Posts tagged view

Grossglockner Road

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The highlight of Austria (for us at any rate) was the High Alpine Road of Grossglockner. This toll road is expensive by toll road standards at €28 for the day, but as it kept us gasping in awe for hours it was well worth the price. At one point there are 30 mountains over 3000m in view; perfect scenes for postcards and chocolate boxes.

We got up at the crack of dawn and enjoyed a quiet road to start with. The northern ascent (from Salzburg) was dramatic with impressive peaks at every turn. The road quickly racks up many metres above sea level via some very sharp hairpin bends. We stopped frequently for photo opportunities (or sniff-and-pee breaks in Odie’s opinion)

The day was clear and bright (a welcome change after weeks of annoying rain), and consequently the road started to get very busy. By the time we reached the peak there was a constant stream of traffic behind us. We had a very quick look at the glacier at the top, but decided to pass on the visitor centre and surrounding tourist hubub, dragging an frantic Odie away from the marmots he was eager to devour. A quick descent down the other side of the mountain range led us to a beautiful stop for lunch at a restaurant featuring an alpine waterfall as a backdrop. Next stop, Italy!

Konigsee

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Inside the ice cave

Konigsee is a gorgeous lake, hemmed in by alpine mountains, with stunning clear waters fed by mountain rivers. The Germans are very careful to keep it in pristine condition, so much so that even the boats that traverse the lake are electrically powered to prevent polluting the water. There are also no access roads into the park, making it a paradise for hikers.

We chose the round trip by boat which stops off at two places. At one point the boat halted in the middle of the lake so that our guide could demonstrate the incredible echos from the surrounding rock by playing a short tune on a bugle.

An ice cave sits an hour’s walk from the first stop and is well worth the effort. In summer entering the caves is discouraged as it can be dangerous, but we decided to risk it anyway. Inside the cave ice cold drops of water rain down causing a small river of water to form. It’s magnificent, albeit slightly scary when you see rocks and ice falling from above.

Germany’s tallest waterfall sits at the other end of the lake. Unfortunately we were short of time (having made a late start) so our visit to the falls was brief, but nevertheless enjoyable.

Gibraltar

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We went to Gibraltar for our friends’ wedding. The view from the top of the rock is excellent. There are wild monkeys roaming the streets, and one of them bit a member of the wedding party. That will teach him not to snog random monkeys.

There is a theatre inside caves in the rock, with big stalactites and stalagmites from floor to ceiling. The entrance fee is quite high for what you get to see though.

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