Report 25

TIME TO CHILL OUT: from July 20 till July 27 2002

Why do people plan out, I wonder if they don’t stick to their planning. Perhaps the defiance lies in the possibility to change those projects and act on the spur of the moment. Gosh, …. from too much cycling I’ve become very philosophical. Only to tell you that instead of going eastwards to Hungary I’m first heading for the west. I’m known for my impetuous zeal when it comes to cycling so it’s only natural that I’m in for a substantial detour.
The Czech Republic for instance was not on the agenda and neither was Austria. Never mind we’ll just have to add it, it’s as simple as that!

I leave Prague unaware of the oncoming natural disaster this enthralling city is going to be afflicted with.
South-Bohemia has quaint little towns with Bavarian or Austrian flavour mixed with local folk baroque buildings.
The region boasts picturesque little Bohemian towns like Ceske Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov. The latter is a real gem, a small medieval town with an almost unchanged view since the 18th century.
The Czech Republic may be very entchanting, but I want to see mountains, or better still get on top of them!
Once more it’s time to chill out and where can I indulge myself better than in Austria, my favourite stopping place since my pre-school age.
The high mountains are my personal treasure throve and I gladly make time to climb the uncountable peaks: the more the merrier!

Since Prague I’m living in a complete harmony with nature. I camp in the wild and wash myself in the river, in one word: this life is idyllic!
In almost 3 days, at about 165km a day I want to reach the Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain. And mind you, my legs are going to protest!

I cross the Austrian border and end up once more in the European Union. My recent stay in Central Europe is in sharp contrast to the more comfy lifestyle in the Union.
I can put away my passport and dig up the familiar Euro. I feel it; I’m almost home!
After crossing the Donau in Linz I enjoy splendid scenery at the Lake of Gmunden and the well-known Austrian Salzkammergut region. The unspoilt landscapes of the Alps are beginning to bare their beauty.

The fourth day I wake up at the foot of the famous "Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse", which I my opinion ought to be translated into " Grosglockner’s infernal mountain excursion".
Give me a racing bike and I will do the climb 10 times - ok, I admit 7 times would be more feasible! - but my 52kg-heavy vehicle makes it a memorable trip anyway.
It’s hot, even when reaching the summit and the climb is quite a tough job but I can follow most cycling aficionados in their footsteps.
Fortunately my legs feel alive and kicking today. About 2 and a half-hour later I’m enjoying the awe-inspiring view of the peaks.
As cyclists tend to exaggerate, I can summarize the climb to the Grassglockner’s peak into 3 words: blood, sweat and tears!

Oh, come on, don’t believe that, I’m only kidding. The whole climb was just a piece of cake. Not convinced? Go and try it for yourself then. Climbing the Grossglockner might be a splendid idea for your next holiday.
Don’t forget though: only practice makes perfect!

Auf Wiedersehen!


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