| GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
The Republic of Austria is a federal parliamentary republic, covering 83.879 square kilometres. It is home to 8.725.931 citizens, of which 68& are Christians, 24% have no religion and 7% are Muslims.
The currency is Euro, worth 7,46 Danish Krone. The GDP is US$387.299 billion.
The climate is diverse due to the mountains, with types: Oceanic, Cool/Warm-summer humid continental, Subarctic/Subalpine, Tundra/Alpine and Ice-Cap.
The fauna have a few interesting larger mammal members; Wildcat (Felis silvestris), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Golden jackal (Canis aureus), Gray wolf (Canis lupus), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), European otter (Lutra lutra), Boar (Sus scrofa), Alpine ibex (Capra ibex), Moose (Alces alces) and Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra).
Austria's topographic diversity accounts for a great variety of flora, but I will not be looking for anything in particular.
Then I get out to the Alps, and the sights this early and real clear summer day are fantastic! It is Tirol when it is best: Green grass, numerous different flowers, snow coned peaks and old huts. A few farmer villages and ski resort villages, but mainly just nature.
The road leads over a tall pass, and the it is tunnels or
half tunnels for quite some time. Here are still some snow, and I can
imagine how much here have been! Big rivers and waterfalls bear evidence of
Some dark clouds are blocking the horizon in front of me, and despite it is only a bit passed three, I start looking for a camp. I can't make it to next sight anyway, but I have a lot of office worked to do. I find a nice camp at a large lake, and start working. It is passed midnight before I'm done. Tirol
5/5. I only have a short drive to the German border, and then the adventure continues in Germany.
7/5. I get back in the afternoon, and head straight for the narrow gorge; Lichtensteinklamm. Right from the border, the Alps are dominating the horizon and then the view. I reach the gorge at 17;30 - half a hour after it closed. Some dog-walkers are heading in behind the gate, and so do I. Here are not a single new plant, but the nature is nice.
Then it start to drib a bit, while the sun is still strong. It gains momentum, and before I get to the gorge, it is hammering down - and I'm soaked. There is a ticket office just outside the gorge, and no way I get around the fences. I swim back, and set the GPS for the camp.
I noticed another one close by, and try it. It is nice, and they even have a tumbler. I wash all my laundry and the soaked close, while I work. Well spend €4.
The photos of the day will be joined with those from tomorrow.
8/5. The sun is up before me for once, and I head straight out to the first sight; Bad Gastein with the 341 meter waterfall; Gasteiner. It is through the beautiful, Alps in Austrian Tirol, and I truly enjoy the drive. Here are small groups of cows, horsed, sheep and even a few lamas on the fields.
The only farming I see is grass. In many valleys, it is yellow by flowers. The houses are typical Alpine, and here are many hotels and restaurants. I am heading west, and the sun is coming from behind, making the motives even better.
I reach the little town of Bad Gastein, and it is literally cut through by the Gasteiner falls. Unfortunately, it is several falls, zigzaging their way down the mountainside. I try to find an angle to get a bigger part, but despite I walk most of the town around, I fail.
Next target is the Großglockner road. It leads from Zell am See to Heiligenblut Church. I get half the way, and then they want €26 for a whole day ticket for the car and entire family. I intended to spend half a hour on it, and refuses to be robbed like that. The first part was fare from that good!
I head further out west through the Alps. Here are only a few small towns, and I stop in one to find some new flip-flops. Those I have, had to be glued yesterday. One shoeshop, but she don't have any. Then, as I exit the shop, she recall that she actually have on pair: They are black and my size. I feel lucky!
I make way too many photos of green meadows, fields which
are yellow by flowers, small huts looking like Swiss clocks and spotted
cows, along with barren- or snow covered peaks. A few lakes ass just add to the
number of photos!
After a long drive through these lovely valleys, the Krimml area starts. I have to pay to park, and again to get close enough to actually see Europe's highest waterfall. Or, it turns out, a small part of it. It is powerful, but one can only see the lower fall, around 30 metres high. I feel hustled!
