posted on Saturday, June 11, 2005


Today was a pretty hard cycling day repaid by glorious views and the first mountains to be climbed. The initial climb to 1350 metres seemed never ending probably more a reminder that I haven't climbed mountains since last October. What I thought would be a stroll took over two hours with some steep sections to tackle. I was hoping for some Vespa to hook into but it was not to be! Forests of pines extended as far as the eye could see. The uphill struggle ended with a very quick descent to Lavamund where an old local man I had stopped for directions started talking to me. Normally that is what I like about these cycling holidays but my german is a double edged sword. The few phrases I know pronounced with impeccable high school accent gave my new friend the impression that I would understand his passionate talk. Before I could do anything to stop him from wasting his german on me I was left with the only option, pretending I knew what he was talking about and being extremely interested in the topics discussed. Was he telling the way to Klagenfurt? Suddenly I was saved from embarrassment by a mighty loud siren shaking the little village from its torpor. I thought it might have been a third world war warning but my friend reassured me. It was twelve o'clock and the sirens were making sure everybody knew! Avoiding Klagenfurt traffic I took the pleasant road on the southern side of Worthersee where my far too many kilometres came to a sudden hald as I spotted a youth hostel on the outskirts of Velden.