• St Johann in Tirol (7/11/2018)

    St Johann in Tirol surprised me. It showcases its bygone wealth in its beautiful buildings, as well as working to keep the town lively and attractive.  It seems prosperous.

    I arrived Wednesday evening, by chance the weekly night they organise a street fair and activities. Several bands played and on the main square there was an Austrian Abba revival concert.  Good fun.

    John

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    St Johann in Tirol m’a surpris. La ville met en valeur sa richesse passée dans ses beaux bâtiments, tout en travaillant pour garder la ville vivante et attrayante. Elle semble prospère.

    Je suis arrivé mercredi soir, par hasard la nuit hebdomadaire où ils organisent une foire et des activités. Plusieurs groupes ont joué et sur la place principale il y avait un concert d’Autrichien Abba. Une atmosphère bon enfant.

    John

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    St. Johann in Tirol hat mich überrascht. Es zeigt seinen vergangenen Reichtum in seinen schönen Gebäuden und arbeitet daran, die Stadt lebendig und attraktiv zu halten. Es scheint wohlhabend zu sein.

    Ich kam Mittwochabend an, durch Zufall die wöchentliche Nacht organisieren sie eine Straßenmesse und Aktivitäten. Mehrere Bands spielten und auf dem Hauptplatz gab es ein österreichisches Abba-Revival-Konzert. Viel Spaß.

    John

     

  • The Eagle Path (Adlerweg) day 1: St Johann in Tirol to Gaudeamus Hut (7/12/2018)

    I left St Johann in Tirol to start hiking the Adlerweg.

    There were pretty views on the alps and looking back into the valley.

    John

     

    J’ai quitté St Johann in Tirol pour commencer l’Adlerweg.

    Les vues sur les alpes et la vallée étaient jolies.

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    Ich verließ St. Johann in Tirol, um den Adlerweg zu erwandern.

    Es gab schöne Ausblicke auf die Alpen und Blick zurück ins Tal.

  • Adlerweg day two: Gaudeamus Hut to Hintersteiner See (7/13/2018)

    After a step ascent, including some rock-climbing, I arrived at Grutten Hut, near the peak of the day at Gruttenkopf, 1,584m. It is a new and attractive hut.

    The rest of the day was easy, level walking.

    Hintersteiner See is a pleasant recreational area accessible by road.  I had a swim in the lake; it is shallow so the water is not cold.

    John

  • Adlerweg day three: Hintersteiner See to Buchacker Inn (7/14/2018)

    This day I was planning on combining two days, but that would have made nine hours hiking, with a steep ascent in the middle.  So I skipped the first day, and went to Kufstein, a pretty little village. 

    A short train ride took me to me to the beginning of the walk.  The start was a pleasant ascent through forest where someone has installed a chair and water fountain.

    Then the hike continued along the edge of cliffs over-looking the Inn valley.  The highest point of the day was at Hundsalmjoch Col, 1,637 m.

    At the end I realised this was not the hike I was expecting and decided to change paths to the Berliner Höhenweg the next day.

    John

  • The Berliner Höhenweg, day one: Finkenberg to Gamshütte (7/17/2018)

    On the train connecting the two paths, I chatted with a woman who spoke to me of the importance of ketones, the benefits of coconut oil and several other aspects of diet.  She was trim, healthy and 80.  I was surprised as I have been discovering these things over the past year; she is years ahead of me.  I was pleased to able to have such a conversation in German.

    Leaving Finkenberg, you pass an old wooden bridge.  I also saw an old racing car someone had hauled from the Netherlands

    The first day is an easy, though steep, three hours up to the Gämshütte.  I had been been keeping good time on the Adlerweg, but decided to go somewhat slower pace.  On the way about a dozen people all passed me in a hurry to get there.

    The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, more what I had been looking for.  The showers were outside with a stunning view and cold water.  (thanks Saval for introducing me to Wim)

    I was glad to be above the tree-line.

     

     

     

  • Berliner Höhenweg day two: Gamshütte to Friesenberghaus (7/18/2018)

    This was to be a long nine hours hike, and the forecast was for storms in the afternoon.  Based on my first-day pace, I anticipated hiking ten hours.  Everyone left early.

    All morning I walked through cloud and did not take my camera out.  The storms arrived and the rain and wind were cold.  During a break in the rain I put on my warmest clothes.

    I use a stop-watch to keep track of time.  At seven hours hiking, expecting ten hours total, with the weather turning cold, wet and windy, I started looking for possible spots to shelter.  However there are few flat spots and it is all boulders and rocks.  Putting up a tent was not possible.

    What a relief to see a sign indicating the hut was 30 minutes ahead.  I walked it in 8 1/4 hours.

