The rain clouds burned off as we crossed into Austria, driving into biblical scenery of mountains framed with bright blue skies and fluffy little cumulus. We relaxed, the weather looking good again, and decided to head to Zillertal for some sunny sport climbing. Ha ha ha. The innocent little cumulus (cumulii?) morphed into a vast, grey, dead mass over everything, cloaking the mountains but not our hopes; we continued to Zillertal and slept with the car cosied up to a crag in Ginzling, ready to watch the sun rise on Midsummer's Day.
In an unfortunate but predictable turn of events, Midsummer was rained off along with our climbing. On an optimistic tour of some really excellent bouldering we found it to be distinctly wet, so we went for a pre-breakfast jaunt while it 'dried out'. In Austria the walking paths are all really well signposted, and 'Floitenschlag' sounded too wonderful to resist. We set out in a proper Cornish-style mizzle in an upwards direction that soon led us to suspect we were ascending some kind of mountain. It was long, wet and fruity, and totally without a view other than vague shadows in the mist; any sense of achievement dispersed during the slippery return. We had to turn the car on to thaw ourselves out and inevitably, under sheets of rain, we left.
After a leisurely drive through Innsbruck and a stop for brunch, we made the call: we would abandon Austria. Our naive, and muchly wrong-proved, belief that the weather changes as you cross country borders persevered. Accordingly, we set off for Achensee Mountain Pass on the recommendation of a couple that mistook our huddled roadside cooking for a breakdown emergency and tried to save us. We were a little wary of the pass; so far they had a nasty habit of waiting until you were waaaaay past the point of no-return into the mountains and then springing sneaky tolls on you. It cost us 18.50€ the previous day (that is, a week's shopping, a posh night's camping, 18.5 beers...) so we liberated their toilets of more toilet roll in revenge. Fortuitously this one was free and beautiful, and we arrived into Germany, twice, owing to navigational errors.
With spectacular efficiency, we once again found ourselves reaching into our pockets for a toll road. This time, however, it was just 4€ that supported the Alpenpark Karwendel, which seemed more morally okay. It was very nice anyway, sat at the feet of the mountains, and the sun came out again. A path led through a forest of alien flowers to a chalky blue river and wide strip of pebbly beach that we could run about on and let off some steam.
Later, a nearby crag was still wet, but as we watched the sunset over a small lake (a bit of artistic license, we actually watched it from an autobahn lay by), we had confidence that tomorrow we would be climbing...