Tag Archive: nature


Fall is one of my favorite times. Fall means family and friend time, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, sitting by the fire and watching movies. Outside it means that the leaves are changing and the trees are at their most beautiful.

When I woke up in the morning it was raining and really not the best day to walk around outside, but the weather will probably only get worse, so it was off to Schönbrunn! Annika and Nick accompanied me this time.

When we arrived, the palace was almost completely deserted and it started to pour, but overall it was a wonderful walk in the gardens.

Later that day Annika and I went shoe shopping and found a great deal, then we all went out to see a movie.

On the way back to my house the rain was coming down hard and it stung my face like sleet. Everyone says it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so we’ll see!

EDIT: 11/7/12

It did snow the next few days, mostly outside of the center of the city, but I did get to see a few flakes as I was walking to class.

The little snow remaining by the Opera House.

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Day 60: Trümmelbach Falls

The following day we woke up to the pouring rain, so we figured it would be the perfect day to go visit one of the caves in the area. We arrived just in time to catch the bus, but when we asked the driver for directions, he informed us that the caves were closed because of flooding.

That little setback didn’t stop us. We had also wanted to visit Trümmelbach Falls, so we took a train there instead.

That day was overcast and never stopped raining, but we weren’t put out by it, considering that we all know what Oregon weather is like.

As we drove along the road, the mountains towered above us with small waterfalls throughout the cliffs. Some of the falls even seemed to empty into nothing, becoming only a misty cloud halfway up the mountain.

Once we arrived at the falls the surrounding area was so beautiful that I took out my camera and turned it on to take some pictures. It was only then that I realized I had made one of the biggest camera mistakes one could make. Charging the battery and then not putting it back in the camera.

At first I was really upset that I had forgotten my battery, but later I realized it was probably for the best, because we got completely soaked through.

Despite my camera mishap, the falls were amazing and I can’t even believe there is such a place in the world. This particular falls isn’t massive like Niagara or even that tall. From a distance it’s almost impossible to even see the falls, but this is because most of the falls isn’t outside, but inside the mountain.

There are ten different “stops” along the falls. The first eight or so can be reached by an elevator, which you can ride up and then walk down a path along the falls. The last few lookout points have to be walked, but in reality the entire hike up and down only takes a half hour if no stops are made.

Because we wanted to get some exercise and breathe in some fresh air, we decided to just walk the entire thing. The first and probably most impressive stop along the falls is just to the right of the elevator. We walked up the short flight of stairs not really expecting much, but when we rounded the corner we were met by a massive roaring spout of water shooting horizontally from a hole in the mountainside. It was spectacular!

We stood there getting completely wet, but all we could do was look at each other in amazement and laugh. There was one corner where we could stand right next to the spout of water and feel the wind and mist. It almost felt like we were standing directly under the falls.

Half of the hike is outside, while the other half is inside a sort of crack in the mountain. Inside the mountain there are lights all along the stairs and corridors, so it was easy to walk and the stairs were nice and even, making it an easy hike. It was really cool to see how the waterfall had carved a tunnel right through the mountain. Sometimes, we were so deep in the middle of the mountain that all we could see was a slim crack of sunlight high above.

Afterwards, we were all completely soaked through our jeans and in Ari’s case her purse. My purse seems to not only be theft proof, but also water proof, which was lucky because I had my battery-less camera inside.

That night we had another wonderful dinner and we watched “Whose Line” while drinking hot chocolate and listening to the rain outside.

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The following day we boarded another train (this time everyone made it safe and sound) and headed up to Berlin.

We arrived later that night and checked into our room at The Circus. It was a really nice hostel, with very friendly people as well as secure and clean. We decided against going out that night, because we were so tired, so we ate unlimited pasta served at the hostel until we were full and then called it an early night.

The lounge of the Circus

Day 29: Belvedere

It was a very nice Friday, so we decided to go and visit the Belvedere gardens. The gardens consist of two palaces, which were Prince Eugene of Savoy’s summer residence, the Orangery, and the stables. Inside the Belvedere there is also a museum hosting work from Gustav Klimt.

We were able to walk around the gardens and see both the palaces, one which is on top of the hill overlooking Vienna and the other at the bottom of the garden.

While we were walking around we couldn’t help but compare the castle to Schönbrunn, and we all decided that we had become palace snobs. So far nothing I’ve seen has come very close to Schönbrunn in terms of the expansive garden and giant palace.

