Life in Germany and a visit to Austria – July 2023 (Month 112)

Welcome to my blog for July.

If you are a regular reader you will undoubtedly have noticed that my blog has changed its appearance rather!

Over the last month I did a lot of work on the structure of the blog and its underlying theme as the old WordPress Theme was not responsive (did not work with tablets and phones). I hadn’t actually realised this as years ago I had clicked a setting that I always see the desktop version on my gadgets as I had more options then for updates and corrections whilst using them. However, it meant I didn’t realise how hard the blog was to read if you weren’t using a normal computer.

It had been 11 years since I set up the WordPress theme so took a lot of remembering how I put everything together. A lot of the widgets I used are no longer available, but there are loads of new ones (including an AI widget – for what purpose? I haven’t used that anywhere as it’s legally a grey area in Germany)

Whilst working on the blog I realised also that its main focus – recumbent cycling – has faded a bit more into the background in my life. Now the focus is more on life for a Brit in Germany, so I have made some changes to the menus, structure and, from now onward, post titles. It’s no longer Six Wheels in Germany but is now Life in Germany.

I’m still tinkering around the edges with the theme so please let me know if there is anything you think I have done incorrectly. There aren’t as many features in this theme that I am using but it is simpler and, more importantly, will almost certainly continue to be updated for years to come.

So what happened this month?

Holiday in Austria

Lindsay, my friend from my infants school (in other words, we met when we were both 5 years old) has an apartment in Saalfelden in Austria. I helped her when she initially bought it over 20 years ago (my German then wasn’t great but was enough to help a little) and since then she visits it multiple times in winter for skiing holidays. In summer it’s usually not used, although over the years I have occasionally holidayed in the flat during the summer and really enjoyed it.

Two years ago, when the Corona lockdowns were easing, Klaus and I visited for our two week summer holiday over my birthday. We were the first to check the apartment for one and a half years – all was well. When we knew we would have a week’s holiday with Lara in July this year we thought Saalfelden would be a lovely destination again – we could do a few jobs, the main of which is to empty Lindsay’s postbox and translate any letters for her.

Day 1: From Kempen to Saalfelden

We picked up Lara from her home in Viersen and set off south to Austria. It’s a long old way – this was after a good 45 minutes of driving and we set off at 07:30:

Arrival 16:56, travel time 8 hours 31 minutes, distance 776 km.

Klaus did the first 3 hours or so of driving, then we stopped to change over (and for the obligatory loo stop – which has now increased to 1€ on motorway service stations!) Lara then took over the driving, only the second time she has driven Murphy.

She drove very smoothly and carefully and didn’t go too fast as she was getting used to the car. Also she usually drives a Nissan Micra so a big Octavia with powerful engine is a bit different. I don’t think she went over 130 km/h but she drove safely and with good concentration so did really well.

After an hour and a quarter it was time to stop for lunch and Klaus knew of a McDonalds off the Motorway at Marktheidenfeld so we stopped there. He had a salad (he is trying to stick to the low carb on the holiday when possible) and I had a chicken burger (being more relaxed carb-wise on the holiday).

For the next section I drove and Klaus sat in the back. He had his headphones on to listen to a podcast and Lara and I had a good chinwag – we hadn’t seen her for several weeks as she was so busy with holidays and events after finishing school. She will be off to Canada in six weeks’ time too!

We were off the A3 now and onto the A8 which was smoothly running so I was able to drive between 160 and 180 for fairly long stretches. Lara had a bit of a sleep (so my driving can’t have been that scary!) and we made good progress. After three hours it was time for another change of drivers and I fancied an ice cream so Klaus, with his unerring ability to find a McDonalds, directed us to another off-motorway McDonalds.

I had a McFlurry, the German equivalent of a Smarties one:

And Klaus had a slice of cheesecake – and they gave him a very suitable plate for an adult whose birthday it wasn’t.

After this short break we headed off again, this time with Klaus driving.

Klaus’s Octavia gave us a warning at one point that we were approaching a low emissions zone – a great example of German Word Salad anyway.

We realised we would arrive at Lindsay’s flat after the supermarkets were shut (18:00 on a Saturday, closed completely on Sunday) so as it was 17:40 we stopped at the nearest supermarket although we had 45 minutes still to drive. This turned out to be a rather small supermarket but we managed to get the basics for our salad lunch the next day.

