The next morning we set out to scale the peak on the other side of the valley (the one I mentioned to K. while eating lunch at the top of the gondola life on the other side.)
The early going was through thick forest.
The trail had lots of panel paintings with iconic Catholic imagery. I think they employed the same woman who did the touch-ups in Spain a couple years ago.
This may look like the summit but it’s only the first peak in a series of three. You got up to a high point after a scramble and then had to descend down again into a ravine, before ascending to the next peak.
Here was a French family at the summit, which overlooks the Inn valley. The father walks up to me and asks in German if I would take their picture. I answered back in German and then he switched to English. They were a nice bunch and I spent a good ten minutes talking to them. They asked if I’d been to France and I mentioned our days in Nice, and then I said, “I’ve also been to the coast on the Pacific side. I was once in Biarritz and Hossegor.” -Eh, I think you mean the Atlantic side. -Yeah. Right. Did I say ‘Pacific’? Pierre was thinking, “Typical American level of geographical knowledge.”
This is looking the other direction toward the Inn valley, via Lover’s leap. I took one zoom shot of the couple on the bench, but deleted it for propriety.
This lightning rod keeps the wood cross from being zapped to a crisp.
I got Pierre to take our picture too.
Not a bad zoom on the little Canon.
Can you see the ducks and the chicken?
Notice the trough with fresh, cold mountain water. I’d been wondering if these water spouts all over the place were taking water straight from the streams, or underground springs, and how safe it was to drink. “Aren’t the Austrians susceptible to giardia?” I wondered. Turns out, you could poke around upstream of the spigot and usually find a filtering system at work. So the water was clean.
These trees were all planted in honor of long time guests to Alpbach. If you’d been visiting the town regularly over the course of 40 years, you got your name on the tree. The great majority of the names were from Germany and the UK.
Keenan in the Alpbach meditation chapel.
There was a reading room, with books from all the major religions and philosophies.
Here are some of the earliest attendees of the Alpbach forum, which was founded just after WWII.
I took this boring picture because on the way back to our hotel this crazy guy in a white VW Golf was driving wildly up the hill. He was slamming on the brakes and then gunning the engine again all the way up the hill, making a great screech each time. I was a good 80 yards or so in front of Keenan. Drunken Hoerst, the driver of the VW, pulled up in front of me and said, “Hey baby, Yeah baby, Rock and Roll let’s roll it, a yeah baby!” He and a guy in the back seat (the passenger seat in front was ripped out) had a great laugh as they pulled into our hotel lot and walked across the street. K looked a little shook when he got up to the hotel. Hoerst had pulled the brake slamming trick on him.
Another open-air dinner with Walter and Klaus.
Performance art in the street after dinner.
Next: On to Switzerland!