Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Angelico Austrian Adventure - He inhaled and got a pane in his stomach

Breakfast this morning was on the house, and was about as big as a house too. The sideboard went right round two walls of the dining room.

The other people on the tour are quite a mix. There's a lot of retired couples of course, but there's another honeymoon couple, a single guy on his first trip overseas, and some ladies who met on a trip years ago and have been taking their holidays together ever since.

The coach left at noon and headed for Alpbach. Heading down the mountain in a 13m coach is quite an experience. The mountain roads have no kerb, no footpath and no nature strip - there's just a road, and then a solid stone retaining wall holding up the side of a mountain. Or on the other side, a series of timber posts and then a long drop. I guess the way it works is, if you can navigate a mountain road and still be alive at the end of it, you're allowed to go 130km/h on the autobahn.

Alpbach itself wasn't all that interesting. It was quite steep, which gave us better views of the scenery, but it wasn't all that much better than what we saw yesterday from the bummelbahn. We stopped at a cafe for lunch, intending to soak up the local culture with some apfelstrudel, but by the time the humans had finished their mains there wasn't time for dessert so we went back to the coach.

Midga asked Spencer (our hilarious tour guide) if he knew a joke about a glass blower, and Spencer offered him the microphone. It was just like the time he was SM before he got told off for abusing the dressing room tannoy. The bus rocked to the sound of groans and laughter. (What was the joke, you ask? You'll have to guess it. Or Google it if you like, there's a hint in the title.)

And so we headed to Rattenberg, the centre of the glass blowing industry. There was of course a guided tour and we watched a glass blower making a swan and a cat. Ornaments made out of blown glass look amazing in a shop, but they have to be dusted daily (or more), polished with vinegar three times a week, and guarded around the clock against scratches and fingerprints in order to stay that way. By this time it was raining heavily, so we went into various shops just for shelter from the weather. We ended up at a pub and the humans needed some hot chocolate, which was expensive but good quality. Then it was back to the bus.

There's a station at Rattenberg, not on the high speed network but still electrified. We saw a few four-car EMUs go through, and they were quite speedy. Don't forget Europe's definition of high speed rail is quite different to ours - Regional Fast Rail, the XPT, the Cairns Tilt Train and the Prospector would all be classed as slow over here.

We also saw a centre cab electric loco go through, light engine. We didn't see much of it (there's a timber fence up to about half way to the wires) but the pantograph looked like a fairly old model. Midga initially thought it was a Crocodile, but that would have been too amazing for words. Anyway, the noses weren't long enough. But it was quite exciting anyway.

The humans are now about to head downstairs for dinner, after which there's a special "Tyrolean evening" - traditional music, dancing and drinking. That will quite possibly deserve a post of its own.

1 comment:

Talldad said...

Re: "Or on the other side, a series of timber posts and then a long drop."

Remind you of the snow-plough escape from "Where Eagles Dare" ?