Monday, 15 August 2016

Chiming Hills of Österreich - Day 2

Austrian Hills

Hinterglemm                                                                   Austria

Sunday 28th June 2015

I woke up fresh as a daisy in the morning and thankfully too considering the long shift I put in yesterday to get to this glorious place; firstly though breakfast was calling to me. I headed down and entered the eating area looking around thinking I had to sit where I was yesterday but I was told I could sit anywhere. I found a table and sat there but not before grabbing some food. It was a typical continental breakfast full of cereals, bread rolls, fruit and yoghurt; it was free food in the end so I grabbed what I could and sat down. I began eating enjoying the good food and then the pretty receptionist came over and said my name and told me that there was English breakfast too if I wanted it. I didn’t hesitate to say yes so moments later she came back with my full English. I left satisfied with what I had also grabbing my packed lunch heading back upstairs. 

I spent a short while planning on what to do to fill my morning in as I had my first excursion in the afternoon. I wanted to go back up the gondola lift but get off at the top this time and walk around possibly reaching the ridgeline if I could given the time gap I had. The weather was glorious outside so I packed my essentials into my small rucksack even my binoculars and left the room. No sooner than I left did I bump into the receptionist again. She asked me what I fancied doing during my time in Hinterglemm. She asked me that last night I thought but I answered the same with walking, sightseeing and cycling mentioning the downhill cycling. She gave me some tips on where to go and how to hire bikes. I kind of was listening to her but my mind sort of wandered as to how beautiful she was like a typical man does. Anyway, from what I did hear she said she would love to do the cycling around here but was too scared to do it and jokingly said she would wait until someone else did it first. I said I would do it so she could come along to which she laughed; god loves people trying I suppose. 

We parted ways and I headed straight for the gondola lifts. I was soon through the barriers and onto the cable cars setting off up the luscious green slope. Yet again the views going up were spectacular due to the fact it wasn’t raining this time; then I finally arrived at the top. I got out and took a moment admiring the view of the neighbouring hills and mountains before setting off onto a pathway heading north. So I climbed and climbed with the surrounding views getting even better. I carried on up until I came across a small wooden hut which looked very warm and homely with a lovely background of the mountains. I back tracked a bit though only to climb a steeper gravelled pathway towards another hut which had a family living there. I later realised people could hire them out for their holidays which sounded brilliant. I continued passed the hut and suddenly realised an electric gate blocking the pathway. 

Picturesque View

I thought that was the end of my climbing but as I headed down again, I noticed a sort of dropped wooden step and gap between another fence and seen that it was a rugged pathway. However, it was more like a dried up stream but it didn’t stop me, it gave me more of a challenge which I loved. So I climbed zig zagging up the steep stream making sure I hit every step with confidence. At this point, I could feel the pain in my legs and I would stop several times to catch my breath almost forgetting about the higher altitude. I continued up until I seen a connecting pathway and the gap in the fencing. The connecting pathway was a lot better so I stuck to that and continued climbing despite the steepness. Further on up the pathway, I could see the top station for the higher gondola lift. As I got closer I could see that it was closed and looked abandoned, I stopped for a moment looking at the views around me and down below taking it all in coming to terms with how high I climbed and where I was. The views were incredible everywhere I looked even the cows chiming there way up the hill with there cow bells. 

Chiming Cow Bells

At my right was a wooden sign showing me another pathway which I could hardly make out. By the looks of the way it was going it was clear to see it was the start of the ridgeline so I decided to follow it realising I was right. I came across a wooden seat at the top and headed straight for it and as soon as I got there, my jaw dropped at the sight of the huge valleys and mountains as far as the eye could see; I fell in love just standing there taking it all in. There was a moment I stood still not making a sound and all I could hear was the slight wind, birds chirping and the sound of cow bells chiming away. It was breathtaking giving the setting I was in. I wanted to sing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’ but I didn’t want to break the peace. It was also amazing to be slightly level with the clouds rolling in from the north. The clouds were also covering a bit of the view at the far distance until they came rolling right in front of me. I could definitely feel the cold air on my face at that point but it felt amazing. As the clouds flew away there were more beautiful sights of mountains far into the distance which made my jaw drop even more. 

Overwhelmed with the views, it was time to head back down for my first excursion of the holiday. The descent down was quite difficult too as I had to try and slow myself down at stages. There were times where I nearly lost control but managed to make it back to the lifts in one piece. However, before I got to the lift, I headed for the hut next to it which was called ‘sportalm’ where I would sit with a Coca Cola admiring the view of cable cars going up and down with the sun beaming bright on my back. 

Sportalm Hut

I had 15 minutes left to get back down to Hinterglemm and reach the meeting point in the village so I rushed into the lift as quick as I could. I could feel the pressure in my head and ears again as I was rapidly descending but it didn’t really bother me. I finally reached the bottom heading straight for the meeting point arriving with 5 minutes to spare so I sat down and relaxed until one of the reps had arrived. By then everyone started to arrive and so we set off towards the nearest bus stop to the west of the village. We finally lined up waiting for the bus and I couldn’t help but notice that this was the first time I had seen so many people at one time waiting at a bus stop; the bus driver was going to love this. Time had passed before the bus finally arrived and I could see the drivers face looking as though he was thinking ‘Oh God’. He stopped and we all somehow managed to get on but with a bit of a tight squeeze. We were heading to a place called Lengauerhof and as we were travelling, I got talking to a man about his and my travels where we had been in the morning and it passed the time very well as in no time at all we had arrived at our destination. 

