Austria Vacation Log: Day 6, Hike Through the Alps

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We woke up fairly early, packed up and went downstairs to breakfast: meats, cheese, breads, and coffee. Before our main hike, we took a short walk through an alpine flower garden. It was quite impressive, with what seemed like every flower in the Alps, each individually labeled. We had to drag Dorinna out of there.

Blumengarten (photo credit: Daniel Hernández)

The hike started with a long and seemingly never-ending climb to a tall alpine pass called the Öfapaß. The entire hike was above tree line, so the views were continuous. And what views- cliffs and jagged peaks were in every direction.

On the trail (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)

Looking down at our Hut (photo credit: Daniel Hernández)

Mountains (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)


Michaela at the top of the pass (photo credit: Daniel Hernández)

At the top of the pass we took a short break before dropping down to another valley- the Schweizertor. This valley was a simply outstanding notch with sheer cliffs on both sides.

View down to the Schweizertor (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)

The notch led to Switzerland. I wanted to visit a new country, and it was a short flat walk, so we did. We only took a few steps across the border, but shot a lot of pictures and watched some rock climbers on the Swiss side. It was nice to visit the homeland of the Ruhs, if only for 10 minutes.

Me at the Swiss border (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)

Wall of the Schweizertor (photo credit: Daniel Hernández)

Customs house at the Swiss-Austrian border (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)

Back with the main group we climbed another 1000 feet to another pass, Verajöchli. Here we ate a true german-style lunch: salami, different sausages, cheeses, and breads. Around us we watched gliders and paragliders coasting around the mountain peaks. After the extended break we headed down, down, down a mountain valley to the Lünar See, a large reservoir.

Lünar See (photo credit: Daniel Hernández)

We walked clockwise around it to the tram station. On a day I was less tired, I would have liked the steep, exposed descent, but I was getting tired, and it was getting late.

Dorinna, myself, and Dieter at the lake (photo credit: Michaela Glauß)

Daniel and Theresia (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)

We packed into the tram like sardines with several dozen other people, all of whom desperately needed showers (including us). The tram plummeted straight down the cliff side, giving us nice views and getting us down mercifully quickly.

Tram descent (photo credit: Dieter Glauß)

We waited a few minutes before the absolute chaos that was the bus leaving. We managed to jam-pack in for the scenic ride down to the town of Bludenz. Once we got there, Dieter and Daniel went to fetch the cars- 2 more bus rides as one of the trains had been washed out from the recent floods. The rest of us sat down in a quiet shaded café and had ice cream and a “new” white wine. Dorinna bought some shoes and I bought her a wildflower book. By then the cars had returned, and we said our goodbyes to Dieter and Michaela, as they headed home.

Daniel and Theresia gave us a ride to our next destination- Reutte. The ride should have been fairly short, but unfortunately the floods had washed out the main highway as well. We took a long loop back through Germany. We arrived at the hotel at around 8:30, dropped our packs in the room, and went back downstairs for a quick dinner. For the second time during our trip, we ate dinner inside. It turned out to also be the last time we ate inside, which gives you an idea of the weather that we were blessed with. After the meal, they headed back to München to get ready for their vacation to Florida, while we headed upstairs to shower and then collapse. A long but spectacular day!