A Day Hike in Austria
Lots of liters of beer and giant pretzels at THE Oktoberfest in Munich. Boatloads of baguettes, countless crepes and many macaroons in Paris. A sizable sachertorte and a few Aperol spritzes in Vienna. Several days into our two-week 2011 Europe vacation—while we had hiked our way down streets and through expansive museums—my husband, our travel buddies and I were ready to burn some of those calories, gain some altitude and see some countryside beyond the city streets.
Fortunately, I knew a guy. Well, I found a guy online, thanks to TripAdvisor: Yannick Laffrat of Trekking Austria, who promised to pick up our fearless foursome in downtown Vienna and show us a great day hike. After planning an action-packed agenda hitting up an abundance of sights in three countries, we were ready to let someone else find a trail for us as we went along for the ride—and the hike.
After waking up early and fueling up with (yet another!) pastry in a downtown Vienna bakery, we saw Yannick’s forest green van pull in to view at our designated meeting place. An hour and a half later, we ended up at our Austrian Alps destination, to embark on a West Raxalpe day hike in Upper Styria.
While we refrained from belting out, “the hills are alive” in the style of Julie Andrews, we didn’t hold back from ogling the breathtaking sights on the way to the summit.
A multilingual and energetic tour guide, Yannick showed us the scenery while snapping pics and keeping us moving. I quickly realized I needed to do more cardio as we wondered if this moderate hike would classify as strenuous in the US. The hiking poles Yannick provided came in quite handy! We gained 3,074 feet in elevation and experienced an elevation change of 4,100 feet over 8.4 miles—stats he emailed us (in meters, of course!) after the hike. The rest of our gear—as well as food and drink—was up to us, but we didn’t need much given the wonderful September weather.
Eight hours later (including a stop at a lodge for a snack and beverage on the way down), we were back at Yannick’s van, with sore legs but special memories of a beautiful day in the Austrian Alps.
While traveling trails in the US, Jamie and I are usually a DIY couple that reviews maps, quizzes park rangers and scours the internet for the best hikes. But while traveling internationally, it was great to have a knowledgeable guide who could get us out of the city, safely show us spectacular surroundings, and have us back in Vienna in time for—you guessed it—dinner.
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Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
Holly B and the Hashtag 59 Team