Thursday, July 19, 2012


Today started out sunny and I got my austrian brother up and going. My austrian father suggested we take the Gerlitzen which seems to both describe a lift and the mountain. The mountain (Gerlitzen) sits behind Sattendorf (and all the other small villages on the sunny side of Ossiachsee). The lift station is in Anaheim (a village) and my austrian father drove my austrian brother and I to the lift station. My austrian brother wasn't very happy about this but I managed to cajole him into the car.

Arrow above Ossiachsee shows Gerlitzen and lift area. To the right you can see Worthersee which I talked about in my last post. You may have noticed that every lake has the word "see" in it which stands for lake (thus Lake Ossiach is Ossiachsee and Lake Worther is Worthersee). Often my austrian siblings will talk about going to the "see" and I have to remember they aren't talking about the ocean (courtesy of google maps).

While I knew Gerlitzen is an area that is climbed and parachuted off of in the spring and summer, I had not been aware that it was also a skiing mountain and also has an elaborate system of lifts. To reach the top of the mountain we went on two separate lifts. The first one took us to a station just a little over the first ridge of the mountain (there was a go-kart track and restaurant there) and the second one took us further up to the highest area of the mountain.

Beginning of the first lift up the mountain. Can see the Ossiachsee in the background.
 We got to the top of the mountain where it was a little windy but my austrian brother's mood seemed to improve and we decided to head down a trail that according to my austrian father should only take two hours.

Strong wind on top of the mountain.

My austrian brother and I trying out the webcam photo machine at the top of the mountain. Warning to all those who attempt the same thing: The machine is very slow and takes longer than the 20 seconds it claims to take the photo, however you know it has gone off when it sounds an alarm.

Paraglider trying to take off

Paraglider succeeding taking off

Me on the mountain as we just start heading down. My austrian brother doesn't seem to mind taking my photo and when I ask him he often fusses over the light and makes sure he has a good shot :)

A small area of rock towers.

A biker going up the rock trail and he is almost at the top? O_O *slowly backs away* Even my austrian standards that is hard core.
 Around a hour into the trail we either got lost or hadn't originally been on the right path. We tried to locate where we were to get to a certain restaurant my austrian brother was familiar with from previous trips down the mountain. As we descended we saw a lot of very nice mountain resorts (spas, pools, the whole package sort of thing) that were quite active with tourists.

Cows. A lot of the hiker areas were in cow field area.

We stopped by a house/hotel for some directions and got some but we still had to take some disheartening steep trails down which I don't think where part of the main trail. The 'trail' (really ski slope area in winter) was lined with posts that had what looked like white nylon strips strung from post to post. BEWARE though, these strips had wires threaded through them live with electricity. If you listened carefully you could hear them humming. The voltage isn't high enough to fry you but is high enough that it is painful if you touch them. These type of fences are designed to keep cows in the correct area.

Please no. Can I just roll down the hill now?
 I decided on a strategy of walking through the long grass. The grass had the disadvantage of concealing small rocks and holes however the plus was that if I started to slide I could grab on to them.

If you look very closely you can see a red speck. That is my austrian brother. And from my position I'm only halfway down this part of the trail.

My austrian brother climbs up to an observatory post to try to locate us.

Finally after another equally long and steep hill descent we saw our goal of the restaurant and hustled down while ducking under a electric fence (by this point we had walked two hours).

The Seppl-Huttn
My austrian brother  helped with translation and we ordered. He was worried that I didn't order enough but I ended up helping out with his dish since he had trouble finishing (plus it helped with the digestion of my radler).

Look familiar? This is kaspressuppe and I had it on the Mallnitz mountain.

Again look familiar?  This was very similar to kasnocken but had a different name. I guess it is because this is due to regional recipes. This version ham and of course lots and lots of cheese.
Leaving the restaurant we headed down the trail only to find a sign saying Bodensdorf (our arrival destination down at the lake) was a two hours walk away. Of course this did not go over well with my austrian brother and we were faced with the decision of going down the trail or going down the switchback road. My austrian brother wanted to go via the road and claimed it was faster than the trail (I'm not entirely sure on that, while trails can be through the brush they tend to go more directly down compared to the roads which switch back and forth quite a bit). We ended up going down the road and walked another two hours only to reach 4.2 km above the lake (started out at almost 9 km above the lake at the restaurant). My austrian father ended up rescuing us on the road and took us down the rest of the way.

I was very happy to see the house and my austrian brother and I were treated to homemade crepes made by my austrian mother. Later in the evening we went down to the lake but only stayed about an hour because a storm rolled in.

At 9 pm a documentary came on about Worthersee (in German) and we watched it. It was nice to see video of what Austria (Worthersee) looks like in the winter since it is hard to imagine now everything covered with snow. Apparently Worthersee has an array of life (both native and non-native) and use to be quite the rich playground back in the day. Worthersee is also skated on in the winter when it is frozen, which is quite a comparison to the beach culture I saw yesterday.

Now I massage my poor tired feet and get ready for bed. Until next time, Ciao!

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