Since we’d left our Igls sleepy spot bright and early on Tuesday morning and driven straight to Seefeld in Tirol (all of 45km if we include the slight detour to an LPG station just outside Innsbruck which we then discovered we couldn’t actually access unless we bought a vignette and used the motorway! Grrrrr. It’ll wait!), we thought we’d probably be too early to check-in to Camp Alpin (noon is is usually the earliest check-in and latest check-out time in our experience!) so we parked-up on the paying car park just outside the town and headed out for a meander. I was here for a week in September, 1984 but, I have to say, my recollection of it is somewhat vague and I hardly recognised anything as we wandered around! It’s a pretty small town, lots of expensive clothing and jewellery shops and beautifully decorated hotels and guest houses and it was pretty busy with what appeared to be coach loads of elderly holidaymakers – let’s just say we were confident we’d brought the average age down by a number of years as we sat outside a rather swish coffee shop tucking into our apple strudels (when in Austria and all that……!)
By now, as you may have deduced from the dark clouds, raincoats and brollies in the above pics, the weather has taken a turn for the worse – periods of sunshine, interspersed with occasional heavy downpours and thunderstorms have become the norm for us now, along with much lower temperatures at night. The price one pays for a “heatwave”, perhaps? For Team Sebo, having spent the last few weeks sweltering in the heat and wishing we had air-con to keep us comfortable, this has come as a bit of a shock! So much so that we’ve had to retrieve the summer duvet from under the mattress and reinstate it within the duvet cover so as to be able to sleep without risk of hypothermia! Harley, on the other hand, is delighted by this “return to normality”, temperature-wise, and is busy regrowing his coat (he’s been deshedded several times lately in an attempt to help him cope with the heat!)
Having said all that, we’re making the most of our four days at Camp Alpin – THE most luxurious site we’ve stayed on so far! The facilities here include a free sauna and steam room (bookable in advance and I haven’t got my act together to actually do it as yet!) and the showers wouldn’t be out of place in an upmarket hotel leisure centre! They even pipe fab music into the toilets/showers 24 hours a day! It’s pretty damned awesome showering to the likes of Free’s “All Right Now” and Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff”, I can tell ya! The laundry facilities are equally fantabulous – washing machines, dryers and drying racks so you don’t need to pay out the €4/load to tumble dry anything! Along with the site only being 1.2km from the town centre, surrounded by mountains, an onsite shop and bar/restaurant and uber-helpful English-speaking staff, we can see why it has 5* and excellent reviews from ACSI punters. For us, the ACSI rate of €19 is a huge saving on the regular rate but, once high season kicks-in on July 1st, Camp Alpin’s summer rates will be way out of our price range, sadly!
Despite the weather, we’ve managed to get out and about and walk several of the hiking trails on offer here. Hell, we even invested in a walking trail map (not like us, huh?) – more for planning than following as it turned-out, as pretty much all the trails are well marked with not only the trail number and destination, but also the forecasted time required to complete.
On Wednesday, we checked the forecast, packed full waterproofs, a flask of coffee, a picnic and our walking poles into the rucksacks and headed off up the Rosshütte – nope, we didn’t take the renowned Funicular Railway up, we WALKED – all the way up to the station at 1751m, stopping only briefly at the lake – Kaltwassersee (yeah, it’s VERY cold so Harley was the only team member to swim in it!) – for sustenance in the form of our picnic lunch. From there, we hopped into the Härmelekopfbahn across the ravine (Harley’s first ever cable car ride – he wasn’t necessarily overly impressed!) before walking back down to town, via several steep pistes, for a well-deserved Aperol Spritz. We were lucky to escape the rain for most of the day – just a few spots as we neared town on the way back down- and our Fitbits revealed that we’d walked some 18km in total – my legs would back that up!
Ever a glutton for punishment (!), we did the same again on Thursday – this time, a different trail, taking in the Brunschkopf viewing point at 1490m and returning via Mösern – another long day of walking up hill and down dale for almost 20km, and this time, we were constantly putting on waterproofs, taking them off, putting them back on again as the rain fell, then sun came out etc etc. By the end of the day, my legs were screaming for mercy and the beer in a Seefeld bar on the way back to Sebo was appreciated even more than usual!
