A few weeks ago we went hiking not far from where I am living in Austria. About twelve people came with us. They were friends of Helga, and Michael's father.
It was a very hard hike, but I enjoyed it because of the view we were treated to when we reached the top of the mountain.
About two thirds of the way up, we came and had sandwiches and fruit, and rested.
After that the hike wasn't as hard, but we had quite a way to go, and we could see the whole trail in front of us because we were above tree level. Believe me though, it looked much harder than it really was. The fact that the friends of Helga talked with me all the while about the school system and other things in the US helped the time pass by, too.
We reached the end of the trail and looked out onto a fabulous panorama (which I photographed, look at the photo below--it would be a good idea to click on the picture to enlarge it. And sorry if it isn't up to your panoramic standards. I made it quickly on Photoshop from five photos).We headed back, but stopped halfway at a small restaurant to have something. I was full, though, and only had a Coke, and then after some Kaiserschmarrm from Mike's dad's plate because he couldn't finish it. Kaiserschmarrm is basically scrambled pancakes with powdered sugar on top and jam on the side. It's very good. It was the perfect amount of food becuase after having the soda I had felt a bit empty.
We started out again, our knees hurting from the strain of walking down the mountain. It was a relief to sit in Helga's car and listen to probably the best a capella rendering of "Summertime" by an Austrian group. They even have someone singing in falsetto to simulate a trumpet, and then they change their voice so it sounds like the trumpet has a mute on. The Austrian accent isn't too bad either.
Though we were exhausted, I'm sure we would have all gone again; the view was well worth it. I think it was even better than it looks in the pictures. A non-SLR camera can't catch such beauty perfectly, though it still looks beautiful.
Last Saturday we went on another hike, only this time in Italy. We packed backpacks and set off on the half-hour journey. We parked our car and then went on a gondala to a higher point through the thick fog. We searched for a trail. Luckily, Helga could speak good Italian, and we met some hikers who were going exactly where we were going and were able to lead the way.
This hike was truly beautiful, though at first we couldn't see too much because of the fog. At one point we were scrambling up on hands and knees becausse it was so steep and there were so many loose stones. When we had reached the top of the mountain, we stopped to have sandwiches and candy bars and to talk with others who had also reached the top and had stopped to rest. One person explained what it would look like had there been no fog obsuring the view. The fog was thick, and only near the end were we able to see the view on the side from which we had come. The top of the gondala was so far away! I was amazed that a human could walk so far and back and still be home for dinner. It seems that one walks so slowly, but actually a person can cover quite a large distance in not so much time.
We headed back faster than we had come, and when we reached the end of the trail we visited the church that was near the gondala for a few minutes.
After that, we ate some Italian food in a restaurant that looked out to where we had been. It was no longer foggy at the summit, and we were able to pinpoint the exact place we had been. We could see some tiny figures walking along the ridge on the top.
I enjoy hiking in Austria, and am glad I have to opportunity to do so.