As I lay- prematurely- awake at 5am this morning: nose a perplexing combination of both blocked and running, throat raw, head pounding, anxiety racing, I took my mind elsewhere to where the air was clean and fresh and I was on top of the world- both literally and metaphorically.
Waking to Adam’s alarm blaring out, we sprung into action, ready for a day of hiking, driving and dancing. Since the sun had been down when we’d finally arrived at our accommodation in Bad Aussee, I launched myself towards the bedroom window, surprised to find that- despite being slightly below ground level- we still had a magnificent view of the mountains that this region of Austria is so famous for.
The view at breakfast was no less spectacular, as we got to see the mist gradually fade, like curtains parting to reveal the stunning scenery beyond. The fact that they also had bacon (a rarity outside of Britain in Europe) only served to make Adam even happier.
Our plan had initially been to head straight across to Hallstatt and then onwards to Krimml Falls before settling for the night in Innsbruck, but Will had discovered that a nearby mountain was called Loser and, naturally, wanted to visit- he clearly had some sort of affinity with it ;).
As we were very much in shoulder season- too late for skiiing, but too early for a lot of attractions/roads to be officially open- we weren’t sure whether we’d actually be able to drive up the mountain. As it turned out, we were able to go the majority of the way, park up in the carpark and then hike the rest of the way. And for free.
With the boys dressed in jeans and trainers/converse, and me in nothing remotely resembling walking gear either, we had to give in before even nearly reaching the summit, admitting defeat as the air grew thinner and we realised that the old couple ahead of us, with their sticks for walking and full gear must have thought we looked nuts.
Finding a concrete block, free of snow, I star-fished out atop it, blissfully soaking in the heat of the sun, juxtaposed with the crispness of the fresh mountain air. With no-one for miles (the couple long gone, by this point), all I could hear were my best friends chatting away happily and the occasional bird-song. I could have stayed there, quite happily, all day, feeling all of my stress and tension and anxiety slowly ebbing away, knowing that if I opened my eyes I’d be struck by this phenomenal view.
Alas, we had a fun-packed day ahead of us, and, with only a little over a week in Austria, the luxury of just lying in the sun for hours was not one that we were afforded.
It’s why I’m looking forward to travelling long-term so much!
We did promise to ourselves though, that we’d return to the area for a walking holiday at some point and defeat the Loser.
These arrived yesterday 🙂