AUSTRIAN ALPS & BERLIN

Buch bei Jenbach

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Aug 3 Wednesday - sunny and warm early, thunderstorm later: I put Jeanine, Janelle, and Marcia on the bus while I biked to Topbike.
Examining the wares at Topbike. As you can see, the "store" was merely a wide spot on the sidewalk along the Salzach in the Salzburg Altstadt (old town). Normally, they also have a location at the train station; but it was closed due to extensive station renovation.
After renting the bikes, we biked about 1.5 miles to the station to catch a REX (regional express) to Wörgl where we made a 7 minute change to a S-bahn (local) to Jenbach, including having to change platforms via elevators.

We had voted to take the 3:45 minute REX/S-bahn connection via Zell am See to take advantage of an Einfach Raus ticket, which allows up to 5 persons with bikes to travel all day on locals and regional expresses for 35E. The 8.75E per person won out over the 1:45 minute fast train via Germany at 47.60E per person with bikes.
The "City Shuttle" cab car contains controls which allow the engineer to run the train "backward" in "push" mode. The rest of the car is divided almost equally into bike space and coach seating. As you can see, one side of the car contains hooks for hanging bikes and the other seats that when in their normal folded position allow bikes to lean up against the wall.
REX's use train sets with the name "City Shuttle" on them. They were introduced about 12 years ago and ran mainly on locals. With the advent of new EMU's in local service, they have graduated to REX's. Here it is running along the Salzach River between Schwarzach and Lend in "pull" mode with the engine leading.
Here the Salzach valley has widened as we approach Zell am See.
Schloss Fischhorn - across the Salzach from Bruck an der Großglocknerstraße
Kitzbühel Hahnenkamm, one of the two train stations at Kitzbühel, one of the most famous Austrian ski resorts. The movie Downhill Racer with Robert Redford was filmed here.
Stafford and Monica's train from Zurich arrived in Jenbach at about the same time we did, with them on it no less. The plan was for them to rent bikes at the Zillertalbahn station adjacent to the mainline Jenbach station and bike with us to Haus Christine. The Zillertalbahn is an independent (not part of the Austrian Federal Railway) narrow gauge line that runs diesel and steam trains the 20 up the Ziller Valley to Mayerhofen.

Unfortunately, the Zillertalbahn bike rental occurred at the Strass in Zillertal station, 3 miles away, which was about to close (I had assumed it would be at the main station and headquarters adjacent to the main line station in Jenbach). Not to mention, an impending thunderstorm and they had more luggage than could be carried on bikes.

So we headed off to our lodging 0.8 miles away at Haus Christine while Stafford and Monica went to look for a banc-o-mat and taxi. When they hadn't showed up 2 hours latter, Christine's husband drove me back to the station where I spoke to a cabbie at the cab stand and a lady at a snack bar in the station, with no success. When they still hadn't showed up an hour latter, we thought about calling the krankenhaus (hospital), but opted to go out to eat at Esterhammer's Gasthof in the next village of Ratholz instead. We were able to enjoy our meal when the waiter informed us that the they had been found. It turns out that the cab driver had tried to take them to a Haus Christine no longer in operation in Maurach am Achensee, a town 5 miles up a mountain from Jenbach, rather than the correct Haus Christine whose address was Maurach 239, Maurach being a "ortsteil" (small village) within Buch bei Jenbach just across the Inn River from Jenbach. So they wound up spending the night at a hotel in Jenbach.

I had predicted rain because it was so hot on the ride from Salzburg. In fact it began two weeks of at least some rain almost daily.
Haus Christine in Maurach, Buch bei Jenbach. Like all Austrian privatzimmer, it was extremely nice and the proprietor very hospitable. What set it apart was the breakfast that included fresh fruit, joghurt, and eggs, along with the standard Kaiser rolls, cold cuts, cheese, and müsli.
Christine's beautiful garden
View from the front yard of Haus Christine. The Inn valley is below the clouds in the background.
Aug 4 Thursday - clear: Stafford and Monica caught up with us at breakfast where we planned the day. Stafford borrowed a bike and he and I rode the Innradweg the 2 1/2 miles to Strass in Zillertal to check out the bike rental situation. As we were heading back, he spotted a tree lined gravel path through farm fields then through Landwirtschaftliche Landeslehranstalt Rotholz, which appears to be a former monastery, now an agricultural school. We then met everyone and proceeded to bike along the Intalradweg to Schwatz 6 miles away. Its attraction was the typical pedestrian zone center of town and a large Gothic church.
Official crew photo taken in front of the large Gothic chuch in Schwaz.
Gasthof Steirer Franz in Maurach. It's not an optical allusion. The thing in the foreground is cordon bleu; and behind it are 3 servings of schweinbraten (roast pork) mit cauliflower sized knödels (dumplings). We were so tired after trying to put away the knödels, that we were unable to make it to the Tiroler Abend, a evening of traditional Tyrolean song and dance, being held in Jenbach.
Aug 5 Friday - a few light rain showers: We biked to the Jenbach station where we took the Achenseebahn up to end of the line at Seespitz along the Achensee (lake) shore. The Achenseebahn is a steam powered cog wheel train whose engines date from the 19th century. From here we biked on a path along the western shore to Pertisau. We had avoided Pertisau in previous trips because maps showed no bike path. We then headed back around the lake to a campground and snack bar at Shwartzenau, where we had lunch.
The steam cog wheel Achenseebahn at Seespitz getting ready for the return trip.
Pertisau viewed from the opposite shore (taken in 2003).
Schwarzenau along Achensee
Because of a threat of rain, we turned back at Schwarzenau, instead of continuing on to Achenkirch at the northern end of the lake.

