We had definitely arrived in Austria as the sounds of morning birds chirping is overshadowed with the rythmic sound of the cuckoo; and they wake early in the morning!
But the funny thing is… we weren’t even in Austria yet. Prior to us leaving Italy we made a stop in the Dolomites (or fairly near to it) to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and the mountain walks. And although it was definitely Italy the area had a tyrolean feel.
Everything was written in Italian and German and the ambience was more Austrian – definitely not what we expected. We were greeted warmly and stayed at a lovely campsite, Camping Antholz in the Anterselva valley. It had the most fabulous facilities. I can tell the kids have adapted to travelling as they were claiming these were 4* showers (ha ha)
Plus I am feeling more relaxed, I think the mountains are my happy place.
Climb every mountain
Waking up to glorious weather and stunning scenery, we set about preparing for a good 4 hour walk into the mountains which lay ahead of us. Keith had found a lovely little route which would be suitable for the kids. Oh! and it took in our favourite sights (waterfalls!).
The walk was all uphill for the first half as we passed cows mulching in the fields and beautiful meadows.
We enjoyed it so much we made a vlog, which you can see here. The area and views were just amazing.
Crossing the border
So far this border crossing has been the most exciting yet! We woke up to a wet and grey morning, which we loved as it was travelling day! What better time to move on than when it was raining – we had nothing else to do after all!
So we headed for the Staller saddle . Unbeknown to us the pass was a single road and only passable in one direction at a time. At half past the hour, it opened on the Italian border. On the hour it opened on the Austrian border. Literally, we rocked up at 11.29am and waltzed straight through!
Well, actually we crawled our way up and up and up, driving on sections which were a bit scary at times. The road was so narrow that it felt like I was driving off the edge (I wasn’t but I like a good drama!).
Plus the roads were wet and a bit slippy which didn’t help the heart palpitations! Within 15 minutes we had traversed our way to the top of the Staller saddle and found ourselves next to a beautiful lake surrounded by hills and snow!
Jasper was squealing with delight. I’m convinced they really missed their ski trip this year!
It was raining quite heavily, so we put on our coats and headed out for the short walk around the lake. The boys were so distracted by the snow that they didn’t even notice the rain! Once back in the van we stopped for lunch and got warm. The temperature had dropped to 6 degrees, it really felt cold after such warm weather!
Driving into Austria
In order to drive in Austria you need to have a Vignette (we purchased ours from a service station in Italy). Basically its a pre-paid toll fee. However, we found that there are a few tolls (like the Felbertauerntunnel which is 5km long and cost €11).
We crossed through some gorgeous countryside with beautiful meadows, rolling hills and snowcapped mountains. I’ve been to Austria in Winter for the ski season but Spring creates a whole new world. Just stunning!
Having driven for long enough we’d picked another stopping point at a free aires (which is rare in Austria) to just park up for the night and rest. The aires was a car parki for the cable car mid station and was on the hillside near a busy road, but we didn’t notice.
Once set up, we took a stroll around the corner and found a lovely little restaurant with a balcony and I just sat, had a beer and took in the view. It just felt so nice!
After a good nights sleep we moved on early, keen to get to a destination which allowed us to climb the mountains.
Impromptu stop at Kitzbuhel
The rain, which had been forecast, didn’t materialise and therefore we decided to take advantage and stop in Kitzbuhel for a roam, which ended up in a hillside walk – which the boys weren’t too happy about.
I think we’ve learnt that they need time to process activities and don’t like it when we spring things on them. They get grumpy…
But they pulled themselves together – with a little prompting – and a promise of no big uphill sections! We had no real direction (having not planned this through) and just followed a few signs which lead us to a lake area. We agreed that Kitzbuhel looked like a nice area to explore another time!
There were clouds looming in the background and as lunchtime approached we arrived back at the motorhome just as the weather started to close in. We pushed on to our chosen destination of Camp Tirol, Fieberbrunn.
The weather was uncertain for the next couple of days so I wanted to stay somewhere with facilities (including indoor pool).
Cable Car ride & Timoks Alm
We also knew the cable car was operational (most Austrian cable cars only open in June, so check carefully if you are arriving early in the season). At the mid station was a forest park and toboggan ride. We decided, regardless of the weather, that we would head up to investigate and either walk down or explore higher.
As it happens the rain was barely a trickle and we were the only ones up there. The boys loved having the whole Timoks Alm play area to themselves. The forest walk was free and required no harnesses (brilliant – a chance for the boys to climb and explore without health and safety governance!).
This at least killed an hour of time before we hit the Timoks Coaster. A mini go kart on rails! So at least I was in control of the speed and judging by the GoPro videos we took afterwards I was ALOT slower than Keith!!
The coaster can seat 1 adult and 1 child (age 8 and above can ride on their own). So Keith raced off first, proud of hardly touching the brakes. Followed swiftly by a nervous Ethan and then a very cautious mummy & Jasper.
So the first run was a tester, second go was going to be even faster… well for everyone except mummy! Even Jasper kept telling me to take my hands off the brakes, which I clearly couldn’t!! But I did accompany each turn with a bit of a scream!
Great fun had by all, especially when Daddy and Ethan took the last run of the day and videoed the whole thing – hilarious. We’ll put together a vlog shortly!
By this point the rain was getting heavier and the boys were keen to get back to the campsite to enjoy the WiFi and swimming pool. If anything we are consistent parents, so we made them walk down – oh the moans and groans!! ha ha.
They were actually not that bad, but once again having not preempted them into the walk they felt it was only fair to challenge this decision!
We plan to move out of the area tomorrow and head just half an hour down the road and stay at Leogang, known for the mountain bike park. So we can get out and enjoy some downhill runs on the bikes!
I’ll keep you updated!