About lakes, mountains and slugs

Heading out of Salzburg and towards the mountains and lakes. All while the weather was changing constantly. A story of how we spent our last weeks in Austria.


We left Salzburg and continued cycling towards the Salzkammergut. The regions good reputation preceded it and once again we were not disappointed.

Hills, mountains and in between crystal clear lakes. What a pleasent sight, even if it is not completely new for us Swiss. The cooling off in one of these lakes comes as a welcome refreshment because hilly regions mean more and more vertical meters for us. Slowly we're getting used to it though. Only the motivation varies from climb to climb. And yes, our buttocks are slowly getting used to life in the saddle, just in case you've wondered. The one thing we can't get used to is the ever changing weather. It may sound romantic to be outdoors every day and to camp, but if you are confronted with rain or thunderstorms every day, the romance is quickly destroyed. We counted 4 rain-free days in 3.5 weeks, a modest rate. It seldomly rained all day, but every day.

The good thing is, our tent is definitely tight. So far it has never let us down. The patter of rain helps fall asleep and the many rainbows are the upside of the weather conditions. On the other hand it's not much fun packing up the wet tent (which easily weighs 1-2kg more when wet), eating and cooking in the tent, always having wet clothes, puddles on the camping fields and above all loads of slugs. Oh how we hate these slugs. We now know we have to pack everything very tight, because the next morning you can find traces of slugs everywhere or even the slugs themselves. They love to crawl over everything and for some reason they find shoes wonderful. So the first thing in the morning is always to free the baggage of slugs... Despite the heavy rain which sometimes dimmed our mood, we often got away luckily. We found some bus stop, bar other shelter just in time to let the thunderstorms pass by.

Due to the bad weather, we were forced to take the train for a bit. Some may say this is a bad excuse to save us some vertical meters. But in fact we would have been highly motivated to tackle the passes. But since there were severe thunderstorms for several days  we decided to cross the Alps by train because it would have been too dangerous otherwise (you can find it indicated on the map). Getting on the train, we were suddenly made aware of how close we are to home. If we had stayed on the train it would have taken us directly to Zurich. Well, we might not have the fastest vehicle but we still love it.

But let's talk about the mountains! Because that's where we were. The 'Dachstein' range is located near Gosau and there is a via ferrata which takes you to the 'Donnerkogel'. Sara had seen photos from there a while ago, which is why we planned this detour. How great to be back in the mountains. We stayed in a hut at the foot of the via ferrata and left early in the morning. On the one hand because of the weather forecast (thunderstorms again), on the other hand because we wanted to avoid  long waiting times on the via ferrata. It was worth it. We reached the finish dry and satisfied, without ever having to queue. Only our courage failed us when it came to the 40m long free-hanging ladder. Fortunately, there was a path around it. Atop we enjoyed the wonderful view and made the acquaintance of nice people from Villach. Unfortunately it didn't work out to meet them again there, but the nice encounter on the summit was a pleasure (even if the dialect was sometimes barely understandable for us).

After this adventure, we left the 'Salzkammergut' behind us and traveled south to Villach. This was our last stop in Austria before we left the country for Slovenia.

Dear Austria, it was beautiful in this country of yours. We were pleasantly surprised by our neighboring country and above all by the friendliness and helpfulness of the people. We would love to come back one day, but for now we are looking forward to head towards the sea and are hoping for a little drier weather.