Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Austria - vier

Right at the end of the holiday we decided to go and see Eisriesenwelt, the biggest ice caves in the world. You were not allowed to take photographs inside the caves, and the only light was from the hand-held carbide lamps that you can just see in the background of the photo above.

The caves were amazing, vast, stretching back into the mountains 30 miles or so, but obviously only a relatively small area is accessible to the public.  The people who discovered and made a way through the caves are long since dead, but its amazing to realise what we can now see in the comfort of our warm, robust shoes and clothes is down to the blood, sweat and tears of  brave adventurers who went before, with very much less.

Amazing how this face seems to creep up everywhere!

There was a big climb up to the ice caves, the weather wasn't brilliant, and maybe the fog and mist stopped us feeling too woozy whilst going up!

On the way out from Eisreisenwelt I persuaded the others that we should visit Salzburg, and see if we could see any of the places from 'The Sound of Music'.  The boys had all seen the film and middle boy especially was really enthusiastic to see the sights.  The organised trips were very expensive, but good old Google came to the fore when I found a local's advice on where to go to see the filming locations.

Salzburg was wonderful, we will definitely go back again.  On the bridge that spans the river, there were lots of padlocks, and on closer inspection they had initials etched onto them.  So being the true romantics, we joined in too!

The engraver

There it is....hope we will be able to find it next time!

This was our final supper in Austria....a.goodbye to the beautiful town of Zell am See over a slice or three of kuchen.  

I truly loved Austria....a little bit of me is left there I think....somewhere up there in those mountains.  When I got home I was so fired up I signed up for a Open University course in German so that when we go back (And we will!) I can Sprechen Deutsch.

If hope you enjoyed seeing our holiday snaps....we had a wonderful time, made lots of brilliant memories and challenged ourselves  further in our walking as a family than we've been challenged before.

Austria - drei

The best day of the whole two weeks would be hard to pick, as there were so many fantastic moments....however, if you were to ask the boys it would definitely be the day we went to The Kitzsteinhorn.

We took three cable cars, and the views in true Austrian style were breathtaking!

A picnic up here at 3029m was so memorable, so was the slice of sachertorte that I enjoyed in the restaurant afterwards!  
After lunch we headed back down on to the snow for some fun.

Snow isn't something that features much in our mild  coastal village, so this was such a treat for us all to be kids....I kept my feet mainly on the ground, next time better prepared I will definitely give those boys a run for their money!

Austria - zwei

In the second week we took a journey to Salzburg outskirts to the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.

This is real Top Gear ground with hairpin bends, climbing roads and spectacular views.  There were lots of motorbikes and more than a few nutters on bicycles!  We stopped to talk to one German cyclist who said this was his third adventure on the roads, this time with a proper light weight road bike, not like the clumpy old mountain bike he had used twenty years before.  The endorphins were obviously rushing around as he was a very smiley man!

This was a photo taken at the highest point on the road at 2571m.  (This was a moment I was glad to be the quiet wife as my hubby managed to fit our car into the tiniest space in a very busy car park so I could take a photo for my blog!)

Heart- shaped snow!

We travelled on to the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Hohe Visitor Centre, where you park up and get to see Austria's biggest mountain the Grossglockner 3798m with its impressive glacier.

From the top here, where the boys are standing, you can see what look like ants dotted about, only to realise they are of course people.

With the enthusiasm of very ignorant tourists we set off along the very rough and rocky paths down to the glacier.

After lots of walking, tripping, sliding we got to the bottom of the path and stopped for a breather to look at the spectacular glacier.....Hubby was feeling very disappointed that walking further was going to be too much for all of us, but after saying well lets try a bit more, we ventured down onto the glacier.

Foolish probably looking back, but what an experience...truly awe inspiring, one of those never forget moments.  The walk back up was one of those was gruelling, I was near tears, the boys did all have their moments too...but somehow we all got back to the top in relative sanity

One thing that was just amazing were the stones...I've always been a stone collector, but these were off the scale....just like lumps of silver, sparkly and beautiful, if I hadn't had to carry everything back up the paths I would have brought home a truckload!

Another day was spent visiting the Krimml waterfalls, with 380m of fall, they are the fifth biggest waterfalls in the world.

I took photo upon photo, but nothing captured the magnitude of the falls

This is us at the highest point at 1470m...smiles here, but they only appeared when we reached the top. Littlest, at only four, did extremely well, there were a fair few most adults fell by the wayside on the climb up.

Despite the day starting out rainy and grey, the views from the top were wonderful

This is the last drop photographed from the bottom of the falls... and the ice cream featured in middle boy's hands may have been part of a bribe  reward for doing the walk.