1 Jul 2013

Day 9: Flachau

Usually a shower is a daily routine to keep from being offensive to others, but this morning it was an occasion with clean modern Austrian design in the wet-room style and a view of the Alpine hills out of the window. The lights come on automatically when entering the room and the fan switches on when it detects a decrease in air quality. I love 'invisible' tech, with each item going about its business on its own accord.

Wet-room style shower.

Clean Austrian architecture with solid wood cabinetry (no MDF here).

Suitably clean we intended to do a 45km loop of villages near Flachau including Filzmoos, Ramsau am Dachstein, Haus, Schladming, Pichl and Radstadt. Doing a quick once over of the bike I realised I had less than 1mm of brake pad material on the rear. The BMW Navigator has the full BMW Motorrad dealership network programmed in so I chose the closest one and pointed the bike in that direction.

The closest dealership ended up being Autohaus Kaufmann KG, 64km away in Kaprun—or to put it another way nearly halfway back to Innsbruck. Fortunately the route ran through some roads seemingly made for bikes with perfectly banked corners and not much traffic.

Arriving at the dealership they had a main garage for both cars and bikes, and a smaller, almost tent-like structure just for bikes. I spoke with the service adviser/technician who asked for the paperwork for my bike which was back in Flachau. No big deal, they pulled it from the chassis number.

Not 20 minutes later the bike was in and out, new brake pads installed and I was presented with a reasonable €66 bill for parts, labour and 20% tax. German/Austrian efficiency at its finest? I'm sorry to say I could never see that happening in the UK where the usual routine is to call ahead and then book it in for the following week. And despite my distinct lack of German language skills they provided a tip top, warm and friendly experience. Plus one for Autohaus Kaufmann KG.

Heading back to Flachau with a balmier 26°C showing on the instrument panel we foiled several hiding police trying to catch speeders (they are ALL over Austria, this is not a country where it's advisable to break the speed limit).

Fresh off the lay-by of Europe's Sankt Johann im Pongau—this year's rage in warm weather, high-flow functional underclothing for the motorcycling world… can be wetted for additional air conditioning properties. Rippling muscles optional. Yes—you saw it first here.

Back in Flachau we thought we would have little rest and then do the village loop after all, but it wasn't meant to be since we both ended up in siesta-mode, waking up in the early evening just in time to go to dinner at Pinocchio Pizza (we are less than 2 hours from Italy after all).

A group shot courtesy of our server's photographic prowess.

Italian food with Austrian style.

After dinner we went inside to the bar and had hazelnut schnapps followed by a pine schnapps from a specific pine tree which only grows between 1,200 and 1,800m. It was a perfect end to our time in Austria, and we went back to the chalet for a good night's sleep before tomorrow's journey to Germany.

Alps 2013 quick links

Day 1: London to Lille
Day 2: Lille to Hagondange
Day 3: Slow road to Ammerschwihr
Day 4: Ammerschwihr
Day 5: Ammerschwihr to Thônes
Day 6: Thônes to.... Thônes
Day 7: Thônes to Ruèras
Day 8: Ruèras to Flachau
Day 9: Flachau
Day 10: Flachau to Wemding
Day 11: Wemding to Urberach
Day 12: Urberach to Antwerp
Day 13: Antwerp to London

The gear and how it held up
The trip in hindsight