Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grossglockner Road, Austria

"Feast your eyes on the essence of alpine beauty and take the white-knuckle, breathtaking drive along Austria's lofty Grossglockner Road. Named after the country's highest peak and traversing some of Austria's most scenic regions, the road was an important trading route between Germany and Italy in the Middle Ages. The fantastic Grossglockner Road was built between 1930 and 1935...almost 700 square miles in size, it boasts 300 mountains over 9,840 feet, 246 glaciers, lush valleys and dozens of pretty villages... Spectacular vistas of the park's centerpiece, the towering Grossglockner, 12,460 feet tall, make it hard for drivers to keep their eyes on the hairpin turns" (1,000 Places To See Before You Die - aka the Willingham travel bible!)I gotta tell you, I really wasn't psyched about this drive at first. I was ready for Salzburg. And ready to get out of the car for a little while. Boy am I glad we are pretty committed to following the 1,000 Places book's advice and stuck to our itinerary in this case. This was something we couldn't miss! It truly was one of those once in a lifetime places!
The Grossglockner Road was fabulous every way you look at it - except I guess the fact that you have to pay to drive on it. But it was worth every Euro-cent. The fascinating element to me was the number of mountain bikers huffing and puffing right along with the cars on this twisting-turning road up these mountains. People of all ages up for a challenge. I mean I wasn't sure that our CAR was going to make it. How in the world did the bikers? Strong legs and lungs, I suppose.
Kirk pulled over at one point and hopped out of the car with Connor - much to my chagrin. And off they headed right into the glacier. Don't worry though, he 'tested' out the path first before taking our precious daughter in. They had fun making and throwing snowballs at me while I moaned and begged for them to come back. I don't like the thought of my family buried in cold snow! What won't we do for a picture?!?!
My favorite part of the Grossglockner Road adventure was stopping for lunch. There is a 'Bikers Point' where all the mountain bikers and motorcyclists congregate. We snuck in with our car and I kept thinking of Dick and Thomas and how much they would get a kick out of this place. Hard core Harley fun in the middle of nowhere, Austria!
Not a bad view as we ate our schnitzel! Yep, Salzburg could wait for this.

1 comment:

Jen_runs said...

Wow! What an incredible place. I've just added it to my list of places to go before I die thanks to your photos!

Don't suppose you guys have some spare room in your suitcase for me, do you? I'm soooo jealous of your travels.

Jen xx