Tuesday 03/07/18 Rest Day (nearly).
Rest Day, we’ll keep it a local day. Ok, I admit it I’m a lightweight! I really enjoy the driving, especially over here where the major routes are so much quieter than at home, but it requires a lot of concentration,
a) I’m getting older, my reaction times aren’t what they were etc.
b) My Left eye is definitely substandard so to see in the opposite door mirror at all I have to turn my head, not just glance– when someone is approaching at the speeds they do over here, and you’re bearing down on the back of a truck or motorhome you have to plan very carefully to not become a statistic!
c) I’ve just spent 5 of 6 days driving, and a long day tomorrow.
After a lazy morning tryping and Kindling, we wandered along to the local Ice Cream Cafe 4 doors along the Lakeside road and indulged in treats, rather special Iced Cream sundaes for the two of us. (Come on, it’s Thursday am in real time now, I can’t remember what I had!) Cue link to their live webcam… http://www.cafe-eichhorn.at/eichhorn_cam_stream.htm Looking out at almost the same view as our room.
Wandered back to the Hotel and collected the car, drove to the far end of the village to the Spar shop and bought some Skimmed UHT milk for our Teas in our room as the Carton we bought on Friday would be pongy by tonight, and got some cakes as well to go with the Tea. Driving back towards the Hotel decided to have a drive around the Lake and refresh our memories of some of the other local villages, pulled over a few times to let others pass as I was only going quite slowly and as I’m usually the one behind getting cross it was the least I could do!
On getting back to the hotel we relaxed for a while before walking along to the other hotel for our evening meal, we both had the ‘Sliced Pankake Soup’ followed by a Brisket roulade with finely chopped vegetables inside, served with Spiralle pasta and a lake of a delicious gravy. No room for dessert!
Back to the hotel for an early night Zzzzzzz.
Wednesday 04/07/18 The Grossglocknerhochaplinestrasse.
The day those Colonials across the pond celebrate refusing to pay taxes to us Brits!
Right, now to carry out one of my ambitions, ever since I first came to this beautiful Country, I’ve wanted to drive along one of the most stunning routes in Europe. I’ve seen loads of photos, quite a bit of video of it and driven up a mountain before, almost up to the Snow Line in Summer but now it’s time to carry out this dream and drive the Grossglocknerhochaplinestrasse. (Big Glockner High Alpine Road)
The Grossglockner is a rather large mountain towards the Eastern end of the Alps, located south-west of Salzberg and without an alpine pass anywhere near, when the Chancellor of Germany annexed Austria in the early ’30s, it was decided to counter unemployment by a road-building program (Birth of the Autobahns) including building a road that heavy army traffic could use to invade Italy from an unexpected direction. Hence the Grossglocknerhochalpinestrasse.
I’m not going to get into the politics involved, nor the deaths incurred in building it, nor the outstanding feats of engineering using the technology of the day. Suffice to say that since first hearing about it it was something that I’ve just had to do and today is the day.
We set off after breakfast at about 9 am and took the A1 West for about 64kMs past Salzberg and then the A10 South for about 51kMs, coming off onto the B311 Westwards for about 32kMs to the junction just south of Bruck which takes you south on Grossglocknerstrasse towards the pass road itself which starts at Fusch. Whilst on the B311 we came across a maintenance crew who were shutting the road in stages to clear overhanging vegetation and trees that were in danger of falling onto the traffic and road, this was just before a tunnel so barriers were strung across at each end of the tunnel and just before they were working. No prior notice, you’re meant to know they are there! Still, I’ve been in traffic Jams in worst places.
The Temperature according to the car was 27C at Fusch. 813M asl ( above sea level).
We set off on this road, not reaching the Toll barrier until we got to the ‘Wild and leisure park’ at Ferleiten some 13kMs in! The toll seems a bit stiff at first, €36.00 but you do get a car sticker, a small leaflet and access for a whole day to some of the most breathtaking scenery in Europe! (The cost of course, also covers the Park Rangers, road and carpark building and maintenance and Snow Clearance in the Spring.)