Don’t get me wrong though, Belvedere was huge too and I wouldn’t complain if that was my summer residence.

The gates to the upper Belvedere palace.

This was only the very front garden, behind the building is a much larger garden.

Front of the palace

As soon as we rounded the corner of the upper palace we encountered two sentries. The garden itself provided a spectacular view of the city.

Whenever I see a sphinx I think of The Neverending Story. 

Mermaid fountain with the Lower Belvedere in the background.

The upper palace from further into the garden.

I did think that the flowers were more impressive than the ones at Schönbrunn. Belvedere had some really beautiful flowers that grew a little more wild and colorful, which I think is a good thing when it comes to flowers.

Day 21: Hiking in Vienna

After our usual classes on Thursday, we were taken to the 19th district of Vienna. To reach the 19th district we went by UBahn, so I was surprised when we came out of the underground and found plenty of trees and small little houses. It was a completely different Vienna. Our guide, Bergit, told us that the 19th district is a very expensive place to live and I can understand why. All the houses are very cute and bright. I felt like I was in a separate little town nowhere near a large city. All the houses had yards, which was the first time I’ve seen a yard since Dorfgastein.

I immediately felt at home in the 19th district. It reminded me a lot of Portland and the actual hike was almost exactly like Forest Park, with unpaved roads and thick dense trees. Everyone was really friendly and it felt great to get away from the fast paced life of the city.

Our hike took us slowly, but surely up a hill towards a place called Kahlenberg. Compared to the hiking we did in Dorfgastein, this one was nothing and we all agreed that Dorfgastein hadn’t been a vacation, but boot camp to prepare us for all the walking we would be doing in Vienna. The hike was actually very relaxing and once we got to Kahlenberg, there was a great view of Vienna and a place to stop and eat. We didn’t stay there long though and instead headed further up the hill to Leopoldsberg.

Leopoldsberg provided us with an amazing panoramic of Vienna and the Donau. It was really interesting to see the difference between the Neue Donau (on the left) and the Donau (on the right). From above it was pretty obvious which one was cleaner. We tried to look for landmarks to see exactly where we were staying in Vienna and we were eventually able to see what we thought was Karlskirche, which is somewhat close to where we are all staying.

After the hike we headed back into town and went to a little *”restaurant” called Schwammerl Wochen. Inside was an open courtyard where there were picnic tables and an open buffet. It was a really cute place and very relaxing after the hike.

My snack was bread with bacon and a Radler. I was a little queasy at the thought of having bacon after a long hike, but it was one of the only foods I recognized and I didn’t feel very adventurous that day. It actually tasted really good and what I couldn’t finish, the others were more than happy to eat.

Soon after eating we made our way back to the UBahn, which would have been a simple ride home if it wasn’t for a group of 100 men, what we assumed were soccer fans, all trying to cram into one single, and already full, train. While they all boarded we had to wait at least 15 minutes and also listen to them sing and bang on the train. We knew it was getting serious when the police also boarded the train and stood at the entrances with their bulletproof vests and helmets. Miraculously, everyone made it onto the train and nothing more happened.

That night I ate a quick dinner and packed my backpack for a four day trip to Venice the next morning. I was so excited that I didn’t even mind that I was going to have to wake up at four in the morning to catch my flight.

*EDIT 9/24/12

I finally figured out what these restaurants are called in German. The place we stopped at is called a Heuriger. A Heuriger is like a small tavern where people sell this year’s newest wine.

Finally on Sunday I was able to sleep in and when I woke up I had a great breakfast with my host mother. I had planned not to do much on Sunday. Most of the stores and restaurants around Vienna are closed on Sundays, but my host mother surprised me by suggesting that we go to the Kunst Haus Wien (literally translate to Art House Vienna). The Kunst Haus is a creation of Friedensreich Hundertwasser and it holds a lot of his artwork and also art exhibits that change. Elliot Erwitt, a well-known photographer from New York, is the current exhibit.

The Kunst Haus Wien was an apartment design by Hundertwasser. It was probably one of the wackiest places I’ve ever been. Outside the building was covered in tiles and it was made to look kind of like a checkerboard. Inside and outside the house the floor was uneven and I was often surprised by a sudden step down or up. Although the inside and outside were covered in very bright colors, the house was very natural feeling. The floors seemed to move with the true unevenness of the ground and there were plants growing everywhere!

