Roadtripping Europe: Bye Bye Switzerland, Hello Austria!

This summer we have been on a roadtrip around Europe. This is a photographic journal on that.

We had just spent an amazing day hiking around Zermatt and Matterhorn area. To see the Alps was one of the main reasons we ever decided to do this journey, and Switzerland certainly is a beautiful part of the Alps. In Switzerland Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken area sounded and looked good, but we decided it was time to move forward. This small part of Switzerland we had seen so far had indeed made and impact on us and I think it´s safe to say we´d come back one day but now we still had so many countries ahead of us. So we decided to say bye bye Switzerland for now and hello to Austria.

Here are some photos taken on the road. I can´t say anymore if these are on the Swiss or Austrian side of the border, but who cares, both sides are just as beautiful.

Innsbruck and Leutash Gorge

On the Austrian side we spent the first two nights in Innsbruck. From there we visited a nearby town called Leutasch to do a little hike and see the Leutasch Gorge.  The path that takes you to the gorge goes both sides of the Austria-Germany border. We started on Austrian side, crossed the border to German side and then again back on the Austrian side. So basically we can boast about hiking all the way from Austria to Germany and back.

One dawn on top of Nockspitze/Saile

The last night in Innsbruck this webpage gaught my eye. It said there was a path going up on top of a mountain called Nockspitze aka Saile near Innsbruck. It also said that people use to hike up to see the sunrise. I thought that sounded like something I´d like to do. After some quick calculations it was clear that doing this hike would mean waking up at 1.30 a.m. My better half said she would be with me in spirit but rather stay in bed at that time.

So, at 1.30 a.m. I woke up, got into a car and drove 20 minutes to the parking lot of Axamer Lizum ski resort where the path began. I had no maps but I decided to use this phone app that I had found during this road trip called Outdooractive. It´s an app in which other user upload tracks that they have hiked. I had also read that the track is well marked. (As it turned out later, the track I had in the app was not the same that was marked in the woods.) I grabbed a flashlight from the car and started walking up.

Pretty soon after the lights of the parking lots got behind me I found out that either the flashlight was no good or it´s batteries were dying. Now I had a problem. I had no time to go back to get a better one and as all iPhone users know, an average battery life for an iPhone is about 2 hours if you don´t use it and I had to use it for two things: as a map as well as as a flashlight.

So there I was, trying to stay on the path in pitch black and at the same time trying to use the flashlight as little as possible to save the battery when I heard a cowbell right next to me. I turned around and saw cow´s eyes ogle at me in the dark looking at me and more cows around it. “No problem, cow. I have no beef with you”, I thought (see the little joke there? Cow… beef…). “I´ll just go around you and we´ll leave each other at peace.”

However, a short detour turned out to be a bit longer. Before I knew it I had no idea where the path is and I was rambling in the wet bushes in pitch black trying to go up a very steep hill. But I knew if I just kept going up, I´d come across with the path eventually. And so I did. I found the path again above the tree line just about the same time as the moon came out from behind the clouds lighting my way.

You can´t quite describe the feeling I had when I was walking that rocky path in a moonlight with no one anywhere near you. It´s such a peace and harmony. I got up to the summit just before the sunrise. There I was at 2404 meters and watched with a herd of sheep how the sun rose.

After Innsbruck we continued our trip to Zell am See and Vienna. I´ll write more on that later.

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