It has been ten days since we left Paris, and we have covered a lot of kilometers in that time.
Here is a map of where we have been...and the stars indicate some of the highlights.
We have enjoyed all of the places we have visited, but I think that it would be safe to say that Rick and I have a newfound love....Austria. (As for Joanie, as long as a place has chocolate ice cream, it gets a thumbs up).
Rick booked a room in a ski resort town about 30 minutes outside of Salzburg called Werfenwang. From our guesthouse, we could watch parasailers floating down from the mountains in front of us. While it was tempting to join them, we kept our feet on the ground!
The weather could not have been better....warm days and cool nights.
We dined al fresco on fresh caught mountain trout and refreshing Austrian beer.
Our first morning in Austria we spent at the Hohenwerfen Castle, a medieval fortress in the nearby town of Werfen. It amazed us to think that such a building could be erected back in the 11th century on a 500 foot rock! We enjoyed an impressive falcon show, in addition to touring the impressive fortress.
The next day, we headed to Salzburg to take a Sound of Music tour. Yes, I know it sounds a bit hokey, but we love that movie (I think that Joanie has seen it about 8 times!) There was a family from California on the tour with us, and Joanie and two of the daughters became fast friends. Weirdly enough, Joanie and the eldest daughter share the same birthday.....so they thought that was pretty cool. The tour was actually very interesting and took us to many identifiable spots in the movie. We also got to the beautiful Salzkammergut region on the tour, which I would return to in a heartbeat. Beautiful lakes, splendid mountains, apple strudel with beer....delightful!
Our last morning in the area, we went to a fantastic ice cave called Eisriesenwelt. It is a natural limestone cave located in Werfen. It is quite a trek to get to the cave....but well worth it.
What is crazy is that it was 85 degrees outside, but the cave is below freezing. As soon as they open the doors to the cave, we were hit with a wall of freezing air that we had to plow through. The tour took us on a one kilometer journey of the cave (the actual cave goes back 42 kilometers). No photos were allowed inside the cave, but I have added some photos that I found on the internet, so you can see how unusual it is. Needless to say, we were glad to have our rain jackets and long pants on...even if we thought we were hot on the way up!
From Werfen, we headed on to our next destination....Wagrain. When I made the reservations, I did not realize that it was only 30 minutes down the road....whoops! Oh well, it was a nice hotel in another ski resort town. We got in a good hike and took in some great scenery.
The reason we went to Wagrain was to get closer to the Glossglockner High Alpine Road. This is a fabulous 48 kilometer road that goes through the Hohe Tauern National Park. The Grossglockner peak is the highest in Austria and has a wonderful glacier to which we hiked. All I can say is, I am glad that Rick drove!
When we arrived at the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe Visitor's Center, we hiked to the Pasterze glacier, the longest glacier in the eastern Alps. If you have the chance to do this drive, you will not regret it!