Austria - some days off from work
By the end of july we felt like working machines - it was time to escape for a short holiday break. As I, Nina, had an operation by the beginning of may and could not work for 1 month (well, I could not even walk further than 200 meters on my own), Markus had been working day and night even on weekends to keep everyhting running (we run 2 companies). Still in july I did not feel fit, Markus was getting worse - no question what to do.
We packed our backpacks and off we went to Austria. From Switzerland it is a short drive to Tyrol - nevertheless it is a different country, they speak german with a different dialect, they have different food and a different landscape. We know, we do have beautiful mountains here in Switzerland but we needed something different, we needed to taste a bit of the travel-feeling. Besides, Austria is much cheaper than Switzerland. That is why we ended up in the little village of Galtür in the valley of Paznaun. Galtür is a small village in the Silvretta region with lots of mountains and glaciers. The village became famous in february 1999 when an avalanche came down on the village, destroyed houses and killed people. The avalanche reached the village center and I do remember the shocking pics on TV. They builded up protecting walls and solid steel buildings now and the Alpinarium (which is worth a visit!) has an interesting exposition about living in the Alps. Nowadays, Galtür is very quiet during the summertime. But it gets really busy in winter. The famous ski resort of Ischgl is nearby and a lot of people prefer staying in cheaper Galtür and partying in the aprés ski scene of Ischgl. For us, Galtür was a pleasant place to stay for some hiking. Well, to be honest, I was very curious if I could hike. 3 month after my operation I still have bruises on my belly, some nerves in the leg are still seperated - but I felt like giving it a try. We did not go on big trips and did not stay in huts (this is what we normally do) but stayed in the pleasant and cheap Hotel Toniin Galtür. Here we could relax each evening with lots of delicious food and a nice sauna. Greetings to our hosts Marianne and Gernot - we had a great time with you guys! This was our fab week:
The weather was dry but there was a lot of fog around the mountains. Nevertheless we decided to climb Predigberg, a nice mountain reachable directly from Galtür. It was an easy 2,5 hours climb an 1.100 meters of altitude difference. During the climb we enjoyed great views of the Jamtal and the village and we saw amazing mountain flowers. And the best thing - I made it!
With my muscles aching we decided to take things easier today. Well, we still hiked for 5 hours but it was less strenuous with an altitude difference of only 500 meters. We drove by car up to Zeinisjoch with its amazing lakes. From here we walked around the Kopssee and climbed the Breitspitz. From here we had a nice view down the valley of Montafon. It was a really scenic walk with lots of small little lakes and great views.
Again today it was not a hike with great altitude difference but it was a long walk. We walked through the Jamtal to the Jamtal glacier. It was a great walk with lots of sunshine. On the way there are cozy huts for a nice coffee break (or later a beer break ;-)).
No sport today - it was extremely hot. Therefore we decided to just relax in the sun and in the nice coffee shop of the Alpinarium. In the afternoon we went for a swim to relax our sour muscles. What a lazy day!
Time for some more hiking. We decided to climb the Gorfenspitze. This was a really difficult climb and is not recommended for less experienced climbers. To reach the summit you need a rope - the path is partly not existent. But the views are amazing also the wildlife! We saw great flowers, different (mostly poisonous) mushrooms and black mountain salamanders. Again it was 1.000 meters of altitude difference and we luckily reached the top. How we needed the sauna this evening!
On our last day we did an amazing hike. It was only 900 meters of altitude difference but it was a long and tiring hike. Anyway we were rewarded with great views. We started on Bielerhöhe (where we drove by car). From there we walked up to the Radschulter. In the beginning it was a nice path which later turned out to be pure big rocks. Tired we reached the Radschulter. From here we started the short but tough climb up to the summit of Hohes Rad. Unfortunately it was cloudy. Anyway, we had amazing views of the glacial area. We saw the Vermuntgletscher and the Ochsentalgletscher where I did my first mountaineering course. It was great to be back in this area with all the wonderful memories. After a break we climbed down again to the Radschulter from where we walked over some snowfields up to the Radpass with more amazing views. On our decent to Bielerhöhe we were surprised by some heavy thunderstorms. It is always very scary to be in a thunderstorm while hiking in alpine areas. The hale was hurting in our faces and we got really wet (glad, we had got clothes with us). But nothing happend and we safely reached the carpark after 6 hours. That evening it was time for our drive back home to Berne in Switzerland - back to work. We enjoyed our days in Austria and are ready for more hard work keeping in mind that our next longer travel will come soon. In december we will be off again....