Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Distance ridden 358 kilometres

After a bit of planning and some very uncharacteristic “non planning” we were ready to leave our house at nine in the morning. We had a basic route for our trip in mind, but quite a lot of what I can only call “meteorological uncertainty” was forecast in the days to come. In short, the only thing that was good about the weather forecast was that it could only improve. We were hoping to be away for ten days, but only the first five had any sort of set plan. Whilst we can (and sometimes have to) travel in wet weather, we obviously prefer not to. Lucie did put her luminous yellow waterproofs, which she calls “ET” because of the gloves, into the pannier and I popped my water-resistant Summer jacket in too, but we set off south in warm sunshine.

Because our first destination was Salzburg, we could only really take Route 4 as we had done on our previous trips to that city. Once we had left the environs of Prague by a slightly unusual (and traffic choked) route because of a serious, three-year reconstruction of the Barrandov Bridge, everything was practically identical to my description posted in our Hundertwasser Tour of Austria so I will not bore you with it again. The storks were in their nest on the chimney in Stará Huť but, as it was earlier in the year, there were no chicks yet in evidence and Šumava was the lovely fresh green of early Summer.

I have previously mentioned the recent proliferation of speed cameras on the cross Šumava route and we took particular care whilst transiting the village of Kubova Huť where there are some well, not to say sneakily, sited new ones. These have caused me to make a couple of fiscal contributions to the coffers of the Prachatice region after passing twice, in quick succession, in my car. Enough said.

We were soon over the border into Germany and were able to hustle quite nicely to Passau on the usual and now very well surfaced road. No dreaded “Umleitungs” this time !

According to Lucie’s research it was not predicted to rain until at least five in the afternoon so, in Passau, we went straight to the Veste Oberhaus (Oberhaus 125, 94034 Passau). The views from on high over the City of Three Rivers were as lovely as always.

In the bright warm sunshine, we had a falafel salad each, just like on our previous trip. It did not disappoint. In anticipation of a possible future lack of desserts, we also had a white chocolate mousse with chocolate cake (Lucie) and cheesecake crème brulée (me).

Our timing was impeccable and we also enjoyed the sound of the carillon of bells from far below after the clock had struck the hour.

Well-strengthened, we carried on to Salzburg. Lucie loves mountains and it was not very long before we could see, through the gathering gloom, the towering peaks of the Eastern Alps which surround the city.

We came to Salzburg proper, where we drove straight into the garage of the Altstadt Hotel Hofwirt (Schallmooser Hauptstraße 1, 5020 Salzburg) to secure a parking space, even before we had checked in. Our previous hotel in Salzburg, the All You Need, is only open during the school holidays and we had stayed in the Hofwirt on our way to Lucie’s recent skiing trip. We knew from that visit that parking spaces were limited (we had been obliged to park in the cave car park across the street) so we acted fast – and secured the very front spot !

Almost pleasingly, no sooner had we opened the door of our very pleasant room, than quite heavy rain began to beat down in the street outside.

Lucie likes sea food and, on the previous Winter visit, we had spotted a nice sea food restaurant, but had been unable to get a table as it was fully booked. Ever the planner, Lucie had gone to some lengths to secure a reservation for this visit. After an email which received no reply, she had spoken to them, in German, on the telephone and made a reservation. Or, at least, hoped she had – even as we approached, it was more in hope than anything else. But, we need not have worried, the fairly uncommunicative owner/maitre d‘ of the Pescheria Backi (Franz-Josef-Straße 16b, 5020 Salzburg) was at least able to confirm, by positive grunts rather than words, that we did indeed have a table booked. The building, which is more of a shack, does not look very inspiring, but the food was very good.

The owner’s complete lack of English, which is quite rare in Austria, created a bit of a snag because the dishes offered must depend upon availability and there was not a printed menu. After a bit of improvisation, we ordered scallops (Coquille Saint-Jacques) for Lucie and mussels for me as appetizers and a fish mix for two for our main course. The scallops, Lucie’s favourite, was really good and cooked in a slightly different way to which you usually see, my mussels were fine, but nothing really special. The fish mix, however, was actually great. The price was a Salzburgian EUR 120, but probably worth it !

I have an obsession with walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day and so we were forced to take a slightly circuitous route back to the hotel to make up the number. We stopped at a little bar on Linzer Gasser for a pleasant beer and, steps completed, were still back in our room by half past nine. Lucie says that I announced it was to early for me to fall asleep, but then I did before she could reply !