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Postcard from Timperley



The main purpose of this blog is to keep in touch with friends and family, and maybe entertain others with common interests, particularly in relation to the outdoors. We hope you enjoy it, and your comments are valued....



Updated: 2018-02-22T11:51:24.271+00:00

 



Back in Timperley

2018-02-20T18:39:08.182+00:00

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After a very easy journey via Heathrow.

I must smell of Canada - the eponymous geese chased me along the canal towpath!



Monday 19 February 2018 - Diefenbunker

2018-02-19T22:03:47.544+00:00

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On a day when skiing would have been an anti-climax, as it's 5°C and raining in Ottawa, Ken was despatched for his last week at work and Helen, Sue and I paid a visit to Canada's Cold War Museum. 

The Diefenbunker complex was constructed in the late 1950s when the Cold War was at its height. I remember well the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. There were about 100 people employed here, with scope for over 500 people to shelter from a nuclear blast for a month. The desk shown above is in the President's Office. Thankfully it was never needed, the only president in office who visited the site being Pierre Trudeau.

The site was decommissioned in 1994 and now houses this interesting underground museum on four levels.



Saturday 17 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 12 - Gatineau Loppet (Part 2)

2018-02-18T20:02:38.634+00:00

The route, a linear 51 km: P17 (Wakefield)>#53 extended>#50 from P19>#36>P11>#36>Fortune Parkway>Champlain Parkway>Gatineau Parkway>#26>P2 - 51 km, 840 metres ascent, 5 hours 30 mins including 2 mins stops. First of all, the previous evening, a visit to a school in Mont-Bleu, in French speaking Gatineau, is required in order to pick up bibs and timing chips. We obtained entry from a car park by a back door and joined a long queue, armed with our confirmatory emails. After half an hour in the queue, and after being queue jumped by a French group, we reached a desk where we were officiously informed that we must supply our bib numbers in order to receive our 'envelopes'. The bib numbers were on display about a metre to our left over a low barrier, thus easily accessible to the man who was demanding that we leave the queue to get our numbers and rejoin it at the back. He who had been quite happy to serve the people who pushed in front of us. We refused to move and eventually got our envelopes, which were supposed to come with a 'goody' (a hat) that the man serving us deliberately failed to hand to us. Luckily we saw that everyone else was getting one and eventually we managed to escape with hats and envelopes. We could easily have missed another desk where you have to scan your timing chip in order to 'register'.Altogether an unnecessarily stressful hour that we really needed to prepare our skis.Stage 2 of our preparation was a pasta supper, prepared by Helen (not doing the loppet) aided by Sue (I collected her envelope) with rather greater efficiency than the shambles at the high school where we hadn't had time to look at the Expo stands, other than to take note of waxing advice for the following day.Stage 3 involved the waxing of skis. Susan was using waxless skis so just needed the tips and tails preparing with glide wax - a fairly quick job. Sue and I skipped this bit of preparation as our tips and tails looked OK, and the waxing of the main wax 'pocket' - the central part of the ski - was more important. Ken is an expert at this task and sorted out our waxing before tackling his own, with Sue and me acting as 'commis' waxers. The race day temperature was expected to rise from about minus 18°C to not much below freezing, on a sunny day, making waxing a complex process. The outer layer needed to be quite hard (blue) for the cold start. Underneath that, a layer of violet wax would be more suitable for the warmer conditions that would prevail after the blue wore off. As a base, horribly sticky klister wax would allow the skis to grip on the warm afternoon when the violet wax had worn off. So the three waxes were applied in reverse order, each needing to be rubbed in and cooled outside before the next layer was added.Meanwhile, Shane and Stephen needed to do little by way of preparation at Lester and Lynette's B&B as they both have smart new waxless skis with 'skins' - a mohair grip zone. Such skis have improved a lot and have become more sophisticated since we bought our waxing skis.The planned early night didn't quite come off, especially for Ken, whose last job was to meticulously prepare his skis after everyone else had turned in.Come Saturday morning, we were up at 5.45 am and were on our way to the Mont-Bleu school soon after 6.30 am. Skiers are taken from there to the start at P17 car park outside Wakefield in a convoy of school buses. The start takes place in five waves - A to E (based on predicted finish times) - and as usual Sue and I hung around in the warmth of the school before heading to the last of the buses. We know our place, and were joined at the start by Stephen, also setting off right at the back of the 458 (in theory, actually closer to 400) strong field. There was no wind, so despite the cold temperature we kept tolerably warm before the start, a good half hour later. There's a service for taking jackets back to the finish at Mont-Bleu school that some used, whilst Stephen and I came ready to ski. Ken[...]



