Motorhome and Away

  Austria 2006 Lakes and valleys

 

Home >European Touring > Europe 2006Austria  2006 Lakes and valleys

AUSTRIA 2006 Lakes and Valleys

Arriving at Mondsee which we had visited several years ago, we managed to find a parking place by the lake but no evidence of the listed stellplatz. During a short break in the rain we had a stroll by the lake and into the town where virtually everything was closed for the low season, then decided to head for a campsite which we found just off the main road at St Lorenz, just a few scattered houses in the flat meadows. The site had excellent amenities but was mostly static caravans and it wasn't possible to walk along the lake beyond the site boundaries. 

The next day we continued south to St Gilgen at the top of Wolfgangsee where there was an excellent tourist bureau on the main road and free parking in the narrow town streets. There were more tourists around and we heard English voices for the first time since we had left home. St Gilgen is where Mozart's mother lived, commemorated by a statue of the young Mozart, and had (too) many gift shops for us. We found an ice-cream parlour with internet but of course it was closed on Mondays! As it was still raining and the washing was building up we decided to head for a campsite and found a good ACSI site Camping Birkenstrand at Abersee halfway down the lake. The campsites around here must be in a competition for the most luxurious amenities block - here they had glass automatic entrance doors (not in the toilets!) and marble walls and floors. 

After another wet evening and more games of Scrabble the next morning we drove to Bad Ischl, a busy town for some shopping then to the Saltzkammergut regional tourist office, an austere place by the railway station, looking for internet facilities. They redirected us to the town tourist office where we managed to e-mail home with an update (2 for 20 minutes). After lunch and still in torrential rain we drove around the lake to St Wolfgang of White Horse Inn fame.  We parked in one of the private carparks at the entrance to the town (2.50 all day  strictly NO overnight parking allowed, but there were signs for overnight parking for Wohnmobils in the official car park 8), and walked along past the many gift shops to the lakeside and the cog railway terminus (24 return) but it wasn't operating in this weather. I'm sure there are great views from here but through the mist we could only make out fresh snow on the distant mountains!  

    Grey mountains from grey Wolfgangsee
         Grey mountains from grey Wolfgangsee


Mondsee church (Sound of Music)
Mondsee church (Sound of Music)

St Gilgen Rathaus
St Gilgen Rathaus

Wolfgangsee cog railway
Wolfgangsee cog railway

Yes the Austrian lake district is as wet as the UK's so we decided to head south by a circuitous route as we thought the roads over the mountains may be not be at their best in the weather. We bought an 10 day Autobahn vignette for 7.60 and then followed two very slow British motorhomes in convoy from Bad Ischl to Liezen about 50 km. We frequently pulled over into laybys to avoid being "with them" and let some cars pass but soon caught them up! At last onto the empty Autobahn and made good progress to Judenburg where we missed a turning and got lost in some roadworks ending up on the wrong side of the autobahn. Eventually we were en route on the narrow main road with many lorries heading towards Klagenfurt with welcoming blue skies in the distance at last. Turning off to Feldkirchen we took the road north of Ossiachersee where we have previously stayed years ago and bypassed Villach, rejoining the autobahn and taking the well signposted turning into the attractive Gailtal  valley and an ACSI discount campsite just before Hermagor.

We were heartily greeted at Camping Flaschberger by the owner and given a grassy pitch near the entrance for a couple of days. It was possible to use the internet at the campsite using a D-link network cable adaptor over the mains hookup connection for a one-off payment of 1.50 so we were able to update our news at leisure in the comfort of our motorhome. The site was a mix of touring and seasonal caravans and also had a large sports hall for tennis and an outdoor pool. The site was opposite a larger one  with chalets, large static vans but also touring pitches together with a bar and restaurant, at least in high season. It was about a mile walk into the town along the main road but an alternative route along the back lanes through the meadows was more attractive.


Camping Flaschberger in Hermagor
Camping Flaschberger in Hermagor

The next day despite the thermometer initially reading only 3 degrees C it soon warmed up and we walked from the site to the Presseggersee lake which turned out to be further than we had anticipated but we enjoyed the sunshine at last. Unfortunately the lakeside was not easily accessed except at a leisure complex. We then drove further up the Gailtal valley with its hay meadows and barns, and over a winding wooded pass to Weissensee a small lakeside resort in a fiord like valley, but not as turquoise as in the brochures. 

We had seen many posters around Hermagor for their Speckfest so early on the Saturday morning we called into the town where the streets had been transformed into a lively market with many stalls selling speck (ham) plus fried polenta, bread, wine, cider and of course beer and more beer.
Everyone was having a jolly time with dancers and choirs in their delightful traditional dress of dirndl skirts, and bands breaking out into tune in every street. Having soaked up the atmosphere (but fortunately not the drink!) for a while we set off south for Italy and Slovenia.

    Pig's head shaped loaf at speckfest
         Pig's head shaped loaf at the speckfest

          Dancers and band at Speckfest
             Dancers and band at Speckfest

Hay barn Gailtal valley
Hay barn in Gailtal valley

Weissersee
Weissensee

Choir at Hermagor speckfest
Choirs at Speckfest

let's stop and have a song!
let's stop and have a song!

Austria intro

<< Back                             

Slovenia . . at last >>>

| top | Home | European Touring | UK Touring |

text and photographs copyright 2000-2012 Sheila & Steve Pyke   contact us  disclaimer