Thursday, June 25, 2009

Austria Motor-home Adventure: Day seven, eight and nine...

Day seven- High Alpine Road and The Grossglockner (Highest Mountain in Austria)
After our usual Austrian breakfast (putting on the pounds people!) we departed, via the High Alpine Road, to see the highest mountain in Austria, the Grossglockner (translated "the Big Bell"). As much as I would love to describe the beauty of the road that we took through the mountains to get to the Grossglockner, unfortunately my writing skills are much too insufficient to describe such spectacular views (plus it's more effective to let the photos do the talking). I will however say, that if you have the chance to visit this area, it will no doubt take your breath away. After our arrival at the highest point accessible, we were lucky to see the two things that the Grossglockner is famous for: wild mountain goats and groundhogs. Both of which are funny little creatures. Mountain goats don't do much except eat and sleep while groundhogs are more animated and actually show off their fighting skills to the onlookers. Either way it was an amazing experience to be literally on top of the world...okay well maybe just on top of Austria, but you know....

Day eight- Outdoor Spa in Lienz and Lounging Around the Motor-home
Day eight was mostly a day of relaxation and lazing around. In the morning (yes after our usual Austrian breakfast) we went to a town called Lienz (about a 15 minute drive from our Motor-home camp ground) where we spent the majority of our day lounging around in "Dolomitenbad": an outdoor spa with numerous pools surrounded by beautiful nature and mountains. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from the day so instead I will provide a picture of our camp ground for your viewing pleasure :-)

Day nine- Alpine Horseback Riding!!!
Today was by far my favourite day of our trip thus far!!! About five minutes from the camp ground where we were stationed we discovered some horse stables. After much inquiry, we were happy to learn that the stables offer private alpine horseback riding tours through the surrounding mountains. Needless to say I was THRILLED!!! (I love horses and horseback riding, even though I don't get many opportunities to do it). Anyway, we schedules a two-hour tour for the morning and I am happy to report that it was-FABULOUS!!!  I rode a horse named Moritz, who much like myself, was an eater (he stopped at every square inch of grass to munch something). I didn't mind the challenge, the scenery, especially on horseback was incredible. The two hours passes very quickly and even though all of our arses were rather numb after the experience, I think it's safe to say that we all had a fabulous time! Unfortunately I don't remember too much more from the rest of the day as all else was over-shadowed by our amazing horseback ride! (I do remember eating some more delicious Austrian food however :-)

Love K

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Austria Motor-home Adventure: Day four, five and six...

Day four- Granatium, The Turracher Hohe and The Nocky Flitzer
In the morning of day 4 we woke up, once again to the most breathtaking view (shown below), got ready and started our day. Our first stop on the tour was the Granatium. This was basically a museum/shop/mine for Granat stones that's been around for roughly 100 years.  The "tour" of the Granatium consisted of a guided tour of the mine, a museum of the history of granat (yes as exciting as it sounds :-) and the highlight of the trip...we were given goggles and a hammer and we were able to chip/dig out our own granat stones to keep. I lasted for approximately two minutes before I retracted back to our motor-home with Hugh. Philipp and Sandra on the other had, dug furiously for a few hours and happily came out with fist-fulls of granat stones.

After Philipp and Sandra dug up their treasures we made our way to the Turracher Hohe, which is basically a mountain road that goes through the border of Carinthia and Styria. It's spectacular! I felt like we were driving through a fairy tale, the adorable little houses, the mountains, valleys, cows (lots and lots of cows!) I recommend this trip to EVERYONE!!! When we arrived at the 'top' of the mountain road we took a gondola up to the top of one of the many mountains that are nestled in the area. However, the real fun began on the way down, when we took a alpine roller coaster, called the Nocky Flitzer, down the mountain:
Being and avid hater of roller coasters (even the tea cups in Disney world scare the crap out of me) I was too chicken to go myself so Hugh had to take me with him on his little cart-an option usually reserved for children under the age of eight but the people who operate the thing took pity on me and let me sit with Hugh--sigh of relief on my part, but poor Hugh had to ride with the youngest granny, screaming "brake brake!!!"  down the mountain. Once down, we settled for a tea in a local traditional-style Austrian pub (polka music and all)-I think after the Nocky Flitzer experience-the warm tea was much needed :-)
Needless to say day four guessed it: AWESOME!!!

Day five: The Nockalmstrasse, Malta Hochalmstrasse and the Kolbrien Dam
After spending a relaxing evening/night at a motor-home camping area we began our day with a beautiful drive through the Nockalmstrasse (High Alpine Road) where we stopped throughout to take pictures, eat and sight-see. Once again I have to stress how absolutely GORGEOUS everything in Austria is. It's so clean and picturesque-honestly if it wasn't so damn charming I would say that this country is creepishly adorable :-) Eventually, the High Alpine Road took us to the Malta High Alpine Road and the Kolbrien Dam (which is the biggest in Austria). The dam was extremely impressive, especially since I have never actually seen a dam in person before. It was HUGE and had an amazing view of the neighbouring areas so as a result we spent a good few hours here goofing around, taking pictures and enjoying the sights. 
After the dam adventure (no pun intended :-) we drove to another (very small and very beautiful) camping area in Carinthia, which was literally nestled right in between several mountains (here we actually spent about 4 days since it was close to all the other activities we had planned). The evening was once again spent eating (man the food is too good in this part of the world)...

