It is well known; at least well known amongst our friends, that Tony and I neither ski nor waltz, two requirements of Austrian living for which our delinquency should have resulted in our residency cards long being confiscated. But we have become quite fond of weekend wandering, another important pillar of life in an alpine country and perhaps our saving grace.
Because it is February, after all.
The heat is on. Temperatures in the World’s Most Livable City have topped 30℃ for more than 10 days, and we willingly turned over the Inner Stadt to the capable hands of the tourists this weekend. Just a mere hour’s drive into the cooler climes of Niederösterreich is Schneeberg, the easternmost Alp at an elevation of 2.000 meters or more. 2.076 meters to be exact.
The temperature at noon atop our “local mountains” peaked at 18℃.Aaaaahhhhh.
Jack was home for the months of May and June; and when we were not on one of our “official” adventures, whenever possible some combination of the four of us were up to something involving hiking or eating, and often both. Recently a Facebook friend even commented, “You all are having just too much fun.”
A couple of weeks ago this little jewel came across my radar, so of course we leashed the Foxhound and pointed the wagon into the Gutenstein Alps for a day outing.
…a day filled with faded Imperial palaces, a beautiful Christmas market, and a bonus drive through a gorge are just a few of my favorite things. So went our warm and sunshine-filled Sunday in the Rax region of Niederösterreich’s northern limestone alps.
There was a queue to enter the park, no surprise on a day as glorious as this. The views more than made up for the wait time, though.
Once we wrangled the wagon into a “parking space,” more or less, the rocky hike to the skywalk was not long at all. Along the way we passed this charming Hütte, the small and welcoming buildings that dot the Alpine hiking trails all across Europe. Many serve small meals, and some offer overnight lodging for the weary backpacker.
We paused at an expansive overlook, completely absorbed by the beauty. Clayton Theodore, on the other hand, was completely absorbed with the dozens of other happy canines enjoying a day out with their people.
A brave moment for me. Ordinarily I am not all that keen on skywalks, preferring to remain on terra firma, but even I was compelled to enjoy the scenery from 1.132 meters above Austria. I just didn’t look down through the open grates.
Afterwards, lunch along the trail. Chicken salad for us…
…and a peanut butter sandwich for the hound. But he is not spoiled.