St. Michael to Hallein
The Königsee as seen from the viewpoint
July 10 to July
was no way we had the energy to ride over the pass going from St. Michael to
Radstatt and then again over to Bischoshofen on the Salzach river. Not a
chance. When you get to the point where your legs muscles hurt just walking up
a few steps you know you’re absolutely beat.
we determined we’d take the bus and train. It was a fairly easy ride back to
the town of Tamsweg and we had a couple hours wait until the 1 PM bus for
our surprise the bus that showed up was just an oversized van. We’d been
expecting something much bigger. The bus driver seemed rather upset as well.
Although we weren’t sure exactly what the issue was. He was just in the
process of loading the bikes into the middle of the seats on the van when a
second bus pulled up. This was what appeared to be a normal city style bus and
it had a sign saying it was headed to Radstatt. This was the correct bus.
clambered aboard, piled the bikes into the space normally reserved for the baby
carriages, paid our 18.20€ and
were off for a 1 1/2 hour ride on this city bus.
a ride it was. To get to Rastatt requires passing over one more Alpine
mountain pass. And what a spectacular pass it is. It’s got those high, rugged
peaks that we really enjoy viewing.
usual in Europe the pass has a plethora of services available. It’s a big ski
area and there are restaurants, hotels, chair lifts, and all sorts of tourist
attractions. It seems to us that you can not find a pass in Europe that has
not been developed with at least one restaurant plus a chair lift. It must
come as quite a shock to Europeans when they first go over a pass in the Rocky
Mountains. We rarely have a restaurant at the top.
bus dropped us at the train station with just a few minutes to spare before the
train arrived. We quickly purchased 2 people tickets to Bischofhofen plus 2
all day bike tickets.
on the ticket machine there are options for buying bike tickets for one day,
one week, or one month. We paid for the 1 day ticket. Yet when the conductor
checked our tickets he told us that this particular ticket was only valid for the urban train,
not intercity. That would have cost 10€ rather than 5. He let it pass this
time but we still haven’t figured out how you can buy one of these bike tickets
out of the machine. Maybe it’s not possible.
was Saturday afternoon and hot and muggy. So once in Bischofhofen we found a
shopping mall, grabbed cold drinks and plunked ourselves down on a bench to
wait for cooler temps and for the stores to close. In Austria the stores will
close at 5 PM on Saturday. So you’d better stock up
on food for the next 1/12 days before then or you’ll be eating all your meals
main square in Bischofhofen
headed just a bit down river to a
campground located right on that Salzach river. The Salzach goes right through
Salzburg. This particular campground was one of the more unpleasant we’ve seen
in Austria. Normally it wouldn’t be so bad. It’s grassy and has some nice
riverside sites. But its main problem is that this was the start of peak season. This
campground was one of those stop over places that fills to capacity at night
only. And to top it off it had woefully insufficient facilities. For all the
campers there were exactly 3 toilets for men and women and 1 shower each. Our
campsite was a good 2 minute walk at least to the toilet. It was not at all
Bischofhofen The Salzach winds through a narrow gorge as it leaves the Alps
headed for the Donau river. Riding
through this gorge was quite a highlight of the Salzach river radweg.
views as we headed down the Salzach River
we were thinking that a really great 2 week Austrian bike tour would be:
Fly into Vienna and take the train and bus to the pass at Obertauern
Ride down from the pass to Radstatt and then on to Bischofhofen
Continue down the Salzach to Salzburg
Continue down river to the Salzach/Donau
river junction at Passau
Ride down the Donau to Vienna
this tour you’d get a good overview of all Austria has to offer and it’d be
mostly downhill or flat. Of course if you really like climbing hills you can
do it in the opposite direction.
imagine trying to visit Salzburg smack in the middle of high tourist season.
Just imagine trying to negotiate it’s winding streets while trying to avoid the
swinging arms of dozens of Julie Andrews wannabes. Imagine jostling and
shoving around all those package bus tourists who unload every morning and jam
the streets to capacity. Back in 1999 we visited Salzburg for 4 days in
September and even at that time of year it was a crowded city. Imagine it in
thank you. That’s not our cup of tea.
we decided to stop our down river
trek at the nearby town of Hallein. From here we would turn west and head
directly into Germany.
