The only goal or I should rather say “wish” that I had for my sabbatical was to go to the mountains. More specifically, in 2019, when I went with my parents to Slovenia, we drove through the Austrian Alps. I love mountains but the Austrian Alps around Werfen took my breath away. At that moment, I told myself I will be back. After three years and what feels like a lifetime, I was finally able to visit the region again. Needless to say, it took my breath away.
We had a bit more than 3 full days in the mountains. We started our trip by renting a hotel in the city called Werfen. Our hotel room had a view directly on the castle Hohenwerfen. This is what I could see from our balcony:
During our first full day, the day was rather rainy so we decided to spend the day visiting the castle instead of hiking the mountains. The hotel owner told us that it could take up to 30 minutes to go up the mountain but we were there in about 10. We spent about 3 hours in the castle and I did not really notice the time fly by! When we got there, I accidentally bought the tickets that included the excursion around so we had to wait for that but it had a lot of other things to offer: there is a falconry show twice a day, two museums (one on falconry and another one about witches) as well as a bit inside the court with a little cafe. Overall, it was 13 euro well spent.
The next two days turned out to be really sunny so we decided to do some hiking. We first relocated to Rennweg am Katchberg where we stayed three years ago and then went for tourist information. An excited Austrian lady explained to us a few routes and circled the ones that were supposed to be not too hard. We decided to start with a 4-hour hike to the lake and back.
Needless to say, it did not last 4 hours. It went over 6. And half of it was climbing up and up the mountain non-stop. It was worth the pain at the end as we ended up having lunch by a beautiful lake but I was raked the next morning! My whole body was extremely sore the day after!
Our last full day, we decided to take things easy and do a smaller hike. The tourist office lady told us about 2-hour hike that we can end with the chairlift ride. We thought that it would be good enough and set out. The hike started as expected – pretty much a road around the mountain with the pit stop at the mountain cafe to have some Kasebrot. Then things got interesting – we realized that we have to climb a pretty steep mountain (I am still convinced it was not the right way that we took as we had to crawl under wired fences) only to arrive at the chairlift that did not work. Yep, that meant another 6-hour hike half of which was using all my muscle force not to roll down a humongous hill. I would say that I was pretty glad to be sitting in the car for 6 hours the next day on our way back home.
Sometimes a quick glimpse, an impression might seem inconsequential. You in a way just blurt out “I want to do this” but it has no meaning, no real substance. Yet, sometimes it does. Just like in 2019, I was convinced that I would be back and this is a place meant for me from a small glimpse. I was finally back this year and I am still convinced that this place is for me. Love you, Alps – you make me feel small, you make me feel grand.