09/14/2017 From the Danube to the high lakes

Thursday 14th September

We are now in very familiar territory, places we have been to before and just had to stop again to revisit for nostalgia.

Followed the “Not so blue Danube” through picture perfect countryside with little alpine villages popping up at every corner.  Came around a corner and right in front of us was the Melk Abbey.  We visited this in 2001 but in the winter when everything was white and not green.

Melk Abbey

The abbey is one of the biggest and most beautiful European baroque monasteries and is one of Austria’s most visited art-historical sites.  The Benedictine monks still live and work in the abbey.  It still has prayer services on Sundays but mostly now a tourist attraction with museum, exhibitions and the stunning gardens.  It is perched high on the hill overlooking the town and of course the Danube.

Our camp for tonight:  Abadja de Melk, Melk,

Parked Ziggy in the last motorhome spot (right on the Danube).  The fee of €6 covered us for an overnight stop (bonus as we only wanted to stay for a few hours).  Headed into Melk Old Town, only very small but lots of character then up to the Abbey but our trip was cut short as the black sky and thunder clouds overhead threatened the start of a serious storm so we scampered back to Ziggy at a fast rate of knots and sat and watched the storm pass overhead.

Navigator and Driver on the Danube at Melk

Friday 15th September

Temperature dropped considerably overnight after the storm, so was difficult to get started early.   Can’t believe summer is over so quickly.  Really sorry we didn’t buy those warm slippers in Poland when we got the chance – will definitely have to invest in some warm woolly boots VERY SOON!  Went for a long walk across a bridge to the other side of the Danube where there were several river cruise boats moored.  Melk Abbey is one of the stops along the Danube for these cruise boats. 

Cruise boats on the Danube at Melk

Again we kept away from the motorways and spent time in the smaller villages along the way.  Stopped in at a place called Ybbs (spelt correctly) where there was supposed to be a camp spot on the Danube adjacent to a grassy riverbank, but when we arrived, there were signs up everywhere prohibiting motorhomes.  We stopped illegally for an hour or so and had lunch and then moved on.  Shame they missed out on the millions we were going to spend in that town!

Our camp for tonight:  Stellplarz Edbauer, Aschbach Markt

Further into rural Austria we travelled, just breathtaking scenery all the way and arrived at a farm just 7kms outside of Aschbach Markt.  Corn fields and fruit trees everywhere.

This little place allows for only a few motorhomes but the setting is just magic.  A private house with manicured lawns for the motorhomes to park on.  Apple and pear trees scattered around everywhere ripe with fruit and a vegetable and herb patch right beside us.  The facilities are first class and the farmer leaves you to roam about the gardens and lawns.  There is no fee as such but they ask for a small donation to cover costs.

My Navigator in our beautiful overnight setting in Aschbach Markt

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September

Now deep into the ski areas and mountains, we came across some beautiful lakes.  It has been raining all day, so no opportunity to take photos today.  Had planned to stay at Traunsee at Ebensee but when we arrived, the motorhome pitches were boggy and the fog was so thick, we couldn’t see any more than a few feet into the lake.  Decided we didn’t want to stay here until the weather cleared.

Checked our APP and found another campsite around 7kms away – up the mountain.

Our camp for tonight:  Parking Langbathsee, Ebensee

What a gem.  A really windy road but so picturesque with waterfalls cascading down beside the road.  Shame about the fog and rain but still amazing nonetheless.

The mixed carpark at the top is the start of many walks in and around Langbathsee.  A large beautiful mountain lake with thick forests bordering the walking tracks and white sandy beaches.  The shortest track is a brisk 50 minute walk with others extending to 4-5 hours.

Our overnight view at Langbathsee

When we arrived there were people setting up marquees and what looked like the finish post for a marathon race.  A bit reluctant to stay here but after speaking to one of the workers found out that the following day (Sunday) was a fun day and running marathon day for the locals.  He said we were welcome to stay and enjoy the festivities.

Settled in for the evening and after all the workers left, there was just the three of us (Ziggy, her driver and navigator) to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature (the rain) for the rest of the evening.

Next morning, bright and early, the cars rolled in with food, drink and people.  This carpark and the one adjacent to the restaurant here was packed to the brim and so was the road coming up the mountain.

We had a birds eye view of the finish

The rain continued to fall, though not as heavily as the day before.  We sat in the front seat and watched the races to begin with and then joined the crowds at the finish post.  The first race with toddlers holding the hands of their excited parents, dragging them to the finish line and then the joy when all received the coloured balloon of their choice and a medal.  Brought back memories of not so long ago when we participated in a similar fun day with our grandkids.   All ages raced with the final race being a half marathon around the lake.

Really enjoyed the day’s activities but then we were so wet and cold we retreated to our Ziggy bus to warm up.  Shame the rain spoiled the day for so many, the end result being many leaving earlier than they might have.  Apart from a few couples going to the restaurant in the evening, we were the only ones left after 9pm.

Monday 18th September

Light rain fell during the night but woke up to a sky with small patches of blue.  On with the walking shoes for a power walk around the lake.  Several locals had also arrived to enjoy the walking tracks (most with their four legged friends).  Temperatures during the last two nights had fallen to single figures but with the sun peeking out for a minute or two occasionally, it soon warmed up a little.

Returned back to Traunsee am Ebensee to see the view we missed out on a couple of days before.  Like something out of a travel video, the view was spectacular.  Two gems in Ebensee Paradise and we were lucky enough to experience and see both.

Our view at Traunsee, Ebensee

Again our planned stop for the night changed as we were informed by NAVIE that the highway to this destination was closed.  The alternative route put on another 70kms and took us in a direction we did not want to travel.  It took an hour before we realised this so had to double back.

Our camp for tonight: Parking Kaiservilla, Bad Ischl

Back on track now, we stopped here for the night.  Bad Ischl as we saw it in winter many years ago, is very different now.  A thriving tourist town even in the non winter months.  The parking place is in the centre of town so did not take long to venture out and explore the village.   Remarkably quiet considering the location.