The temperatures were around 0-1 degrees Celsius when we awoke this morning, but it was sunny and clear and it looked stunning outside. Inside was beautifully warm – they really know how to heat their homes in these alpine areas – you walk around inside with a T-shirt.
Today’s ride was 64 km, a lot of them downhill, completing our crossing of the Alps at the Reschen pass. I was excited and a little apprehensive.
I was wearing almost all my warm clothes when we left, but it was not that bad. There was still a headwind, but not as strong as on the previous two days.
We were only a few km from the Austrian border – after a little up and down on the bike path. The crossing was an anti-climax as the bike path just went behind the border posts. There wasn’t even a sign to say welcome to Austria.
From here on it was all downhill on the other side. The first little town was Naunders and it even had a castle!
Eventually the bike path ended and we were pushed back onto the road to go down the Reschen pass proper. Most other cyclists do this route in the other direction and take a shuttle bus with their bikes up this part of the pass.
It was fine – not much traffic and all drivers very considerate. It would have been a different experience going up through the tunnels. The most adventurous part was a whole series of short tunnels (some open to one side). We found a side path that skirted around the first one, featuring the Tank Garten or graveyard for old tanks – some from the 1940’s.
The rest of the tunnels, we had to go through with the traffic. This was a little scary for me – we put both red lights on the back of my bike (I ride behind Kris) and we both had our hi-viz vests on. The visibility in the tunnels was good, but is still feels bad to be in a confined space with cars creating a roar behind us. Our timing was lucky as we did not encounter a truck in the tunnels. There were amazing views in between the tunnels – we seemed to be right up against the sheer cliffs in a cleft in the rock.
It was a relief to find the cycle path on the other side again – really easy now and mostly downhill.
I asked Kris to stop at Tosens as I felt my blood sugar getting a bit low and I had a headache (from the cold wind on my face? – Headaches while cycling is unusual for me). A street thermometer display announced the temperature to be 8 degrees. We found a coffee shop and both had coffee and cake, and then a second coffee. The proprietress was very friendly and we had a good chat. She has never had customers coming from the Italian direction before. She also said that last year in mid May they were swimming! So this cold is unseasonable. The warmth of the shop and treats revived me well and I felt fine for the rest of the ride.
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. There were a couple of stretches of gravelly road that were a bit harder, but most of the route was on dedicated bike paths.
Landeck is a large attractive town we passed through just before our final destination at Zams. All the signage for most of the day has been directing us to Landeck.
From Landeck we rode along the road to Zams – we did not see the bike path. It was only around 3.5 km.
Zams is dominated by huge rocky cliffs to the one side. It also has a church at the centre and a bell tower with bells that regularly ring out. The town is ruined somewhat by the constant traffic passing through.
Our hotel is not what we expected. It has a Austrian name (Hotel Thurner) and looks like a typical Austrian country hotel – however it is run by Chinese, who struggle to speak German with us (English is an even worse prospect). There are also a lot of people smoking in the downstairs restaurant which put us off. However our room is large and clean and doesn’t smell of smoke and the staff are friendly so it meets our needs well (also not expensive). We avoided the smoky restaurant and bought some things from the supermarket to eat in the room.