Trekking Above The Clouds

Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
Trip End Jul 28, 2011

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Flag of Austria  , Upper Austria,
Monday, July 18, 2011

After a hearty breakfast at our Gastof, we drove to the Krippenstein Valley (only a five minute drive) to catch a cable car up the mountain to the Krippenstein Middle Station.

We thought the Funicular that took us up the mountain to the Salt Mine yesterday was steep. It has nothing on the Cable Car.

When we reached the Middle Station (750 metres up from the valley floor), we walked up a steep incline to visit the Ice Cave. The entrance to the Ice Cave is literally on the mountain side, and is full of ice flows, even in the middle of summer as it is over here now. The Ice Cave was very cold, so it was just as well that we wore warmer clothing to what we have been used to wearing over here. The Ice Cave took about  45 minutes to go through, and by the end, Kim was freezing. It was really interesting though. 

After exiting the Ice Cave, we went back to the Middle Station for a warm coffee and to thaw out. We then walked up another incline to visit the Mammoth Cave. This was also really interesting, with the tour taking around 40 minutes. The temperature was again around zero in the cave, so it was good to keep moving. In this cave there were around 500 steps to climb, so that kept us reasonably warm. Incidentally, it is called the Mammoth Cave because of the size of the caverns in the cave, not because Mammoths were found in the cave.
After exiting the Mammoth Cave, we walked back down to the Middle Station, and caught a Cable Car up to Krippenstein Mountain Station (a further 650 metres up the mountain from the Middle Station). Here we took the walking trail to the Five Fingers Lookout, which consists of five separate metal platforms that protrude over the edge of the mountain looking down over Hallstatt. It is a little scary to walk out on each of the platforms (one has a glass floor, the others have see through metal walkways). See the photos attached to this blog. A sensational view though. We were literally above the clouds at this lookout. 

After taking both cable cars to the Krippenstein Valley floor, we drove back to our Gasthof and took the pushbikes belonging to the Gasthof for a ride around Hallstatt, and took some photos. There are lots of traditional gift shops in the town. The Austrian people are so friendly and helpful. 

What a beautiful and historic town, situated on Hallstatter See (lake).

Dinner tonight at the Gasthof was even better than last night's fare. We will be very sorry to be leaving Hallstatt tomorrow, but at least we are heading for Salzburg, apparently one of the top cities of Europe to visit.

Jim and Kim
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