We all got off and headed west to a nearby car park where we would all board a train known as the ‘Noddy train’. We walked amongst the beautiful scenery until we had arrived immediately realising the ‘Noddy’ train was not a train at all. It was in fact a red tractor looking a bit like a train with a couple of carriages on the back of course. I was all up for going through the mountains on a train but a tractor would have to do. There wasn’t enough room in the carriages for everyone but I managed to squeeze in right at the back and off we went whilst the others had to wait for the next one. The journey was slow but felt great being off my feet for once as we slowly drove up the hills passing scenic views of the surrounding woods and rapid rivers. We eventually arrived at a place called Lindlingalm where we would all get off. 

Noddy Train

We arrived at another hut area but this one had a tree top adventure park and mini version of the golden gate bridge spanning across the river; this looked like where all the adventure was. When the rest of the group had arrived, we all set off together to another hut at a place called Saalalm. As with Hinterglemm, the surrounding views were absolutely fantastic with waterfalls rushing down the sides of rock faces and heading for the rapid river. As we were walking nearer to the hut I got talking to Dan (the rep) about his job and how I could do something like what he did. Yet again it passed the time as we finally approached the hut. It looked brilliant and old fashioned set well with the marvellous background. There was however a steep difficult climb to get to it and there were quite a few people taking there time climbing as it was difficult for their age. 

Saalalm Hut

We all eventually made it to the top safely and took our seats on the benches outside. I did sit by myself right at the front admiring the marvelous views grabbing my breath back whilst drinking a glass of coke. At this hut there was an old man who was playing a trombone solo which was quite interesting but I was enjoying the views in front of me the most. Time had passed and I decided to head back down towards the Lindlingalm hut where the bridge was. The sun was on my back and it was boiling hot which was lovely as I headed towards the east. As I headed back down I came across an area known as ‘devils wash’. It was an interesting little thing to see because it was a small network of cold streams and pools with different contraptions which span around with the water flow which looked unique. I was tempted to take my boots and socks off to dip my feet in but the cows took the area over so I continued down to the bottom. The next thing I came across was a wood carving shop. I decided to have a quick look and some of the items were designed to perfection such as animals, cars and even Christmas trees. 

Devils Wash and Wood Carving Shop

I continued on my journey and yet again got talking to another couple for a brief moment. Eventually I arrived back to Lindlingalm and seen the so called ‘Noddy’ train in front of me. It was full of people so I decided to head down to the tree top adventure to check prices and times. However it was too late to take part as it was getting late anyway. So I decided to walk back down to Lengauerhof by foot and the walk back was absolutely peaceful with nobody around besides cows ringing there bells as they moved. As I was nearing my destination, I bumped into the couple I was talking too moments ago and we were all waiting for the bus to Hinterglemm. However, the bus wouldn’t show up for another hour so I followed them for a walk back to Hinterglemm. 

Along the way we were chatting about previous holidays where we were from; the usual talks which again passed the time. It did seem to take forever to get back to Hinterglemm as it seemed like nothing on the bus but we finally arrived back on familiar ground. I then mentioned to the couple that I was heading to the park with a pool area where the locals dip their feet in after a long hike so we all headed for there and arrived shortly after. Curiosity hit me as we arrived thinking how cold the water actually was. I got my answer when I took my socks and boots off and headed straight in. It was like stepping into an ice pool and I couldn’t really feel my feet. What I did feel though were the pebbles in the water which massaged my feet as I walked along them. I got out and sat down for a moment trying to warm my feet up as was the woman I brought along with her husband watching on not tempting to get in. I headed back in for a second lap but this time I seemed to be used to the cold water and stayed in for a bit longer. By the time I had got out, the couple were about to leave so I sat at the bench air drying my feet. It took time but eventually I got my socks and boots on; it definitely did the job as my feet felt fantastic. 

It was time to head back to the hotel where I would rest and have my evening dinner. I headed to the dining area as soon as I freshened up and I was allocated a seat. This time I was sat somewhere else with a different group of people. As soon as I sat down, I got talking straight away to a lovely couple on my right. They were called Pat and Paul and they were really friendly and outgoing. We were then interrupted by the receptionist asking what food I was having tomorrow and what I had been up to today. We got talking and yet again kind of listening and admiring her beauty until she went away; we all laughed at the fact I was drooling over her. Anyway, our food came and everything was delicious and well presented. Paul and Pat later told me there was a waitress who was a Geordie here so when she came around I was talking to her about where she was from in Newcastle and when I told her where I lived, she turned around and said that I wasn’t a real Geordie which kind of put me in my place. Later on she gave me another comeback about my drinks so I had been given all night to think of a comeback; this was going to be fun as I was useless at them. 

Anyway, Paul and Pat and I got talking about pretty much anything mainly football and our local teams which were great as well as talking about family back home. It was getting late so we took our leave as I headed to my room saying goodnight to the couple only to head back down. I needed to know the plan for tomorrow’s excursion so I would know where to be and what to do. I walked towards the bar area where a quiz was going on hosted by Dan. Without disturbing everyone I finally got my information and headed for my room laying down thinking of the sights I had seen during this glorious day; truly peaceful wondering what brilliant things I would witness next.
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