Bikes, lakes and mountains

Trip Start Apr 01, 2013
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Trip End Jul 02, 2013


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Flag of Austria  , Upper Austria,
Thursday, June 6, 2013

Yesterday we hired bikes again (me on an electric bike, and Garth on a 'hard work' bike) and headed to Schwarzensee, via Schwarzenbach, Graben and Rubach. The countryside was beautiful - green fields, high mountains, chalets everywhere, and only the last couple of kilometres of our journey was difficult (straight up the mountains!!). Of course, I left Garth completely in my wake as I powered up the mountain, legs pumping, and electric motor pumping!

After visiting the lake on the mountain, we headed on the cycle path around part of Lake Wolfgang, stopping for coffee at beautiful little coffee shops overlooking the lake. I forgot to mention that the woman serving us at the bike shop assured Garth, in the usual Austrian way, that all their 'large' helmets were the same size, even though she eventually found one that was clearly much larger than the others. When Garth said it was perfect because it was large enough to fit his head, she said 'you only think so'!!!! I am blown away with how the people here are never wrong (hmmm, Garth thinks I must have Austrian heritage)!

When we got home, we talked to Mrs Wallner (the 91 year old mother of our host). She was telling us about the history of the town, and her family. She said that the Wallner coffee shop is the oldest building in town (it was built in 1481). The owner, her youngest son, is the 17th generation of the Wallner family that has run the shop. All her 3 sons still live in St Wolfgang and visit her regularly.

Apparently, the St Wolfgang Parish Church is also one of the top 3 churches in Europe that pilgrims visit (behind St Peter's at the Vatican, and another one in Germany). The altar in the church was made in the building that now houses the coffee shop. We visited the church today and took lots of photos of the two altars which were made many hundreds of years ago. Lots of gold and glitter, angels and other religious paraphernalia.

Garth also wandered around some of the shops looking for Marmot oil. Marmots are those beautiful little beaver like animals we have seen several times in Switzerland and Austria, particularly in the deep snow high up in the mountains. It appears their fat makes wonderful soothing ointment for pain in muscles etc (but of course our interpretation could be completely off the mark!). What a shame for such a cute little animal!

We will be sad to leave here tomorrow. The town is so beautiful with the lake and the mountains behind it. Our apartment, right on the lake, is so peaceful, even with the many tourists who walk along the promenade. We would really love to have more time here (although we know we have said the same about most areas we have visited)!
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