Friday, August 22, 2014

Over the border into Austria

We left our wonderful accommodation and headed towards the Austrian border.  In the process we went over some spectacular passes and every corner revealed another fantastic view. Words really can't do them justice, so I have included a number of photos below. 

We stopped at Lienz for lunch, the first major town across the border. It's clean, but unexciting, so I can understand why it is not big on the tourist route.  Still it was fine for a lunch stop.

Lienz town square
We are now seeing dirndls in the shops

I had then planned to drive along the Grossglockner road, but it was getting late and the weather was not good, and I thought the views etc would not have been good, so instead we decided to head to Bad Gastein, which was a 19th century spa resort town. To get there we had to put our car onto a train which was a car shuttle. It was an interesting experience,  especially when I had to leave Andy, who was the driver, and get into the passenger carriage, while he got the car on board and struggled to understand the German instructions (his German is very limited).

We arrived in Bad Gastein and were not at all impressed. It was very crowded, full of ugly buildings as well as some old ones. It appeared overly commercialised, and not at all welcoming. So we kept driving. 

One of the things I found most beautiful were all the wildflowers we saw everywhere. Some by the road, and other times whole fields of them.

Eventually we found a lovely little village well away from the main road called Embach, and found a guest house with a vacancy. 

Salaterhof in Embach
Around Embach
Our accommodation did not do evening meals, so they recommended that we go to the restaurant at another hotel. It really was very good. It was a table d'hote menu, rather than a la carte, but there was still 4 choices of mains, and the food was excellent.  You helped yourself to the soup and to the salad & veggie buffet to start, then for our main, we both chose the fried chicken Austrian style which came with German potato salad and cranberry sauce. The desert was another buffet.

Dinner location
We arrived there before the restaurant was open, so we had a cold drink outside. They had  ducks (or are they geese) and their own little "Hauskapelle". Very picturesque.

Walking back to our accommodation it was quiet except for the cows lowing and their bells ringing, and the sound of a cuckoo. In the words of Pa Larkin from The Darling Buds of May it was "perfick!"

View from our room

View showing carved balcony

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