Inside there were two exhibits. The first one we visited was about Hundertwasser. It had a lot of his paintings, graphics, models, and tapestries, along with quotes from him and pictures from his life. Hundertwasser died in 2000, but from what I can gather from his art and writing he seemed like a very down to earth kind of guy. He had strong opinions about our responsibility to nature. Although I really did like his paintings, they were bright and shiny, I like his models the most.

In his exhibit there were a number of large models of towns that he had created. They reminded me a little of Doctor Seuss towns. The buildings blended easily into the ground allowing nature and humanity to live in peace. This was something that Hundertwasser strongly cared about. He didn’t like the sterilness of the modern age. He felt that we are pushing ourselves further and further away from the earth and slowly forgetting the ways in which it gives us life. He felt especially strong about the importance of trees and when he died in 2000, he was buried in the ground without a casket so that he could be reincarnated as a tree. The tree with the same name, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is now twelve.

I really connected with some of the things Hundertwasser was talking about and know that I’ll take away some great advice from this experience.

The gallery of Elliot Erwitt’s photography was very different from Hundertwasser’s gallery. While Hundertwasser liked strong bold colors and complicated figures, Erwitt’s photography is in black and white and very simple. Some of his photography was funny in an ironic sense, while others were very serious. I think the range in Erwitt’s pieces was my favorite aspect of his work. He took pictures of dogs being dogs, but he also had pictures of important moments in human history, a picture of Kennedy at her husbands funeral or of Nixon jabbing Khrushchev in the chest. Erwitt’s attitude about photography is, take pictures, take a lot, take pictures of what interests you, and think about the results later.

Day 9: Salzburg

It was time to leave.

We woke up early that morning so that we wouldn’t miss the one train stopping in Dorfgastein. It was sad putting everything back into our bags knowing that we probably wouldn’t be back for a very long time, if ever. However, there was also excitement in the air, because we would be traveling back to Wien and our host families would be there waiting for us.

The plan was to travel to Salzburg and spend the day there. After Salzburg we would then, finally, make our way to Wien.

Although the train was nothing exciting we did get to pass by Hohenwerfen Castle. A few scenes in The Sound of Music were shot at this castle.

Now, if you like The Sounds of Music, Salzburg is the place to go. As soon as we started walking away from the train station we were informed that the mountains in front of us were the ones that the real Von Trapp family crossed. They are also the mountains that separate Salzburg from Germany.

Our main destination in Salzburg was the old part of town, so we had to travel through some of the newer areas to cross the Salzach, the main river that runs through Salzburg. On our way there we glimpsed, for a brief second, one of the houses that Mozart spent some of his life in.

We crossed through Maribell Gardens, which were amazing and had a great view of the castle on the hill above Salzburg, called Hohensalzburg Castle. The garden around Maribel was very long with designs in the grass created from flowers and impressive statues of men and women in twisting poses. There were a lot of weddings taking place both in the gardens and inside the palace.

The statue below was one of my favorite, because of it’s elegance and modern feel, but it also fit well into the scenery of the garden and looked out over both Maribell Gardens and Hohensalzburg Castle.

The gardens were very large and long. One section on the right had a fountain, some flowers and then it turned into a tunnel of trees that provided shade from the blistering sun. The garden on the left and hidden behind the palace was wide open with multiple statues decorating each side and a fountain in the middle that lined up perfectly between all the statues, the garden and the Hohensalzburg Castle.

A pegasus statue in the middle of the gardens, overlooking Hohensalzburg Castle.

For a few minutes we were able to go inside the large baroque style palace. Inside it had high arching ceilings and a stairway with banisters decorated with cherubs. Some of the weddings were being held in the upper floors of the buildings.

The ceiling at the entrance to the castle.

A closer look at the detail on the ceiling.

The bridge we used to cross the Salzach was covered in padlocks of all different shapes and sizes. They are meant to keep love alive and once a couple writes on the lock and then secures it to the bridge, they throw the key into the river so that their love can never be broken. In some sections of the bridge the entire fence was obscured by locks.

