The first big challenge: Crossing the Arlberg


  1. København-Alpirsbach

  2. Alpirsbach

  3. Alpirsbach

  4. Alpirsbach-Tuttlingen

  5. Tuttlingen-Lindau

  6. Lindau-Feldkirch(A)

  7. Feldkirch-Landeck

  8. Landeck-Innsbruck

  9. Innsbruck-Zell am Ziller

  10. Zell am Ziller-Zell am See

  11. Zell am See 

  12. Zell am See-Pffarwerfen 

  13. Pffarwerfen-Tuttmoning

  14. Tuttmoning-Passau

  15. Passau-Linz

  16. Linz-Melk

  17. Melk-Wien

  18. Wien

  19. Wien

  20. Wien

  21. Wien

  22. Wien-København




Letter 7


Wednesday 27.07.11

It's almost 12 o'clock and I've only just reached Blüdenz. Put a letter to the computer between 7 and 8 where breakfast started.
Eat with Hans, the australian, and we headed downtown, where he pointed out the street where I should turn. I would have thought it just lead to the autobahn. We shook hands rolling, he was going to continue through Lichtenstein to Switzerland.
The weather has turned reasonable, but this afternoon it's going to rain - eev.
All churchbells of the village ring me out of town. Then the road divides. 137 km to Innsbruck by autobahn, 144 km across Arlberg Pass - my road.

Until now it's flat... ...but is it really possible to get through this?


The road ascends and within long the big cogwheel comes to an end. Shorter steeper climbs, but it flattens each time.
I stop to eat a "Linzenstange" - I need calories. The first bottle is finished. Km 40 to 41,5 where I reach Wald am Arlberg is a tough part. Here I rest in the sun for a while. It's all prettier in sunshine. Unfortunately also hotter!
The autobahn has turned "full" again, for a while there was only one lane in each direction. I've passed a tunnel of 350 m and am ascending with 10 km/h just now. It's a perfect gradient. I have to climb. To 1800 m and I've just reached 950 m. No, 1800 isn't true. According to plan I'm only going to Stuben, before the final switchbacks to the pass.

The pass is open... ...and the tunnel just long


In Langen am Arlberg comes a train station, so probably a toilet, which means water, I'll soon be out? There is - and a coffee automat. I feed it with 1€ and get a cappucino - and 2 x 50 cent. I think I'll take another one... And the toilet was free... And the cappucino really tasty... It's raining while I'm sitting here sheltered. Next time the machine forgets to give me change...

Then comes the challenge - a pass tunnel of 853 m - and suddenly lots of traffic - there's been an exit from the motorway and nobody wants to miss this last beautiful part it seems? There's only one lane in each direction, but a sidewalk wide enough for my bike and me. A 20 cm edge and 30 cm to the white line, that's fine - I drag the bike through.
It's actually nice to use my legs for another purpose, but it's so steep, that my right arm starts hurting. I have to keep bended and straight alternating. Even I've tried this before is it a scary experience, which can only be surpassed by cycling IN the road, rear light or not. The sound is overwhelming when a car advances - and they do constantly - and when it has passed it sounds as if another one is on its way. The sound is thrown to and fro the tube.

When I get through AT LAST - I can ride the bike the last part which is gallery, which means that the tube is open in one side, here's the sidewalk wide enough so I dare - I see a road/cycle path outside. Maybe it's only a emergency lane?

The gallery leads to the pass to the north... ...but I have to go straight

The meter says 1320 m and I've cycled 52,15 km and I'm on a bench watching the switchbacks ending in a gallery up there.
I take a break after 500 m - just a short one. After 1 km I have to stop to catch my breath. According to the meter I've only ascended 80 m, meaning 8%. Is this because of the altitude? I can't seem to breathe.

I was not supposed to enter through the gallery, that lead up north, I - if I may say so - just have to continue "straight". But it flattens. It's wonderful again being able to go 8 km/h without gasping for air.
I stop one last time. Now I can SEE the restaurant on top. It starts to rain - what else could one expect?


The top is in the distance... ...and here I am

16.40 I'm there. The meter says 1740 m, it is actually 1800 - yes, it says so above the entrance. Now I can adjust the meter.
The rain intensifies. A young man without bags want a photo so he takes some for me too.
It was really an exhausting part, now I'm waiting for the rain to stop. It's cold, so I step inside, where there is a souvenir shop to one side and restaurant to the other. I spot a free outlet where my battery for the camera gets a boost of a quarter of an hour. I was too stingy to pay 500 for an extra original Sony batteri. Stupid.

I search for my rain trousers. They're not on top where they ought to be. I give on searching all bags throughly and start the descend. The rain is not so heavy but with this speed I get wet anyway. My speed doesn't exeed 40 km/h, that's too dangerous. I get down to Sct. Anton. There's an open info house. There's warm inside and a bench so I eat my supper there. I feel a violent hunger after the effort. I eat a fine bread with cheese and marmelade. On top I had a banana and a bun.

Go on searching for a camping site. I've not become wiser - unfortunately. I THINK I've seen 3 different in the map. When I go down to ask the prize at the first one it's 13,50€ and I go on. Hans had paid 8, 8.50 and 12! Which he found was too much.

When I take a closer look at the map, it was the only one - so I start looking for a place to camp "wild". There are no horisontal areas at the road. No sideways, just steep valleys.

I go all the way to Landeck, where I cross the river to the hospital and turns left passing a purifying plant. In the end the road turns too narrow for normal traffic and the gate is open to a pen or whatever it is. Not exactly in my dreams. To one side the railway, where several freight trains pass thundering by. 50 m away the motorway crosses the valley on a high bridge. 20 m away are high voltage masts and 50 m away the river roars. The last is OK. There's a heavy smell from animals.

Now, at 22 it starts to rain - again. No surprise.

99.40 km
15.3 km/h
45.3 km/h
6:29:09 h