Day 04 – Heiligenblut to Haage (Austria, Germany)

11:59 pm Austria, Bogenhofen, Germany, SDA Church, Travel
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Elevation Profile

The view from my balcony was superb … the sun was shining and I was thrilled to be heading over the Hochalpenstrasse today.

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But I was wondering if I would encounter a similar scenario to the day before, when the snow closed the Fluelapass. Both of the following photos were taken from my balcony also.

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Even though I was the only guest, they put on a splendid breakfast for me! Notice the forest visible through the windows.

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As I was riding out of Heiligenblut, I took one last photo. While this photo was taken from the road, it is an almost identical view to what I had from my room.

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And just out of town I passed the start of the Hochalpenstrasse – I was finally at the point which was the original attraction for taking this detour to Haage (near Berlin).

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This is the first hairpin (or Kehre in German), or the 27th if you are counting from the other end!

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And then I arrived at the toll station … and how short-lived one’s dreams can be! It turns out that there was a storm at the top of the pass, with lots of snow. Only vehicles with chains were allowed up. They were not sure if it was going to open that day, but certainly not by mid-day. The black VW Golf you see parked there also had to turn around – they didn’t have any chains. As for the bikes at the toll booth, I didn’t hang around, but I’m sure they were soon turning around also. Frankly, looking at the weather, I’m sure it would have been very unpleasant, even if the road had not been covered in snow and ice.

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So I decided to take an alternate route, and headed back to Lienz and then up to Mittersill.

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I’m not sure what this building was, but it looked unique!

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The road to Mittersill headed directly north from Lienz, which took me into the same mountain range as Hochalpenstrasse, except on the left hand side of the Grossglockner.

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However, as I headed higher, I was starting to worry. Although the road was listed as open, the weather ahead looked just a bad as on the Hochalpenstrasse. And as I kept climbing, it looked like I would have to pass over the top anyway.

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One of the advantages of being on a motorbike is that it is easy to park and take photos. I have often wanted to take photos of these covered roads, and on this occasion was able to do so.

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Looking out from the covered road, this beautiful waterfall was visible.

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And there were more roadworks. The roads in Europe are really good, but you do pay for it by having to stop all the time for road works.

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As I headed up the mountain, I finally worked it out – I didn’t have to go over the top of the range, because I was able to take a tunnel!

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I was relieved, because the weather at the tunnel entrance was pretty poor – and we weren’t even near the top of the mountain.

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And so into the tunnel I headed!

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After 5.5km of perfectly straight road, this was the view that struck me. Snow was falling very heavily.

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In case you can’t see the snow falling, check out the close-up of the little hut. Did I mention it was cold?

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I counted myself very lucky – to this point, I had pretty much been in dry conditions despite having rain forecast every day. What I didn’t know, is that I would ride the next 750km almost constantly in the rain (this day I travelled 986km, and at this point had covered less than 100km).

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Around lunchtime, I could see a huge wall of rain come my way, and I thought that this made an excellent opportunity to stop for lunch. I quickly parked the bike and went into the restaurant for a nice hot Rösti.

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The weather cleared up a little after lunch, but rain was never far away.

This photo is take at the boarder between Austria and Germany. I cut across Berchtesgaden (Germany) and then back into Austria.

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I always had to smile when I saw this sign – it can really be interpreted two ways:

  • The passing restriction does not apply to passing tractors (ausgenommen means except)
  • The passing restriction does not apply to tractors (i.e. tractors may pass other vehicles).

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After re-entering Austria, I dropped in on the Seventh-day Adventist College in Bogenhofen, as I had not been there before. I must say, I was surprised by the state of the facilities. This campus is definitely state of the art.

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The main drive and cafeteria.

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Also in the same building as the cafeteria is the administration (upstairs).

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The old castle (Schloss), including hallway upstairs and visitors room.

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The old chapel.

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The new church.

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One of the classrooms and the gym.

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The library.

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Staff and married student housing.

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An unused greenhouse in the background.

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From Bogenhofen, I headed up to Haage, near Berlin – but it rained a lot, so I took no more photos. Also, my aim was to reach Haage at a reasonable time – and it was still exactly 700kms away. It was 4:08pm when I left Bogenhofen, and I arrived in Haage at 10:55pm (having stopped for fuel several times and once to call my aunty and rest for 30 minutes). Average speed: 112km/h (including petrol stops, but excluding my 1/2 hour stop). Not bad given that some of it was country roads and that it was raining most of the time. I promised my aunty that I would be there by 11pm, and I kept my promise :-).

One Response

  1. Axel Leonhardt Says:

    750kms in the rain …. well, I know, it’s NOT pleasant. How did your gear hold up? Staying try while riding in the rain makes it much more bearable …….

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