Friday 1 August
It never stopped raining last night and I bet the people in the valley are wondering why oh why. It must be awful to just watch your home be destroyed by water and mud and be powerless to do anything about it. This morning brings them a little hope, bright blue skies and fingers crossed it stays like this all day then at least the flood waters can subside for them. It will be ages before they are back in their homes. The water is the easy bit, its the mud and slutch left behind that takes all the effort to clean up. Really feel for them.
We filled up Homer with the cheapest diesel yet €1.27! Yippee we’ll have some of that, thank you. As Craig brimmed Homer, he gave one hell of a slurp, guess he was ready for a full belly. Today is a perfect day for heading to the Grossglockner pass. This is meant to be the drive of a lifetime, it is Europe’s longest and most panoramic alpine highway and I am so excited. I wanted to bring our Porsche here but a bit of trek just for a day. But we’re sure Homer will do justice around the hairpin bends, he does a mean turn when he’s on form even with front wheel drive. This is what they call driving on top of the world and we cant wait, it been on the bucket list for sometime. The drive up to the pass was amazing, gosh this is gonna be great.
The pass cost €34 for the day and we need to be back off the pass by 9.30pm as no overnight camping permitted. As soon as we hit the pass, it was amazing with hairpin turns and bends around every corner. Our starting point 2.484 ft and we wound up and up to 8,225 ft. The views are by far the best we have seen so far. Utterly breathtaking every tread of the way and I can understand why this appears on lots of top 10 lists. It is superb and definitely the drive of a life time, with an experience of being surrounded by natural wonder no matter where you look. If anyone ever thought of coming here then I would definitely guarantee an unforgettable experience, it is just superb and totally fascinating. Hopefully all the pictures will do the views justice.
The pass is built on the same road that the Romans used to cross the Alps, which remained forgotten until 1930 when engineers building the pass discovered the ancient roman roads. The road took 5 years to build but once complete the Swiss and the French copied the system and built their own alpine roads. The pass runs for 30 miles and it surrounded by a massive mountain range. We stopped at various points along the pass to both give Homer a break from screaming in 2nd gear and also take some photo’s. The best view is from Edelweiss Spitze where you can see the full mountain range (over 30 mountains) in all its glory, rising to over 10,000 ft high and what a day to view, with back drop of bright blue skies and fluffy white clouds, heaven. In fact, it reminds me of one huge Christmas Toblerone with peak after peak of milk chocolate just dusted in white chocolate. The top of the pass is named after Franz Josefs Hohe, the Emperor who built a mansion here and what a view of the windy road. By the way Michelle, I got you some more rock! Get your dentures ready!
Just before we reached the top we stopped for a tea break and I went to collect some alpine flowers. We pulled a little bunch of flowers together and sprinkled a little of Russell’s ashes at the side of a little rock, what a view,. Russell loved the lake district, so I am sure he would love just love this place xxx.
We had lunch and a small glass of wine right at the top and it was brilliant. Words can’t describe how good it felt. Great food, wonderful husband, daft dog and one of the best views in the world. It doesn’t get much better than this.
After lunch we pottered around and down the other side. Just as impressive but different. We found a butterfly shaped lake and fantastic drop with views stretching down the valley right in to the distance. Oh Craig, Russell would love it here too. I know, shall we scatter a few more ashes? Good idea but we need to do something different, what can we do for him? I know we can make a paper plane and let him fly freely over the valley. Craig made the paper plane with what bit of paper we had and I did a spot of colouring. It looks cheesy I know but our stationery cupboard isn’t exactly the best. After a couple of test flights we carefully placed a few of Russell’s ashes inside and set him flying over the valley.
A the bottom, we debated what to do, carry on to the next town or turn around and do it all again. Turnaround, it was too good of a drive to not give it another go. The second time was still as impressive as the first. Austria’s natural version of Blackpool’s Big One – an experience you’ll never forget. Like Blackpool, the pass attracts all the strange and wonderful people and for sure they were out today. Green hair, pink rinses and moustaches that cried out for someone to do a tug of war on.
We managed to get off the pass just before the heavens opened and boy did it thunder & lighten. We stopped at the bottom of the pass and watched the waterfalls turn from beautiful white flowing falls to dirty brown, soil gushing falls.
Fell fast a sleep with wonderful thoughts of what a brilliant country Austria is. But still wondering where the marmots are! Nite Nite xxx