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our trip to Austria August 2014 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:23 am Reply with quote
Ian & Jo
Joined: 31 Jan 2008
Posts: 320
As well as spending time doing virtually nothing on Meeru Island, Ian and I love to walk. We walk most weekends in the English Lake District but this summer we returned to Kitzbuhel in Austria. Kitzbuhel is a very popular ski resort in the winter but in the summer months, the snow is gone and replaced with scenes along the lines of those seen in the sound of music. We last visited the area 16 years ago and this August we were keen to see if we still had the fitness and the willpower to do the walks from our youth.

Kitzbuhel is ideally located for walkers. It is a very beautiful, safe, clean small town at a point where three valleys meet. There are plenty of valley walks with rivers and lakes as well as mountain walks and the best bit about the mountains is that the gondolas and cable cars still run in the summer months so you can always get a lift back down if you’ve had enough.

Two of our ‘must do’ walks included the two main mountains in the area: Kitzbuheler Horn and Hahnenkamm. The Kitzbuheler Horn is the higher of the two and the top is most famous for its alpine flower garden where you can see edelweiss growing. To get to the very top by mechanical means requires great bravery in my opinion as the gondolas do not go all the way. After stepping out of your gondola at middle station, you need to take an old style cable car to the top (I always think of James Bond when I step in). I find this very scary as it swings every time someone steps in and the single long cable hangs slackly from its pylons. Riding the cable car shows you exactly why they were all replaced by gondolas. In ski season, the frequency and consistency of movement of the gondolas must massively increase the flow of skiers around the ski runs. Our trip up to the top was on the only day we had poor weather. We stepped out of the cable car into thick cloud – literally - and we couldn’t see more than a foot or two ahead. We decided to walk down rather than around the top as the town had been bathed in sun when we set off and we were sure to leave the cloud behind. Instead, the cloud came down with us as did the rain and after 4 and half hours of constant down hill, the last bit being very steep and loose under foot, we were really in need of a Duniye spa massage. The next day neither of us could walk anywhere without great pain and I’m not sure my calf muscles have recovered now.

We took two walks up the Hahnenkamm. I must point out at this stage that it is difficult to get hold of good quality walking maps for Austria. What you can get tends to be more of a general indication rather than an accurate representation! It was no surprise then that on our first walk up we took a wrong turn and ended up on a path that had a sign saying that its use was not recommended due to the danger of land slide! Neither of us admitted how frightening the sheer drop off the rock face looked as we climbed the dangerous bit but we were really up for a pint or two of beer when we reached the café at the top (another benefit of walking in a ski resort!). Our second ascent was much safer albeit very steep. The Hahnenkamm is famous to skiers for its Streif run – the most difficult down hill run in the international ski circuit. Since we visited 16 years ago, the local tourist board has really gone to town on promoting this as a walking route for summer visitors. The walk up the Streif run took us three and a half hours of constant up hill to complete and some points were impossibly steep. To think that skiers go from top to bottom in less than two minutes is incredible and when you see the steepness of the course and the severe turns they have to take it’s amazing that any of them finish successfully.

Kitzbuhel itself is very beautiful and stylish. There are lots of designer shops full of things I can’t afford and we noticed in a local estate agent window that houses in the area tended to be priced anywhere between 2 million to 6.5 million euros so obviously I can’t afford to live there either. The bars and restaurants are excellent and the people are extremely friendly. Another improvement from 16 years ago is the increase in live music in the evenings. The town owns a magical tiered stage which erects in next to no time from the back of a lorry and can be packed away in exactly 30 minutes. Ian loved it and was fascinated by the technology and clever use of space. At least 3 nights a week a local band (often the local brass band) plays and locals come out to watch whilst sipping the odd drink or two in the nearby bars.

We stayed in a very friendly hotel called the Jagerwirt just outside the main cobbled streets. We really enjoyed our stay and will certainly return a lot sooner than we did this time. A holiday more different from Meeru would be hard to imagine. We love them both and we hope that the exercise we did in Kitzbuhel will compensate for our complete lethargy whilst at Meeru!

Jo (and Ian)


Live music – brass band in the centre of Kitzbuhel


Views from the top of the Hahnenkamm - paragliders


The start gate used at the start of the streif run down hill ski event – looks very steep to me


lost in cloud at the top of the Kitzbuheler Horn


lost in cloud at the top of the Kitzbuheler Horn


Kitzbuhel main street


Kitzbuhel main street


Viewing station at the top of the Hahnenkamm – the Wilder Kaiser Mountains in the distance


Café at the top of the Hahnenkamm


Views at the top of the Hahnenkamm

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:48 pm Reply with quote
ivorfatarse
Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 795
Thanks Jo,great read and smashing pics too!
We too have been frequenting the lakes a lot this year,staying in Matterdale.
The problem I have is the steak and ale pie in the white horse pub at Scales! Its just too good.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:56 pm Reply with quote
JoanneLorna
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 504
Location: stafford
You re right. Too much nice food and great beer in the lakes. Kind of undoes all the good work on the hills Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:36 pm Reply with quote
debandmark
Joined: 27 Dec 2010
Posts: 599
Lovely read, and great photo's...those bars and café's look very inviting!! Having only ever been to these resorts to ski (many many moons ago) it was nice to see how it looks in the summer months...could be tempted as long as there wasn't too much walking involved!!!!

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our trip to Austria August 2014 
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