Final 12 months, I walked a number of this path however missed out on one of the crucial lovely components in Carinthia. That’s a adequate motive to return to Austria, full a few sections and discover the Lake District.
The Alpe-Adria Path runs for 750km from the foot of the Grossglockner (at three,798m Austria’s highest mountain), into Slovenia and ends in Italy, close to Trieste on the Adriatic coast.
READ ALSO: Strolling the Alpe-Adria Path – 750kms by means of Austria, Italy and Slovenia
Lake Millstätter See
I fly into Klagenfurt within the early night and take a taxi switch to Millstätt. After round an hour, we crest a ridge and instantly Lake Millstätter See is unfold out beneath me, hemmed in by excessive mountains with snow nonetheless seen on the distant peaks. At over seven miles lengthy, it’s solely Carinthia’s second largest, however is the deepest, plunging to 146m. So clear that they are saying you possibly can drink it, and it’s full of freshwater fish.
Probably the most well-known is the Reinanke, belonging to the salmon household, prosaically recognized in English as White Fish. It entered the lake on the finish of the final ice age from the Arctic sea, and folks have been consuming it ever since. I
t fed the Benedictine monks within the Millstatt Monastery and within the 19th century the Bacher household have been chosen to provide the Imperial court docket in Vienna. Their descendants nonetheless have the correct to examine their nets each morning and produce within the fish for lunch.
I’m staying proper subsequent to lake within the charming Resort See-Villa, inbuilt 1884, and one in all quite a lot of nation homes constructed to cater for aristocrats after they began coming right here from Vienna within the 19th century.
The lodge has been within the palms of the Tacoli household for the final 40 years and it reveals within the environment friendly means they run it. The restaurant has tables on the water’s edge, a pleasant alternative to watch the lake in its many moods. It’s surprisingly heat, since no glacial mountain streams drain into it, and temperatures can attain 25°C in summer time. I get into the routine of a every day morning and night dip.
What they’re selling right here is peace and quiet, with the German slogan Zeit zu zweit, though the English Time for Two doesn’t fairly have the identical ring to it. When you’re a pair, nevertheless, a desk for 2 on a pontoon in the midst of the lake, is a romantic choice – every course is delivered by boat.
It’s also possible to keep in one in all seven Biwaks, scattered across the lake, a kind of luxurious bivouac in a wood shed. Inside there’s a big double mattress and home windows within the roof so you possibly can observe the celebs as you drift into sleep.
An early morning vintage rowing boat journey, throughout to the unspoilt south facet of the lake, is a chance to admire the fish within the crystal clear waters, with birdsong the one sound.
Motor boats are restricted and you may fortunately swim throughout the lake with out concern of being mown down. E-biking can also be common and a circuit of the lake is a nice method to spend a morning. Being Austria there are many cafes on the best way providing draught beer, sausage and cheese and, in fact, Apple Strudel.
I’m right here for sterner stuff and the part of the Alpe-Adria Path that I missed runs excessive above the lake on a ridge at 2000m over the Nockberge Mountains. It’s a little bit of slog up the highway from Seeboden, on the lake, to the Pichlhütte, however then I’m on a grassy path. The climb continues till I lastly attain the summit of Tschiernock, at 2088m, topped with a big cairn and an enormous cross. The lake lies beneath and there are super mountain views proper throughout to the Grossglockner within the far distance.
Now it’s a simple ridge stroll over the Hockpalfennock and Tschierwegernock peaks earlier than descending steeply to the Alexanderhütte for lunch. They make their very own cheese and butter right here, with milk from their cows outdoors munching high quality grass. Their speciality is Arnica butter, as yellow because the flowers the cows eat, and ideally suited to accompany their Harber Kas, a dry sturdy curd cheese, extra like a powder. For the hungry hiker, it tops a thick layer of the butter masking do-it-yourself black bread.
That is gasoline for yet one more climb on the Weg der Liebe, or Stroll of Love, marked by inscriptions and quotations and a wall the place folks can write their very own tales. It crosses Millstätter Alpe at 2091m earlier than reaching the massive Garnet Gate, its steel body studded with the pink gems.
The bottom spherical right here is filled with them they usually’ve been mined for hundreds of years. After the summit of Granattor, simply forward, it’s downhill all the best way again to the lake at Döbriach.
Subsequent day I spend the morning stress-free on the Badehaus, a brand new spa advanced proper by the lake. The sauna ease my aches and pains from the day prior to this’s mountaineering, earlier than a refreshing dip within the lake waters. I’m nonetheless desirous to style the white fish so I’m going to the Familienhotel Publish in Millstatt the place the household has had the Emperor’s permission to place their nets within the lake for 150 years. After all the Hapsburg Empire collapsed on the finish of WW1, however I’m nonetheless privileged to get his portion – and superb it’s too.
FLY: Austrian Airways flies to Klagenfurt from London Heathrow by way of Vienna.
GUIDE: The Alpe-Adria Path – Mountain climbing within the Backyard of Eden is a complete on-line useful resource and you may obtain a helpful App that will help you discover your means.
The Bradt Information to the Alpe-Adria Path has detailed details about the path, together with lodging and eating choices.
Go to Carinthia has details about the area.
Milstätte See has details about the lake.