Saturday 17 February 2018 - The 40th Gatineau Loppet (Part 1)

2018-02-18T01:07:28.393+00:00

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We lined up at 9 am for this 51 km cross country skiing excursion in perfect conditions.

A fuller report will follow, but this is just to reassure readers that all went well, despite the official results showing me as a non finisher as my timing chip must have broken.

Four of us, Shane, Sue, Stephen and me all finished up to ten minutes inside five and a half hours. We are pictured above. Ken and Susan finished some distance ahead of us.

More to follow tomorrow.



Friday 16 February 2018 - Resting by the River Rideau

2018-02-17T02:52:01.679+00:00

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Basically a day off before a long day's skiing tomorrow. 

Snow flurries were followed by bright sunshine and a stroll for me and Sue beside the river.

Bibs and timing chips were retrieved from a rather shambolic collection point at a school in Gatineau.

Skis were waxed and pasta duly consumed, followed by Susan's offering for the day, some giant cup cakes, and the last of Ken's tasty birthday cake.




Thursday 15 February 2018 - A Walk from Ottawa

2018-02-15T22:22:51.723+00:00

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Today's route:

Ottawa to Mooney's Bay and beyond (a walk) - 16 km, 100 metres ascent, 4 hours 29 mins including 1 hour 30 mins stops.

On a rainy day in Ottawa, Sue and Susan chose to indulge themselves at the Nordic spa in Chelsea. They kindly dropped me off in town. After a bit of sight seeing, shopping and lunch, I walked back home via the Rideau Canal and Mooney's Bay. The paths were wet and slippery in the warm temperatures (+6°C) and skiing wouldn't have been that enjoyable today.

A few snaps were taken en route:
The Supreme Court
Parliament Buildings
A War Memorial
The Art Gallery and Spider 
An Ice Sculpture
The Rideau Canal - closed today on account of the high temperatures 



Party Time

2018-02-15T04:13:17.750+00:00

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Wednesday 14 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 11

2018-02-14T21:22:14.799+00:00

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Today's route:

P8>Gatineau Parkway>Champlain Parkway>Fortune Parkway>Gatineau Parkway>P8 - 22.3 km, 415 metres ascent, 2 hours 57 mins including 9 mins stops.

Whilst Shane and Stephen had opted for the 'Parkway Loop' route, Sue, Susan and I had planned to go to McKinstry cabin and the Fire Tower from P12. But despite being another blue sky day, Ridge Road to McKinstry had a thumbs down from the Park management. Temperatures would start at minus 8°C and rise to plus 5°C, tricky conditions for waxing the skis.

We decided on a clockwise trip around the 'Parkway Loop', with Susan on her waxless skis and Sue and I borrowing Helen and Ken's waxless boards. This worked well, albeit Sue complained about having to work a bit harder than usual.

The highlights of the outing were the frozen waterfall on Champlain Parkway, pictured, and meeting up with Shane and Stephen coming the other way up Fortune Parkway. Stephen was proudly displaying some new skis with 'skins' on them.
 
Lunch in Tonique Restaurant in Chelsea was good, but allow plenty of time if you go there...

A leisurely afternoon will be followed by 'Party Time'. Ken has a big birthday and the five of us will be joined by S and S, their hosts Lester and Lynette, and our old friends Michael and Sayuri. 