Last night it rained for Ulster (or should that be Austria?) – constant heavy rain, with thunder and lightening directly overhead for what seemed like hours. We even resorted to switching on Sebo’s heating to warm us up before we went to bed! Still, we were so exhausted, we slept like babies, totally oblivious to the horrendous weather outside. Thankfully, when we awoke this morning, the sun was out and it promised to stay out until mid afternoon (according to AccuWeather!) so off we toddled to Leutasch – a pretty straightforward, much shorter walk, much to the relief of my poor thigh muscles! We had intended to treat ourselves to lunch out on arrival but, to be honest, Leutasch and Weidlach were pretty much closed for the season and the restaurants that were actually open seemed hellish expensive so we opted for a pastry and coffee in the supermarket coffee shop before heading off up the hill for our walk back via Wildmoosalm – a farming pasture with a “disappearing” lake i.e some years it’s there, others it’s not! It’s a beautiful place, with free-ranging, bell-wearing cattle grazing in the pastures and a mountain hut (read that as huge bar/restaurant!) where the waiters wear the traditional lederhosen and there’s oompah music and yodelling going on in the background. Obviously a huge tourist trap, judging by the number of horse-drawn carriages disgorging their punters at the hut whilst we sat on their sun terrace partaking of a pint of Kaiser each and sharing a huge plate of pommes frites (the sugar rush from the pastry in the supermarket coffee shop having long since worn off by this point!). Anyhow, we’d manage to rack-up around 16km by the time we got back to Sebo and, miraculously, I can still actually walk! No pain, no gain?
As we bade farewell to Mr Lederhosen at Wildmoosalm, the clouds got blacker and the thunder started to rumble overhead. As I went over to the laundry to retrieve last night’s washing from the drying rack, the heavens opened once again. Another night for the heating methinks – hopefully our LPG supply will last the night (we haven’t filled-up since we were on the way back from Dubrovnik quite a long time ago!)
Tomorrow, we’ll decamp and head 20km up the road into Bavaria – Mittenwald has an LPG station which doesn’t require an Austrian motorway vignette and also gives us a cheapie overnight stop and, possibly, a chance to walk back down to the Leutasch Gorge. After that, with LPG tanks suitably filled, we’ll probably head back down into Austria. We’re planning on spending more time hillwalking in Tirol (if we can blag free/cheap parking!) and driving the Grossglockner Pass at some stage (when the weather improves), visiting Innsbruck, Salzburg and various other places of interest before heading back into Bavaria to do the whole touristy Eagles’ Nest thang.
Our verdict on Seefeld in Tirol? Awesome place….. all year round. If you’re into winter sports, no better place to try snow-shoeing or Nordic skiing- though not necessarily for expert downhill skiers (only two black runs as far as I can see!) but for those (like me!) that like long, wide cruising runs and cable cars as opposed to drags/t-bars/freezing- cold- chairlifts-first-thing-in-a-morning, along with an abundance of hospitable mountain huts, we can thoroughly recommend it! For hikers, an absolute paradise in spring, summer and autumn – we reckon you could spend a month here and still not exhaust the mountain/forest trails on offer!
BTW – it’s cheaper to drink in a bar here than Italy- €3.80/500ml beer (as opposed to €6/400ml) and €4.20 for an Aperol Spritz ( per 200ml, as opposed to €7 in some Italian establishments!). Supermarket prices have yet to be compared since we’re still ploughing our way through Sebo’s stockpile of both food and alcohol purchased in Italy! We shall revert at a later stage! As for diesel, we thought we were getting a bargain when we topped-off Sebo’s tank at Steinach at €1.149/litre (compared to Italy’s ridiculous prices of €1.30 upwards!) only to find we could have got an even better bargain in Leutasch today…€1.059 (at the end of the valley with zero competition….how does THAT work???)