Thursday, September 24, 2009
Hinterthal, Hoher Koenigsberg, Austria
This is our first full day of riding in Austria. Green meadows, fat cows, rich farmland, rolling hills and as close to the Sound of Music as you can get. We are near Salzburg but we do not want to see any more large cities. Show us some small town living please. That is what we said to ourselves. We took local roads, no highways.
As a trial run for the passes to come we took route 166 called the “Salzburger Dolomiten Strasse”. We paid the 3.50 Euro per bike Maut (Toll) and it was a mild experience which brought us just above the tree line to about 1300 meters. It was a curvy road with some first or second gear switchbacks. It is a ski area in winter and a good taste of what lies ahead.
We stopped for the night in a very small town on Rt 164 called Hinterthal. We stopped early for the day even though the weather was perfect for riding. This little town, in a dead end valley is a delight. The Hotel Theresa gave us a garage for the bikes, we talked to the son of the owner named Joseph (Seppl), who cooked in the kitchen and was leaving the next day to visit Toronto, Chicago and Detroit. We were taken in by the Miller family as if we were friends. The owner rides an 1150 GS and the son a KTM dirt bike.
The mountain range surrounding this valley, the Hochkoening (High King) has mountain peaks all over 2500 meters high. Snow was still visible in some spots. The air was crystal clear, no wind (there is never really a lot of wind in the Alps because the mountains block any air currents) cows grazed on the high meadows, wooded patches of firs or pines gave it a picture perfect feeling. the houses had balconies with flower boxes full of colorful flowers. Each house was neat and well taken care of. We had a beer in front of a garden restaurant and watched the people go by. It was such a peaceful, quiet, delightful and restful experience after a day’s ride. Carol did not want to leave; she was humming “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music”, to herself. the hotel had had Wi-Fi we would have stayed longer.
During the war they wanted to run a rail road through this valley but it never happened. Thank God, it saved a pretty spot for us to visit. The food that night was delicious as was breakfast the next day.