Sue is busy decorating a cake...



Tuesday 13 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 10

2018-02-14T03:10:14.319+00:00

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Today's route:

P19>#50>#55 Taylor Lake Loop>Renaud Cabin>#54>Lusk Cabin for lunch>#54>#55>#50>#51>P19 - 19.5 km, 340 metres ascent, 3 hours 43 mins including 1 hour 8 mins stops.

A blue sky day, at first anyway, found Sue, Susan and me meeting up with Stephen and Shane at P19 - Lac Philippe - car park. Thankfully Stephen's gear had all found its way to the start today.

The trails were icy and fast downhill. Waxing was tricky and despite moving from light blue to blue, Sue and I still had very little grip by the end of the day. Stephen and Susan fared better with their waxless skis, and Shane's skins seemed to work ok. 

We met a coach load of school children at Renaud Cabin, taking a break before setting off to set up some quinzees (like igloos) for an overnight adventure. 

Lusk cabin was toasty warm for a leisurely lunch, after which Shane and Stephen returned direct to P19 whilst the three of us took a slithery alternative down trail 51, which despite its gentle gradients was 'nur für guebte' today.



Monday 12 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 9

2018-02-13T02:53:16.827+00:00

Today's route: P11>#36>#50>Herridge Cabin>Healey Cabin for lunch>#50>#36 via beach>P11 - 22.4 km, 380 metres ascent, 4 hours 8 mins including 1 hour 10 mins stops. After freezing rain yesterday evening, it was fortuitous that the grooming machine had freshly prepared today's excellent trails. Our planned starting time of 10.30 was delayed by an hour after Stephen discovered he had forgotten to load his ski shoes. Replacement kit was hired in Chelsea.We had Healey Cabin to ourselves for a very leisurely lunch whilst the sun shone outside.Sue, Susan and I were joined by Shane and Stephen on today's classic trail with wonderful swooping (but not too swooping) descents. They saw a beaver yesterday; today I saw a deer and Sue and I spent some time watching a flock of chickadee type birds high in a tree by trail 36.The Wellington Gastropub provided an excellent evening meal for all seven of us (the five skiers plus Ken and Helen) tonight.A great day on the skis, and later...[...]



Sunday 11 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 8

2018-02-12T03:02:20.173+00:00

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Today's route:

P7>#30>#1>Keogan Cabin>#1>Huron Cabin>#1>1b>#2>Western Cabin for lunch>#2>#1>#3>Fortune Parkway>#1>#30>P7 - 25.3km, 360 metres ascent, 4 hours 17 mins including 53 mins stops.

Sue, Ken, Susan and I met up with Shane and Stephen in the vicinity of P7 car park. The latter two skied with us to Huron cabin, via a brew stop at Keogan cabin, before returning to base. (It's unwise to ski too far until the muscles have 'bedded in'.) Meanwhile, Susan shot off to Western cabin and wasn't seen again until the end. Sue, Ken and I paused at Huron then proceeded to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the warmth of Western cabin, which overlooks the Ottawa River. Sue is pictured outside the cabin, and also later on trail 3 (the Burma Road) that was in great condition in today's relatively mild temperatures - minus 9 to minus 12°C including wind chill.



Saturday 10 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 7

2018-02-10T22:58:55.160+00:00

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Today's route:

Mooney's Bay - 3 circuits plus add-ons - 10.8 km, 40 metres ascent, 1 hour 45 mins including 6 mins stops.

On an overcast, relatively warm, day with light snow falling, we decided to give Gatineau Park a miss and obtain a bit of exercise at Mooney's Bay, where there's a pleasant 3.4 km circuit within a five minute drive from home.

We met Shane and Stephen, who completed a couple of laps with us before returning to their base to get sorted out for the week ahead.

This lazy day forms part of our annual 'beach holiday'. Today's pictures show Sue with Shane and Stephen, posing in front of a sign that warns about the risks of swimming off this beach. The lifeguards, as you can see from the bottom picture, were taking a break.



