We pass swathes of colourful alpine flowers; beds of blackberries and redberries lay undisturbed; and we note several orchid varieties nestled in the undergrowth. We pass a large gravel works, where bed load is removed from the Isar and processed to produce gravel in various degrees of coarseness, the material being particularly high in demand in the region.
We stop for lunch at the pleasant Gasthof Wiesenhof in Scharnitz, with balcony views over the River Isar. I demolish a mushroom omelette and a Coke Lite. Now I need to digress here. I am reliably informed by my travelling companions that a Coke Lite is for the ladies, whilst real men drink a Coke Zero. Sadly, there is none of the latter available in this part of the world, so I am restricted to drinking the female version, although both contain zero sugar content. So now you know.
We make our farewells to Toni and drive to Pertisau on Lake Achensee, where we check into the 4* Hotel Post am See, which nestles by the lake.
A local farmer is tending to his animals, watching two youngsters with calves. I am not sure exactly what they are doing, but there is an electric fence round them, as they try to encourage the animals to take grass from their hands.
A madcap descent on the bikes sees us back at the hotel, where I indulge in a shale oil spa treatment; a sublime back massage with Tirolean shale oil. I understand that for the past century, the oil has been extracted from oil shale and processed into popular skincare products. Christina works her magic on my poor old knotted back muscles and, of course, instead of going for a relaxing swim, I am back in my room, on my computer, writing my blog, no doubt undoing all that wonderful work. Oh well, no rest for the wicked.
- All images © Essential Journeys/Michael Cowton
Thomson Lakes & Mountains offers a week at the 4* Hotel Post am See in Pertisau on Lake Achensee from £778 per person, including half-board accommodation, flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and resort transfers.