Austria Vacation Log: Day 7, The Ruins of Reutte

We slept in, and it felt great! Our German friends were back in Germany, and we were by ourselves for the rest of the trip (the digital cameras went back to Germany with our friends, so I’ll be relying on Internet photos for the rest of my commentary). We had a light breakfast of Müsli, cheese, and bread, packed some light bags, and left the Goldener Hirsch hotel (German link) for the day’s adventures.

We walked through the town of Reutte(English link), heading for the surrounding mountains. The town itself was cute and charming, but with a surprisingly large amount of traffic that diminished it somewhat. We walked a mile or two out of town until we found the correct path leading up to the Ehrenberg “Klause”.

This was the first part of the Ehrenberg Fortress Ensemble (English link), a set of four castles outside of town. The first of these was a large fortified building that guarded the pass into Reute. Next year there will be a big museum here- for now it is a restored castle with empty rooms, and a small gift shop. We had thought that we heard thunder as we walked up from town, and as we left the Klause it started to rain. Our rain jackets were safely back in our hotel room, naturally. They didn’t sell umbrellas, but they had some in the lost-and-found, so we borrowed one for the day. The rain stopped a few minutes later, and we climbed through humidity to Burguine Ehrenberg.

This ruined 13th century castle guarded the town, and played a role in both the Thirty Years War (stopping the Swedish advance), and the Spanish War of Succession. Just as we made it to the ruins, the rain started in earnest. For the next hour we took refuge under an intact archway, eating some snacks and writing in our journals. As this was the first rain of our trip, we couldn’t complain. During periods when the rain lightened, we went out and explored the ruined towers, walls, and arches. After checking out every nook and cranny, we descended down to a small col, and tried to decide what to do next. We were uncertain about the weather, but we eventually decided to make the steep climb up to “Festung Schlosskopf” (mountaintop fortress).

When Bavarian invaders overran in the early 1700s, the townspeople dragged some cannons to the top of this mountain and used them to pound the castle below. A few years later, 1733, they built a real castle here. We had snacks and water at the top, just as the sun finally came out. We enjoyed the sunny ruins, the views of Reutte below us, and the cool damp tunnels underneath. One of the underground tunnels had a large area to turn around a loaded wagon. Pretty cool. We took a roundabout way back down, and debated a trip to Fort Claudia, the fourth castle on the other side of the valley. We eventually opted out, and took some scenic trails back down to the town, following a pleasant brook.

Back in civilization, we had pastries and coffee at a small bakery and then meandered through the shops. I bought two German books and Dorinna bought a German Yahtzee pad.

The day ended with a relaxing dinner at Hotel Zum Mohre. I had Tyrolean cheese soup, and Wildererpfandl- different cuts of venison, wild mushrooms, and gravy served over spätzel. Of course, I washed it down with a local beer- Kaiser Helles. We ate at a wonderful outside table on a one-lane cobbled street. It would have been absolutely perfect, except for that cars the drove down every minute or so. Bleah. As it was, it was still pretty nice, and the food was fabulous.