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Through Italy into the Austrian Alps, the Grossglocknerstrasse

Home -> Europe -> Austria -> Travelogue Austria -> 08 & 09 July 2003

Tuesday 08 July, through Italy into the Austrian Alps, the Grossglocknerstrasse

A last rest in CroatiaAfter a last coffee at the bar and saying the unevitable goodbye to Joško we are on our way. First we go to the supermarket at Nin where we left or lost our wallet and it has been found, waiting for us. Lucky us.
Then comes the long and slow road along the coast. It is less than 300 kilometers, via Rijeka to the Slovenian border, but it takes us almost 6 hours.
The Alps, ItalyWe pass Slovenia in half an hour and we enter Italy near Triëste. Taking the highway we very soon find ourselves at the feet of the Alps and the mountain massif rises before us. The temperature is much lower now and there are lots of clouds.
The Alps, Italy The Alps, ItalyThe massif suddenly rises from the plains, there is not a slow increase in height. The first tops are already about 2000 meters high. Narrow, steep and twisting roads bring us to the border with Austria, on the Plöcken col (1360 meters high).
The Austrian Alps Mölltal, AustriaBefore Lienz we enter the Möllvalley. This valley leads to the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria. Although we have been in the Alps before, we keep being impressed with this mighty and impressive sight.
Campsite at DöllachAround 6 we arrive at the campsite at Döllach. We are still walking in a t-shirt and the sun sometimes can be seen, but it is much colder than we are used to. A sweater is not enough and Teije hides in the car which is still warm inside and Elisabeth into the tent. It is 15 degrees Celsius, at most.
Outside is is cold and moist with many musquitos around and we go to bed early, but in the tent it is also very cold. We aren't used to this kind of weather, anymore. Not after the last sunny and hot week in Croatia. We are getting spoilt.

Wednesday 09 July 2003, Grossglocknerstrasse, cold but very nice

Waterfall in the Alps Church at HeiligenblutAfter a very cold and moist night on a deflating airbed we wake up tired, under a bleak sky. The airbed we had to pump up at night but it doesn't seem very serious. But it doesn't feel good to sleep on a wet and cold floor. So we feel a bit exhausted this morning but we soon forget all our hardships when we start driving and see all those beautiful sights, like this waterfall.
First we drive to the village Heiligenblut, which lies 1300 meters below sea level. Today we are going to drive and walk through the Grossglockner area and the national park Hohe Tauern.
Elisabeth in the funicular Teije in the funicularWith a funicular railway (€ 13,50 each) we go up to Schareck, a mountaintop at 2604 meters. Despite the great difference in height we are there within 15 minutes and we are glad we have put our sweaters on; it is only 12 degrees.
In the chairliftThe chairlift that is going further up is only working in wintertime for skiers, but Elisabeth is ready for it.
At a height of 2604 meter Grossglockner regionThe landscape is overwhelmingly magnificient and it is a pity the sun isn't shining. From these place one can see 40 mountains tops with a height over 3000 meters, of which Grossglockner is the highest with its 3797 meters (and also the highest top of Austria).
Teije wants even to go higher The snowball is really coldTeije walks even furher up the mountain and let himself photograph by a fellow tourist (a Dutchman of course, like the majority of the tourists here) on the highest point.

And he takes back a snowball for Elisabeth, although she doesn't know what to do with it. Without the snow it is already so cold!
The Pasterze glacierIn the afternoon we drive through the Grossglocknerstrasse and also visit the Pasterze glacier, with a length of 9 kilometers. The roads are twisting, but in very good shape. We pass heights of more than 2500 meters, but so high up it is very cold. In spite of that we really enjoy the panorama's, they are fantastic. It is only regrettable it costs € 26 to drive through this area.
Village square of Döllach Döllach, AustriaWhen we are back on the campsite at 6, the sun starts to break through the clouds now and then and immediately the temperature rises. In the sun it feels quite nice, but unfortunately these periods don't last longer than 5 minutes.
Since we don't want to spend the whole evening near our tent, getting numb with cold, we drive into Döllach, have something to eat in a friendly Gaststübe and walk around this pretty village. We like all those houses made of wood, they seem to be more vivid in some way than stone houses.
The sun sets much later here than in Croatia, but we don't enjoy it, since it is so cold that we can't even sit outside with a sweater and a jacket around 9. And we have only a small tent, we cannot sit inside it. So again, we are off to bed very early.


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