After getting settled in to Dorfgastein for a day we took a trip farther up into the mountain to Sportgastein. To get there we had to travel by bus through some smaller towns and eventually we make our way  through some very long and dark tunnels. The trip us was beautiful with a lot of great views and many cute towns along the way.

In this area where we are staying there are three main towns. Dorfgastein, which is family oriented has many restaurants, pubs and small guest houses, Bad Hofgastein has more shopping and I guess what you would say is more teen oriented, then there’s Badgastein which has healing spas, a casino, and is, in general, a great place for people to get away from the rush of everyday life. Lastly, Sportgastein is the most scenic of the towns and is great for hiking. Naturally, all of these towns are covered in tourists during winter when the ski season is in full swing.

We arrived in Sportgastein to find ourselves completely surrounded by mountains. I’ve seen a lot of mountains before and there aren’t many places that I’ve been that can rival Mount Hood, Mount Rainier or Mount Saint Helens, but the Alps were stunning. The Alps are a different kind of mountain range. There are hardly any foothills. One minute there’s no mountain and the next your looking up and wondering how such a giant beast could have snuck up on you. The Alpine peaks towered above us and the rolling green hills made me constantly look over my shoulder to make sure that Julie Andrews wasn’t running down the pasture singing “The hills are alive”.

Not only was the scenery beautiful, but there were also cows and goats wandering around and hanging out with people like it was no big deal. Dotted everywhere were little huts, where people could stop and drink and at each one there was a small band singing and playing the accordion. Many of the local people were also dressed in their traditional clothing, the men in lederhosen and the women in dirndls. Usually Sportgastein isn’t so active, but we were there during the Almfest. I’ve come to realize that for many people hiking in the Alps, the main goal of the trip is to hike to a hut, sit down and finally have a drink with cheese, bread and maybe some meat. All in all it doesn’t seem like such a bad way to live life.

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