Austrian mountain lakes, Salzburg, and crossing into Czechia

Since my last post, we’ve been furiously cycling on roundabout gorgeous routes through Austria and Czechia (aka Czech Republic, once a part of Czechoslovakia).

Cycling before Salzburg

We were enjoying Austria so much that we decided not to cycle directly towards Salzburg and instead visit the Salzkammergut Region, famous for its mountain lakes. We planned an overly ambitious path by the most popular lakes, but upon arriving at the first lake, Traunsee, we found there was a summer festival that evening. The town was packed and setting up for the festival. The cheapest hotel rooms were over $350, and the first campground we stopped at was booked full. The second campground had some space, but we were torn because if we stopped now, we wouldn’t have time to see the most popular lake, Hallstatter. But if we kept cycling, we ran the risk of not finding a campsite for the evening. It made me grumpy, but we decided to stop.

Our busy campground with the stunning views.

It turned out to be a good decision to stop because every campground we passed afterwards had signs up stating they were full.

Still, we saw some stunning scenery in the lakes. The scale of it all was literally breathtaking. Even with the summer crowds, it was an experience to remember.

Even cycling between the lakes, the signed bike routes led us through picturesque landscapes with beautiful fancy homes.

It seems to be a pastime of the Austrians to make designs in the drying sunflowers. Very entertaining for us as we cycled through many fields.

Charging our batteries (literally and figuratively) with solar power by Wolfgangsee. Campgrounds often charge extra for power or don’t have any at all near the tent-only area, so these have come in handy. At 10W, they are almost twice as powerful as our last ones and charge much quicker and even in cloudy weather.

Most of the cycle routes follow the rivers in Austria, and you can spend hours cycling under shade trees or on high levees and suddenly come around a corner and see sights like this.


Salzburg was great, and for me partly because I could sit back and let Steve plan it all. He had so many Sound of Music places he wanted to see, and I was more than happy to help navigate and sit back and go with the flow. I’m not a particularly big SoM fan, so I’ll just post a few photos; see Steve’s Instagram for the choice ones.

The actual gazebo from the movie set.

Pegasus statue.

Stunning views of town from the peak of the town’s main castle.

Water fountain that I guess was in the movie.

We toured the Stiegl brewery and left with some souvenirs including some bottle caps. Inspired by my friend Wendy, who has a bottle cap bike mirror that I love, I glued a bottle cap to my own mirror, making it much more interesting, and I hope entertaining some of the folks we pass by. If asked, I can proudly says, “das ist mein Stiegl Spiegl!” (Alas, no one has asked me yet, so I’m saving this gem of German wordplay for the right occasion lol!!!)

The craft beer room. Too bad we didn’t get to try this one as it wasn’t ready yet.

View from the love locks bridge. This is a thing everywhere apparently.

We really enjoyed getting to see Kris and Jill again in Salzburg. They are now headed west back home to the UK (probably), while we head north towards Prague. I know we’ll have a reunion at some point, but likely after our tours are over. It’s the curse of cycle touring, always saying goodbye to new friends.

Sankt Erhard.

The nunnery from the film with my very own nun. Ha!

Walking up to the castle.

Cycling after Salzburg

Ready to ride, we planned an ambitious 3-day route to Çesky Krumlov in Czechia. The first day and a half were fairly easy, following the Salzach River, emptying into the Inn River, and finally back on the Danube, this time going east. We were looking for the easiest mountain pass between Austria and Czechia.

We found one, and it was passable, but not easy. We joined one other cycle tourist (look behind Steve) walking our bicycles up the 12-14% grades for a few kilometers.

We did cycle most of it though, and the scenery was stunning.

Earlier, we came across some llamas…

and saw many scenic towns along the Danube…

and even caught a stage of the Race Around Austria! We watched a few dozen riders go by and cheer them on. It’s a 4-day non-stop race around the edges (i.e. hilliest parts!) of the country.

One part of the Danube cycling route requires you to take a ferry. We were joined by this group of Romanian cyclists who gifted us a Romanian flag that we were honered to receive. They are hoping to visit Florida next year, and we hope to see Romania soon!


Across the border, little initially changed, except that now fried cheese was on the snack menu. We tried some and it’s good! I mean, how can it not be?

Our first town of Çeske Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and we enjoyed pushing our way through hordes of Chinese tourists taking selfies. And watching hot air balloons and small sightseeing planes glide over the historic city.

Beautiful quaint architecture in the old town.

We rented a raft and paddled down the river! There’s a reason they call these boats widow-makers… But we had fun! 😬

Enjoyed sunset views over the city.

The city seal. I always enjoy looking at the town infrastructure especially in historic towns like this. Call me a nerd.

But wait, what? Is there really vodka piped through the city?? I knew I would like Czechia!

After Çesky Krumlov, we are headed north along the EuroVelo 7 route to Prague and then Berlin. Along the way we are going through historic river towns, and fields of corn, barley, and hops.

Speaking of food….

Food – Austrian & German

We had a few lunches across the Inn river in Germany, so they are mixed in here with the Austrian food…

I don’t know why Steve couldn’t finish this itty bitty platter of sausage, Knödel, and creamy lentils topped with bacon… Seriously, I think you’re only meant to eat once per day in Austria. Two meals is just excessive.

Yum, Schneider Weisse! Was happy to find this.

Lots of goulash mit Knödel were eaten. Reminds me of the beef stew my father used to make when I was a kid. Good memories.

We heard this strange dessert, Knockerl, was a specialty of Salzburg. After trying it, we know why it hasn’t caught on anywhere else. It looks well, odd, and tasts like a poorly cooked souffle. Oh well, we had to try!!

Steve loves his schnitzel! He’s got a blog coming up about this…

And me, my spaetzl. Omg, I was uncomfortable but very happy after finishing this.

Berry strudel-ish dessert.

Food – Czech

We didn’t know what to expect, but so far, the food bears a lot of resemblance to Hungarian and Austrian food, but at 1/3 the price of Austria. Which is not a bad thing at all!

Turkey cordon Bleu in mustard sauce over creamed spinach. Heaven!

They do a lot of pasta here too, though no one has claimed this is a Czech dish yet.

Did you know Budweiser is from the Czech Republic? Yeah, me either. The other local beers are better, to be honest, though the variety of beers at most restaurants is very limited. Can’t wait to get to Prague and try some special ones.

A spaetzl-like dish.

I had to try this local cheese from the market, a specialty of the region. Very funky taste, almost like I got the milk right from the source. Probably won’t have it again.

Okay that’s all for now! Next up, Prague!

5 Replies to “Austrian mountain lakes, Salzburg, and crossing into Czechia”

  1. Lovely read and love the photos, the food, the knödel. Und dein Deutsch ist aber gut!
    Love you guys!

  2. Very nice! Enjoyed this immensely. Beautiful scenery and country.
    Love you both!

    Mom and Dad Carnes

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