Day six: Umbalfalls
Day six of our journey was probably one of my favourite days. We started our morning with the traditional motor-home breakfast (yogurt, fresh bread, cheeses, spreads etc. etc.) and then we drove to a hiking trail which follows the Umbalfalls. The hike took roughly 4 hours and it followed a winding river with spectacular water falls cascading down the mountain. As usual the surroundings were magnificent to say the least. We took our time on the hike (I recommend this course of action, as it is truly a sight to savour), and then we had a traditional lunch in a mountain restaurant halfway down our hike. The rest of the day we relaxed in and around the motor-home, it all passed quite peacefully. Overall, another great three days spent in the land of Yodelling.

Love K

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Austria Motor-home Adventure: Day one, two and three...

Since I am doing this retroactively (due to lack of internet access in the motor-home as I explained already), I will do a tri-daily (is that even a word???) update. So let the first 3 days of our adventure begin!
Day one- Getting ready and the South Styrian Wine Road
Day one consisted of getting our ghetto fabulous motor home (picture below) ready for the upcoming adventure, this took a while, as we all had to clean and stack it with the essentials. 
*picture courtesy of Sandra's amazing planning skills*
After our things were packed and ready to go we drove for about 300km outside of Vienna to the South Styrian Wine Road, which is a gorgeous area full of hills, valleys, vineyards, restaurants and wine Gasthauses (Bed and Breakfast places). Here we were able to park the big beast of a  motor home on top of a hill overlooking the vineyards, and spend the night looking out at the stars-it was breathtaking! Our dinner was also amazing, we ate at a vineyard restaurant which has won several wine awards in Austria (I'm not a wine connoisseur by any means but this wine was DELICIOUS!) Overall, our first night in the motor home was amazing.
Plus we got to wake up to this:

Day two: Worthesee, Corinthia
In the morning on day 2, we had a slow but fabulous start. We began our day with a lazy Austrian-Style breakfast outside (think tons of cheese, meat, veggies and spreads with fresh bread, tea and coffee). We then packed up and made our way to the Worthesee in Corinthia. This area is breathtaking. It is comprised of many different lakes which are surrounded by hills, mountains and (very) wealthy cottages (think Muskoka in Ontario, but in Europe and in the mountains!) It took us a few hours to drive there, but well worth it. We stayed near the lake at one of Philipp's friends' house (where thankfully we were able to take a shower and use the toilet-the motor home, as cool as it is, leaves much to be desired in terms of washroom facilities :-) In the evening we walked around the lake and had a traditional Corinthian dinner: this consisted of "Corinthian Noodles" which are similar to big ravioli stuffed with herbs and cheese and sprinkled with herbed butter and served with salad and fresh yogurt dressing and some local wine-very very delicious! We, once again, slept comfortably in our motor home and in the morning we were ready for a new adventure...

Day three: Velden and Drautal
After another decadent Austrian-style breakfast (I will most likely be using this term a lot :-) and a walk to see some gorgeous little lambies (I'm a sucker for any animal in its baby form) we made our way to the town of Velden. The town is located on the lake Worthesee and houses some of Austria's wealthiest cottagers. It is a very picturesque town with old traditional Austrian architecture and some of the nicest hotels, cafes and restaurants I've ever seen. We stayed here for a few hours, walked around, browsed and had coffee in one of the many lovely cafes that line the streets. Unfortunately the weather was a little bit rainy but that did not by any means overshadow the beauty of the town. Once we were finished we made our way to GORGEOUS area called Drautal (a farm area where Philipp spend some of his childhood vacations) to spend the night. I know it's annoying to say this again (and again) but it was an amazing day...per usual!

Well I  guess that's it for the three day update of our motor-home adventure through Austria, stay tuned for more...
Love K

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A new country...a new adventure...

Although I am no longer in magical Jeju (sigh), doesn't mean that the adventure has to stop right? Precisely! So in order to make the transition between Jeju life and normal life a little bit easier, the husband and I decided to do something less exotic but with a little twist. Think one of the most beautiful countries in the world-Austria- (and yes I am biased) seen in the most ghetto fabulous way possible- in a motor home! Well that's what we are doing right now, along with two of our most favorite Austrians, Sandra and Philipp (and a slightly creepy little doll in the liking of our beloved Michelle, named Mini-Michelle--how imaginative :-)- touring the beautiful land of the Leiderhosen, Milka Chocolate, schnitzel and Vienese coffee in a motorized bed (kitchen and bathroom) on wheels! So in the fashion of my last blog entries about Korea, I will now attempt to document our trip through Austria and make some humble suggestions to aspiring travellers as well. Unfortunately, these entries will be post-dated on account of the lack of regular email access but I will squeeze in every detail possible, and supplement with pictures as well. Hope you enjoy my motorhome adventures through Austria!

Love K
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