Back in July we headed off on a little road trip through Austria, driving along the Alpenstraße through the Alpine mountain range that includes Großglockner, the highest peak in Austria, through to Schladming, back to Vienna, through Bavaria and down to Innsbruck. We're always talking about traveling to these faraway places and dreaming about flying somewhere exotic for a few weeks, but it's easy to forget how much natural beauty may be lying at one's doorstep.
The photos in the gallery above are from the first leg of our trip when we drove to the Großglockner mountain range and the Pasterze glacier. If you've never been, I highly recommend it if you're ever in Austria and have a car. It's quite the long drive to get there but the views along the way on either the Salzburg or Kärnten (two Austrian states) sides are simply breathtaking. This is my second time here and the first time we drove from Kärnten to the mountain so this time we opted to head through Salzburg. It's funny when you're driving along the Autobahn on the way from Vienna to Salzburg (the state and city), the hills slowly build up, get a bit higher and roll back down; there isn't much on this stretch of roadway until you get to Salzburg when the mountains just shoot up out of the ground. It's bizarre.
Once you get off the Autobahn, though, you start meandering through various valleys and small towns as you head towards your goal. If you happen to be able to rent a car with a glass roof, these are the kinds of drives those cars were made for because you're going to be doing nothing but looking up at these behemoths of rock.
The Hochalpenstraße itself, the road that winds its way through the mountain range, is a toll road, so you have to pay a small fee to drive it. If you don't happen to have cash, there's an ATM right near the toll and plenty of parking. There are also a couple of mountain lodges along the road with affordable accommodation. If memory serves, there are simple beds all the way to little apartments with their own balconies and prices aren't bad at all. I wish we'd had more time to actually spend a day hiking one of the trails here and then sleeping overnight but we had to press on to Schladming. Be sure to bring a jacket, though, because it is cold up on the mountains.
Last year we were also in Schladming but we loved it so much that we had to bring our guests, as well. Since it was also really close to Großglockner, we were able to tie it in perfectly. Since I'd been before, I suppose, I didn't photograph very much at all, but I did do something that I'd been looking forward to for some time. Back then I made this photo:
I wish I had made a proper panorama back then because the view from Krahbergzinken of Dachstein is simply amazing. Since we were back here again and also walked up Krahbergzinken, now was the chance. There were quite a few more clouds than last time, too, which made for quite the dynamic photograph.
When you hike up Krahbergzinken you definitely do not want to be afraid of heights, though. The path itself can be pretty steep at times and the closer you get to the top the closer you are to the edge. You never feel unsafe and as long as you pay attention you're fine. We saw families with kids no older than 5 or so going up the path, too. That being said, you can walk right up to the edge of an outcrop and hang your legs off into nothing - quite the unnerving feeling at times. Check my post about the first time I was there for a few examples of what I am talking about. Here are the rest of the photos from our hike up the mountain.