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THE TYROL : Sept 15th - 29th, 2022 Mountains, Lakes & Friends

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

14th/15th September, 2022

A trip to The Tyrol was on the list of places my friend Lourdes and I had drawn up. A chance meeting in Lofoten, Norway in 2019, resulted in me making another friend who not only was a photographer, she also lived in Austria, right on the doorstep of The Tyrol; a plan was conceived! The three of us would meet and explore the area together.

The original plan was to depart on 15th September, however industrial action was threatened at Malaga airport which would have had implications for our connecting flight to Innsbruck. We decided therefore to bring our departure date forward a day.

We left home at 3am and had no problems through security as only one other flight was leaving at a similar time to ours. Quite fortuitous as it turned out because as Lourdes and I queued for passport control, I realised I hadn't picked up my laptop from one of the 5 trays I'd had to use going through security! It had happened before years ago at security in Gatwick. I guess the only thing I can say is that if I have to forget my laptop, then security is the right place to loose it! I retrieved it without problem after proving it was mine by turning it on and logging in - phew!

Leaving Malaga and arriving at Gatwick Airport, London, early in the morning, we had time to while away before we could check into our hotel. After Lourdes enjoyed a traditional British breakfast, we still had hours to wait. Organising the shuttle bus from the hotel however, the manager invited us to wait there until our room was ready and we gratefully accepted the suggestion. The next morning it was back to the airport and our flight to Innsbruck, Austria, where Eva was waiting to take us to our home for the next two weeks. Our apartment was part of a large family house where Eva also lived and is located in Leithen, a small village about 20 mins from Innsbruck. A quick supermarket shop was a shock introduction to the much higher food costs compared to Spain; we determined we'd cater for ourselves wherever possible..

Our first evening involved an introduction to the apartment owner as well as sampling local beer and homemade schnapps! Our holiday had started!

16th September, 2022

The view from our apartment in the morning was at first not inspiring; we were blanketed in fog! Undaunted, Lourdes and I set off to explore and delighted in finding water drops and wet grass! We spotted a track leading towards a wood and watched as the fog lifted then drifted back in and around us again. As we were enjoying this spectacle, a couple of guys walked along the track towards us. One was wearing traditional Austrian clothes and I asked if I could take his photo. His companion spoke some English and Spanish and we learnt that they were on the way to feed some horses. Photos taken and enquiries made as to whether we could enter the wood (there was a notice at the entrance denoting a shooting range), they suggested we follow them to see the horses and also learn the safe way to negotiate through the wood. We set off and were taken aback at times as large animals hidden within the trees suddenly came into view. The life-like replicas were used for target practise, not for guns though, the shooting was apparently done with bows and arrows!

We followed the guys and at one time did ask ourselves with nervous giggles what we were doing, as not only had we no idea where the horses were, we didn't know the way through the woods either! After a few steep climbs, we saw one of the guys start to call out and relaxed as horses began to appear through the mist heading towards him. The horses weren't too comfortable with our presence to start with, however their path to food meant they had to pass us. One of them even had a nibble at Lourdes on the way through catching her by surprise!

After some time watching the horses and the guys begin some fence maintenance work, we said goodbye. Following instructions to find our way out of the woods again, we hoped that the rest of our stay would bring up more adventures of this kind!

Later on the fog cleared a little and Eva suggested a visit to Lake Wildsee at nearby Seefeld. The first thing we saw though were puddles so of course, photos were needed! Reaching the lake we could see that although the mist was clearing, there was still sufficient left to create some lovely ethereal views. We were fortunate that not too many people also wanted to visit on this particular day. In the summer months the place is apparently packed out. It was lovely simply wandering around and lazing on the unusual seats which also swivelled! Of course Lourdes and I tried them out!

As the mist cleared, so we caught glimpses of distant mountains and reflections in the water became sharper and clearer. Several large carp swam by to make their presence known too. After time at the lake we headed back to the apartment, stopping off en route to visit the town of Seefeld. There, we climbed up to Seefeld's answer to Stonehenge and then waited for the sun to go down and the lights of the town to appear. We hoped to return to this spot for some star captures before we left.

17th September, 2022

Another day and another lake! However first we had to deal with rain and cold! Meeting in Eva's apartment to talk about the forthcoming day's events, we glanced out of her window and were treated to an amazing view of snow clad mountain tops peeking through the cloud! One of those "WOW" moments.

Deciding to dress suitably and brave the elements, we headed to Lake Moeserer See. Eva parked the car and we followed behind well wrapped up against the wind, rain and cold. Lourdes and I weren't taking too much notice of our surroundings at that point, it was more a case of following in Eva's footsteps. Rounding a corner however, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of an outside wedding reception! Following Eva's lead we just kept walking and trying not to make eye contact with the elegantly dressed guests who seemed not to turn a hair at finding uninvited guests amongst them!

We stopped to take some photos of the lake from a pontoon away from the reception area and then asked Eva, where to next. It seemed we needed to reach a track running the other side of the fence which was now confronting us with a locked gate. We had two options, brazenly walk back through the reception or climb the fence. It had to be the fence and we received some questioning looks as one by one we managed to scale the locked gates and carry on walking nonchanontly along the path on the other side!

