I severely underestimated Austria. The landscapes here are first class and are some of the most awe-inspiring panoramas I’ve ever witnessed. Kevin and Alex live near mountains upon mountains and calm lakes neighboring more calm lakes. This is the countryside of Austria and it was blowing my mind. Save for driving through the winding hilltop roads though! My stomach isn’t privy to those.
Kevin, Alex, and I are on the same page when it comes to traveling around the world. We all love the great outdoors and we all love our GoPro’s. Kevin is the GoPro meister and carries it with him everywhere he goes.
Just like the Germans, the Austrians love their bread. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it doesn’t matter. We ate lots of it. It was easy to make a sandwich and it was accessible at all hours. And also like the Germans, the Austrians really love their beer. Of course their selection isn’t as wide as Germany but Kevin and his buddies can drink like no other. By this point, after months of intense beer training and three days of Oktoberfest, I was fine with never having to drink for a long time. I checked myself out in Munich. Kevin had other plans though. We all went out bar hopping nearby and ended up at a place where they play a game that is definitely not allowed in any American bar I’m familiar with. It’s called Nageln. You basically have a tree stump, a hammer, and some long nails. The goal is to take turns spiking down a nail into the stump using the hammer. The kicker is actually using the opposite side of the hammer (the claw) to accomplish this task. The last person to spike their nail completely into the stump has to buy a round for everyone playing. Fortunately, I was able to edge out one person at my first game. The hammer though…that wouldn’t fly with drunk Americans in our bars!
A little bit away, there was a mountain called Hallstatt, famous for having neat hiking trails near the peaks rather than the base, so most people opt for the cable car. Kevin, Alex, and I drove to that mountain and planned on hiking at the top. It was a really crappy day: brisk, wet, and gray. However, all that would change almost instantly when we rode the cable car up above the dreary clouds.
Just like that, the weather transformed almost like magic. The sky was a clean blue, the sun shone bright, and the landscape was covered in a thick blanket of pure white puff. We couldn’t see anything below us, just clouds. Clouds everywhere.
Up at the top, there were many different paths laid out to trek. We chose a path that led us to another mountain top where we could get a better view of the cloud layer. How can the views get much better? They’re already amazing!
It was quite warm up there. There were no clouds to block the sun, since most of the clouds were now below us. The tops of the mountains didn’t look like ordinary mountain tops. Instead, it resembled a valley of sorts, easily accessible by foot. The trail led us further on to a cliff where we could rest and gaze at the sea of clouds that extended beyond plain eyesight.
We stayed up there for a few hours before we went back to the cheerless reality taking place back on solid earth. We lost view of the mountain peaks and instead were shielded by the dullest of blankets. This day would be one of the only days where it was gloomy and rainy outside. The remainder of my time here in Austria brought upon perfect weather. A great day came about when Kevin took me back into the confines of Germany to a famous river that streamed through a range of highlands. The best way to get through the river was by riverboat, so thats what we used. It was a canal boat similar to the one I used in Amsterdam. And just like everything else in Austria, the scenery was top notch.
There were a few places of interest here at this river: a cool trail, some restaurants, and a few churches. But really I think just sitting and wandering outside was the best.
Austria, so far everything has been so freaking sweet! Both Kevin and Alex have been great to show me around their country. The fun didn’t stop there though. The three of us would join up again later to go river diving. Prepare to be amazed!