On the way up on the train, Stafford had spotted a switch-back, gravel path. We found it at the southern end of the town of Eben just past the church. It was obviously the same path that had been recommended to Marcia, Jeanine, and Janelle the last time they were there. They had decided to use the back road instead because they had skinny tired road bikes.

Monica and Jeanine weren't too thrilled at having to ride the brakes all the way down; but we decided to go for it anyway, and it wasn't too bad. About 2/3 of the way down we opted to take a paved farm track instead of continuing on the gravel. But when we soon came upon a cluster of farms, we realized it was leading us to the main highway. We back tracked on another gravel path that soon met up with bike route down at the edge of Wiesing. Continuing down through Wiesing put us ½ mile upstream from the bike bridge back across the Inn to Haus Christine.
A typical Alpine farm house with attached barn in back
An Alm (Alpine meadow) with the Inn valley in the background
Wiesing in the background
We went to a great blassmusik (wind instruments) concert in St. Margarethen, another of the “ortsteils” of Buch, held indoors because of rain. The program included a couple of Romantic era overtures and a medley of Strauss waltzes. The singing of traditional Austrian folk tunes with only oom-pah as backup was the highlight of the night and a hit with the audience. Apparently the "Musikkapelle" was visiting from some small town “up in the mountains.”

Using an inexpensive digital camera, I recorded parts of two numbers from the concert: an Austrian version of Chicago, Chicago and an unknown, haunting melody.

Click for a video clip from concert (be patient while it downloads).

Audio only

I only wish I had recorded more of the concert. I loved the director's cool style; he seemed to conduct with his little finger.
Aug 6 Saturday – sunny, warm, rain later. We took the Zillertal Radweg as far south as Zell in Ziller. I had wanted to check out bicycle taxi service to take us up to the top of Gerlos Pass and possibly ride the Tauern Radweg from there via Krimml to Zell am See. Tourist office said regular buses take bikes. We also found wi-fi at a hotel cafe for the price of a beer. On the way back Janelle & Marcia went on ahead, Stafford & Monica took a side trip to Schlitters and met up with us at a swimming lake along the trail. We opted not to eat supper at a street festival in Strass, missing another chance at a traditional Musikkapele, but at the very nice Gasthof Post across from the Strass train station. It rained hard while we were eating; but it let up when it was time go back.
Resting in the shade of a barn along the Zillertal Radweg near Schlitters.
Town of Fügen in the background
Zillertalbahn north of Fügen viewed from the Zillertal Radweg.
The word Zell in Zell im Ziller means cell as in monk's cell. The town's coat of arms, as displayed on the side of a grammar school, reflects its history.
Aug 7 Sunday – heavy rain: Stafford, Monica & I took the train to Innsbruck for mass at the cathedral in light rain, with the intention of biking back. Meanwhile, Marcia and Janelle biked to Innsbruck 22 miles away. Jeanine decided to rest up from the long ride yesterday and go to church locally. We arrived in time to tour the center of Innsbruck before mass. We were disappointed that it was not a high mass with classical music.

Not long after starting back on our bikes, we passed Janelle and Marcia heading towards Innsbruck just as it was beginning to rain heavily. We had lunch under cover at a postal facility in Hall in Tirol and then headed for the train station. We just missed a train; and with the next one over an hour later, Stafford & Monica decided to ride to the next station. I, minus a rain coat, waited for the train at the Hall station. Back at Jenbach, I had a cup of coffee and more or less dried out at the “cafeteria” at the Jenbach station.

The bad day ended with the introduction of Stafford and Monica to the 6 handed version of Euchre, a Wisconsin small-town tavern card game.
Innsbrucker Dom
August 8 Monday – more rain. About all we could manage on our last day here was to walk around Jenbach. More 6 handed Euchre
We took refuge from the rain under an historical bridge at the Jenbach museum. Bridge guarded by St. John Nepomek, patron saint of bridges.
Our last night in Buch - a philosophical discussion at Gasthof Esterhammer in Rotholz, an ortsteil of Buch.
Right on!
Overlooking the Inn Valley with Strass in Zillertal in the foreground
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