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The Austrian Adventure: Day 3

Part two of the Austrian Adventure ... except it covers day three! Like, crazy...

Day Three
I woke up from a dream about being part of the Emperors of Tauder (pronounced Tow-der). We were a group of superheroes, sort of like the X-Men, and there'd been some big crash involving us being held in status for many years. On waking from status, I realised that one of our number – Baby, the Unicorn – was missing, and I was trying to get my fellow Emperors to help me find him. No one would, although one guy – a real scrawny kid named Paul – used his long-distance ability at unlocking doors to open up a three-story farmhouse for me. THANKS PAUL. Bastard.

Jen dreamt that she was in a limousine with a hippo pool in the back of it. There was a big party going on with a load of people she didn't know, but she didn't care because the hippo pool had strobe lighting and looked awesome.

We win at random dreams!

Straight after breakfast we went for a 2 hour hike in search of a village called Kink – purely because Jen and I wanted to be photographed with the sign. Unfortunately Kink turned out to be a house, which was still amusing but not as good as a Kink village would have been. We had a photo with the sign anyway.

We also went inside the church in our village, which is directly opposite the hotel. Absolutely incredible decoration inside, with models of saints and archangels down the walls and intricate frescos on the ceiling. The graveyard was perfectly tended – even the graves of those who died sixty years ago had fresh flowers growing. The gravestones were also really cool – instead of the usual headstone, they were wire crosses, really beautifully made and with photos of the deceased (this is quite common practise in Spain, too, and something I really like. Although if I died I wouldn't have a photo of me being old, I'd have a photo from when I was young. And on a horse). I went to look inside a little building on the edge of the graveyard that had its doors open, but realised at the last minute that it was a chapel of rest and there was a coffin inside. Not common practice in England and I found it rather disconcerting – mostly because I was horrified at nearly blundering in there like some great uneducated oaf.

Then it was on the coach at 12:30pm (bloody stupid time, right?) to visit Alpbach, a very pretty little village dating from the 11th century and situated right on the slopes of the mountain. It's usually used for skiing holidays, so a lot of it was closed; but we were still able to take lots of photos. The inside of the church was incredible – I mean, my personal taste for churches runs towards very old, solemn buildings of stone and stained glass, but the incredibly OTT baroque style of these Austrian churches is beautiful in its own way. We also stopped for a beer and got talking to another couple from our group, who had come over to England from Australia for her mum's 100th birthday and then taken this tour while they were in the country! Petty cool way to spend a retirement.

We left Alpbach at 2:30pm and went on to Rattenberg, the smallest town in Austria with a population of around 450 people. Rattenberg goes back to the 13th century and is famous for its glass and crystal. It is also on line with the Artic Circle, so during winter actually gets a couple of days of total darkness. I thought that only happened in places further north, so that was pretty cool.

The whole tour group went to see a glass-blowing demonstration immediately on arrival, and then Jen and I legged it – we only had 2 hours before we had to be back on the coach, and we wanted to see as much of the town as possible. We powerwalked it down the main street, periodically diving into shops as Jen was after a glass hippo (she collects hippos like I collect Unicorns), and then I spotted one of the churches down a side-street and we ran off that way.

Unfortunately the church was closed so we couldn't go inside, but we had accidentally stumbled upon the route to one of Rattenberg's two castles. It was gorgeous; only a tower remained, and I'm not sure whether that was all it ever consisted of or whether the rest has just crumbled away over the centuries. There was a ruin of an identical tower on a ridge opposite, across a gorge, so maybe they were both watchtowers or refuges. We couldn't go inside the tower but there were fantastic views.

We headed back down into town on the trail of what I thought was a church with cloisters, but it was an ugly modern building and that was closed, too.

We got back on the coach at 4:45pm and were back at our hotel for 5pm ... which rather annoyed both of us. We would have happily spent several more hours in Rattenberg, and it seemed really stupid to not leave the hotel until gone midday – when we were all up for breakfast at 8am anyway – and then come back 2 hours before dinner was due to be served. Could have left at 9am and come home at 6pm! On the way back to the hotel our tour guide kept going on about what a relaxing place Austria is, and Jen and I just laughed. We'd spent the past 2 hours running around like blue-arsed flies just trying to see as much as we could. We were both knackered by the time we got back ... knackered but happy!

Dinner was at 7pm as usual; no one shared our table today (I wonder why...), but there was a bit of a cock-up in the kitchen regarding our orders and because we didn't make a fuss (it really wasn't a big deal), the chef sent us two glasses of peach schnapps. Huzzah for free alcohol!

Then because it was dark and thundering and raining, Jen and I got our umbrellas and went for a walk. Singing Disney songs. We are awesome-o.

A misty start to the day.

The church.

I haven't messed up the white balance - this is how thick and white the cloud was!

Baby coo! ...Our tour guides/bus drivers were Scottish. Therefore, all cows and now coos.


Jen, moving us up to the fast lane on our highway to hell.

Hahaha! We're so immature.

Time for epic poses.

I'm such an epic retard.

Angry Cat! <3

Walking up Brandenberg high street, back to our hotel.

A house in Alpbach. Three-story houses are the norm round here...

View of the surrounding area.

The River Inn, as it flows past Rattenberg.

The centre of Rattenberg.

Approaching the castle. There seemed to be holes to support floorboards between these two walls; or maybe a roof? I entertained the daydream that maybe there were horse-lines down this walkway.

A view of Rattenberg from the castle.

Jen and a castle.

So, you know Disney's Robin Hood? With the anthro animals? And how, at the beginning, Robin and Little John are walking through the forest? Jen and I do that and call it our Disney Walk. We are best at it.

I like climbing up onto tree stumps almost as much as I love climbing into caves.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
That is seriously dramatic, needs-its-own-theme-song mist. Glad you had fun! I want to go to eastern Europe but most of the US thinks everything between France/Italy and Japan is creepy or not worth seeing.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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