Well, I have to say, that it isn’t half a long drive to Austria. It’s dead easy to look at a map and casually say,
‘Oh, we’ll go up into Belgium from Dunkerque, across to Luxembourg, on into Germany, then down through Bavaria and access Austria from there….’
Can’t remember how long it took us to get there – I’m sure it must have been over a week. To be fair, neither of us are into non-stop driving, so we do tend to treat it as a mini road trip on the way to somewhere. We’ll drive for the morning and find somewhere to stop early afternoon, then we’ll go for a couple of hour’s walk – amazingly, you can always find somewhere to walk, wherever you are – then chill for the evening. And of course, if we see anything interesting en route, we’ll stop and have a look.
Anyway, after what seemed like forever, we ended up in Bavaria.
We definitely lacked focus on our trip this summer. We didn’t really do any planning, but just decided to ‘go with the flow’. As a result of this, we never quite knew where we aiming for and certainly hadn’t staked out the best walking centres.
Oberammagau seemed a good place to start, though – at least we’d heard of it……
The weather wasn’t brilliant, but we had a couple of reasonable walks in the area.
It didn’t quite grab us though, and so after a couple of days we moved on a handful of miles to a place called Garmisch Partenkirchen. Here, there was a mountain called Wank, which Geoff seemed to find particularly amusing.
There was a motorhome Aire at the cable car station which served this peak, so we spent a few pleasant nights here.
Once again, we had a few nice wanders.
It was here, that we started to realise a few things.
Firstly, the Alps don’t seem to be a place to go for solitude. I’m sure there are quiet spots to be found, but generally speaking, the average wander almost seemed to be as busy as Kinder on a sunny Sunday.
Secondly, they seem to be primarily aimed at skiers, with summer walkers being an afterthought. As a result of this, peak after peak is served by gondolas, cable cars and restaurants.
Thirdly, cable cars seem to be the way to easily access the higher peaks, but at an average cost per journey of about 20 euros each, plus 4 euros each for the dogs, the financial implication of this seemed totally over the top for us.
The German cakes were very nice, though.
Anyway, it was time to move on again.
This time, we ended up near Berchtesgaden. It was near here that Hitler had his ‘Eagle’s Nest’, which has now been turned into a restaurant.
We found a nice little campsite to stay at for a few nights.
The weather was mixed. Some sunny days, some torrential rainy days, but we managed to avoid the worst of the rain in our wanders.
And we still hadn’t got to Austria.
By this time, we actually weren’t sure whether to bother with Austria, but eventually came to the conclusion that after we’d come this far, it would be daft not to.
And so, we headed over the border on a beautiful sunny day.
‘Twas very pretty, but we ended up driving quite a way to a town called Schwaz, before we found somewhere we could stop easily with the van.
And inspired by the gorgeous weather on this day, we got some tourist info and settled down to a few more days walking.
But it didn’t quite work out like that. Geoff suddenly came down with a rather nasty bout of food poisoning. The doggies and I looked after him for the next day, and then the day after it rained. And the day after it rained again – torrentially. Our hearts just weren’t in it – it really was time to move on.