2018/05/26 – Austria – the smallest villages with the biggest surprises

Saturday 26th May 2018

Every day of travel just brings more beautiful scenery and wonderful little villages.  It is not difficult to keep harping on about it and at times, find it difficult to say more than has already been said so many times before.  The colours of spring flowers and the green rolling hills continue on forever.

Our campsite for tonight:  Festgelande Horn, Horn – GPS 48.672249N   15.6607760E

Arrived on what appeared to be the beginning of a festival so after a short half hour walk we came across some entertainers on stilts, singing and playing some very interesting instruments.  

Interesting entertainers – each with an amplifier and speaker on their hips

Lots of young families enjoying the entertainment.  Thought we were in for a real treat in town but soon found there was nothing else happening. 

There is a castle in town but not open for public viewing, however the park surrounding it was just beautiful so enjoyed the stroll through.

Horn architecture

Temperatures are mid to high twenties during the day now so the walks are becoming restricted to early or later in the afternoons.  Liquid refreshments of course a necessity often and dieting is out of the question until we come home.

Interesting statue in Horn

The campsite itself is set in a large greenfield which is also used for festivals as the name suggests and has a soccer field at the other end.   Locals walk their dogs, grandmas walk their grandkids – it is really lovely and cool with large shady trees.

Horn architecture

Being a Stellplatz it offers services on a user pay basis with a small camping fee – though could not find anywhere to pay this.

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday 27th – 29th May

We travelled through the mountainside today where the forests of massive pine trees bordered the road km after km.   

In the middle of nowhere, we stumbled across a field where a museum of stick objects made out of metal was on display for a short time as part of an upcoming festival.   Literally hundreds of them some being a couple of metres tall.   Abstract versions of everything possible including animals, people, trees, machines etc. 

Outdoor stick object museum

A few kms further on we came across the biggest flea market you have ever seen – right in the middle of a forest.  There were cars parked on both sides of the street for miles.  We found this very strange as it was nowhere near any village or town.

Our campsite for three nights:  Badesee, Waldhausen im Strudengau – GPS 48.284199N   14.958830E

Another gem in the middle of nowhere and certainly highly recommended.

It is set amidst farm land with sheep grazing only a few metres away.  A huge lake is only a few steps away where locals swam and the younger set played beach volleyball on the sand court beside the lake.

Our view from Ziggy

The local community has provided this area for its locals and allow about 7 Mohos to enjoy for a donation of 3€ per day.

We spent three beautiful days here where we did the various nature walks through the surrounding hills. 

A view of the lake from the bridge

Two are only short walks of about an hour each but the third was a real challenge taking over 4 hours over 13kms.  The trails are generally well marked but had to toss a coin a few times – left or right?  Most times we guessed well but we did manage to get lost once but were rescued with the help of our Pocket Earth App.

A view from our hike through the hills – looking back at the village of Waldhausen where we started

The walks to the village take you through the countryside with stately Austrian homes and gardens along the way.  The small village is just delightful and the Waldhausen Abbey we rate among the best we have seen on our entire trip.  The outside is deceiving but once you enter you are gob smacked. 

The Abbey ceiling

The high vaulted ceilings are white stucco decorated with frescos.  So light bright and airy compared to many of the darker rich timbered interiors of most cathedrals.  The inside is predominately white black and gold and is more than stunning.

Another view of the Abbey ceiling

Wednesday & Thursday 30th – 31st May

Stopped at a couple of potential spots along the way but having being spoiled by Waldhausen, found it difficult to find one that was appealing.

We have headed back to the Danube again as we are keen to hit the bike trails.

Our campsite for two nights:  Stellplatz Schach, Aschach am Der Donau – GPS 48.374130N   14.028160E

Found the wanted spot here with only 4 spots set right on the river.  It is a Stellplatz and as expected, the camping spots are more expensive for the privilege of being next to the river.

The last day of May – Corpus Christie – is celebrated here.  The locals dress up in traditional costume and celebrations take to the river where two boats – one decorated with trees and coloured flags take the dignitaries for a short cruise along the river and the other taking the Austrian band in full costume behind it.  Not sure but think it is a public holiday as the river front was alive with spectators.

Aschasch architecture

The river boardwalk is lined with outside restaurants all separated with a metre high hedge – about 15 in all, providing a large selection of eats and drinks.  Very cool, green and inviting, these restaurants were packed with spectators.

The Austrian band in full swing

Headed off on the bikes along the Donau trail.  Pretty much you can go forever along these trails and today, they were totally crowded with bikers.  We were of course the slowest on the trail (the navigator holding up the driver) but we were not trying to win any race but merely out to enjoy the view and the day.  Have learnt to ride more confidently on the roads now but was a little less confident when the two lane road ended up being one lane wide only.   A bit daunting when you know there is a car behind you and no room to pass until you find a spot to move over.  Fortunately the drivers here have lived with the bikes all their lives and are very patient.

Thoroughly enjoyed the few hours riding and rewarded ourselves with a great Danube lunch before heading home and passing out for the rest of the day.