Hallein to München
Looking at all the different
radwegs along the Bodensee-Königsee radweg
July 12 to July
along the southern edge of Germany is a route called the Bodensee-Königsee
radweg. It crosses along the toes of the foothills of the Alps having a lot of
heavy duty climbs and descents along the way. In the maps the route heads west
to east. So naturally we started out going east to west.
in Germany once again
radweg begins, or ends, at the mountain lake called the Königsee. This is a
long, narrow lake jutting into the mountains that was clearly originally
glacier made. It is a pretty lake surrounded by steep mountains and since it
lies mostly within a national park not all its shoreline is developed. It
reminded us a little bit of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.
the touristy entry town to the Königsee national park
with so many natural sites within Germany, the Königsee actually is quite
developed and civilized and has been for a long, long time. A road leads right
to the end of the lake where there is a huge, and expanding, parking lot. You
pay to park naturally. Right here you’ll find a McDonald’s restaurant. How
they ever managed to get permission to build on that site we’ll never know.
you walk toward the lake you pass through a row of Alpine looking buildings all
filled with stores selling tons of tourist junk. Some things being sold made
sense, the usual souvenirs. But we saw one store
dedicated to selling just cheap watches. We had to wonder just how much of the
stuff being sold is really made in Germany.
all the stores you finally come to the shoreline of the lake. Now in the US
national parks such as Glacier there are boat tours of a
lake there’ll usually be just one boat. Maybe, just maybe there’ll be two.
Here there were probable at least 8 big tour boats that go out onto the lake
all day long. In addition you can rent canoes, paddle boats, and row boats.
So this lake is by no means an uncrowded experience. You’ll have plenty of
headed out along a couple km trail to one of the main viewpoints. The part of
the lake you can see from the town is just a small bay. You need to go beyond
this, down a trail or on a boat, in order to see the rest of the lake. It was
a nice little walk and the views of the lake are stunning. But we have to
admit we tend to prefer the more isolated lakes of the US Rocky Mountains.
Those are the lakes that you really have to work at to get to.
the Königsee and all its tourists behind, we once again headed back north and
away from the high Alpine mountains. The route at this point is following
along the rolling foothills of the mountains past open green fields, cute
Bavarian villages, and tall onion dome steeple churches.
houses were the stereotypical Bavarian/Swiss chalet style with the white
stucco, brown porches, and lots of flowers. It almost seemed there was a
rivalry between owners as to who had the most flower bedecked porches.
very typical Bavarian house
towns all have their main square surrounded by pastel colored buildings often
having elaborate paintings on the walls. The center of the square will boast
an old town fountain and often some tall pillar with a statue to some saint on
top. The square garden is always meticulously maintained. One thing you can
say about these Bavarian Germans, they sure do take
care of their gardens both public and private.
somewhere in town you will find the
Maypole. This seems to be a Bavarian unique tradition that extends from
Germany into Austria. It seems the poles are erected every spring during some
big spring fest. They can be as simple as a stripped tree log with a small
pine tree strapped to the top to a pole bearing special medallions relating to crafts or other
town activities. The poles can be plain wood, painted blue and white candy striped, covered with
carved bark, have a wreath of pine around the top, be topped with a little pine
tree, have just a few metal medallions
attached on the sides, have dozens of fancy 3D wood medallions. Fancy or simple it seems
every Bavarian town has one of these poles smack in the center somewhere.
of a Maypole. I like the fellow with the green car on the right.
too far past the town of Anger we passed what is called the stiftskirch St.
Peter and Paul. From one side it appears to be one of your typical dome
steeple, white stucco affairs. But this seems to be a much bigger church than
St. Peter and Paul
stiftskirche sits in an ideal location on the shore of a small lake. Rather
than being just a single church building it appears to be an entire compound.
There’s a central courtyard with what could easily have been monks quarters
surrounding it if it were a monastery. The main church is on one side. The décor of the church is plainly Baroque.