Kanata parkrun number 61

2018-02-10T18:08:47.498+00:00

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The Kanata parkrun regulars were joined by more than four 'tourists' this morning. Ken, Shane and Sue joined me, as well as an unknown runner who came in ahead of everyone else. Ken and I jogged round in modest times given the good conditions, with Shane a little way behind nursing a back injury. He and I have both done over 160 parkruns. Sue, nursing her sore Achilles, trailed behind with the tail walker and just managed to finish inside an hour. "Zoe would be proud of me" she commented, referring to one of Wythenshawe's stalwart runners.

The picture shows Ken finishing whilst the tail walker, Michelle, follows Sue at the start of the second half of the horseshoe.

The Morning Owl café provided good coffee and cake for most of today's 16 participants (I hesitate to describe us a 'runners' - more like slow joggers!)



Friday 9 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 6

2018-02-09T22:46:51.904+00:00

Today's route: P17>#53>#52>#50>#55>Renaud Cabin for lunch>#55>#50>#51>#53>P17 - 24.5km, 410 metres ascent, 4 hours 6 mins including 36 mins stops. Sue and I were joined by Ken and Susan for this excellent outing in pristine conditions. Lac Philippe glittered as we passed by on trail 50. There was plenty of room in the lunch cabin, which now has dotted windows to stop the birds flying into the glass. Judging by the size of the wild turkeys that lurked below the feeder, such an incident could spell disaster for the window as well as the bird!Sue and I took the shorter route, trail 51, back to P17 car park, whereas Ken and Susan, who are faster skiers, took the slightly longer trail 53. We all arrived back at more or less the same time.A coffee shop in Chelsea provided a good choice of apres ski nourishment - Sue is pictured with hers.Back at base, Shane and Stephen (who we met last year on the Exodus trip to Estonia) called in for a cuppa on their way to stay at Lester and Lynette's air B&B. They arrived on the same AC flight from Heathrow as we did last week. We will be seeing them from time to time over the course of the next ten days or so. Now we are seven![...]



Thursday 8 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 5

2018-02-08T22:51:41.539+00:00

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Today's route:

P3>Gatineau Parkway>#5>#15>#35>Pink Lake>Gatineau Parkway>P3 - 16km, 245 metres ascent, 2 hours 42 mins including 24 mins stops.

A blue sky day, not as cold as expected at minus 12°C plus wind chill. Quiet on the trails. Trail 15 is another favourite, as is the fast Parkway descent from Pink Lake, so we were happy. It was warm enough to stop for a cuppa and cake on the trail (no cabins on this route) - an unexpected pleasure.

Chatted to a couple of chaps from Nova Scotia. Apparently there is no snow there and everything is green. They are in Ottawa for the CSM (Canadian Ski Marathon) which takes place this weekend. None of our gang are - for the first time in living memory - doing the CSM this year.

Helen has a cold so visited the doctor. Susan arrived from Connecticut. Ken went to work (soon to be a thing of the past as he retires at the end of the month).

More visitors are expected - watch this space.



Wednesday 7 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 4

2018-02-08T01:18:59.544+00:00

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Today's route:

P7>#36>#1 Ridge Road>Keogan Cabin >Fortune Parkway>Gatineau Parkway>Champlain Parkway>Champlain Lookout>#1>Huron Cabin for lunch>#1 Khyber Pass>#1>#36>P7 - 15.7 km, 275 metres ascent, 2 hours 58 mins including 37 mins stops.

A lovely ski with Sue. Light snow fell throughout, and it was cold, so very few pictures taken. Quiet trails in the main, but there was an incident. An old lady suddenly appeared beside me and cut in to the groomed trail I was on over my skis, falling over in front of me. She wasn't hurt and I managed to stop before skewering her, so I moved to one side and continued on and moved well over when she caught up again. "Take care!" I offered but she completely ignored me. Sue had seen her antics and had spoken to her. Apparently I was to blame for the fall! Sorry, old lady, but you don't own the trails - pity others who get in your way.

