Our ascent of Mount Wank on Tuesday was pretty uneventful – it was quite arduous zig-zagging our way up the 1000m elevation but we managed to do it in a much shorter time than the signposts predicted so we treated ourselves to a drink at The Wankhaus restaurant at the top in recognition of our improving fitness. The views from up there were absolutely awesome, making the schlepp up all the more worthwhile.
The walk back down proved to be every bit as tricky as the schlepp up when we followed our instincts rather than the marked trail – just as well, as it turned-out, since our way proved to be somewhat shorter than the one we should have taken. It was narrow, rutted and very steep but we made it back down, in one piece, in a pretty good time so we were happy enough! We had planned to vacate our paid pitch after our walk but we were knackered (17km of strenuous exercise has that effect these days!) and the sun was back out in force so we decided to stay put and head back into Austria on Wednesday morning instead.
We were in no hurry to leave on Wednesday – our journey to Absam, a small town just a few kms east of Innsbruck wasn’t gonna be too long so we made the most of our paid space and had a leisurely lunch before decamping and waving farewell to The Zugspitze. The drive back down to Innsbruck took us back through Mittenwald and Seefeld, both of which we’d pretty much exhausted a few days ago so we didn’t stop until we reached a car park just outside Absam. A nice wee spot, on the edge of a forest, with great views across the mountains, the only downside being that a major road building project was ongoing right beside it and, by the time we arrived at 4pm, all work had stopped for the day – we took this as an indication that they probably started work at some ridiculously early hour so our chances of a decent night’s kip were probably zilch! Nonetheless, we stayed put and headed out into the forest to stretch our legs (amazingly enough, neither of us had any stiffness in said limbs after yesterday’s mega jaunt- we must be getting fitter!), whereupon we stumbled across an even better spot to park up – a bit further away from the roadworks and in amongst so many trees that we were pretty much guaranteed some much needed shade from the burning sun (I know, I know, we’re not complaining, just stating a fact!). As we were walking back to Sebo, a deer hopped across the path in front of us – typical, the one time we’d left the camera battery charging and we actually see wildlife!! By the time I’d grabbed Harley and Roy had grabbed my phone and hightailed it after the deer, the thing had disappeared into the forest never to be seen again so no photos!
Our sleepy spot proved to be pretty much perfect – until the next morning, when the roadworks resumed and we were both roused, at a much earlier hour than we were hoping for, by the heavy machinery and a huge number of local dog walkers parking up alongside us from 7am onwards! We didn’t hang around once we were awake and headed down to Innsbruck for the day. The camper parking in Innsbruck was, unfortunately, located in what appeared to be the noisiest part of the town – alongside several busy main roads and the railway line! Definitely not a contender for a sleepy spot but handy enough to take a walk into Innsbruck’s exceptionally pretty Aldstadt (Old Town), it being only a 15 minute walk along the river from where we were parked up.
We managed to get a spot in the shade and, with the roof lights open and the blinds closed, we were happy enough that Harley would be cool enough for a few hours – he doesn’t particularly like busy towns, and especially not in hot weather so he never even lifted his head off his bed when we bade him farewell!
Innsbruck is real “chocolate box” stuff – fab architecture, lots of typical Tyrolean ornateness and small enough that you can be around it all in a very short space of time particular if, like us, you’re not fussed about museums and churches. We just meandered, taking in the scenery for a while, had a cappuccino in the main square then headed back to Sebo to check Harley was OK – pretty sure he’d slept the whole time we were out, to be honest!
We’d already paid €10 for 24 hours parking at the camper park, but, as I’ve already said, it was way too noisy and we opted to leave and find somewhere quieter – just as we were about to leave, an Italian family pulled-up in their van so Roy offered them our parking ticket – as a gift, since we weren’t using it – they were delighted but insisted on paying half of it’s worth so everyone was happy! We had thought to head back up to Absam for the night, even though we’d be up uber early the next morning, but when we got back up there, the car park was pretty much full so we carried-on up the road to an official stellplatz in Schwaz.
We have to admit that neither of us had ever heard of Schwaz until we were on the way there – turns out it was, in it’s heyday (15th & 16th Century), Austria’s second largest city after Vienna, due to it’s silver mine. The camper park was in a pretty good location and cheap – only €6/24 hours, with water and drainage facilities, just a short walk from the town, and would have been nice and quiet, had our neighbours not started a huge argument between themselves in the early hours of the morning!
A short meander around the town on Friday morning revealed a pretty enough main street, with a couple of nice churches but not much else to offer other than a strangely located huge shopping mall alongside the river. It looked totally out of place amongst the medieval buildings alongside it! One can but assume that it was built on the understanding that the shops within employed local people, thus offering a replacement for the jobs lost when the silver mine closed down.
Suffice to say, we didn’t linger and headed on for our next destination – Mayrhofen in The Zillertal, renowned for it’s hiking opportunities, so we plan to spend a few days there if we can find a cheap sleepy spot for the duration.