Welcome to our Touring Center Austria that is starting today. Diana, Rowdy, John, Lois and Marc, all from the US will join me on this exciting tour that starts here in the town of Velden, right at the beautiful Wörthersee.
With Velden as our homebase we will turn in different directions on the next five days, and ride some of the best roads in this area. Doing this, we will not only ride in Austria, but also cross the borders to Italy and Slovenia severall times, so the offer on magnificent roads is plenty.
Touring Center means, that we stay in the same hotel for the whole tour, which is great because we do not have to check out and pack up our gear every day. What makes this even better, is that we have a great hotel as our base, which even has an outdoor pool and some wellness options to offer.
Our nice Hotel situated directly at the famous Wörthersee waiting to welcome our guests from the US.
The bikes are already waiting. You see that right, only five people on three bikes on this tour, wo a pretty small group which is even more fun to ride.
What could be better after an exiting day of riding than to jump into our pool?
On our first riding day we decided to go south and head to Slovenia. Our first highlight already came a few kilometers after leaving our hotel, the Loiblpass leading us into Slovenia. After testing our bike on this frist mountain road, we stopped by in Bled, which is a very nice little town in Slovenia with a beautiful lake, that is one of the major tourist attractions in this area.
Riding a lot of small roads through the beautiful slovenian landscape we slowly made our way to the Triglav national park, where we crossed over to italy, before we headed back to our hotel in Velden.
Mark is our first "volonteur" at our daily morning briefing.
John and Mark with their bikes.
A short visit to the memorial monument for the concentration camps of the second world war.
Rowdy looks impressed with the landscape of the slovenian mountains.
The lake in Bled is really impressive and is overlooked by a castle from the 11th century.
With a group of only 4 bikes parking is an easy exercise.
Time for one last coffee stop in Slovenia before we head to Triglav National Park.
A little Fotostop at a mountain fortress from the 18 hundrets, built as a defense against Napoleon.
Another great riding day lies behind us. Completly different than the first one, but both were faboulus in their own way. Today we headed east and went all the way to the austrian region of styria, birthplace of the famous austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The landscape there was very different from what we had so far. No more huge mountains and tiny slovenian roads, but hills full of wineyards and wide roads with long sweepers.
One of the highlights on our tour today was a visit at the famous heart shaped road that lies in the austrian/slovenian wine region and hearts seemed to be the theme of the day. Once you look out for them, you start to spot them everywhere, even at a little coffeestop.
On this trip we are constantly crossing the borders between austria, slovenia and italy. Luckily there are not border controlls anymore so there is hardly any reason to stop at a border anymore. But we had to do it at least ones to get a picture with the slovenian country sign.
The famous heart shaped road that brings many "Instagrammers" into this region. Its a really nice spot for some couples pictures.
We also had our lunch there and enjoyed some sausagges, cheese, bread and vegetables from the region.
One very old tractor, fully restored and in perfect condition.
After riding a magnificent road through the forest we stopped for a break at the Soboth reservoir.
Not what you might think, just some Redbull in a fancy glass.
Although this is a Touring Center Tour where we stay at the same hotel for the whole trip, every days ride is very different. Today the weather forcast said there could be rain east and north of our homebase in the afternoon we changed our plans and headed southwest to a provinz of italy called friuli. A place with magnificent mountain ranges that is still pretty remote and undiscovered by tourists and is mostly just visited by hikers and mountain climbers. And some motorcycle riders of course .
Once over the border to italy we stopped at the Lago del Predil, a nice little lake surounded by mountains.
Once there, we discovered an abandoned old military fortress with some artillery still standing around.
If in friuli you just have to go to San Daniele where the famous italien prosciutto is made.
After lunch we climbed the Monte Zoncolan, a steep and very narrow road, known from the Giro de Italia and supposetly one of the toughest climbs in the cycling circle. Having ridden it with a motorcycle its hard to believe you can even get up there with a bicycle. But our climb was rewarded with some great pictures on the top of the whole group (minus the photographer) and their bikes in front of the impressive mountain range.
The dinner in our hotel is really great, especially the nicly decorated desert we are getting every day.
Today we stayed in Austria and our main goal was to ride the famous Nockalm Panorama Road. On our way there we stopped by in Gmünd, a nice little town a bit north of the Wörthersee.
Most of us used the chance to visit the only privatly owned Porsche museum there which was quite interessting.
Afterwards we went to the highlight of the day, the 35km long Nockalm Road that runs up through the mountains to over 2000m. Sadly we hit some bad weather there, so we didnt stop much to enjoy the great views that road normaly has to offer. But we still had a good ride today and on our way back to the hotel, the sun was already out again.
Short fotostop at the Millstätter lake.
Its a little known fact, that Porsche moved their production to Gmünd in Austria in 1944 and the first car ever that wore the brand name Porsche was produced here.
While most of us visited the Porsche Museum, Rowdy took the chance to ride the Malta Hochalmstraße and brought back a picture of this nice waterfall.
The neighbor of the museum is creating sculptures with scrap metal, some of them are quite interessting.
Altough the weather on the Nockalm was not the best, there were still quite some bikers.
After the rain stopped and the sun came out again we treated ourself with some ice coffee.
Today was our last riding day. This week went by way to fast, but at least it was a great riding day and we also managed to do some sightseeing.
We found this little restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
The old farmhouses that still exist are proof that people have been living in this remote valleys for a very long time.
We took a little detour on the Seeberg Saddle up to the slovenian border before we retourned to carinthia.
Our Lunchstop today was on top of the Magdalensberg, where you have an amazing 360 degree view of the whole area and a great restaurant right on top of the mountain.
We also visited the castle Hochosterwitz today. It sits on top of a mountain and looks like fresh out of a fairytale, definitly worth a visit.
For a final time we got some great dinner back at our hotel in Velden.