Tempted as I was by the thought of another coffee sitting by the warm fire, I couldn’t resist the urge to take a walk the other morning in the frozen countryside between Ehrenhausen and Gamlitz in Sudsteiermark. We were staying at a Wine Spa in the town of Ehrenhausen and I knew that my time by the fire would not last and I would be expected to pay a second visit to the gym, so I opted for the more interesting experience of a deep frozen walk.
Naturally I took my camera.
The newly planted vines outside the hotel were the first things to catch my interest….
As we walked towards the town, through the mist, we gained an improved view of the local castle (a closer view was afforded from the hotel itself but was somewhat spoilt by the new apartments being built next door)….
It was only a few minutes walking beyond the town when I encountered this rather lovely creature and its friends grazing in a coppice……
The countryside here is very much a working area filled with orchards, vineyards, fields, woods, homes and farm buildings dotted across roll hillsides…..
Walking along a ridge I was able to take this shot of the church in Gamlitz……
I noticed that new houses were being added along the path of our walk but it was the older buildings that attracted my greatest interest. This one dates back to 1894….
Eventually the sun managed to breakthrough and the world around us began to emerge from its frozen sleep….
Well we got fed-up waiting for the snow to arrive in Vienna during the Christmas/New Year break, so we jumped in the car last Tuesday and headed down the A2 motorway. Our destination was the town of Semmering which sits on the border of the Austrian states of Lower Austria and Steiermark (Google map).
This really was a case of travelling literally to the snow line. Looking along the upper valley into Steiermark presented me with a winter picture of snow and low cloud.
But as I turned back towards Lower Austria the view became one of snow on peaks bathed in sunshine and then replaced with the green and browns of the lower hills and valley.
Whilst R & H went sledging I took a more leisurely (if somewhat of the slipping and sliding variety) walk down the mountain. This rather less bumpy approach gave me the chance to take a few snaps as I descended. Skiing venues always leave me with the feeling of something rather industrial but they can be fun.
I’m never really sure what to expect when taking a cable car with the skiers to the top of a mountain. My previous experiences have included finding myself with no choice other than to slide down a ski slope to get to the walking path half a mile away, standing in a blizzard dodging snowboarders or more often finding myself sitting in a hut with a coffee whilst looking out upon the landscape below. However, the Dachstein glacier provided the family with the chance to enjoy a walk across some truly beautiful scenery.
It took a little while for me to drive the car up the icy road to the cable car station. Whilst the locals and regular skiers negotiated the mountain road with skill and speed, our car ascended with the speed of an ancient tortoise. The ease with which I could observe the views below and the way in which the wheels of my car kept sliding towards the outer edge of the road produced an endless commentary from yours truly and a driving technique reminiscent of a newly qualified driver. From the way most other vehicles were taking the road my inexperience in such conditions was probably making hard work of the drive but at least I felt better doing it my way and reaching our destination in one piece.
After leaving the cable car station and negotiating our way past the ski slopes, we found ourselves able to walk across the glacier and enjoying a landscape of snow, mountain tops and below us the ever shifting clouds.
On returning to the cable car station we quickly found a seat in the restaurant for the obligatory coffee and strudel.