Magdalensberg and Tscheppa Gorge
Trip Start Sep 28, 2007
5Trip End Oct 07, 2007
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After breakfast we said goodbye to the Lassernig's and drove to Magdalensberg, one of the most important archeological sites of Roman origin in Austria. Inside the compound, which might have been the mythological city of Noreai, there were many interesting exhibitions, including a giant statue in bronze known as the "young man of Magdalensberg" and beautiful frescoes and mozaic tiles.
We also passed Hochosterwitz, a giant castle complex built on a rock and saw the Herzogstuhl, a medieval stone with two seats that was probably used by kings and dukes.
We made a short stop in Klagenfurt where we visited the Hauptplatz and the Lindwurm and drove on to the Loiblpass, a high mountain pass in the Karawanken chain of the Alps, which link Austria with Slovenia.
Highlight here is a walk through the Tscheppa Gorge with its waterfalls, high cliffs and green forests. A paradise for nature lovers, photographers and people who like some adventure. It's also very instructive, as there is a "learningpath" that tells you the names of the plants, and whether or not they are poisonous. At the end of the walk there is a very nice restaurant called "Deutsche Peter" where we ate Herbstschitzel with cheese, mushrooms and plums. Yummy!
We took the last bus back to the parking and drove on to the Loiblpass. It's a very steep pass but much easier than I remember from all those years ago. We crossed into Slovenia through a tunnel that was built by concentration camp labour from Mauthausen. When you exit the tunnel you can still see the remains of the sub-camp where political prisoners where forced to work until they died or became to weak. The remains of a crematorium tell the sad tale of what happened there.
The first real town after the border is called Trzi and a sign told us there was a very nice old city centre. We did see some old buildings, but most of them looked abandoned and not in good shape. Especially once we left the main road we only saw derilict houses.
We decided to drive on to Bled, which was supposed to be one of the tourist attractions of the region
It was already dark when we arrived, but the castle was beautifully lit and we took a stroll round the lake looking for accommodation. We chose the Park Hotel which offered a good room at reasonable rates. Officially it was a 'room with a view on the lake' but since it was dark and we were on the second floor, there was not much of the lake to be seen. So we got the room at a reduced price. The funny thing was that the beautifully-lit castle could still be seen from our room, so we got the best of both worlds.
The hotel belongs to a chain of 4 hotels, with the Grand Hotel Toplice in front (where we would also take breakfast in the morning). We went for a walk, made some calls (at an hiking/outdoor shop on the main road where you can make cheap calls) to Claudia's friend Suzanne in Graz, and ate Slovenian pizza. The pizzas were too big so we were happy they were familiar with the concept of a doggy bag :)
A last look to the castle and then to bed.