Once we crossed the bridge we were in the older part of the town and immediately came upon the most crowded street in all of Salzburg. Getreidegasse is known for its cute shops and impressive signs. Long ago the signs out front use to hold pictures that informed people of what exactly the shop sold. There are still a few signs like that now, but mostly they just say the name of the business or shop. Most of the shops were more for tourists and also very expensive, but we were able to find a place that sold a scoop of ice cream for one Euro. Although the street was crowded, I especially liked this part of the town, because there were secret alleyways that looked like shops, but were actually shortcuts to the other streets and the farmer’s market.

Now, if McDonalds looked this fancy in America, I might actually eat something there.

One of the more creative sings along the street.

Along this same shopping street is also the house where Mozart was born. He lived on the third floor. Now, its a fantastic museum with paintings, pianos, and actual documents from Mozart.

It’s hard to imagine what the street would have looked like when Mozart was around, definitely not so crowded, but in general it seemed like the city had preserved his house pretty well. Although Mozart often talked about leaving his boring life in Salzburg for something more, just going back through his past and seeing all of Salzburg made it easy to see where he got his inspiration from. Out his back door he had the towering churches, a giant castle, and the market place full of people.

The picture below was one of the only pictures I was allowed to take while inside. The apartment had rooms on the side where I’m standing and then it went down a long passageway that was open to a small courtyard below. It then continued into another two rooms that looked out over the farmer’s market.

After the museum we headed towards some of the churches. There were a lot of churches in the area and quite a few that I can’t remember the names of, but one of the more dramatic ones was Dom zu Salzburg. The outside was impressive with huge white and black statues of saints, inside was even more so.

Going inside churches like the Dom zu Salzburg always floors me. I can’t even fathom how someone could think up such tiny intricate details and make them three dimensional and as large as possible. I could have stayed and stared at a single spot on the ceiling for hours if we hadn’t been on a schedule. The wonder of it all is what makes me really love and appreciate architecture.

This particular part of the ceiling wasn’t even in the main room, it was off to the side.

Just off to the side of Dom zu Salzburg is Residenzplatz. It’s a huge open square with a large fountain in the center that was not only beautiful, but great for cooling off. Although there was nothing there the day we visited, Residenzplatz is the main place for events in Salzburg.

The fountain.

Just for kicks and because who doesn’t like to be a tourist sometimes, Annika, Ari and I took a ride on a carriage with the famous Haflinger horses from Austria. They took us to all the different attractions around the area and it made for a nice break from walking.

Before heading back to the train station we made our way over to the elevator to get a better view of the city. The elevator shaft runs straight up through the natural stone wall that protects part of Salzburg. It took us up to the top where there is a museum and also a restuarant, but most importantly a beautiful view of Salzburg and the Hohensalzburg Castle. The castle was placed up on the hill not only to protect the city, but also to act as a toll station.

After a full day of walking, we headed back to the station to catch the 6:00 train to Vienna. It was a smooth ride until we got closer to Vienna and were informed that the station’s communication system was not functioning. After that announcement it was a mad dash to the underground to get on the next tram and head over to the Westbahnhof ourselves.

Luckily, our families were still waiting for us and we all got in taxis and headed to our new homes.

It was almost time to leave Dorfgastein. Although we had only been there for about a week, we had also gotten to know the little town pretty well. We no longer got lost on the main street (this did actually happened, but it only took us a few seconds to figure out we were going the wrong way), we hiked every hill you could possibly hike and we had eaten at every restaurant.

Instead of sitting cooped up inside the pension, we decided to head out into the town and explore one last time.As we were walking I looked up and saw the sign Römerplatz. It was only then that it hit me that I was standing in the exact same place that the Romans lived, breathed, and worked. It’s hard to think about such a distant past and such a different culture, but it’s truly amazing how a single place can connect us to the past.

We came up to a small bakery and there we decided to have ice cream and because everything looked so good, I decided to be adventurous and bought some sort of cookie with berries and peanut brittle. Both the ice cream and cookie were delicious.

With only an afternoon left, Annika (another student in the program) and I decided to take a walk along the Hauptstraße or main street to see where it would take us.

On the way we passed the volunteer fire station where we sometimes had classes. It’s only in a small town like Dorfgastein that you would actually be able to get away with volunteer firefighters.

As we headed out of the town the road turned into a footpath.It was a very nice walk along the fields and there were a lot of fun games for kids along the path. The start of the path and the end were both marked by one stone pillar. We weren’t sure what exactly they meant, but they looked as though they were built from  the different stones that could be found in the Alps.