We arrived at the flat at 18:45 and after unloading the car and opening the windows to air the flat (all had been closed up for five months or so) we went out for dinner at the local Greek restaurant.

And treated ourselves to some nice desserts.

I have set myself a target of 8,000 steps a day and by this point was on a streak of 107 days. I really wanted to keep going but by the time we had finished our evening meal I only had 2,500 steps. So I told the others I needed to go for a 4km walk and they were kind enough to go with me.

I reached my target, hurrah, and so we went back to the flat for our well-deserved sleep. We had driven about 850km in 11 hours (including stops) and as there were three drivers we all felt the journey had gone quicker than expected and we were less tired.

Day 2: Sunday in Austria – a rest day

I had said to Klaus and Lara that we would have a rest day on Sunday. They thought this a good idea.

However, Klaus fancied a cup of coffee and as there wasn’t any coffee in the flat that was his type of thing we needed to go out to find a café. There were a few open at 09:00 so we made our way to a bakery/cafe and I took the opportunity to have a Nuss Striezel with my tea.

We went back to the flat and chilled out until lunchtime where we made our salads. Afterwards we spent some time on the computers (Lara was setting up a new blog which she will write in Canada) and I had been planning some walks. I had found a couple of different routes to Steinalm which is a little restaurant up a mountain and that looked like it could be a nice walk. There were two routes there, one was steeper (4km) and the other took 6km for the same height gain, so I planned the route that we walked up the less steep version.

We set off early afternoon, Lara and I wearing our running shoes (soft for long walks). It was a warm day so we were dressed accordingly. I had also used the Smidge I brought back from Scotland liberally as I thought that the mossies might be out – which they were. But sadly Smidge didn’t seem to deter them as we all got bitten multiple times. However, we all noticed that our bites weren’t particularly itchy, even the next day, so maybe the Smidge discouraged them from biting too deeply. Next time we will use the DEET and see if that is more effective as it’s annoying constantly having to bat horseflies off your legs and arms!

As you can see, it was a lovely day.

Photo by Klaus

This was the route we walked today: (we walked clockwise, starting at the bottom left.

And here is the elevation profile. Quite spiky!

I had chosen the slightly less steep but longer route for the way up and this was a roadway with loose stones on it, so was OK to walk.

It was quite a long walk and it was about a 10% incline most of the way up, although it got steeper for about the last kilometre of the 6km route up. On the way we saw this chappie, an adder/viper!

Photo by Klaus

What was interesting was that I discovered in German the word for adder/viper is Kreuzotter. I had heard this word before but thought that it referred to a small fish-eating mammal that lives in rivers. But no, that’s a Fischotter. Anyway, he was a lovely snake but didn’t like us taking photos and slithered across the road as quickly as he could.

Here is Klaus looking at the scenery.

The last kilometre on the way up was definitely steeper and we had to stop for regular rests. Klaus and I have been doing lots of walking recently (although on the flat) but Lara hadn’t been doing so much walking so it took a bit more acclimatisation. I had the strong hope that the café at the top would sell Kaiserschmarrn, one of my favourite things to eat in Austria (a kind of scrambled pancake with sugar) so that hope for Kaiserschmarrn was keeping us going!

Just before we reached the top Klaus, who had gone on a little way ahead, shouted something at us. I couldn’t understand what he said but when we got closer we heard him saying he had seen a Murmeltier (marmot) which had run across the road in front of him. And lo and behold, two of them were sitting on a slight bank just beside the road. I tried to take a photo – the zoom isn’t great so it’s all a bit fuzzy but I think you can see him in front of the hole!

Here is Klaus’s photo where both marmots were still around.

And finally we reached the top where there was somewhere to sit and relax. And of course have a drink and a cake.

We had definitely earned our tasty cakes! Klaus had an alcohol free beer and Lara and I had some tap water – which we paid 50 cents each for, but that was fine as we were up a mountain. I don’t know how they get water up there actually, but they had a decent loo and everything.

We had picked up these walking poles at the start of the walk – they are provided by Saalfelden Leogang council. They turned out to be really useful although, as you can see from the photo, one is rather shorter than the other two. That was Lara’s and she made the beginner’s mistake of not knowing that you need it longer for the way down.

The view from here was lovely.