    I was put in one of the “winter” shelters.  These are left unlocked all winter for hikers and skiers.  There I met a young man from Colorado who is studying biology and thinking of becoming a vet.  Two days earlier I had been chatting with a young man from Ohio who is studying biology and thinking of becoming a vet.  The contrast between the two men was stark.

     

     

  • Berliner Höhenweg day three: Friesenberghaus to Furtschaglhaus (7/19/2018)
  • Berliner Höhenweg day four: Furtschaglhaus to Berliner Hütte (7/20/2018)

    This hike crosses a saddle.  From the saddle it is a short climb to the peak, the Schönbichler Horns at 3,134 m.  I left my pack at the saddle and climbed to the peak.

    The view over the surrounding alps is beautiful as you are above most of the surrounding peaks.

    The descent is somewhat tricky, and I learnt what “via ferrate” is in German: “Klettersteig”.

    The Berliner Hütte was built by the Berlin section of the German Alpine Club in 1879 and is grandiose.  Early photos show it at the edge of a glacier, which is no longer there.

     

     

     

  • First day in Austria (7/20/2018)

    Entering Austria in the morning, the day was spent along quiet cycle paths, passing through natural reserves and using a first ferry for bicycles only, when the left side has no trail for a while.

    Entrée en Autriche dans la matinée, la journée s’est passée le long de pistes cyclables tranquilles, à travers des réserves naturelles. J’ai pris un ferry pour vélo pour la première fois quand la rive gauche n’offre aucun sentier pendant quelques kilomètres.

     

    Along the way were very tall (up to 2m) bushes with flowers that seemed to belong to the orchids family.

    Il y avait de grandes plantes (jusqu’à 2m) dont les fleurs semblent appartenir à la famille des orchidées.

     

    The river is wide enough for water-skiing, there were people kayaking, and the camping was, again, right along the edge of the water, at Kaiserhof.

    Le fleuve est assez large pour permettre la pratique de ski nautique, j’ai passé des kayakeurs et le camping, à Kaiserhof, avait à nouveau les pieds dans l’eau.

  • Berliner Höhenweg day five: Berliner Hütte to Griezer Hütte (7/21/2018)

    This was the toughest day.  Threatening weather meant an early start.  The climb to the pass was not too demanding, but we passed the beautiful, mirror-like Schwarz See.

    The black clouds beyond the pass meant we should not wait at the top.  So I started my descent down the cliff face holding the cable. 

    The rain started.

    It was a steeper via ferrate than the previous day.  The rain made the cable cold and wet, and my fingers started to get numb.  I was scared.

    My new-found friends, two families with four teenage girls, found it a giggle. 

    So what a wimp am I? 

    This hut was built by the Griezer section of the German Alpine Club.  A man working there played accordion in the evening.

     

  • Linz (7/21/2018)

    A rather dull and hot ride but the camping, offering no shade, was right next to a lake, so a dip was welcome.
    Later, a 5km cycle to Linz, the city was crowded and festive because it was hosting its bi-annual street arts festival.

    Une balade un peu ennuyeuse et chaude mais le camping, sans un brin d’ombre, était idéalement situé à côté d’un petit lac, un plongeon fut donc le bienvenu.
    Un peu plus tard un tour à Linz, à 5km, la ville était en fête car leur festival des arts de rue, tenu tous les deux ans, en était à sa deuxième journée.

  • Berliner Höhenweg day six: Griezer Hütte to Kasseler Hütte (7/22/2018)

    This was a reasonable pass, followed by a hike around the edge of the next valley, at about 2,000m.  The path was okay, though steep and narrow in parts, so you needed to pay attention because of the rain. 

    Again, my camera was in my bag to stay dry.

    Again, this hut was built by the Griezer section of the German Alpine Club.

    That evening the person responsible for the hut told us that the weather forecast for the next day was bad; that the usual nine-hours hike would probably take eleven hours; that the path would be slippery and dangerous; and that nobody should hike it alone. 

    The next morning, we all decided to go down to the valley.

    Along the way I have made some new friends, who all showed patience with my poor German.

     

     

  • Grey days (7/23/2018)

    The day was grey and overcast while I cycled through small towns to cross the Danube at Mauthausen. The Memorial of the camp is situated on a hill about 4 kms out of town but I decided not to go and instead pedaled my way out and stopped for the night at Grein.

    It rained heavily during the night but the tent was dry – until I packed it.

    The second day was shorter, about 3 hours, under constant rain, doing my best to avoid the many snails along the way.

    Un jour gris et couvert à pédaler à travers petites villes et champs avant de traverser le Danube à Mauthausen. Le mémorial du camp de concentration est situé sur une colline à 4 km de la ville mais je décidai de ne pas m’y rendre et j’ai continué à pédaler jusqu’à Grein.

    La pluie est arrivée pendant la nuit mais la tente est restée sèche – jusqu’à ce que je la plie.