Also along the path we came across a stone with writing on it. Zum Schutze unsere Almen.To Protect Our Pastures. Beneath these words was a spout for water, but it was dry. We really had no idea what it meant, but perhaps the well is dry so that the farmer’s fields will never have to be.

After only a half hour, we arrived in the next town over Bad Hofgastein.

Just getting out into the air and walking until we felt like stopping was a great way to end our week in Dorfgastein.

We took the bus from Dorfgastein up to Badgastein.

Badgastein is known for its healing waters, Bad meaning Spa. In the middle of the town there was a fountain with Thermal Wasser. It was a very intricate fountain with water pouring out of multiple spouts. Almost an abstract work of art rather than a “drinking” fountain. Out of curiosity we tasted the water and it was very warm and brackish, nothing that I would ever drink a full cup of and yet there were multiple people walking up to the fountain and filling their water bottles to the brim. I’m not completely convinced of its powers, however, I had a sore throat, but now after the water… I’m feeling better. Coincidence? We’ll see.

Our main point of destination was the waterfall, but while we were there we realized that the small town has a lot more to offer. Badgastein is still a small town, but compared to Dorfgastein it’s a bustling city! If you are just passing through Badgastein it’s hard to tell that there’s really anything there, because the road curves away from the town and heads further up into the mountains. However, if you take a left at the fork you are immediately surrounded by fairly large and impressive buildings like the Casino and Hotël Mozart.

The town itself is placed on a hill so each “row” of buildings is a little bit higher than the next and all the roads are narrow and winding. This made for a really beautiful view of the town on the side of the mountains.

The waterfall runs straight through the town and there are a multitude of bridges that you can wander onto that look over different sections of the waterfall. At the top of the falls, from the high bridge, there was an old building covered in moss with the windows shuttered and broken. Everyone in the group immediately agreed that this waterfall must be from a fairytale. Walking around Badgastein it was easy to see where writers such as the The Brother’s Grimm got their inspiration. I could almost see the evil witch, or Hexe in german, poisoning the apple for Snow White behind shuttered windows of the crumbling house.

Lower Falls

Upper Falls

We also saw two beautiful churches in the town. One was positioned right at the front of the town. It was short and small, but had a great view of the valley below.

Further down the road was St. Preimskirche. In the jumble of buildings, it was the one that stood out the most with its high dark red steeple.

One of the aspects of the town that most surprised me was the combination of old and new, clean and unkempt, modern and classic. Throughout the town there were plenty of old buildings, such as the churches, that were kept in perfect condition, but there was also a new modern feel in some places. For example above a small fountain there was a whole wall of very modern looking mural. Most of the town was taken care of, but sometimes we ran into places that were rundown and unused. This mishmash of so many different time periods and so many cycles of creation is really what made Badgastein come to life. In many ways Europe itself is like this little town.

New and old, abstract and realistic come together.

Summer Photography Trip: Moab

I’m really late posting this, but I took some photos over the summer in Moab, Utah. While my mother and sister were off on their own adventure my father and I decided to go somewhere specifically for photography.

We couldn’t have chosen a better place.

I’ve seen pictures of the desert and high plateaus, but if you really want to experience them, go there yourself, because there’s nothing else like it in the world. While we were driving to our hotel we were literally right up against a plateau. It was beautiful and unnerving at the same time. Car-sized boulders were strewn all over the side of the road and I constantly tried not to think about what would happen if one decided to tumble down the cliff and land on top of us.

The horses at the ranch where we stayed were impressive. I have no idea how they went out into the heat twice a day with someone on their back. During the day when they weren’t being ridden most of them just relaxed under the shade, but really in 100 degree weather the shade isn’t going to be much cooler.

* Fun fact: Apparently the plateau in the background of the picture above has been used to film a lot of music videos (Blaze of Glory by Bon Jovi) and also some car commercials where they had to helicopter the car in pieces up to the top. While my father and I were there we also met a group of people who were there working on the new Lone Ranger film with Johnny Depp. Sadly, we did not get to see Johnny Depp himself.

While we were there it was over 100 degrees every day. I felt like the water was being sucked out of my skin by the sun and I literally felt weighed down by the air. It was a rough climate and one that I had never experienced before. My father and I wanted to do as much as possible while we were there so that meant going outside in the middle of the day.

We went rafting, which was one of the highlights, but we also made our way around Canyonlands, Island in the Sky, Arches, and also the Fiery Furnaces.