But it was now 4pm and the place was slowly closing up so it was time for us to head down.

The route down started through a field of cows (where we also saw another marmot outside his burrow) and then worked its way through some woodland with a rather high quotient of biting insects.

What I hadn’t realised was that the route down was of a much worse quality, as after about 1km it became a narrow track on bare earth with varying dustings of stones. In places it was also slightly wet (the rain from the day before hadn’t evaporated) so became quite slippery.

After a couple of kilometres Lara unfortunately slipped, fell over with her ankle twisted under her and her knee on a large stone. Fortunately her ankle wasn’t sprained but she had ripped a large hole in the knee of her favourite trousers (which were only a couple of weeks old) and had skinned her knee so it was bleeding. After a couple of minutes she felt able to carry on as she could put weight on the ankle, but we were all now nervous about the slippery surface we were walking on, particularly as it was a very steep downhill in places.

After about another km she once again slipped – her foot just slid out from under her – and ended up sitting on the floor, this time with a bleeding graze on her hand. She was basically over-pooped from the walk up in the hot sun with just a piece of cake to fuel her and that meant walking down she was slightly wobbly. Fortunately she didn’t twist her ankle again the second time so was able to carry on but we were really careful to go slowly on the loose stones, to use our walking poles (although hers was a bit short) and to turn the feet sideways so the shoes had better grip. It was also obvious that her running shoes, which are just for asphalt, had worse grip in these conditions than my cross running shoes or Klaus’s walking shoes.

We took it really easy, stopping regularly where there was a bench and making sure we didn’t go too fast. Her feet slid a couple more times but fortunately she didn’t fall down again, but she was not enjoying this part of the walk. Although it was a shorter way back, we were actually slower than the uphill because we had to pick our way so carefully down this narrow, slippery track. Klaus and I had previously walked up it on another occasion and it was OK (well, steep, but not slippery going up).

When we finally got to the road at the bottom it was a relief. Lara rinsed her grazed hand in the little river and washed off her knee a bit too – the blood was dripping down her leg.

As we were walking down we heard thunder and it seemed that a rainstorm was starting (which had not been on the forecast). I took this photo of the wonderful light and clouds as the storm arrived but Klaus was keen to get home so Lara could rest and we didn’t get struck by lightning.

We had planned to eat out that evening but decided a far better option would be a take-away so Klaus and Lara could share the bottle of wine we had bought for the flat. So as soon as we got home we chose a pizza each and I went off to collect them whilst Lara showered and anointed her wounds.

We had all sweated massively on the way up so had to wash all the clothes we had been wearing. As you can see, the bloodstains washed off Lara’s linen trousers but the hole is a bit too big for repair.

In total we had walked 12km, had walked 540 metres in elevation and nearly 18,000 steps.

The track colour shows my heart rate – much higher coming down the mountain at the end (nearer the word Hambach) rather than the going up…

We were all pooped and Klaus and I both slightly felt our backs due to the hilly walking. Lara just felt her stinging knee and palm. Lindsay has a first aid kit in the flat so we raided that for a couple of large plasters to put on Lara’s knee for the night.

This had been our rest day!

Day 3: An actual rest day!

Klaus and I both woke up with stiff backs. Mine improved a lot during the day, his was still a bit uncomfortable throughout the day.

Lara needed further plaster on her knee so we all trooped off to the the local chemist DM to buy various bits and bobs. We replaced the plasters we had used from Lindsay’s kit and also bought some antiseptic wound salve for Lara and some other bits and bobs that were on the list.

We then went into the huge Interspar supermarket to buy our salad for lunch. Klaus also got some coffee capsules for the machine here. Lara and I both got some Milka chocolate but Klaus was very noble and didn’t buy Gummibärchen.

It is just a five minute walk there and back but Klaus and Lara were still pooped from yesterday’s exertions. We had originally thought we might go to St Johann in Tyrol and to Kitzbühel today but we decided to stay in Saalfelden so Klaus could look after his back.

After our salad lunch I decided to go out for a walk as I was recovered from yesterday’s exertions and needed to get my steps for the day. I just walked around Saalfelden doing a bit of window shopping, but ended up picking up a slice of cake for us all for afternoon tea. We had ended yesterday with a calorie deficit after all the walking so the cakes today were deserved.