We reached the first important stop (Tea in, etc.) at Piffkar, some 1620M asl, the Temperature here was down to 19C. and we looked straight across from the Shop with outside tables directly at this view.
And this is the view back down the hill so far from the layby on the other side of the road.
That bright white bit in the middle of the picture isn’t a cloud, you’re looking horizontally through the clouds at a snowfield the same elevation that we are!
So we carried on, uphill all the way, some almost straight parts, a LOT of Hairpin Bends and even they were at a ratio of 1:4 Up.
Our next stop was at the Haus Alpine Naturschau at 2,260M asl where there was a really nice Cafe, an indoor exhibition of the rocks and Large lumps of various crystals, and a souvenir shop. (These shops were at every building in the park, not too heavily priced either.)
The following pictures show views from various laybys that I stopped in on the way further up before we turned off to go to the highest viewpoint at Kaizer-Franz-Josefs-Hoche.
Quite how those Cows stay stuck to that hillside I don’t know!
The stone blocks at the side of the road are the Crash Barrier, they are deliberately placed MORE than a Cars’ width apart, and are all that stops you going over the edge!
Some of the snowfields are literally right next to the road, and people have carved their names in with their fingers or sticks.
To stop the snow melt running across the road, they have small waterfalls to take the water down into a pit then it’s piped under the road and comes out the other side as a waterfall again! Pics I took of these have evaporated! Mind you, this Phone does take rather good pictures, even with me doing it.
Despite our elevation at this point, the flow of water over the falls is very powerful.
The above is the view over the last Coach and Campervan park before you get to the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Hoche Glacier, for us mere car people to get to and from the cafe we would have to had to go down and then back up those stone steps, That’s the lower of 3 flights of steps, and no we didn’t!
The following two photos are not very clear, Yes they are in colour but dirty Ice and Scree doesn’t show up very well in these, You are looking at the bottom of a Glacier, the vertical wall is the end of the Glacier looking down from the observation pathway at the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Hoche. (2329M asl)
And turning around, we haven’t moved the Car, it’s parked in this 4 level Multistory car park!
After looking in the exhibition next door to the car park, and around the souvenir shop, we were going to go into the Cafe/Restaurant next door… until we saw that the menu boards outside only showed overpriced meals and NO prices for drinks at all!
So we left the free carpark (€36 remember?) and drove downwards towards the next cafe, where we stopped for a light snack (ok I had plum filled Yeast Dumplings with Vanilla sauce (Germknodel)) and Tea for the boss & latte for me.
This was at about 3pm, we still had to complete the road and then get back to the Hotel!
We decided to continue South and find another way back rather than turn around, so we continued downhill all the way to Heiligenblut (1288M asl) at the bottom of the pass and rejoined ‘normal’ roads again.
The highest point by road on the pass is 2500M asl
From Heiligenblut we followed the B107 South then after some confusion (Roadworks, roundabouts being built/moved etc) we picked up the E66, B100 East towards Spittal and then the A10 North. We followed Trucks along the B100 nearly all the way, so it took what seemed like forever to do the 63kMs or so, but when we joined the A10 Autobahn North, I at least thought I’d be able to get a move on a bit.
We went through the first tunnel on this route, and found a full stop Toll Gate! and No, the barrier didn’t lift after seeing our Vignette! We had to pay an extra, €11:50 to use this stretch of Autoroute which includes the Tauern Tunnel which at over 5kM long seems to go on forever, we drove in from bright Sunshine and out into a wall of Torrential Rain! Can I get my money back, please? (I checked online since, and the costs of building the Tauern Tunnel is why there is the top-up Toll.)
We continued in the Really horrible heavy rain until we saw a set of services from a known brand, and stopped for our evening meal. Got wet, but fed ok.
The rain died off not too long after leaving the services and we followed the A10 until we re-joined the A1 going Eastwards towards the Attersee.
We got back to the Hotel at 9pm, Tired but have both had a VERY long but very good day.