Each place had its own “feel”. Canyonlands, Island in the Sky was more panoramic. You could see for miles and miles on end. The landscape reminded me of an abstract work of art and I can only imagine how long it must have taken for the river to carve its way through the land to make such beautiful cliffs.

As you can probably see I was having fun with the fisheye lens. The sun also seems to be a big theme in my pictures, but really how could it not be? It was basically impossible to escape. Both the photos above are ones from Dead Horse Point.

Arches National Park, obviously had a lot of very impressive arches and rock formations, but it also felt a little more closed in. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to a lot of arches, but we did get to see Delicate Arch from a distance.

My favorite place was the Fiery Furnaces. I love to go hiking in caves and this place was very much like a cave without the roof. The entire place is a maze of rock columns and because of this we decided it would be best to have a guide. In one place we even had to climb through a crevasse using both hands and feet. This was extremely difficult with a camera in hand. One minute we were walking on a sandy path and the next we were climbing up a steep and slippery rock face to get to a cliff. It’s now one of my favorite places in the world. I’m glad we had a guide who knew where to go, because otherwise I don’t know if we would have come out.

The pictures above and below are basically the same photo, but on the one below I tried experimenting with the levels a little. I was going for more of a desert theme, trying to bring out the hotness I felt while walking around under the sun.

Day 4: High Above Dorfgastein

Today we went on another great hike.

All throughout the mountains of Dorfgastein there are hundreds of trails and roads that are great for hiking and sightseeing, but instead of hiking all the way up to the top, which I think is probably a day long adventure and only for the most intense hikers, we took cable cars. On the way up we could see the entire town of Dorfgastein and a few of the towns around it.

At the top lift, called Bergstation, Berg meaning mountain, we could see out across the whole valley. Although it was cloudy while we were at the top, we could still see most of the mountain range streached out in front of us. The view was made even more spectacular by the deep blue reservoirs that sat on some of the smaller hills below.

On the ridge it was very cold and windy, but it was a great place for paragliding. Throughout the week we’ve been able to look up into the sky and see at least four or five brightly colored paragliders spinning around in the clouds. Apparently, on this hike we also saw the brother of a very famous Austrian skier strapping on a helmet to go paragliding.

From the top the hike was all downhill. We started out along the ridge, which allowed us to see on either side of the mountain.

On the left we could see Dorfgastein and on the right we could see further into the mountain range and also a few little homes here and there. All along the path there were also signs that talked about Yin and Yang. In one spot, the sign would tell you to leave all your negative thoughts and energy behind and then you would walk over to another, more beautiful, lookout and there you would think only positive thoughts. It was refreshing to let all my worries go while standing on top of the world!

After only a half hour or so, we made it to a crossroad. One path continued up, while the other turned down and went back into the valley. The path that went up eventually went to the halfway point and also the highest peak in the area. On the very top we could see a large cross.

We decided to head back down and go towards another Alm where there was a hut for eating and drinking. I’ve come to realize that in Austria the only “true” meal as Americans would see it, is dinner. Breakfast so far has consisted of bread, cheese, meat, and chocolate cake (which I very much approve of) and your choice of orange juice, vitamin juice, coffee or tea.

Lunch is also very similar to breakfast and usually very light.

So far the only food I’ve had for lunch is a small sandwich and a peach. Even after all the hiking we’ve done and all the traveling, I haven’t found myself searching for more. It’s been surprising how much extra food I consume when I’m just sitting at home in front of the TV.

Before heading down we stopped at a small cabin, which turned out to be a shrine. There we took a break and made sure to put on a lot of sunscreen, most of us having woken up in the morning with a sunburn from the day before. From there we headed down into the Mushroom Field. I never actually saw any fields of mushrooms, but dotted here and there in the woods were some large Mario Kart looking mushrooms. The winding trails and thick trees reminded me very much of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. Halfway down we also wandered onto a logging road and I felt at home.

Whenever I’m walking or hiking I would probably say that I would rather go down than up. After hiking down to Dorfgastein this has changed. We hiked down some of the steepest trails and roads I’ve ever been on and they were not very forgiving on the knees, legs, or butt. We were all hurting so much by the end that soon we all just decided to run down the hill, both because it was easier on the knees and because it would get us back to the pension faster.

It was definitely worth the pain.