Today, on our last sunny day in Austria we caught the Postbus from Niederau through Oberau to the picturesque hamlet of Muhltal where we alighted opposite the terminus of the Bummzelbug, a landrover converted to look like a steam tain that pulls a couple of mock railway cars to transport tourists. Oh how our Thomas the Tank Engine loving grandson would love this but at this time of year its full of big kids. Turning left from the bus stop we set off down the path following the river heading for one of our key walks of the holiday the walk down the Kundler Klamm, a huge gash in the mountains that takes one all the way down into the valley that contains the River Inn. The gorge was spectacular, we walked about 40 minutes to the start proper and were caught up by the Bummzelbug full of pensioners and those cheating on doing the full walk.
We set off at pace to get ahead of the mob down this tight twisting corridor. This place lives up to the hype, it is fantastic and we soon spotted a Black Squirrel in the woods and a red chested Dipper sat on a branch low over the river looking for its lunch. The river twists and turns through momentous cliffs that tower above you on either side themselves occasionally split by watercourses coming almost vertically down them. These ravines made me think of the Dandy when I was a kid, I have not bought one for years, honest, and Desperate Dan in particular. He was always going to head off them Injuns at the Gulch. Wherever the Gulch was there was always a sign. The sign was wooden and had a finger pointing the way of the Gulch. One good this about today?s walk is that it would be nigh on impossible to get lost, once you set off down the gorge tha is it, you are on a path that allows no deviation. The path has many bends but not until the end is there any possibility of straying from this path of righteousness as it were, unlike in life I hear you say. The river is music enough with the almost silent accompaniment of a gentle breeze in the trees and birdsong galore. So we repeatedly put our best foot forward and resolutely made our way to the bottom and very enjoyable it was too. The map showed us a bus stop a few minutes after the end of the walk that had ceased to exist when we got there. So we trundled into Kundle where with only a minute to spare we caught a train to Worgle, (Vorgle), we glanced at the shops then 10 minutes later we caught a bus back up into the hills and arrived back at our hotel exactly 3 hours after leaving, we expected it to take the rest of the day. We had mapped out our day same as we had mapped out our route. So, what know then?
Well the sun was now shining brightly so it was boots off, sandals on and off over the road to the Gondola to ride to the top of our mountain. Purists visiting Snowdon still complain about the train up the mountain from Llanberis and worse still the café on the summit in a blot on the landscape sort of way. Well, they need to stay away from Austria, here there are 4 storey hotels, bars, restaurants, a chapel and even a children?s playground and petting zoo. Cows roam freely munching the spring grass as do goats and chickens and we sat taking coffee outside a rickety shack whilst listening to Tyrolean music and watching German folk tuck into Mechanically Removed Meat (Frankfurters), and bone dry bread with the enthusiasm of somemone who has not seen food for weeks. The sun shone and it was blissfil, dozens of paragliders arrived, unfurled their transports and took off into an azure sky that would have graced the med. Coffee over we descended in the Gondola to pick up our swimming things and head for the open air pool, what a way to end the holiday. It was closed.
Yes our 40 minute stroll there was in vain so we sat outside and ate our sandwiches in the sunshine then slowly made our way back to Hotel Austria. Once there the wife went into the indoor pool and I captured a sunbed and cooked myself on a medium to high heat for 90 minutes. Once done I showered and immediately attended the Restaurant for amongst other things Venison ‘Italian’ style. Yummy. Then it was the end of my novel, plenty of vino, and bed before a 6am start in the morning. It was a lovely, slightly unpredictable of last days. Pleasant, and literally, full of ups and downs. There is a saying regarding the best laid plans of mice and men but I cannot be bothered to recall it now, our days here are up, we relax tonight knowing that tomorrow we dine in Hull, (well Sheffield but do not tell the Spartans). We will sleep soundly breathing clean mountain air, our bodies and minds resting in cool peaceful night where stars hover close above us in the darkest of nights after our last days in Austria.
The start of the Klamm proper.