Luckily the drivers in the 10 cm of snow that fell today were more courteous.

The pictures today were taken at Huron Cabin, plus a picture of my electric gloves for Conrad. The power packs - one on each hand - each contain three AA batteries.



Tuesday 6 February 2018 - Snowshoeing at Mont Cascades

2018-02-06T22:50:00.601+00:00

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Today's route:

Red>Grey>Yellow (see image above) - 5.5 km, 250 metres ascent, 2 hours 20 mins including 30 mins stops.

Helen had some downhill skiing booked at Mont Cascades, where there are no x-c ski trails. So Sue and I borrowed some snowshoes, having left ours in the UK as we never seem to use them here!

Nice woodland (albeit contrived) trails led to viewpoints over the Gatineau River. Despite me having cold hands for a while, having foolishly left my electric gloves at home, it was a lovely little outing with a satisfactory rendezvous at the club house for a late lunch. 



Monday 5 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 3

2018-02-05T21:54:06.480+00:00

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Today's route:

P16>#50>Herridge Cabin>Healey Cabin for lunch>#50>#36 to Meech Lake beach and back>#50>P16 - 13km, 240 metres ascent, 2 hours 50 mins including 35 mins stops.

A lovely outing with Sue and Helen, in perfect conditions under a deep blue sky. No fire in Herridge Cabin so we went to nearby Healey Cabin and enjoyed lunch with a couple of Helen's friends. Lots of  blue jays and one grey jay outside.



4 February 2018 - A Birthday Supper

2018-02-05T14:02:42.897+00:00

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I'm not a fan of birthday celebrations, but this one did provide an excuse for some goodies, albeit the lobster racing could have been a bit messy. Sadly, there weren't enough berries available for the cake to match my advanced years.



Sunday 4 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 2

2018-02-04T19:52:21.629+00:00

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Postings from this trip will be brief diary entries by way of notes and a log, as similar reports have been made, with many illustrations, in previous years. So I'm continuing with the 'mobile' postings rather than faffing with downloads to the computer, etc.

Today's route:

P10>Fortune Parkway>#3 Burma Road>#1>Huron Cabin for lunch>#1 Khyber Pass>Fortune Parkway>P10 - 12km, 210 metres ascent, 2 hours 19 mins including 35 mins stops.

Overnight snow was fortified by day long flurries, about 10cm in total. Sue stayed at home to work and nurse her sore Achilles. Helen went on what we thought might be a 'Wild Lobster Chase', but she excelled herself and returned with the goods. Meanwhile,  Ken and I enjoyed a lovely ski from P10 and up the Burma Road, my favourite ski trail.

The afternoon will be spent 'Beach Holidaying' and no doubt we will witness the sad demise of the lobsters.



Saturday 3 February 2018 - X-c Ski Number 1

2018-02-03T22:35:37.553+00:00

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Our annual visit to Gatineau Park commenced on a sunny afternoon in about minus 6°C. A bit warmer than the earlier parkrun at Kanata.

P3>Gatineau Parkway>#5>link trail>Gatineau Parkway>P3 - 11km, 140 metres ascent, 1 hour 45 mins.

Good to have all four of us - Ken, Helen, Sue and me - on this short outing in good conditions. Lots of people out in the sunshine, but as we finished the views to nearby Ottawa city centre were obscured by snow flurries.



Kanata parkrun number 20

2018-02-03T16:44:50.694+00:00

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After yesterday's long journey, including a scenic interlude over the southern tip of Greenland, to Ottawa, it was a pleasure to join eleven others in enjoying a run along some woodland paths around Kanata on a cool morning. Dog walkers had helped to pack down the snow, which provided scant cover for a layer of ice. However, the Yaktrak crampons weren't needed, my trusty Keen Targhee II trail shoes being up to the job, if a little heavy for running.

I was quite happy with a time a shade under 28 minutes, and even happier with the chocolate cheesecake served by the local café afterwards.

