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Zell am See (Grossglockner) 26th May

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The Grossglockner solution answer was obvious. We hired a car and drove ourselves through it. Not something I wanted to do, and in fact didn’t drive – Sylvia did – the roads are busy, narrow, with no verge leading to a vertical drop of hundreds of metres.

If you took on a project of ridding the world of Baby Boomers riding motorcycles, you could get a quick start on the Grossglockner Road. Its packed with tubby oldsters in leather thinking they are looking good.

The Grossglockner mountain

Edelweiss-Spitz is the highest point accessed by the road. You can drive right to the very top of this almost 2600 meter bump. A tiny (cobblestoned!) path winds around it, and cars dodge each other, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorbike riders. Quite frightening to travel up and down. We debated for 15 minutes whether to take it on. Sounds lame, you had to be there. This thing snakes up 500 metres in height, and it scares you to death.

There’s the sadly depleting glacier. The Kaiser-Franz-Joseph-Hohe overlooks der Gletscher.  Time dated photos show how much it has diminished over the last 100 years, and is expected to be completely gone within this century.


And last, and to my surprise least, Heiligenblut. The church at Heiligenblut was built after a knight carrying a vial of Christ’s endlessly refreshing blood was buried in an avalanche. Farmers found his corpse via three stalks of wheat growing out of his heart through the snow, and when they buried him his leg kept sticking out until they retrieved the vial embedded in his leg.

Well! Improbable as that all sounds…there’s a lot more to the story…Heiligenblut is on the Christian Mecca trail, and people actually make pilgrimages to it. It’s a dowdy little stone church, not much to see for the non-religious.

Speaking of Mecca, its surprising how many fully-hijabbed women are in Zell am See. Muslim tourists make up quite a lot of the co-tourists. All of them couples with one child. Not sure what it means.

We had lunch at Heiligenblut, and it was the best Austrian meal I have had. Still the same old stuff, but actually done well, really tasty. Both of us were reluctant to swap dishes. It wasn’t an expensive meal, and we ate on a balcony overlooking the spectacular, lush green glacier-carved valley


After we came off the mountain we used up our kilometers to go to Krimml, about 40 kilometres from Zell am See. Krimml hosts Europe’s highest waterfall. I can confirm it was high and there was a lot of water.

Tomorrow we are catching a train to a mountain health-waters resort: Bad Gastein. I believe the waters in Bad Gastein are …ahem…radioactive, but nevertheless are supposed to offer marvelous health benefits.

Written by wurstofvienna2011

May 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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