Austria! (Pfunds)October 17, 2016 in Austria ⋅
We got supplies and some local cheese and beer from the supermarket in the village (passing scores of Alpine Coughs on the way!).
Leaving Lichtenstein we passed the border controls again but no staff were present on the Austrian side and we sailed through.
We plan to do the south west corner of Austria before heading to Croatia for 5 weeks and returning to do the rest of Austria in December.
Will had planned this part of our journey and took us on a mountain pass called Silvretta Hochalpenstraße (High Alpine Road) - and high it was! There was a toll of €21.50 and we were just in time because it closes every year at the end of October due to the weather and safety.
There were 34 hairpin bends and we climbed nearly a kilometer to 2032m above sea level and Silvrettasee, the top lake. It was amazing on the climb to see the road behind us snaking down the mountain and the road ahead reflected in the wing mirror as it bent double!
There were two large lakes on the pass and both were dammed to create hydro electric power. The colour of the water was very different from lakes at lower altitudes, it was a glacier blue. Walking along the dam wall with the snow capped Alps towering over the lake we felt like we were looking at a painting!
Vicky was a bit overwhelmed by all we'd been doing and so we drove on a bit further to a beautifully situated stopover (with wifi!) and decided to stay a few nights to try and process all the wonderful experiences we've been having.
The next day Will had downloaded the MAPS.ME map of Austria and done his research. He'd found a track leading 4.5km up the mountainside to a viewpoint. Unfortunately, the track was old and couldn't be seen on the ascent so we ended up walking up the road. An old blue painted wooden bench whose seat was rotted away in the middle signalled the site of the viewpoint that had been left to ruin. However view however, had not been left to ruin. The tree lined river Inn meandered through the valley floor, lush grass fields either side and pine clad mountains rising up to frame it all. We could even see the van! As we were perched on either end of the bench, musing on how much the Toblerone we were eating looked like the mountains it was modelled on, a rainbow formed, stretching itself from the mountain top down to the river! We thought it couldn't get any better when we spotted a faint second rainbow outside the first. So much for having a day without too much excitement!
There was evidence of the track on the way back down so we thought we'd give it a try, despite not having seen where it came out on the way up. We felt very small walking amongst the tall trees and thinking about the size of the mountains around us. After clambering over and under fallen trunks, we came to a gorge that had opened up through landslides when the hillside was in flood. A large cable emerged from the ground that was probably the reason the path existed. There was a small path leading down the hill to our side but it was very steep and extremely overgrown so after about 20 metres we doubled back the way we'd come to take the road back to the campsite.Read more