It has a stunning decoration hanging from the center of the ceiling that really
sets it off. Although many of the churches along the way begin to look alike,
this particular one was unique enough to warrant several photos.
decoration hanging in St. Peter and St. Paul
is a regular institution throughout Bavaria. After all this is where the
Biergarten really finds its home.
understand that the biergarten has its origin with the breweries. They used to
store the beer in their shaded gardens. Folks would then come around to buy
the beer and decide to sample right there. Soon the owners were adding table,
chairs, food, and other services making the biergarten essentially an open air
restaurant. So while England may have their pubs, Bavaria has their
biergartens. And you’ll find them absolutely everywhere.
is also where you’ll find a brewery in almost every other small town. There
are also many brewery museums scattered about. Of course every one costs
several euros to visit and since any signs and explanations would only be in
German we decided not to participate.
beer. Favorite drink of Bavaria.
radweg continues along small country and often forest roads. The hills were
steep and many. This is, after all, a route that goes across the foothills
rather than along them. So when we had just climbed up one rocky steep road to
find we weren’t in the right location and had to go back, we weren’t exactly
thrilled. Actually this was a detour. The original route was blocked. But we
weren’t sure. So we rode back down the hill, passing 3 old ladies who were out
for a hike a second time. We got to the blocked road and realized we were in
the right direction after all. So back up the hill we went, passing the 3
ladies for the 3rd time. They were really getting a kick out of our back and
forth. Fortunately this was the top of the hill and from here it was just
downhill all the way into the town of Bad Tölz.
a statue in Bad Tölz
Tölz is located just about 50 km south of the large city of München. Our
original plans had been to continue on to the Bodensee. Because we would be
staying within the Schengen visa zone for over 3 months we needed to do
something to make our stay legal. This would require getting a temporary
German residence. An office in Waldshut past the Bodensee had told us they
could do it. So we had thought of going on to Waldshut.
all the hill riding plus delays back in Greece we were running about a week
behind our plan. We wanted to get up to Scandanavia before August so we’d have
at least the full month when, hopefully, the weather would be good. Also, we
were getting tire of riding hills and we had a lot of tasks that needed
attention. Continuing on to Waldshut just seemed out of the question. So we
turned north and headed to München.
had so many things to do and find. We had to call the foreign residence office
in Starnberg to make an appointment to get a residence permit. They also had
said they could give it to us. This was made for 9AM on July 21.
we were looking to replace a broken Nalgene bottle, ripped and yellowed Ortleib
map pockets, and a clip for the GPS. These were 3 things that we expected to
be very difficult if not impossible to find. We got lucky, we found all three
in a store called Shusters, one real find.
was a lot of work getting all these odds and ends taken care of and it took
close to a week to do. So we decided it was time to take the fast route to
Denmark. We rented a car for one day and drove like crazy to the German town
of Flensburg. From here we’d take on Scandanavia and begin the second half of our summer biking
APPENDIX A – ROUTE
Mur radweg to Tamsweg, bus and train to Bischofhofen, Taurenradweg to
Pfarrwerfen, 25.59 km
Tauren radweg to Hallein, 41.51 km
12 - Rt 159 to back road to Rt
160 and Germany border, Rt 305 to Berchtesgaden, Bike trail to Königsee and
back, Königsee-Bodensee radwegbto Piding, 56.45 km
Königsee-Bodensee radweg to Bergen, 51.95 km
Königsee Bodensee radweg to Bad Feilnbach, 65.46 km
Königsee Bodensee radweg to Bad Tolz, 72.31 km
Königsee Bodensee radweg back to Bad Tölz, Isar radweg to Munich, 63.78 km
Isar radweg to Grünwald, Raflring Müchen to Rt 95, Bike path to Starnberg,
roads to Ambach, 49.93 km
Bike path to Starnberg, back roads thru Perchting, Drößling to Seefeld, back
roads thru Unering, Perchting to Starnberg, back to München same way, 77.46 km
APPENDIX B –
Vierthaler in Pfarrwerfen (12.80 €/night)
11: Camping Auwirt in Hallein (17.80 €/night)
12: Campingplatz Staufeneck in Piding (17.00 €/night)
13: Campingplatz Wagnerhof in Bergen (18.00 €/night)
14: Tenda camping park in Bad Feilnbach (19.50 €/night)
15: Camping near Bad Tölz (15.75 €/night)
16 - 19, Campingplatz Thalkirchen in Munich (15.40 €/night)
20: Gastcamping Hirth in Ambach (18.00 €/night)
21: Campingplatz Thalkirchen in Munich (15.40 €/night)
22: Hotel Etap in Handwitt (54.00 €/night)