I spent a lot of time writing this blog and Klaus and Lara did a bit of administration for her trip to Canada (health insurance etc).

For the evening meal we went to the Steak House which was about 4 minutes’ walk away. This was partly because of the weather forecast and we did indeed get rained on on the way back.

Klaus and I had eaten there before and we remembered the food was good. It was, again, but we had forgotten that the service was really slow. It seems to be one man doing everything. It all took a bit too long for me really which would put me off going back.

We each went for a pancake dessert (he wouldn’t have done it for just one pancake as he makes them freshly) and I had one with ice cream and chocolate sauce which was very tasty!

The weather forecast for the next day was rain so we decided we would take a trip to Salzburg as we could walk around the town and maybe visit a museum in the rain. And Klaus had a bit of a hankering for some more trainers/sneakers.

Day 4: Salzburg

Today the forecast was for rain the whole time so we decided to go to Salzburg for the day. This was a drive of about an hour and a quarter and we pass through Germany (Bad Reichenhall) on the way, as it’s a little bit of Germany that sticks down into Austria.

We arrived and started looking for a parking place. Klaus had seen that on his Skoda App there are options for meter parking on the road and navigated to one of these but then the App wasn’t working so he was unable to buy parking. In the end we headed to one of the underground parking garages, Mirabellplatz, which turned out to be one of the Contipark chain and we have a special card for Contipark (called P-Card) which gives us a discount. In this case quite a considerable one – the maximum price would be 5€ instead of 16€.

We came out of the garage and headed past the Mirabelle Gardens (which appear in The Sound Of Music).

We wanted to start with coffee and cake somewhere. I was a bit desperate for the loo so we had to stop at the nearest decent-looking coffee place, which we did – Afro Coffee. They had some good cakes and I think the coffees were also good (I had tea).

As you can see above, the right hand side cake (which Klaus and Lara both chose) is Sachertorte. This is the very traditional Austrian cake but I’m not actually that keen on it so I had the cake on the right, a mousse cake.

After the cakes we wandered around a bit.

We visited some shoe shops to look for some sneakers for Klaus but didn’t see exactly what he wanted. I also needed some new general-purpose trainers and we had a quick look for me but I knew the sorts of things I needed would be in a sports shop rather than a trendy trainer shop.

We wanted some lunch and so stopped at the Café Glockenturm which is just below the castle. Klaus and Lara had eaten here before. We all ordered “Bowls” which were salad with trimmings, and some bread, but I also went for the chicken option. The other two just had the standard bowls which turned out to be a bit of a mistake as the bowl was really just salad with dressing (no protein) and the slice of bread was a thin slice of dry brown bread. At least I had my overpriced chicken to liven the meal up. But we were in central Salzburg so you can’t expect gourmet food at a good price!

The rain had mostly stayed away but there were a few brief showers. We spent some time people-watching as always and of course also dog-watching. It was really apparent that there were loads of Dachshunds and Dachshunt-crosses in Salzburg. Also lots of Doodles (poodle crosses) but this is very common generally now.

After lots of walking around we decided to head back, but first via the Nike Outlet Store for my shoes. However, Apple Maps decided to route us via the motorway (and we didn’t have the motorway toll sticker) so we had to ignore the motorway on-ramp and try to find out way separately. We saw a large InterSport shop as we were working out where to go so stopped there and I found some decent Skechers trainers at a fair price.

Klaus then adjustedApple Maps to avoid motorways and tolls and our route took us back through Salzburg. We also went past the Nike Outlet but I already had my shoes.

We stopped in Bad Reichenhall but there wasn’t too much to see. Apparently it has the oldest average age of residents, which we could understand – the selection of shops in the pedestrian zone showed this, with comfy shoe shops, clothing stores and hearing aid shops.

We walked around for an hour or so but in the end decided to go back to Saalfelden for our evening meal.

We went to Mount Everest Sushi which was highly recommended on Google. The service was good but weirdly we all chose to go for burgers rather than sushi – but they were good. Dessert was an Eierlikör cake for Klaus and a pancake with ice cream and chocolate sauce for Lara and I.

We were all very tired as none of us had slept well the night before so we went to bed early. Klaus had had a painful back after our walking experiences on Sunday but that improved over the day. Lara’s skinned knee has got a good scab on it but she still has slight foot pain when walking a long way. We are hoping to all be fit enough for another walk later in the week – this one to a place which DOES serve Kaiserschmarrn (and is only 320 metres ascent, not 529).