Although the rain stopped for a while, it was always threatening and after a stop to watch the wildlife and capture some photos, we headed back to the car.

Once back at the apartment we were treated to some more beautiful scenes as the sun began to set. At times the mountain tops seemed to be on fire as the burning sun disappeared behind them. What a glorious end to an unpromising start to the day.

We still weren't finished though, Eva topped it off with an evening sample of her homemade pink gin drink. Nothing was going to stop us from making the most of our time in Austria!

18th September, 2022

Lourdes' Birthday!

Once I'd mentioned to Eva that the 18th was Lourdes' birthday, a plan went into action! Eva arranged with Astrid (apartment owner) to buy a cake and find a candle, Eva provided the prosecco and I was tasked with making sure Lourdes didn't buy a cake to share with everyone, as was her usual custom and also get her to Eva's apartment at 9am!

It worked well and it was a complete surprise for Lourdes. A different birthday away from home and one she'll remember for eating cream cake and drinking prosecco for breakfast!

Lourdes and I decided to walk off the effects of her birthday breakfast and had a walk around the green fields of Leithen. The clouds kept parting in the mountains to show more of the snow on the tops. The sun also started to come through as we wandered, coming across what we thought were goats, only to be told later that they were sheep!

Fully ready for the next adventure, we headed for Innsbruck. As Eva's home town, she knew where to go and what to see. Lourdes had read about a "golden roof" and so we headed towards the building in the centre of town. We also wanted a bird's eye view and climbed the City Tower to look out over the roofs and out to surrounding mountains. The weather wasn't really conducive for memorable images however we hoped that when the blue hour and night came, we might be able to do better.

Watching from a riverside cafe and trying out a local snack, we watched as the sun made a brief appearance on the horizon as it set, then waited as slowly the riverside lights began to appear. It was a lovely scene with the colourful facades of houses contrasting with the dark mountains behind and river in front.

Another great day was had by all!

19th September, 2022

Another day and another lake and waterfall. This time we went to Lainbach Waterfalls and Lake Lautersee. It was such a joy for us to hear, see and feel so much water around us. In this instance, with so many different waterfalls presenting themselves as we climbed ever higher, we were spoilt for choice. Once past the last waterfall we found ourselves at the lake and the possibility of a refreshing drink on the other side. Setting off to reach the restaurant before closure, Eva remembered that we had limited time on the parking ticket she'd bought before we started off. We decided to forego the drink and retraced our steps, wondering if we'd be back before the ticket was checked. As we headed into the car park, hearts sank as we saw a police car parked right behind us. There was nothing placed on the windscreen however, so a quick exit into another car park nearby and we searched for place to have that long awaited drink.

The cafe we headed to had announcement at the door that it would close at 6pm. As it was 17.20, we thought we'd be OK. Whilst Eva did some shopping, Lourdes and I entered the cafe only to be ignored by the lady inside who was intent on washing and drying dishes. Patiently waiting until she just had to acknowledge us, we asked for a beer. Pointing to the clock and notice about closure, she clearly wasn't happy about anything else being dirtied. We left, still thirsty!

That night we had a clear sky for the first time and I was able to capture some stars from our balcony as well as the moon.

20th September, 2022

We wanted a quiet day as it was to be an early start the next day and the start of our trip to the Dolomites. The nearby woods it was to be then! Just wandering, watching light filter through the trees, spotting all kinds of fungi and enjoying the tranquility of the wood, was rejuvinating. We actually saw a guy and his bow and arrow this time. The equipment looked pretty substantial and I certainly wouldn't like to be in the way of an arrow fired from it, that's for sure!

21st September, 2022 Today we met Eva's friend, Melanie, who was to join us on our trip to the Dolomites. It made for an interesting group as Melanie spoke only German; Lourdes spoke only Spanish, I spoke English and Spanish and no German; Eva spoke German, English and no Spanish! We didn't find too much trouble communicating though, hands were used a lot and facial expresions go a long way; there was lots of laughter. As we were loading the car, we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise which turned the mountain tops golden above the cloud in the valleys. Spirits were high with such a send off! Our first stop came suddenly! We were on our way to Lake Misurina when we passed a body of water which had mist rising from it. Calls of 'stop' saw us pour out of the car and start to do our own thing to capture some images. The water was like glass and the reflections so sharp. The mist above the water shimmered tantalisingly before it began to rise and dissipate. What was most noticeable however, was the freezing cold; the sort of cold which hurts the face! We piled back into the car with heater full blast and left Lake Duerrensee and carried on to Lake Misurina. The sun was out around much of this lake and so we were able to warm up, aided somewhat by a drink of hot chocolate! Although Lake Misurina was more well known than Lake Duerrensee, it was possible to see how over-run it would be during summer months. Lake Duerrensee was much more unspoilt and as there were no amenities, for me, the better location in spite of the cold! One more stop alongside yet more water where the sun was coming through the trees and creating a lovely backlit scene, then we joined the queue to actually get into the national park area of the Dolomites and leave the car. For one hour we nudged slowly forward watching the barrier go up on the exit side, meaning another car could enter. It cost 30€ to enter and park, however at least we were able to get in! The area of car parking in the national park was crammed with cars. Eva found a spot, we picked up our rucksacks and camera equipment and started walking!

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