Top of Austria – Eastern Alps motorbike tour – Car-Motorbike

There is a separate motorbike park on Mariazell’s cozy main square. The statue of Mary and the little Jesus in the Basilica has been visited by pilgrims for centuries with the help of the miraculous Virgin. Photo: Shutterstock and Balázs Miklós-Illés

Day 1: Szombathely – Kalte Kuchl – Mariazell – Leoben: 407 km
Encouraged by the success of the pre-virus Transylvanian tour, we decided to set off again, but this time in the opposite direction, heading west. Since we only had a little time, we packed up the day before and after work we motored to Szombathely so that we could cut freshly into the Austrian mountains. Before the scorching heat, we started early and meandered on beautiful forest roads just 20 kilometers from Szombathely. The section between Rohonc and Léka turned out to be a great warm-up, which in itself would have been worth a trip, especially in the saddle of my fellow traveler, a Honda Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports. In addition to the comfortable seating position and great wind protection, it was like banging on serpentines, like an oversized knee pad, and accelerating from the hairpin bends, my long-strung two-cylinder friends were shrinking in the rearview mirror. However, it would have been a pity to focus only on the right curves and speed, I don’t think there is a traveler who wouldn’t be surprised by the postcard-like view of the settlements hidden in the mountains, not least the road fines are not compatible with domestic payments. Especially in populated areas, the authorities bite into speeding, this is definitely worth paying attention to!

Many people make the successful conquest of the Edelweißspitze even more memorable by affixing an individual sticker

Our next destination was Road 21, referred to as the motorcycle paradise, where we stopped at the iconic Kalte Kuchl Alpengasthof, their apple pie is a must-see! By the way, two-wheelers are drawing with reality here on weekends: it is a telling fact that almost 30% of the country’s motoring accidents happen here! One of the most enjoyable sections is the section between Kalte Kuchl and Ochsattel, but it is a challenge to overcome the dynamic bends with many changes of direction, as it is easy to get into, despite the lavish quality of the asphalt. When we started to get tired, we reached the picturesque Mariazell, where the most important shrine of Mary in Central Europe is located. Tucked away in the high mountains, the three-tower pilgrimage church, a blend of Gothic and Baroque style, is surrounded by charming cafés and relic shops – a friendly town of just 1,500 people visited by more than a million pilgrims a year.

After a short cultural outlook, we continued on our way to Wildalpen, where we watched the rafters from the suspension bridge over the river Salza, and then we descended to the ice-cold water on a steep path with large differences in level. In the absence of a swimming start, we headed to our accommodation in Leoben, which is one of the centers of the country’s iron and steel industry. It was a bit of a sharp shift to stand in the traffic jam in the industrial city after the beautiful mountains and towns, in any case we went to rest full of experiences and exhausted.

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2nd nap: Leoben – Preitenegg – Klippitzrörl – Turracherhöhe – Nockalmstrasse – Innerkrems: 327 km
After the first day, we waited even more excited to start, as incredible level differences and the conquest of the panoramic road Nockalmstrasse awaited us.
We continued our journey on perfect asphalt, with well-curved bends, but our joy did not last long. After a few minutes, the weather in the Alps showed its whimsical face, from the rain drizzling in the sun to the double rainbow to the black clouds that suggested the end of the world. Due to the latter, unfortunately, rainwear soon came to light. That’s when Africa Twin’s excellent driving assistance systems came in really handy, and I especially appreciated the traction control that works seamlessly. However, the extra hours made up for all the inconvenience. Suddenly the sun went out and we waved in the endless bends of hidden alpine villages, huge grassy hills and deep forests. Instead of main roads, we followed smaller forest roads, while traffic was reported by herds of cows crossing the road. The bigger road flaws were just the smile of Africa Twin, the only negative I could mention was the seat, it proved to be too hard and narrow on the tour for my taste, I would definitely get a more comfortable saddle if the machine was my own. Then, by the time I woke up, we already knew the curves of the Preitenegg and the Klippitzrörl, and we began to climb the 1795 m high Turracher Höhe.

