbrun Orangerie Schonbrun

17 days in Slovakia and Austria – lots to catch up on

Austria, Salzkammergut, Upper Austria
Salzburg AustriaTomorrow the nine hour train journey from Salzburg to Brussels will mark the transition from holiday back to reality. The hotel wi-fi has enabled me to download the dreaded emails and the Salzburg weather has turned foul in celebration.

If I count all the photos and stories that are bubbling round in my brain I could be posting for two months but I am sure some of it will fade, sometimes an idea that just seemed right at the time turns to mush when confronted with a keyboard.

However stand by for a sequence which will include the unexpectedly delightful Bratislava old town, deep immersion into the cycling frenzy of Velo-city Vienna and then a week’s relaxation by the beautiful Attersee in the Upper Austria (Oberosterreich) region. It is part of a great tourism area marketed as the Salzkammergut and thoroughly recommended.

A great time, loads of cycle chat and some lovely images to share. Now I just need another holiday to write it all up!