Day 5 – Kitzbühel and St Johann in Tirol

After quite a busy day yesterday we wanted to take things a bit easier.

The plan was to have our lunch in the flat and then go out in the afternoon to Kitzbühel and St Johann in Tirol. That would be shorter drive (about 45 minutes away) and we hadn’t any specific plans of things to do there except try to find some Kaiserschmarrn.

Klaus and I went to the supermarket in the morning to get the bags of salad and a few other food bits and bobs. We also popped into the local Deichmann shoe shop as Klaus had a bit of a hankering for some green sneakers (he has most other colours!) They had a lot there but nothing entirely suitable in his size.

We made our lunches and shortly after set off by car to Kitzbühel.

We took the road going past Leogang, Hochfilzen and Fieberbrunn which Klaus and I had cycled on the trikes two years ago. It’s surprising how much of the route we remembered and recognised, although the trikes were almost entirely on a cycle path which was often quite separate from the road.

The weather forecast was a bit changeable and so it turned out to be once we arrived in Kitzbühel.

We found a parking place in another Tiefgarage and set out on our mission to find some Kaiserschmarrn. With Google Maps I had searched for Kaiserschmarrn Kitzbühel and it showed about 10 places where it was mentioned on the menu or was a menu highlight. So we started visiting all these places but found nowhere that was serving it, even places where it was officially on the menu. Wednesday was the day that a lot of restaurants were closed in Kitzbühel (Ruhetag) which was not so helpful to our cause either.

It was interesting comparing the shops in Kitzbühel with those in Bad Reichenhall the day before – Kitzbühel is really upmarket with Rolex shops and other very posh places. Also the people walking around were very well dressed (although there were also normal walkers and mountain bikers dressed in sports kit). We looked in a couple more sports shops for sneakers for Klaus but without finding exactly what he wanted that was available in his size.

We thought we were going to completely fail on the Kaiserschmarrn Quest as all the places we asked said they did not serve it. But finally, the last option on my list, Hotel Schwarzer Adler, had it on the menu. For 17€ each, but by this time we were desperate!

So we sat outside in a kind of cloister area and ordered tea and coffees and the Kaiserschmarrn (takes 20 minutes to make).

When it arrived it was amazing – and worth the 17€!

We had vanilla ice cream with it, an apricot compote and loads of fresh fruit. It was really tasty and very filling!

Klaus is not such a fan of Kaiserschmarrn so he had Marmorkuchen with cream (this is a treat for him as we rarely eat Marmorkuchen).

We had a very relaxing time sitting in the fresh air but avoiding the rain showers that passed by periodically.

Eventually it was time to move and we wandered back along the Main Street in Kitzbühel before going back to the car to drive to St Johann.

On the way to Kitzbühel we had passed through St Johann and Klaus had spotted a curry house called Shiva which would be open later that day, according to Google. I really fancied a curry and Lara is always keen too so we arranged to eat there.

We arrived in St Johann at about a quarter to six, parked and then wandered into the InterSport there where Klaus tried some more sneakers. Once again he didn’t find quite the right thing.

As we left the shop there was a huge rainstorm so we sheltered in a covered passageway outside the shop until the rain had eased – at which point we noticed all the shops were shutting as it was now 18:00. So we walked straight to Shiva, which was about a five minute walk, and found ourselves in what turned out to be a large building with several different rooms where diners were seated. We were alone in our little room for most of our meal.

The menu was quite different from a normal curry house in the UK with a much smaller choice (only 3 lamb dishes, for example) but they provided free puppodums with sauces and the main courses also came with rice and a naan bread included. This meant the prices were overall really fair – the evening meal of 3 curries (including rice, naan and puppodum), a coke, an alcohol-free beer and a tap water cost less than 2 Kaiserschmarrn, a slice of cake, 2 coffees and a hot water in Kitzbühel.

I had a curry which was a mixture of 3 things (butter chicken, lamb curry and a chickpea dish) which was really nice. There was a bowl of yoghurt to go with it but it wasn’t that hot anyway. And of course we had rice and naan with this.

As we ate this only 2 hours after the Kaiserschmarrn we weren’t exactly starving to start with but it was very nice.

