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Schladming, Austria

AUSTRIA | Thursday, 4 July 2013 | Views [248]

Having come from picturesque Bled we thought, what on earth could possibly be more beautiful? Well...try rolling into a quaint town when it's around 28 degrees and you are surrounded by spectacular snowy mountains, a surreal experience.  We pulled into our camping ground which was at the foot of a mountain range with panoramic views. We thought... Yep, this will do us. 
Our visit to Austria was made even more special by our evening walk to Kurt (Margot's cousin) and Sonia's and their 2 beautiful boys Noah and Marcel. It was a 10 minute walk from our camping ground through the beautiful immaculate farms. We happened to walk past a dairy farm and noticed the farmer was milking by hand. It felt like we had stepped back in time. 
Noah was super excited to have guests, greeting us at the door and immediately picking up on the fact that we spoke English and taking an instant liking to Millie. Marcel at 7months (by the size of him could have been 12 months) was in Sonia's arms with a huge smile and piercing blue eyes.  We were also greeted by Sonia's sister Sandra.
On the first night we arrived at their house just in time to watch the dark clouds roll in.  From their balcony you could see mountains from every angle it was spectacular to watch the storm approaching.  It took hold very quickly, rain hit the house at such an angle, then the hail started. The stream outside their house turned into a gushing river and the driveway too, Kurt and Sonia could not believe it. We sat wondering what would be left of our campsite? The damage was minimal (to our pleasant surprise) the tarp over the van had collapsed and had a corner full of ice. 
We all had a touch of gas since arriving in Austria. We had discussed what we thought it could be?? Possibly the pork, cheese or psyllium but no two people had eaten the same thing?  We were at the dinner table at Sonia's and Kurt's with rumbling tummies and someone asked what altitude we were at? Having discussed the idea of altitude flatulence as soon as the question was asked we all burst into laughter. Sonia and Kurt confirmed that there was such a thing as "altitude flatulence". Needless to say the walk home was filled with laughter fuelled by gas!! 
We opened our tent the following morning for a breath of fresh air and had to blink hard to believe our eyes. It was another spectacular day in Schladming!  We started the day as usual with espresso's all round and headed off  for our hike up Riesach mountain along the waterfalls edge. It was beautiful and at times scary...well for some anyway. Swing bridges and steep ladders were not in short supply. We rewarded ourselves at the top of the mountain with some traditional grub followed by schnapps that may have stripped a layer of our oesophagus.  We finished the day at Kurt and Sonia's with a light meal seated outside to enjoy the amazing view. 
It was an early start the following day, 8am is early right? We thought so, Kurt on the other hand had been awoken at 6am by his little alarm, Noah.  All packed up we headed to Kurt and Sonia's for breakfast before our adventure up der Dachstein where we would be treated to a behind the scene tour.  We had an amazing view on the gondola on the open top deck which was arranged by Kurt, we also got a private guided tour of the ice caves where we saw Kurt's handy work with the lighting of the ice sculptures and a look at the making of a swing bridge across the glacier.   After such a beautiful experience we thought.... It's nice to know people in "high" places :)
Although it was hard to leave we had Glastonbury in our sights so we hit the road again. Next stop Lake Constance, Germany.


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