Day 8

Itinerary: Schaan to Imst Weather: 18, rain, snow, cold
Distance KM: 39.9Ave KmH: 15.3
Highlight: riding EC train over pass with nice girl from Bregenz
Fav Food: cream of white asparagus soup


City LocationItemLocal
FeldkirchShell StationAAA batteries, chocolate bar95
FeldkirchOst Bahn84km train to Landeck on the Inn480
LandeckRoadside Restaurantasparagus soup, small salad, coffee, cocoa216
ImstLindner Hausbed and breakfast1200

Morning in Schaan
Our hopes that we would awake to a bright sunny day were quickly damped when I look out at the thick fog hiding the town of Schaan from our hotel room. It was raining pretty fierce at times and it was quite chilly as well. However, today was one of the few days when we had a reservation at a little bed and breakfast, so I kind of wanted to move on. We decided to try our luck as far as Feldkirch and then consider taking the train if necessary. We took our time about eating breakfast hoping there might be a break in the clouds. Finally, around 8am we rolled out of the garage in the basement of the hotel, and took off down the road. The key to starting in the rain, is to ride fast in the beginning so that your body warms up before the rain soaks through your shoes and clothes. We kept a good pace all the way out of Liechtenstein, heading out to the south, the same way we had come in.

We reached Feldkirch still in pretty good spirits. Honestly, I was a bit worried about this mountain pass over to the river Inn in Austria, even in good weather. Since we were not in Germany any longer, I did not have a fancy bike map to reassure me that there is an ideal route for bikes. Once we made the Inn river, I was sure that we could follow the Inn trail there by just using the Michellin map I had picked up. But this uncertainty about the pass, combined with the fact that our toes were quite literally starting to freeze, made us decide to hop the EC for the day. This was the second time we took the train, and at over 100km, this was definitely the longest ride we would have.

After a bit of a wait we hopped the next train out of this little Austrian town. Being that it was Sunday, we had a hard time finding anything going on in Feldkirch, but I was able to buy some batteries and snacks at a nearby gas station. Gas stands are pretty much the only place open on Sundays, which may explain why the ticket seller at the train station seemed to be utterly disgusted with his job, or at least overly frustrated with us. Anyway, we had much better luck once on the train. A couple guys helped us lift the bikes onto the baggage car and strap our bikes in for the ride. Then we found our seats across from a nice girl from the Bodensee area.

Into the Western Tirol
The train went on a steady but constant uphill climb through the valley as we entered the western mountains of Austria. Despite the fog and clouds sting hanging around, we could see that the rain that we experienced all night and through the morning, materialized in snow just a bit up the mountain slopes. We were happy to be safe and warm inside the train car talking to this Austrian girl off on her summer vacation. She was headed to visit some relatives and hang out in Bregenz, followed by a trip to Vienna to take some singing lessons. It seemed like a good Austrian summer plan. She wasn't able to give us any specific advice about biking around the Inn or the Tirol area, but she said it is quite nice for hiking. As we passed through a long tunnel at the top of the pass, I decided it was best that we didn't bike this today. I think we would have been forced to take a much higher road to avoid the busy road passing through the tunnel parallel to the train tunnel. Anyway, we were thoroughly warmed, and partially dried when we stepped out of the train at Landeck almost two hours later.

Preview of the Inn Trail
It was not raining when we got out, but we were starving from a long morning of racing in the rain and sitting on the train, so we headed to the first restaurant up the road from the station. Then, after a bit of guesswork, we found our way to the famous Inn trail. The Inn spills into the Danube a few hundred kilometers up the way, and this bike path is also like a tributary to the massive Danube trail, known as the bicycle superhighway of Europe. The Inn trail is almost entirely crushed rock, sometimes with larger stones, and it is fairly clearly marked. Still, we managed to get a little confused at a few bridges, wondering whether we should cross or not. We met up with a middle-aged couple who were having the same problem, even though they had a more detailed bike map than we did. We ended up taking turns passing each other as we each got lost in turn. And such was the riding the rest of the day until we arrived together in Imst.

Haus Lindner, Imst
For some reason, I had picked this town and this bed and breakfast off the internet and made arrangement to spend tonight there. I also asked the owners about the logistics of getting over to Neuschwanstein Castle, on the German side, but found it was not so easy to cross out of the Inn valley by bike at this point. Anyway, despite the helpful advice these people gave me about the area, there is a downside to having a reservation somewhere in particular: you have to find the place. I ended up asking some kids sitting in a car at McDonalds if they knew the way. The way was way up the hill through town and then up another hill to arrive at a nice perch overlooking the Inn valley. The view was great, but getting there was a bit tough by bike. We took our dinner at a nearby bed and breakfast (since this is a tourist area, nearly every house seems to be a B&B) and hoped for better weather tomorrow.

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