Out and About in Austria

We almost didn’t make it to Austria, with a 45 minute journey to the airport taking 2 hours as we were forced to take to the country lanes to avoid the M25. We then found ourselves in the slowest check-in queue ever such that we actually checked-in after it had technically closed and arrived at the gate after boarding had started. So the relief of actually making it was such that when I saw a cream tea on the extortionately priced menu on the plane, even the second mortgage cost wasn’t going to put me off. Naturally I paired it with cocktails.

A cream tea on the plane

A cream tea on the plane

Starting as I mean to go on, on the plane

Starting as I mean to go on, on the plane

We landed in Salzburg to a rather grey scene and a forecast for more of the same for much of the coming week – it was to be a week of contrasts – epic rain and sweltering hot days.

Arriving at Salzburg airport

Arriving at Salzburg airport

The first day was one of the hot ones and we decided to attempt the walk around the lake, which came with the option of  a boat ride back from the other end if needed. Here are some pictures of the Lake and it’s surroundings.

Welcome to Fuschl

Welcome to Fuschl

Fuschl Kirche

Fuschl Kirche

Fuschlsee

Fuschlsee

Schloss Fuschl

Schloss Fuschl

On the way up to Feldberg

On the way up to Feldberg

Feldberg summit

Feldberg summit

Feldberg

Feldberg

Hiking around Fuschlsee

Hiking around Fuschlsee

Fuschlsee Circuit Social Hiking map

Fuschlsee Circuit Social Hiking map

On the Sunday evening a free open-air concert was scheduled – the local school has an outdoor stage built into the front of the building, and several nights each week free recitals take place. Concerned it might be popular, we got there early. As you can see, someone had got there before us to reserve the best seats in  the house. I think they may have been German.

Before the concert

Before the concert

Part-way through the concert, the heavens opened, but it all carried on regardless.

Open air jazz concert in Fuschl

Open air jazz concert in Fuschl

Having done our research for what we wanted to do during the week, it was quickly decided that on Monday we had to go to Bad Ischl, a spa town where Emporer Franz Josef went for his hols every year for 60 years. It was on one of these holidays in 1914 that his nephew got shot in Sarajevo (you may have heard of it, it’s been in the news a bit recently) and a week later after some failed diplomacy FJ signed Austria’s declaration of war against Serbia. It so happened that the 100th anniversary of this official start of WW1 coincided with our visit so we timed our trip to the Kaiser’s holiday home where the deed was done for the anniversary itself.

War Memorial, Bad Ischl

War Memorial, Bad Ischl

It was a bit bizarre walking past the war memorial in Bad Ischl and seeing a group of people there  commemorating the day. We left them to it and made our way up to the Kaiservilla.

Kaiservilla, Bad Ischl

Kaiservilla, Bad Ischl

The tour was in German but we had translations and invited to skip ahead by the guide, the others did. I, however, opted to stay with the tour as I quickly picked up that a lot more information was being imparted than was on the written guide, even with my rusty 25 years out of practice German.

After a few rooms we got to the corner study where FJ signed the declaration and also wrote a manifesto explaining to his subjects the reasons for the war, a copy of which was on the desk. Photos weren’t allowed inside so the below is from a postcard.

Emporer Franz Josef's study

Emporer Franz Josef’s study

A walk around the town was followed by an ascent of the Katrin mountain by cable car.

In Bad Ischl

In Bad Ischl

The cable car up Katrin

The cable car up Katrin

Back in Fuschl, we opted to take in sunset over the night’s drum and percussion concert.

Fuschlsee sunset

Fuschlsee sunset

But we did turn up to see what the concert was like. We made the right call.

Drum and percussion concert in Fuschl

Drum and percussion concert in Fuschl

Hotel Mohrenwirt

Hotel Mohrenwirt

Tuesday was the last decent weather day for a few days so was appointed the day for me to climb a mountain (properly, not by cable car this time). Schober had been selected in advance for this purpose, by the highly scientific method of scanning Social Hiking to see what peaks were listed in the vicinity (well if I’m going to go to the effort of walking up something, I might as well make it count towards the stats).  While the girls went to a local Mill I headed in the opposite direction climbing out of Fuschl through forest to begin the ascent of firstly Frauenkopf, a secondary summit.

In the woods below Frauenkopf

In the woods below Frauenkopf

Shrine on the ascent to Frauenkopf. There were shrines all over the place.

Shrine on the ascent to Frauenkopf. There were shrines all over the place.

Halfway up a sign warned of the difficulty of the route and I wondered what was in store.

"Only for experienced". Yikes

“Only for experienced”. Yikes

A steep climb up through the woods

A steep climb up through the woods

Towards the top of Frauenkopf

Towards the top of Frauenkopf

In truth it was just a bit steep, but no worse to climb than many fells in the Lakes District at home. I reached the top and had the summit to myself. Unfortunately because of the cloud the views weren’t much.

