We stopped out our last servo in Italy but we could already tell by the food sold that we weren’t in the heart of the country. The food was heavily influenced by Austrian cuisine such as strudels & schnitzels. I grabbed some lasagne and a plate of vegies + a frozen mocha coffee thing that is quite popular in Europe. Then it was back on the coach, where I played Justin Timberlake’s latest album, to the (surprisingly for me) great annoyance of everyone on the bus. After about 8 songs it was stopped and replaced with ACDC.
We arrived in Austria at the Inn River to do a little bit of white water rafting. Having done a little bit in New Zealand, I was quite excited to try it again. After I suited up in a wet suit and flotation device, we received a safety demonstration and then carried the raft to the river. Now the rapids are only class 2-3 so it wasn’t an extreme ride, but it was still pretty awesome. The scenery was so beautiful you just wanted to stare at it but couldn’t because you need to pay attention to the water in front. It was highly enjoyable and I was lucky to have an awesome group in my raft as well as the main instructor as our leader.
At the end we showered, gym class style, then had a look at the professional photos (I took a sneaky pic of one), grabbed a hotdog & drink (I got some weird Austrian soft drink) plus a puny packet of paprika Pringles and a minute of Wifi to check emails and upload a quick picture. Then it was back on the coach, where my trusty keypad had run out of juice so I had to type this the good ‘ol fashioned way.
We arrive at a Contiki owned hotel, the first we have encountered on the trip. It is pretty cool because they know what we are looking for. For instance, there are multiple power points in the room (some we have stayed in have none) and we get a typical bacon and eggs for breakfast. At night we had Schnappy Hour, 2.50 Euro shots of a dozen different flavours. Still recovering from my rash and developing the same sickness Colin had, I didn’t want to have a big night. I tried a few of the flavours just to see what it was like and was home by midnight.
In the morning it was a quick stroll down the street to pickup a bicycle for our mountain biking experience through the lush hills of Hopfgarten. It was a 24km cycle through on and off road terrain. The scenery was spectacular and the air was crisp. It was so hot that at the half way point, many people went for a swim in the same temperature water as we had for white water rafting.
I rode quite well considering I hadn’t been on a bike for over a decade and was even the first five at each leg and never once took a break, walked or felt sore. I again got a backhanded compliment about my fitness level this trip, one girl said, “You’re doing surprisingly well”. I think people just assume IT and fitness must be mutually exclusive, and as I don’t go everywhere in wife beaters and do push-ups at every opportunity, it would be easy to assume that I was unhealthy.
After the hour plus ride, it was time for a quick shower then back out for tandem paragliding. We got a bus up to a mountain where we got a gondola up to it’s highest peak. From there we got into our gear then we had to run off the edge of the cliff. Now as you might have figured out, as it is tandem and you are in the front, once your legs are off the floor, does not mean the instructor behinds you are so you have to keep running even once you are in the air. They stressed this so many times, I was getting quite worried, as the consequences were flea planting into the side of a hill.
I took off with no dramas, and the view was phenomenal. I was even given the responsibility of steering the craft and opted in for the ‘Roller-coaster’ ride. It was really fun free falling and diving all over the place, getting up to a few G’s force. Some of the other people felt there stomach turned and SP felt dizzy half way through, but it was fine for me. I got a load of awesome photos on a SD card, which I will hopefully be able to upload at some point during this trip.