We then drove back to Saalfelden, watching the rain clouds over the mountains.

Day 6: Zell am See

We had another lazy morning, although I popped out to get myself a croissant for breakfast and I got one for Lara too, although she didn’t emerge for several hours.

Klaus and I then went off to buy our salad lunch items, and Lara and I shared this exciting salmon:

Who knew smoked salmon could be clever? It wasn’t so clever that it didn’t get eaten by us!

After lunch we decided to visit Zell am See for a bit of a wander around. Of course this involved looking in shoe shops for Klaus’s sneakers and he was able to try on some New Balance once that were great – but not the colour he wanted (but a great red colour anyway). He now knew his size and that they fitted so ordered the required colour ones online.

After a walk around we stopped for cake.

Then we did some more walking around (this is basically what we do on holiday). I didn’t actually take any photos of the lake this time so here are some from my visit two years ago.

After walking around we headed back to the car and then drove around the lake to get home. This was on roads that we had cycled two years ago and they were lovely country lanes on the trikes – not so suitable for the car, but it was nice to be in the attractive scenery.

When we got home we went out for an evening meal. The first place we tried, Brandlwirt, had no spare tables so we walked up to the fish restaurant by the lake and had a very nice meal there. I had a pancake dessert and Lara had a molten chocolate pot thingie.

We planned a route the next day which would be another long walk, up another hill (although not as high) but this time I phoned them to check there would be Kaiserschmarrn at the top; there would!

Day 7: Saalfelden and Maria Alm

This was our last full day and it started in a very lazy manner!

Both Lara and Klaus felt recovered enough from Sunday’s walking exertions to have another go – which meant my planned route to Gasthof Kronreit above Maria Alm. Klaus and I had cycled there by trike two years ago and I thought it would be nice to visit again. This was only 300 metres of climbing, compared to the 500 metres the previous Sunday, so would be a bit easier.

However, the walk to the foot of the climb was considerably longer – and would make the total there and back journey by foot nearly 14km. However, I thought that Klaus could take the car and park it near Maria Alm which would make the journey shorter. We had a look at the map and the golf course to the west of Maria Alm seemed to have a large car park and was in a reasonable location.

I had planned the route up the hill via the footpath, not the road that we had cycled up. Google Maps showed this to be a reasonable path but I could not tell how steep it was. We always had the option of walking up the road and we knew this was manageable as we had succeeded with the trikes – they lose traction at around 10% incline so it must be less than that.

I fancied walking the whole way though, with the option of jumping in the car for the way back from the golf course, so I set out (in the rain!) to walk to the golf course and would message Lara and Klaus to meet me there by car.

The rain had stopped within a few minutes. I was listening to a podcast on my headphones and walking comfortably to the east, first through the town of Saalfelden with a view to the snow-capped mountains behind the buildings.

Soon I was out in the fields walking past the Kaserne (barracks). I saw this weird blue figure stuck onto a stick and attached to a pole. No idea.

It’s a lovely quiet walk to Ramseiden and Oedt, with just a few other walkers, joggers and cyclists. The views across the fields to the mountains were great. Notice the fairly cloudy skies, I was glad of my jacket for this part of the walk.

I arrived at the Golf place and checked the car park – plenty of room, and a few other German-registered cars there too so Murphy the Octavia wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. I informed Klaus and Lara they should head over now, and should bring the insect repellant too.

Whilst I was waiting for them I took the opportunity for the loos in the golf club because I was desperate. I tried to look smart and confident and as if I belonged and walked straight in, found the loos and left again without being challenged. Result!

Klaus and Lara arrived and I took the opportunity to unzip the legs of my trousers and to store my jacket in the car as it was definitely getting warmer. I also sprayed myself with the DEET insect repellant as the Smidge hadn’t worked the Sunday before.

We set off, Klaus and Lara with long trousers and jackets, me in shorts and vest top. The climb started quickly and it was a fairly steep footpath – I decided I wouldn’t want to walk back down that again, especially without walking poles, so we would take the road path down again.

It was a nice route though with lots of benches to sit on. It was mostly initially through woodland but the mozzies weren’t too bad. We soon found ourselves walking on a service road with a decent surface and that continued most of the way.

There was a flattish section at the top and we took the chance to rest on these comfy chairs.