    La deuxième journée de vélo, sous une pluie constante a été plus courte, environ trois heures. J’ai dû m’appliquer à éviter les nombreux escargots sur le chemin.

  • Melk abbey and the Monty Python (7/24/2018)

    Melk baroque Benedictine abbey towers over the small town of the same name.

    L’abbaye bénédictine de Melk, de style baroque, surmonte la petite ville du même nom.

     

    As I visited, the paintings in the garden pavilion kept reminding me of the Monty Python sketch about Michelangelo (no kangaroo there 😉)

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    Lors de la visite, les peintures du pavillon de jardin m’ont rappelé ce sketch des Monty Python.

     

     

  • Wachau valley (7/25/2018)

    The Wachau valley is fertile and apricot, peach, pear, apple and walnut trees share the land with vineyards.

    Villages are typical of wine-growing areas and quite different from all other Austrian villages so far.

    One last crossing of the Danube to reach the camping in Rossatz with views of Dürnstein and its ruins where Richard Lionheart was held prisoner for two years.

    La vallée de la Wachau est fertile et les abricotiers, pêchers, poiriers, pommiers et noyers se partagent les sols avec les vignes.

    Les villages sont typiques des régions viticoles et différents des autres villages autrichiens.

    Une dernière traversée du Danube pour arriver au camping situé à Rossatz, en face de Dürnstein et ses ruines où Richard Coeur de Lion fut emprisonné pendant deux ans.

  • Krems-Tulln (7/26/2018)

    Krems is Austria’s oldest town and was at one stage as big as Vienna (nine centuries ago though); it marks the end of the Wachau valley.

    Krems est la plus vieille ville d’Autriche et fut à une époque aussi importante que Vienne (bon, ça fait quand même 9 siècles); elle marque la fin de la vallée de la Wachau.

     

    Further downstream is Tulln and, along the river is the Nibelungen fountain representing Attila facing Kriemhild (Gudrun). According to the legend, it was in Tulln that he first saw her and, struck by her beauty, proposed to her.

    This town is also the birthplace of Egon Schiele.

    Plus en aval, à Tulln, le long du fleuve, se trouve la fontaine des Nibelungen qui représente Attila faisant face à Kriemhild, également connue sous le nom de Gudrun. Selon la légende, c’est à Tulln qu’Attila a vu Kriemhild pour la première fois et, frappé par sa beauté, l’a demandée en mariage.

    Tulln est également la ville de naissance d’Egon Schiele.

  • Cycling into Vienna (7/27/2018)

    It was a short cycle, past Klosterneuburg, through suburbs and into Vienna, cycling along the canal into central Vienna. A tour of the Ring to get a look at the big buildings and on through the Prater park to join Anne and Lucien in the camping. Bridges are often very high and there are big circular ramps with two lanes allowing bikes to pass from one level to the next.

    Une journée de vélo assez courte, passant par Klosterneuburg, puis des quartiers de banlieue avant de pédaler le long du canal jusqu’au centre de Vienne. Un petit tour du Ring pour voir les bâtiments imposants puis traversée de l’immense parc du Prater pour aller retrouver Anne et Lucien au camping. Les ponts sont souvent très hauts et des structures circulaires avec deux voies permettent aux bicyclettes de passer d’un niveau à l’autre.

  • Vienna (7/27/2018)

    “Act like a local” (comes with a map of Vienna)

    “Be grumpy – Although we are living in a city where everything works perfectly, we like to paint everything black and complain. A lot! As an original Viennese it is mandatory to be all grumpy because the bus is one minute late or because it is unbearably hot/cold/rainy/sunny”

    “The waiter is king” – Don’t be surprised if the waiters are unfriendly – not the guest is king, he is. Address him with Herr Ober and treat him like your superior. For his courteous service, a tip of 10% is what the king expects of his subjects”.

    Agissez en Viennois (sur une carte de Vienne)

    “Soyez de mauvaise humeur – Bien que nous vivions dans une ville où tout fonctionne parfaitement, nous aimons voir le côté sombre des choses et nous plaindre. Beaucoup ! Pour un Viennois pur souche, il est obligatoire d’être de mauvais poil parce que le bus a une minute de retard ou parce qu’il fait trop chaud/froid/humide/ensoleillé”

    “Le serveur est roi” – Ne soyez pas surpris si les serveurs sont peu aimables – ce n’est pas le client qui est roi, mais lui. Adressez-vous à lui d’un Herr Ober and traitez-le comme votre supérieur. Pour ce service courtois, le roi attend de ses sujets un pourboire de 10%”

     

    Some buildings by famous architects Otto Wagner and Friedrich Hundertwasser

    Quelques bâtiments des architectes Otto Wagner et Friedrich Hundertwasser

     

    And other buildings

    D’autres bâtiments

    Details