Highs and lows in Austria | 6

Day 7: A gorge and an identity crisis

The day started with rain and thunder – so I took a dip in the pool in the morning and swam lots of misshapen circles like a fish in a too tiny goldfish bowl. But then, at noon, the sky cleared up and it got sunny and hot. So we jumped in the car and drove to the Siegmund Thun Klamm in Kaprun for a short gorge hike. I had never been in a gorge before so I naturally was very excited and curious – unfortunately, since it was Sunday, the place was very crowded. I chose this gorge because the nearest one to Dienten (Liechtensteinklamm) was closed due to a rockslide and another one at close distance (Kitzlochklamm) offered a torch-lit hike on Tuesdays which I definitely wanted to join. Also, the Siegmund Thun Klamm is pretty small, only 320 meters – ideal for rookies like me. So how was it? Very impressive – I had never walked through a narrow canyon with this many waterfalls before. Also, the lighting in a gorge like this is heaven for ambitious fotographers; you can take various different shots from all possible angles – depending on the incidence of light your picture will look differently every time.

After exiting the gorge we kept on walking and circled the Klammsee which had the most beautiful clear blue water I have ever seen (check out the picture above). All in all it was a nice, not too intense afternoon walk.

We returned right on time for cake and decided – while indulging in multiple delicious pieces of apple strudel – to make the most of the perfect weather and go for another short hike in Dienten. The sun cast long shadows on the ground below us and the meadows shimmered faintly with the residual moisture of this morning’s rain. We had to pass several herds of cows which made me feel like a total country girl – just the opposite of what I feel like at home. “I could get used to that” I thought as we climbed up the hills, overlooking the tiny mountain village with the mighty Hochkönig in the background.

Lesson learnt today: “Zwei Herzen schlagen ach in meiner Brust” – I am a country girl trapped in a towns woman’s body, obviously.

Highs and lows in… ugh…Germany | 5

Day 6: Royal pleasures at the Königsee

Sun! Heat! Clear skies! I got up giddy with pleasure and took a moment to decide very carefully how to spend this rare summer day – who knew how the weather was gonna be like tomorrow. At the breakfast table it became clear that this marvelous day had to be spent at the Königsee, a destination I stumbled upon by randomly googling nice locations in Bavaria.

It took a little more than one hour to drive there from Dienten. We passed beautiful Berchtesgaden and parked the car in Schönau where we were greeted with a traditional zither concert at the town hall (on weekends you can park there for free, by the way). Then we walked to the Königsee, which took almost half an hour, along a purling stream of clear blue water. Since it was Saturday there were quite a few other tourists who had the same idea – I recommend you go there during the week, if possible avoiding major holidays. We passed the main tourist area, which offered the usual kitschy souvenirs, expensive beer garden-like restaurants as well as an ice cream parlor that sold iced coffee for unreasonable 7,90 Euro, and hastily climbed up the first mountain trail we could find in order to escape the high-priced madness. After walking up for a while we reached a nice lookout point (proper pictures will be provided soon) but unfortunately a fallen tree blocked the further path. Hmm. And so, while enjoying the view, I suddenly realized: we had to get on a boat! And so we did – we walked down, back to tourist-hell, and bought tickets for a ferry ride to St. Bartholomä, a peninsula on the Königsee’s west coast. And this, as I may happily conclude now, had been just the right move, because not only was the ferry-ride a sheer delight (our guide played the trumpet at the “echo wall”), also the destination itself was gorgeous.

The church of pilgrimage was a very special eye-catcher but also the exquisite mountain landscape was something I simply couldn’t get enough of. Numerous trails of various difficulty started from St. Bartholomä and I felt extremely sad that we had no time for more hiking. To top it off the weather improved even more as the day progressed and we were blessed with the most beautiful golden hour on our ferry ride back to the main station. Stay tuned for awesome pictures – I shot like mad woman because I wanted to preserve this fantastic moment so badly.

Lesson learnt today: When visiting the Königsee plan your day carefully – I will definitely return to try one of those promising mountain trails.