It was just 5 minutes from here to Gasthof Kronreit. When we arrived there were no spare tables outside but a couple indicated they were about to leave so we were able to sit down after a minute or two.

We ordered drinks and, of course, Kaiserschmarrn.

This was much plainer Kaiserschmarrn than the version we had had in Kitzbühel, but it was nice and filling. It was our lunch for the day.

The view from the Gasthof was great.

After a nice relaxing Kaiserschmarrn Lunch we set off down the road – an asphalted route we had used with the trikes two years ago. This was very easy going, although the mozzies were out and I got three bites on my legs. The deet was clearly not very effective.

Our walk took us through Griesbachwinkl where I saw this sign for a cheesemaker – Onemoos. I thought that was a rather appropriate name for a small cheesery in English!

As we approached Maria Alm Klaus and Lara went off towards the golf course where the car was parked and I took the lower route. It just so happened that they drove past me just after they had got back to the car so they stopped so I could have my AirPods earphones and could listen to a podcast on my 5km walk back.

The walk back was actually really nice. I had done the route before running when here two years ago and despite having walked a long way my feet and legs felt good. I walked briskly and enjoyed listening to the podcast as Saalfelden appeared before me.

Klaus had lent me 4€ as I thought I might fancy an ice cream on the way back and I did – I picked up a nice cone with chocolate and salted caramel Kugel.

Here is my entire walking route. The little wiggle in the middle is to the golf course where the car was parked.

And here is the elevation profile but it looks a bit Himalayan with this image – it was only a total ascent of 311 metres.

See my statistics below – nearly 17km.

I got back to the flat and after a short break we went out to the local supermarket to buy our evening meal. We didn’t feel like we needed to eat out so we got some soup and rolls and a freezer pizza to share between the three of us. Dessert was some cookie dough ice cream and chocolate. We started doing the cleaning and preparations for leaving early the next morning. We wanted to get on the road early for our 850+ km journey.

Day 8: Saalfelden to Kempen

We all slept badly, partly due to the colossal thunderstorm that raged, with lightning and thunder for more than an hour. I wondered if the Saalfelden Event that was happening that evening had been washed out.

We woke up around 6am and started the final preparations for our journey – packing our stuff, changing the bedding, final cleaning up, emptying bins, loo cleaning etc. We were ready to leave by 07:40 so said goodbye to the flat and sent Lindsay a message thanking her once again for letting us use it.

We set off with Klaus driving and following Apple Maps’ route home. It had brought us via Leogang to the east but this time it directed us north to Lofer and then further along towards Berchtesgaden. We knew there was a closed road on the normal route to the Autobahn (at Schneizlreuth) so when we saw the diversion signs this was as expected, and the diversion took us the same route as Apple Maps.

At the next village, Unter Jettenberg, Apple Maps wanted us to turn off the main road. Klaus overshot this turning so we drove to the next road, turned round and took this route, which was signposted to Ramsau.

It turns out that Klaus’s autopilot was a much better guide than Apple Maps as the route gave us three sides of a square extra distance, first going along the Alpenstraße 305 road and then turning off to go over the Hochschwarzeck pass, which was a road with switchbacks. No snow of course, but an unnecessary diversion at the beginning of a +-900km / 9 hour journey.

the two maps below show the route. We did the route on the left (32.3km and 37 minutes) and would have saved a lot of time if we did the route on the right (10.7km and 11 minutes) between Schneizlreuth and Bad Reichenhall.

Eventually we got onto the motorway and started heading north. As we approached München the traffic jams started – it was the first day of the Bayern summer holidays and more traffic was heading south (we saw lots of jams) but we were also often in slow-moving traffic.

After 3 hours it was time for a loo stop and we changed drivers – I took over. I drove for 2 hours, although quite a lot of this journey was in slow-moving traffic again. I pulled off the motorway to a service station and we had a McDonald’s in a really busy restaurant, full of kids. Not my kind of eating ambience at all!

We had no desire to hang around so headed off, this time Lara driving. She did an hour and three quarter stint and then swapped with Klaus. We were only now nearing Frankfurt am Main so still had 3 hours to go!

After filling up the car we carried on. I’d thought we would probably need to stop again for the loo and maybe some food but we kept on going and arrived at Lara’s house just after 18:45. We dropped her and her luggage off and then headed to the supermarket to get our salads for the next two days and some other bits and bobs. We ended up with two shopping bags full.

