17 July 2011
It was another sunny morning when we left, and the trip to Landeck was quick. There were two routes to Bludenz— via Arlberg pass and Silvretta pass— and we decided to take Arlberg, the shorter of the two.
We headed out of Landeck along a nice bike path, not realizing that we had taken the wrong road out of the city until about 30 minutes later.
We doubled back to Landeck and took the correct road this time, though the road signage did its best to confound us.
The weather, previously sunny, turned to overcast as we headed up towards Arlberg.
We ate lunch at a roadside restaurant. Since we planned for this to be our last stop in a Euro country, we used the opportunity to get rid of our remaining Euro bills and coins (€16.80 between us, I think) by ordering currywurst and fries (€8 each).
Past St. Anton am Arlberg, the climb became pretty unpleasant. There was heavy traffic on the road and there were segments of 10% grade climb inside tunnels. I stopped at turnouts frequently.
Very close to the pass, there was a long tunnel, which we found a bypass for. Now the clouds on the far side of the pass were looking very ominous.
At Arlberg, visibility was next to nothing due to the fog.
We soon got below that layer, but it started to rain. We pressed on through the rain for the last 20 miles to Bludenz. Fortunately, I was able to stay warm. The route was mostly downhill, but taking the off-road bike path in the rain was more than I was willing to tolerate, so we returned to the main road.
When we got to Bludenz we were soaked (and very glad we hadn't taken the longer route through Silvretta). To avoid spending more time out in the rain, we just made a beeline for the hotel we had stayed at last year in Bludenz, the Gasthof Löwen.
We took some time to clean and dry all of our things, and we caught a bit of the Tour de France on TV.
For dinner we stumbled on a not-very-obvious Chinese restaurant that we hadn't noticed last year in Bludenz. They were offering all-you-can-eat buffet for €11. I was initially dubious but the food was not bad. (There were many recognizably Chinese dishes, which is apparently no small find in Europe. As a bonus they also had AYCE ice cream.) Anyway, due to the quality-quantity product, it was just the thing for two cyclists who had just spent the afternoon in the rain. I had a beer, which, despite being a Tsing Tao (or, as it was listed on the menu, "China Beer"), was maybe the most enjoyable beer I had the whole trip.
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