Helen came along and served the parkrun cause by way of being back up timer, whilst Sue stayed at home to work and Ken took part in a truncated triathlon.

Snow/skiing conditions are a little dubious, but the sun is shining and we are all happy, Ken in particular after having blasted through the 'triathlon' (12 km skating then 5 km running) in little more than an hour.

(Sent by phone as Sue has appropriated the computer for work purposes.)



Now For Something Completely Different

2018-02-02T22:48:17.530+00:00

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Not exactly 'Green'. Perhaps a misnomer at this time of year?



Zillertal Rucksack Route, aka Berlinerweg, Index to Postings

2018-02-01T16:19:50.110+00:00

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Here’s the index to my postings relating to our Berlinerweg / Zillertal Rucksack Route trip in July 2007. Hopefully somebody might find these diary entries and be inspired to try this excellent route, but regardless of that, I’ve enjoyed typing up the hand written diary and re-living the trip during a rainy January in Manchester during which very little of excitement has taken place and too much time has been spent attending funerals.

Stage 1 – Mayrhofen to Edel Hütte (2238 metres)
Stage 2 – Edel Hütte to Kasseler Hütte (2177m)
Stage 3 – Kasseler Hütte to Greizer Hut (2227m)
Stage 4 – Greizer Hut to Berliner Hütte (2044m)
Stage 5 – Berliner Hütte to Furtschagl Haus (2295m)
Stage 6 – Furtschagl Haus to Friesenberg Haus (2500m)
Stage 7 – Friesenberg Haus to Gamshütte (1916m)
Stage 8 – Gamshütte to Mayrhofen

Enjoy!




Zillertal Rucksack Route, aka Berlinerweg, Stage 8 – Gamshütte to Mayrhofen

2018-02-01T16:25:09.274+00:00

Saturday 28 July 2007 Woke at usual time - 6.45am - after father and son had bucked the familiar crisp packet ritual and quietly removed themselves to breakfast, which was laid out in the positions we had occupied last night.We don sun tan cream before heading off from this last high residence - for a month, anyway - it's a nice day with high cloud, but there's an 'end of term' feel as Manfred is gone* and the others, all strangers really, head up not down.Anyway, we take the Hermann-Hecht-Weg to start our 1200 metre descent to Mayrhofen. Decide against the shorter descent to Ginzling, as we may not be able to afford the bus fare from there.It turns out to be a lovely woodland walk in the cool morning air (usual 8 am departure) through the bilberry zone, then the raspberry zone, and into the pine and fungus zone. Views across the main valley to various parts of our route over the past week. We are in the sun, but Mayrhofen looks rather grey below as high clouds build up.Lots of lovely flowers - many different from those seen over the past week, as we are lower.We descend through thick woods to gradual awareness of motors and industrial noise below, after a week away from all that.Green arrows on rocks mark the route, that has been bisected many times by a LRT that now runs up the hillside, presumably for logging.At 9.45 we reach a road at 1000 metres. From here we follow yellow signs - the first three all say 'Mayrhofen 1½ hours' - up past a football pitch, then gently down through woodland to join the old road to Ginzling, from where we stroll into Mayrhofen after a three hour walk, and spend our remaining cash on coffee at Café Solo, before a visit to the money shop and reunification with the bus (our large car) - it's had a nice rest at the cable car station.The last lap into MayrhofenEdelweiss in GinzlingThen we book in and set up camp at the crowded but well equipped and quiet campsite. The showers are great! Then up to Ginzling for lunch at the Alte Hotel Ginzling for deep fried trout, as recommended by Allan Hartley. Even the skin is delicious. We have no gripe with Allan on this.Later – a deluge in MayrhofenHere’s our route for the final morning – about 10 km with 250 metres ascent.*back to Heidi Marie and his routine of 'bedtime 1am, up at 8am, breakfast and papers until 10am, lunch 3.30, dinner 10pm’! He is looking forward to a good 'bottom wash'. (Aren't we all!)Back to Index[...]