Well gentle reader, I left you on the edge of your seat, wondering what became of us after we were unceremoniously dumped in Cortina, still with two and a half days to run on our six day walking tour.
Leaving us and our bags at the hotel and driving off with the rest of the walking group, Gary, the least flexible tour guide in the business, said "we'll be here tomorrow night and meet you in the bar at 7:00". Huh? WTF? You seriously think we're keen to see you again?
Meanwhile, back in the real world where tours are professionally run, our blokes were enjoying a 10 day motorcycle trip with paradisemotorcycletours.co.nz. As luck would have it we find they are due in Cortina at lunchtime the very next day. A discussion with the fabulous (and flexible) motorcycle tour operators Mike and Jo, reveals there is room in the support vehicle and an extraction plan is put into action. Cue Mission Impossible theme....
|The excessively charming Hotel Senger in Heilingenblut|
In fact it's much less dramatic; all it involves is Sue and I packing our bags and jumping in the van for a beautiful drive through the alpine passes. The scheduled stop for the night is the small town of Heiligenblut which clings to the side of an Austrian mountain. Bonus! Austria wasn't on our Italian walking itinerary and the motorcycle riders seem happy to have us along. As we enjoy a raucous evening we imagine Gary arriving in Cortina and being devastated that we've disappeared.
Next morning we watch the riders get a briefing before they head off to one of the highlights of the trip - the Grossglockner. At 2,800 metres it is the highest alpine pass in Austria, and the second highest in the Alps.
|Pre ride briefing|
|The h-g and his BMW|
Sue and I join the lovely Jo in the van and head up the same road. I am sincerely glad I'm not driving the hairpin bends.
The views are stunning. I wish I'd worn warmer clothes.
|It's freezing up here|
|Glacier emerging from the Alps|
It's an enjoyable drive back to Munich and we're grateful to Mike and Jo of Paradise Motorcycle Tours, and of course the rest of the bikers, for letting us tag along. We had such a good time and it was capped off with a farewell dinner at a fabulous Italian restaurant in Munich. Rather gloriously, my spaghetti with parmesan and truffle is finished in a huge parmesan wheel.
And so ends that part of the adventure.
Next installment - surfing in Munich!