Wildschonau Valley, Austria
10.07.2014 - 12.07.2014 15 °C
The tenth of July rolled around and it was time for us to join Busabout for our first leg- to the Wildshonau Valley in Austria. Only six people got off the bus at this small stop, but after seeing the scenery I'm sure everyone else regretted it. I can't even describe how lovely that place is. The name Wildschonau comes from the local term for 'wild beauty', and that's probably the most apt depiction. Long ago, folklore told that the deep valleys and ravines of the area were carved by a dragon's tail. The Apsley Ski Lodge was our accommodation for two nights and genuinely felt like home- they greeted us with warm Milo and Vegemite toasties (a blessing after heavy German food).
Arriving early on the first day, Hodge and I decided to see what all the fuss was about with the Austrians' hiking obsession. I get it now. Wow. Running springs with crystal water, mist so thick you could butter it on bread, and an abundance of the biggest cows I've ever seen in my life. These cows must follow their grass with a protein shake every day, they were taller than me. A special addition was one very cute and friendly goat, who we quickly made the acquaintance of.
I'll let the photos do the talking for the first hike we took, but will share the story behind it. The lodge owner recommended the walk to us and told me it could probably be done in 'flip-flops'. I chucked on my jeans and expected to smash this thing and be back in time for a lunch hour beer. Three hours later we were essentially climbing vertical to the peak of this hike, which is 2000m above ground. The view was spectacular, as were my bruises from stacking it twice on the way down. No better way to make friends then slide butt-first down the soaking wet Austrian countryside. The lodge owner laughed at my indignation upon returning back to our room, telling me that most Austrians would think it an anthill.
But really, we stopped in Wildschonau with a great little bunch of people and you definitely get a feel for the small-town hospitality and love of nature that the region boasts of. Our second night, the chef cooked us a home-style barbecue and I could have.. Actually did have.. Five servings of it.