We reluctantly departed Lienz on Sunday morning for Kufstein, plotting a route first to Krimml Falls, the tallest falls in Austria (1247 m), to be followed by a drive through the Gerlos Pass, another high alpine road of scenic import.

Our timing for viewing the falls was ideal. The temperatures were climbing and the crowds were increasing by the time we departed.  Passing along narrow pathways was  becoming a little challenging, too, especially with one member of our party who likes to weave back and forth as he wanders.
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The walk from the parking area to the base of the falls (roughly 1100m up) is 30 minutes or so, and one is completely surrounded by the music of the crashing falls during the journey.

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Many people were climbing the wet and slippery rocks for better views whilst wearing everything from heels (!) to flip-flops. Just as Tony commented that, “Some idiot is going to fall in,” an idiot fell in!  Fortunately the idiot caught one of the rocks on his plummet and was kept from being pulled away with the current by his friends, who helped him to safety.

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From the base, a second viewing point was another 30 minutes or so, and was our personal “summit” for the day.  To reach the top of the falls would require another 3-4 hours of hiking, something we had not planned to do in the first place.

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The only other Ibex we observed on this trip.

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Ahh. Back down on terra firma.

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Whoops. Looks like our drive through the Gerlos Pass wasn’t meant to be. We rerouted and were treated to beautiful scenery as we sought a place for lunch.

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IMG_5956  IMG_5959The definition of “Alpine.”  Tony knows my love of cows and cow photos, and did not even blink when I asked him to turn back and pull off the road so I could traipse through part of a field for this photo. The cows were even wearing bells. IMG_5992

Our route to Kufstein briefly dipped into Salzburgland, where we sat for what I have declared to be the best Backhendl outside of Vienna.

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By late afternoon, the Wilder Kaiser mountains appeared to guide us to Kufstein (the first mountains to earn an Austrian hiking seal of approval, no small feat in this country).IMG_6013

I won’t say that we were impressed with Kufstein. This part of our holiday was ad hoc; after Großglockner we planned a last minute overnight to enjoy more scenery and eat great Tirolean cuisine rather than heading directly home, and Kufstein made for a good stopover.

Though it was Sunday and everything in the tourist area was open, it was still a stretch to fill an hour’s visit. Kufstein’s fortress above the Inn River made for impressive viewing; and the short Romerhofgasse with taverns and Trachten shops made for some browsing, but there was not much more going on.

Our last minute reservations found us at a pretty Gasthaus about a 15 minute walk from the fortress, slightly residential and with cows in the pasture. Almost as if I’d planned it that way.  Near to our lodging was the Riedel Glass Factory HQ, (Austrian) family owned since 1756. Why the American flag, we wondered?

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Dinner was superb. How can an entire plate of bacon not be?

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On Monday, and not quite ready to go directly home, we detoured through Berchtesgaden, Germany. We have explored much of the area on previous holidays, and the region is one that we like. Plus, cows!

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IMG_6056Soon enough, though, it was time to cross the border back into Austria. Three days, 1.100 km. A(nother) great holiday.