06 June, 2016


May saw Hilary and I in Austria for a week, staying in the well known ski resort of Kitzbuhel.

Although there was still some snow to be seen the ski season was well and truly finished and spring was underway. As in England spring meant mixed weather, sometimes warm and sunny, others heavy rain, hail and quite cool.

A good example of the changeable weather came on our first day when we walked from the town down to Schwarzsee lake in brilliant sunshine. Glorious T shirt weather right up until the time we arrived back at Kitzbuhelthought when there were some clouds starting to draw in. The photograph above was taken at that time and our hotel was just a short distance away from the nearest church on the left. Oddly, so we thought, the church bells were ringing however we soon learned why, it was weather warning. By the time we reached the hotel it was just starting to rain and by the time we reached our room there was a torrential hail storm with hail the size of golf balls, thunder and lightning. The next day we found out that several cars had been damaged as a result.


The evenings were often calm, so a late stroll around the town was very pleasant after our delicious and large evening meals. We made the most of these and we laso set ourselves up well with a nourishing breakfast to set us up for the day.

An advanatage of the evening strolls was the shops being closed as they presented less of strain on my wallet.


As we walked around we kept seeing signs about a classic car rally but didn't realise that the over night stopping place was Kitzbuhel itself and that the finishing line was just a short distance from our hotel.

Despite the changeable weather we were able to get out and about a lot, sometimes having to deal with a little rain however most of the the time managed keep dry even if the sky rather grey. We took two trips out away from Kitzbuhel, the first being to Krimml waterfalls. These waterfalls are in three stages amounting to around 1250 feet of plunging water. There is a track alongside which can be followed all the way to the top. We didn't have time to go to the top (or the energy!) but we did manage about a third of it.

The second trip out was into the mountains of Bavaria to Hitler's "Eagles Nest" which sits on a mountain peak high above Berchtesgaden. It was a 50th birthday present from the SS. Some of the building remians and the red marble fireplace that Mussolini gave to Hitler is still there. 

Contray to information I've seen elsewhere we were told that Hitler wasn't that enamoured with the place and only visited it 17 times, however Eva Braun often entertained her own friends and family there.

Getting up to the building is quite an arduous climb but that can be relieved by walking from the bus park (cars aren't allowed), down a long tunnel to an ornate lift to ascend more than 400 feet to the Kehlsteinhaus or "Eagles Nest".

Venturing outside the existing building there is a path that leads up to a higher point and when the weather is clear the views are spectacular for a full 360 degrees and providing an eye level panarama of the Alps. When the weather isn't so clear, the clouds close in, as on the day we visited and it seems quite eerie, which for an "Eagle's Nest" is quite fitting.

After a brief spell when the clouds cleared a little they closed in again and then the rain came.

We made our way back through the building, down the lisft to rejoin the bus which the took us to nearby Salzburg. We stopped off for a coffee and some dissapointingly soggy apfelstrudel, which it seems is quite common, so if you ever try it, find out what you are going to get before you order.
On a more pleasing note, it stopped raining after that and we enjoyed a very pleasant walk indeed. The walk took in a visit to the Mirabell Palace and gardens which I believe is where some of the 'Sound of Music' was filmed.

The rest of the holiday was a mix of relaxing, walking and riding hired electric bikes. All of which took us through scenic countryside dotted with the typical chalet style farm houses of the area. One day we walked to St. Johan which was really too far to contemplate walking back, so we decided to catch a train back. On arrival at the station we were just in time to miss one train and had to wait an hour for the next, oh well.

One extra little note. We stayed at the hotel Tiefenbrunner, where we were made most welcome by the friendly staff and owners. The food was excellent and the room, nothing special but very comfortable.

A Relaxing Slope Soaring Session

I arrived at Elkstone to find one other member had just arrived too, so we both tried a few launches but the lift was too poor for anything more than a worrying minute in the air and my friend departed. So I sat down, ate a sandwich and sucked a Callad & Bowser as I admired the view. 
After that the lift had improved a little. Helped by some thermals blowing through it was then possible to have more prolonged flights at leisurely pace and it turned into a very pleasant afternoon's flying. I was later joined by another LMMGA flyer and continued to fly until the flight battery checker indicated it was time to pack up.