I head further into the Alps, and a few times, assenting the other mountain side, I can see a bit more of the falls. It is yet another set of falls, zigzagging their way down a steep mountainside, but not ONE fall. I think the term is either fallS or cascades.
Here are a lot of nice flowers, and I stop several times to botanise on my long way to Ginzling: "Old days Tirol". It is a great drive, and I even pay the maut without feeling I'm that hustled. I pass Samalpe, a 1617 meter high pass, and here are still a bit of snow around in the ravines and shadows.
The summerday-feeling keep going, and the views are fantastic. I miss a turn off, and get out of a real narrow farmers road - but it leads to Ginzling. I had expected a cluster of cuckoo clocks houses and cows in the streets - and I'm disappointed. Compared to all the great huts I have passed on the way, this is kind of modern! Well, tiny and undisturbed, but not "Old Tirol" for sure.
Considering the long drive, which I have to return bye too, I decide to comforts myself with some good food. The only restaurant in town only offers a cheese bread, but naive, I think the price reflects a interesting meal. I get two slices of tasteless rubber-cheese on a slice of white bread with half a tomato and a sliced strawberry!
I engulf it fast, and set the GPS for next sight, way
back east, well knowing I won't reach it today. When I pass the camp I looked up in
this morning at five, I turn in, and call it a day.
9/5. I head into the Alps once again, and by a beautiful road it is. The barren peaks, the green meadows, the white rivers and all the other, keep louring me to make photos I don't use. But it is so pretty! I cross over a pass, but the sun don't make it.
The other side have mist and a closed down ski sport area. Only interesting here is a Porsche tractor. Here is still quite some snow around, but the road is clear, and I head on. I reach the little village of Mauterndorf, where the first one see, is the castle. The last owner lived here until the '50ies, and it is real well keeps.
I'm here before they actually opens, but I get to sneak in anyway. Here are many figures, making it real authentic. I feel like entering a set from Game of Thrones. I see most of the castle, and head down to the village. It was described as a fairy-tail village, and this time, I'm not disappointed.
Here are so many real nice houses, and a river, running right through town. Again, I see most, but only wished I had some sun to go along. Here is not much going on, but it have everything a tourist town need, excepted tourists, endless lines of restaurants and cafés.
head back the same way I came, and now I have the sun in my back, and
everything is a motive! I stop at a narrow gorge with a waterfall, and make
so many pictures of peaks and meadows.
really enjoy the drive, and the sun does what is can to make it perfect. I
get to the big lakes, which they call See (sea). I stop several
times, and one time, I get close to an adder; Natrix natrix in the lake side.
Back through lake-lands once again, and as the entire day; by the minor roads. The landscape starts to flatten out, and I have left the Alps. The farms and houses in general still look "alpinish", but a few farmers also have other than grass. One have deer, which along with a few cows are the only live stock I see today.
I reach the little farmer village of Fucking just to make a photo of the city limit sign. The village is actually nice. From here, it is through what almost look like Denmark towards the Donau and Linz. Despite I kind of promised my self: No more fruitless tries on botanical gardens, I have to try the one in Linz, which should have the worlds largest cacti collection. It is getting late, and I find a campsite a bit out of town.
Right after I have settled in, the distant thunder turns
real present, and I am so glad I'm not spending the night in a tent!
I find my way in to the little Linz Botanischer Garden, and
arrival just as they open. It is not big, but real nice. The garden have
surprisingly many hybrids, but the layout is brilliant, and so well
When I have seen is all, I head towards Waidhofen an der Ybbs. The way out of Linz reminds me of old DDR. Here might be a nice side, but I don't see it. I gas station have vacuum cleaners, and I figure the Lupo have deserved a tour. Unexplainable, there are crumbs of biscuits under the drivers seat - along half of Europe's gravel.
I have found a real nice route by the minor roads, and in a perfect summer day like this, the drive is so enjoyable. I stop in a little town; Seitenstetten Markt with a large, rather new castle. Something is going on for sure, but I fail to find out exactly what. People are dressed up, a Tirol-band is playing - quite well actually - and the bishop is present. I rather see the traditional castle garden, but after seeing most of the British gardens, it kind of disappoints.