There are three idyllic lakes at the top of the hill, as well as Austria’s largest spruce forest. These trees can live up to 1000 years! I wasn’t even filled with the sight when we got off the Turracher Höhe and arrived at the foot of the Nockalmstrasse. In the heart of the Nockbergen mountains, the Nockalmstrasse is already chargeable, with a motorbike fee of 13 euros, but after the first meters it is obvious that the 35 km long alpine panoramic road leading to an altitude of 2000 m is a must. So far, I’ve only been able to flood the landscape, but the parade-lined asphalt road is made unforgettable by fairytale valleys, beautiful pine groves, and thriving alpine pastures. We did not spend much time in the crystal clear high altitude air, and then we soon had to leave for our accommodation in Innerkrems, as the next day we had the conquest of the Grossglockner.

Wherever we stop to relax on the Grossglockner, everywhere you will be dazzled by beautiful sea eyes and waterfalls

3. nap: Innerkrems – Grossglockner – Bad Ischl: 292 km
The road to Grossglockner didn’t hold much excitement, only the mysterious mountain peaks emerging from the clouds indicated that we could be preparing for something special. In the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park rises 3798 m above the highest mountain in Austria, at the foot of which the Grossglockner Alpine Panorama Road was built. The serpentine meandering to an altitude of 2571 m was clearly the highlight of our tour! Although the € 27 toll is not small, everyone has to see this landscape at least once in their lives: the passes, the differences in level, the rocks towering over our heads and then disappearing into the depths are all amazing. We feel like real dust at the bottom of the gorge, at the highest point of the road, the Edelweißspitze is both awesome and lofty. Of course, the Ferraris, Porsches and even the most special Ducatis are not to be missed in the parking lot of the Edelweißspitze, and I would rather stop taking photos for hours at every turn. After a spontaneous snowball, we walked the 48km long panoramic road twice, first at a staring pace and then a little faster. Of course, you have to be very sensible, you can’t make a mistake anywhere, the 36 hairpin bends are a great challenge even for experienced motorcyclists, and the mountain air easily overwhelms you. We were very lucky with the time, we were able to roam the Glockner at a pleasant 15-20 degrees, the next day we would have had 5 degrees and hail. Smiling, but we got off the mountain road a little tired, so we couldn’t wait to get some rest after a hearty dinner.

The sight of the legendary Wallack snow throwers is as much a part of the Grossglockner as it is for motorbike hikers. It is here that the two typical vehicles date each other

4. nap: Bad Ischl – Budapest: 561 km
The only thing left for the last day was to come home safely on the highway, the enjoyment value of which was not too great, but it was the price to pack the best of the Eastern Alps in 4 days. After the tour in Transylvania, Africa Twin also proved how versatile the adventure engine, in addition to its high fun factor, it is worth mentioning that the consumption was only around 5.5 liters, which is especially good value under such heavy use. And the conclusion? The natural beauties of the route have been flooded, I could hardly find a better place to relax for a few days!

BEND: FRIEND OR ENEMY?
Nothing provides as much enjoyment in motorcycling as cornering, yet most accidents happen in rounds. The biggest danger is usually the narrowing, unpredictable hairpin bends. This way, you should always pay attention to the signs before the bend, such as the speed of oncoming people, the movement of the edges of the road, the vegetation and the closing line. It is a rule of thumb that the stopping distance should not be greater than the foreseeable distance, so that an unexpectedly narrowing curve cannot frighten us. If we see the edge of the road and the closing line in the distance as if they were touching, we can be sure that a sharp turn is coming. It is also important to pay attention to the quality of the asphalt, and on mountain roads or after a rainy day we can expect alluvium and gravel. If we finally get into the dangerously narrowing curve, we can easily narrow the curve with the gentle use of the rear brake, and we can rest assured that the tire will have traction, and a modern tread tire has a huge reserve of traction. By no means do we have to turn a corner or drive on the finish line, always expect a truck or bus to lane into our lane! Never look rigidly in front of the engine, we look farther away in the desired direction of travel, which reduces our sense of speed and allows us to process more information about our environment. Last but not least, it is worth practicing the endless possibilities of different postures and steering impulses in a driving technique training, so we can cut into our next motor adventure much more consciously.


Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.

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