We had a pretty good trip from Vienna to Hopfgarten. Our first stop was the Schwarovsky Crystal museum which was more of an exhibition of cool stuff and art than a museum. There was this giant crystal:
There was this cool piece of art that was all these LCD screens with a computer generated image. The cool thing about it was that it was always changing, and every image you see is unique and random and will never be repeated again.
We also stopped at the little town called Salzburg that was made famous for The Sound of Music. It was the town that most of the movie was shot at, and the hills behind it were the same hills that were like “The hills are alive with the sound of music..”. There wasn't much to see except an interesting old church and some nice cafes.
On our way to Hopfgarten we actually went out of Austria, into Germany, and back into Austria. That's because the Austrian alps were in the way and we had to go around them. We got to Hopfgarten and didn't do too much, I think there was a Battle of the Sexes night and a pyjama party. We were going to be having a huge day the next day – literally the busiest, most epic, most activity filled day of the entire tour. So I went to bed fairly early.
It was about 8am when we went outside to find a huge collection of bicycles. We all got one and a helmet, and then set off for our bike ride through the Austrian alps.
It was a fantastic day – about 30 degrees (nice and warm especially considering we're in the mountains) – and it was a fantastic ride.
I took more video than pictures since pictures don't do the place justice. We were literally riding past the chair lifts to the top of the mountains that are used for skiing during winter. Amazing!!
We arrived back at the site we were staying at at around lunch time, had a quick bratwurst and baked potato or two, and then jumped in a shuttle bus to... wait for it........................... PARAGLIDING!!
We kitted up at the bottom of the mountain then took a chairlift to the top.
See this parachute? It's the one I used to fly down to the valley below.
I'm going to have to do up this video of myself. It really was the most epic thing I've ever done. I was soaring above the trees, chilling and trying to take in every detail. Then the guy who was taking me says “Do you like roller coasters?”. “Yes,” I reply without hesitation. “Give me your best!” I said to him. And wow he certainly did his best. I was literally upside-down at one point! Apparently the tamer version of what I got was just going down in fairly tight spirals. I felt like an acrobat being taken around in random directions. Tight spiral left! Change of direction to the right! Deep dive down and then suddenly Pull Up! And Up! And OVER! It was all over way too soon. I have always been somewhat uncertain when it comes to paragliding and skydiving. But not any more. I need to go sky diving next. Who's with me?
We arrived back in the late afternoon, and since we had our bicycles for the whole day we rode them into town and went Zorbing! As if I hadn't had enough excitement for one day, right? For those who don't know, Zorbing is when you get into a giant ball, get strapped in, and then pushed down a hill. It was great fun. I was pretty dizzy afterward, but not feeling motion sick at all.
We were going to go to a trout farm and do some trout fishing, but I decided against it for no reason other than I was pretty tired and knew that I would be having a late night anyway. Brett went trout fishing, apparently you can either use corn as bait or a live worm. He tried the corn first and had no luck for like an hour. He put a worm on and as soon as his line touched the water he caught a nice trout. The idea was you had to kill the fish yourself then take it to a man who cleaned and cooked it for you. Pretty cool stuff!
Just as an added bonus, once a year in Hopfgarten they hold the Highlander Games which is pretty much where the Austrians dress up as Scotsmen,, get drunk, and throw logs around. We spent the evening there drinking beer, face-painting each other, and watching a local cover band play songs by AC/DC and such.
What a day am I right? I really need to go back to Austria, preferably to try out the ski slopes in winter! In the area we stayed, there are something like 32 resorts! The next day it was off to Munich!