I head on through the relatively flat farm lands, and passes a few cosy villages. Then the hills get larger, and end up being mountains. I reach Waidhofen an der Ybbs, and here are several churches with the special onion shaped towers.
Next to the river is the impressive, but rather small Schloss Rothschild. I make a walk around town, and get a vegetarian durum. A phone box is transformed into a library on the square, and a rather special fountain is perfect for the birds as bath. The houses are not that old, but they do make a nice town centre.
I head on through the real nice farmland. It seems like grass it the only crop, along with conifers. Out of corner of my eye, I glimpses a black thing in a small pond. It turns out to be a Black Stork; Ciconia nigra. I had not expected to see one.
The houses and farms turn more and more Alpinish, and the mountains grow. Then I reach a flat area and a hill with the town of Mariazell on. It have a lot of nice looking houses and an impressive church. Even more impressive is the amount of souvenir shops in front of it. I have not seen many here in Austria, but these make up for it!
It have been thundering for some time, and now the rain starts. I head back to the car and try to outrun the rain by driving to Melk. It have been hailing a lot in one stretch, and the road is still white - and real slippery! I meet a small group of ancient, small open tractors - true enthusiasts! Despite the rain, it is a great drive.
I reach Melk and Stift Melk Abbey. It is truly an impressing place. However, I can't help thinking about how many poor people have suffered to let the church construct a magnificent place like this. It reminds me a bit of the Forbidden City; Yard after yard, one more impressive than the other. I only see the outside, and head on to the other end of town and Sloss Schallaburg.
It sits on a small mountain, and look just as impressive.
But I have seen castles enough for now, and set the GPS for Vienna. The rain
catch up, when I sit and eat in the car, and I'm so glad I'm not in a tent!
11/5. Based on yesterdays success with a botanical garden, I start the day with Belvedere Gardens, which is both a traditional botanical garden and an Alpine. Annoyingly enough, I have to wait almost a hour to pay for the camp. There is nothing that keep me from just driving away, except my gentleman attitude. It is a expensive disease!
I drive right through Vienna, but the traffic is not that bad. I find a place to park, where it is free for three hours. Then I see the traditional gardens around the rather impressive Belvedere Schloss. These gardens, on the other hand, are not so. These type of gardens, mainly formed by small hedges need to be pristine weeded - and they are fare from.
Despite what I found on the internet, I have to wait a hour for the other gardens to open. I head out in Vienna and see some of the beautiful old houses and the hideous new ones in glass. Here are trams everywhere, but apparently, this is not the true tourist area.
Finally, I get to pay €4 for the Alpine garden, and that is around €4 too much. It have not been proper weeded for a long time, and I fail to find any interesting plants at all. Well, the odd bonsai collection do have some nice plants, but that is it.
The normal botanical garden is more a "once was".
The remains of some dull collections, except the outdoor cacti- and
succulent collection, The small houses are closed, and the 20 caudiciforms
are a sad sight.
I set the GPS for the northern border and Nationalpark Thayatal. It should have 1300 species of plants of which some only are found here. It is through a lovely landscape, but a poor part of Austria. The small houses in the villages start to lack plaster and paint. Here are a bit of vine, but mainly wheat.
Thayatal have a nice EU financed entrance, but I can't figure, if I have to pay or not. I wait ten minutes while the woman at the desk chats with a colleague, then I recon they are not interested in my money, and head out into the wild.
It is really close to Danish nature with meadows and forest. Here are a lot of insects, and I do find a few unknown plants. Here are two species of Cyclamen, but I can't determine which ones, without flowers. I do a long walk, but it is limited how much interesting I find.
return to the car, and while I brew tea, I program the GPS for Czech. It is
a short drive, but only in Riegersburg, I see something interesting; A nice
Austria have been great, and I might return one day to
see Vienna, if I can find the right company. I have driven 1502 kilometres
in total, taken 1581 photos and spend €252. It is a real pretty country, and
easy to travel.