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Also see: Our European bike tour - people and equipment
I talked my mom into joining us for part of our trip long time ago. She expressed interest in the Donube River, and mentioned something about sleeping on a boat every night. That sounded a bit out of our price range, but I figured that a river trip in the area sounded like a good compromise. After a lot of time spend on the internet late at night I settle for Innsbruck to Munich via Achen Lake. My mom and her partner met us in Innsbruck the day after we arrived there, and Lisa's parents were generous enough to let us all stay at their house. We had a nice time chatting with Hans in the garden over several glasses of wine. We went out for dinner in the area, and the next day we all went back to Lisa's downtown apartment to pack up the bikes and get them ready for our last section.
The Inn River bike path follow the river crossing over occasionally. I was surprised by our speed, but I guess you cover ground pretty fast when it is dead flat. We made an afternoon stop at Alpenbad Wattens, which turned out to be a great decision. The place was a amazing. Lots of different little pools for the kids, a bigger pool with slides, and one with jumpboards. The water colour seemed extra beautiful with mountainous background. Both F and N had a great time splashing in the pools. F even tried the water slide a few times. Late afternoon we headed of again to find our campsite for the night and AirBnB for the night. We biked around Weer for a while looking for Camping Plankenhof Tyrol. No one in town seemed to know were is was, and town was no bigger than we biked through it multiple times. Eventually we found it tucked in behind the Hotel of the same name just were it was suppose to be. They could improve their signage though. The campsite was almost empty, but filled with plum trees of many different variaties. My mom and Leif also had trouble getting into their AirBnB, but we eventually figured it out, and everyone had a great sleep.
The following day it was time for our big elevation gain of 400m. I had made sure that my mom could take the train up the hill, and F decided to join her while the rest of us pedalled up the steep switchbacks to Achen Lake. In a strick of luck we happened to cross path with the coal fired steam engine going up the 128 year old cog railway. We waved frantically to mormor and F as they passed by. The smoke from the train settling in the valley was not the best for the high output cycling. We all met up at the lake for a swim and some playtime before we headed to our AirBnB for the next two night. It was a great apartment over looking the lake. That evening we celebrated N's first birthday. Mormor had presents and a dress for her, and I made sure she got her favourite, watermelon, for dessert.
The next morning it was my turn to run up a peak, and I chose Bärenkopf with lift assist. It was just 500m of elevation so I was up and down in 2hours. After taking the gondola back down I sprinted towards the lake to catch the ferry to Gaisalm where I was suppose to meet the family. The boat was just about to leave when I arrived to I didn't have time to lock of my bike, so I just wheeled it on board. Turns out that although bikes are allowed on board they are not allowed to exit at Gaisalm. I had to pay for my bike to be ferried around the lake while I was at Gaisalm with the family. The weather wasn't the best, and we had to hid on the terrase of the closed restaurant. We did manage to get a small hike in before taking the boat back.
We had a long day ahead so we started out around the lake early the next morning. The ride around the lake was really nice, and I wished we had more time to explore all the little play stations, but we just stopped at a few. We gained our first bit of elevation temporarily going into a side valley, and rewarded ourselves with a break by the Seeache River. We enjoyed throwing rocks in the water, but you have to be careful with my mom around as her aim is pretty terible, and you never know if you have to dutch a rock flying straight at you. The whole day we followed these nice gravel paths along the river up and and down small hills. I only notice crossing into Germany because I checked the map. The real challenge came as we biked around the South side of Sylverstein Lake. Christian and Leif headed of with the kids, and I stayed behind to take it slow with my mom. My mom has some problems with her breathing on the uphills due to her asthma, but she did really well; I was very proud of her. We all met up again in the town of Fall for well earned ice cream. We spend the night a nice little guesthouse in Lenggries.
We were now following the Isar River bike path the rest of the way to Munich - always on nice bike paths - often next to the river, but at times weaving its way through forests and country side. We had our first break of the day a bit earlier than planned, but the river banks just passed Bad Tolz were just took good to pass by, so we spend a few hours. We were to spend our last night together in Ickinger at a warmshower I had contacted long time ago. Joerg had found my very early request rather weird, but I wanted to make sure that we would all be able to have a place to stay together. I am sure he had also warned me that we should not cross the river at Ickinger Wehr, but I had long forgotten. It quickly became apparent why it might not be a good idea. The bridge is super narrow, so we had to take everything apart and carry it through individually. The chariot need to be collapsed to make it through. It was probably still faster than the 20km detour to go around though. The hill afterwards were super steep, so we again left my mom behind to later be picked up in the car. We met Joerg biking around town looking for us. He welcomed us all into his home with open arms despite it already being quite full as he was hosting a Syrian refugee family. His wife had made sure there were pizza in the oven for everyone, and we made a big salad. We all squished around the dinning table that evening, and then enjoyed watching all the kids play in their great garden. We later set our tent up in the garden, while my mom and Leif stayed in a room inside. The next day it was time to say goodbye as my mom and Leif were on to their next holiday in the Czech republic. We were so grateful that they decided to take on the challenge and join part of our adventure. It sure made it extra special.
We continued towards Munich along the Isar. As we approached Munich the bike path became increasingly busy until we entered out the other side. We had last minute secured another warmshower in Unterföhring with Daniela and Stephan. They returned home two years ago after 20 months of bike touring. Now they were expecting their first child. We enjoyed listening to stories from their adventures, and they were keen on getting a few ideas about bike touring with kids. I did find it a bit challenging to stay in strangers house with kids. The next morning we biked the last 30km to our airport hotel. We picked up some bike boxes about half way there, wrapped them in our tarp and tied them to the side of the cargo bike. It would have been nicer to just fly home that night rather than having to take apart everything to bring it into the hotel only to put it back together to bike the last 2 km to the airport the next morning. The evening with two kids in a small hotel room felt really long and not relaxing at all.
The flight home marked the final leg of our two month trip. It sure had been an amazing two months. I wasn't sure how we were going to like being on the road for so long, what we were capable off, or what we would enjoy the most, which is why I arranged such a diverse trip. I could have easy continued for many more months. I liked the cycle touring a lot more than expected, and it sure will not be the last time we go. I did expect that we would love Norway the most, but was unsure if we would be able to make it up the mountains. The mountains sure were challenging, but they were also so rewarding.
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