We finally reached home around 19:30, so that was a total journey time of twelve hours. Here are the statistics from the car’s App:

So 844 km is 524 miles and the average speed is 48 mph. This on the German Autobahn (although large sections are restricted speed anyway). The 4,3 litres usage is equivalent to 65 mpg!

We got home and had tomato soup and Kräuterquark mit Kartoffeln (you can guess who had which) and did some unpacking. In order to reach my steps goal we also went out for a 3.5km walk but it was good to stretch the legs after 11 hours in the car anyway.

It was a good holiday, I am always happy to visit Saalfelden. It would be nice if Austria were a bit nearer though!

Life in Kempen

This month I said goodbye to Rashmi, my former colleague and friend, who has got a new job near Stuttgart. The job is a step forward for her and she also previously studied in Stuttgart so knows and likes the area. The move is also better for her husband’s work.

We had arranged a meal with some other of my former colleagues but in the end various people couldn’t come so it ended up being just Rashmi, Klaus and me. We went to an Asian Fusion restaurant in Krefeld that Rashmi rated – and Klaus had some sushi with dry ice!

My food didn’t come with its own clouds. It was good food though, but we all fancied an ice cream afterwards so wandered around Krefeld looking for an Eiscafe that was open after 8pm. We found one!

I ate this enormous Eisbecher which was great. Klaus had a Spaghetti Eis but then felt so full afterwards he was a bit queasy. Still, we had a lovely time with Rashmi and her move to Stuttgart a week later went well.

Poppy goes lame again

Unfortunately just before we headed off to Austria Poppy went very badly lame in her back leg – she didn’t put it on the floor and hopped around one evening. This was the other leg to the one that had had the cruciate ligament tear so initially I feared it was the same thing – and as the last cruciate ligament tear had taken over a year before she was back to full health and strength, and the first three months were really awful, I was very unsure whether it would be the right decision to give her the repair operation if she had indeed done this.

However, we realised her symptoms were slightly different and decided to wait and see for a few days. Our vets were also closed for summer holidays for two weeks so we would have to go to a different vets if we needed anything.

We were under mega time pressure as we were heading off to Austria two days after she went lame and Gudula had been planning to take Poppy to Berlin with her over that time – only Frank would be at home and he works long days. She couldn’t come to Saalfelden (dogs not allowed in the flats), the trip to Berlin by train and all the activities there would be really hard if she was still hopping on 3 legs, and if she stayed home Frank would have to come home from work at midday to let her into the garden and she would be bored brainless.

Our vet had left us with 6 days of painkiller tablets for emergencies because we know Poppy has some spinal degeneration so in the end we gave her a dose. The next morning she was much better, and although she got a bit worse during the day again we had seen her walking normally on 4 legs so knew it wasn’t a structural thing but must be muscular or similar.

Fortunately the next day, after another painkiller, she was back to normal near enough so we were able to head off to Austria and Gudula and her two foster sons were able to take her with them to Berlin.

Rohallah came back to visit and was very heartily greeted by Poppy. She posed for a few photos from him which he sent us.

She had a go at driving his car, although her legs aren’t quite long enough to reach the pedals.

Wildlife in Kempen

Seen on my daily walks in our bit of countryside:

Cakes this month

Most of this month’s cakes have already been included in this blog but here are a few more.


  1. Hi Auntie. I follow your exploits and they are a great insight into life abroad. thanks VM. Just so you know, the latest post on austria does not display any images in MS Edge…not idea why though. Cheers, keep blogging. Bob

    1. Hi Bob, the images display on Klaus’s Microsoft Edge on his PC and his tablet without any problems. Could there be some weird settings with your computer? It would be a shame to miss all the cake photos!

  2. I so look forward to your blog, especially the cake photographs. wow – some serious hill climbing, well done . I hope Poppy’s pain medication keeps her comfortable . Iain – currently getting soaked cycling in Scotland.

  3. Hi Auntie. New website looks good. I had a look around and got stuck reading the Versatile pages. Always fancied the Orca but Tasmanian roads / drivers are not suitable. I recently fitted a Rohloff on my Greenspeed trike and can’t praise it enough. I hope that some more cycle tour writeups will appear within the touring and cake blog!

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