Frauenkopf summit cross

Frauenkopf summit cross

Frauenkopf

Frauenkopf

Frauenkopf summit logbook #sh

Frauenkopf summit logbook

Looking towards Schober from Frauenkopf

Looking towards Schober from Frauenkopf

A short walk along the wooded ridge brought me to the bottom of Schober’s summit rocks, the scramble up being aided by metal staples. Half a dozen people here and some better views, the patches clearing in the mist to reveal the Fuschlsee below and the jagged ridge of the Schatzwand stretching away to the east.

Looking back towards Frauenkopf from Schober sumit

Looking back towards Frauenkopf from Schober sumit

Schober summit

Schober summit

Schober summit Kreuz

Schober summit Kreuz

Fuschlsee from Schober

Fuschlsee from Schober

Hut, Schober summit

Hut, Schober summit

Looking towards the Schatzwand

Looking towards the Schatzwand

Looking down from Schober

Looking down from Schober

I started the descent finding the going steep and tricky. In several places metal ropes were in place and sloping mud and tree roots made the footing iffy. I looked down on the Wartenfels ruins below.

Looking down on the steep descent from Schober

Looking down on the steep descent from Schober

Ruine Wartenfels from Schober

Ruine Wartenfels from Schober

I was relieved to get to the ruins which I explored for a while before continuing down through the forest to Fuschl. With no sign of the girls I decided a beer on the terrace was in order.

Wartenfels Ruins

Wartenfels Ruins

Schober and Frauenkopf Social Hiking map

Schober and Frauenkopf Social Hiking map

Wednesday was an almost total washout and became a lazy day. The forecast for Thursday wasn’t any better but rapidly running out of week we had to endure it. A wet day in Salzburg was clearly the right time to do a walking tour…

In Salzburg

In Salzburg

Salzburg Domkirche

Salzburg Domkirche

In the Domkirche

In the Domkirche

Salzburg Fortress, the largest standing castle in Europe, apparently

Salzburg Fortress, the largest standing castle in Europe, apparently

Getriedegasse

Getriedegasse

Moart's Geburtshaus

Moart’s Geburtshaus

Mirabel Gardens

Mirabel Gardens

By Friday the choice of what to do was now being further complicated by us consciously leaving stuff for a future holiday and it took a while to agree on where we were going. In the end we opted for an exploration of St Gilgen and a trip up the Zwölferhorn. Yes another cable car, but we then did at least walk to the summit, and I then hiked over to the next summit of Pillstein.

In St Gilgen

In St Gilgen

Church, St Gilgen

Church, St Gilgen

Looking up to the Zwolferhorn from St Gilgen

Looking up to the Zwolferhorn from St Gilgen

Looking down from Sausteigalm

Looking down from Sausteigalm

Gondolas in the mist

Gondolas in the mist

Choose your mountain

Choose your mountain

My highest mountain yet

My highest mountain yet

Zwölferhorn summit selfie

Zwölferhorn summit selfie

Looking down to Wolfgangsee from the summit of Zwölferhorn

Looking down to Wolfgangsee from the summit of Zwölferhorn

The ridgewalk to Pillstein

The ridgewalk to Pillstein

Wolfgangsee on the ridge walk to Pillstein

Wolfgangsee on the ridge walk to Pillstein

Looking up to the summit of Pillstein

Looking up to the summit of Pillstein

Pillstein Gipfelkreuz

Pillstein Gipfelkreuz

Pillstein's summit quote

Pillstein’s summit quote

Looking back to Zwölferhorn from Pillstein

Looking back to Zwölferhorn from Pillstein

Moo are you looking at?

Moo are you looking at?

Schafberg from the cable car

Schafberg from the cable car

Zwolferhorn Social Hiking map

Zwolferhorn Social Hiking map

Saturday was another hot one, but we couldn’t go too far away because of needing to travel to the airport mid-afternoon. So the day was spent around Fuschl in games of giant chess, lazing on the beach and, in my case, a walk around the lake to sketch the mountains.

Outdoor Chess in Fuschl

Outdoor Chess in Fuschl

Frauenkopf drawing in pencil, pen and watercolour

Frauenkopf drawing in pencil, pen and watercolour

Fuschlsee and Frauenkopf

Fuschlsee and Frauenkopf

Final look back at the mountains

Final look back at the mountains

We got to the airport and were first in the check-in queue, getting from coach to the departure gate in around 5 minutes in total. Shame there wasn’t much to do airline and that we didn’t find out our flight was delayed until we got there. Outside it was perfectly obvious why the delay – a sudden torrential rain shower and thunderstorm which prevented anything taking off, including our incoming plane. We made it home eventually and started making plans for a future return trip to Austria.

Final look at Salzburg

Final look at Salzburg

Social Hiking combi map for the week's walks

Social Hiking combi map for the week’s walks

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