Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A different visual feast

I spent lots of today and yesterday spotting the differences between Switzerland and Austria. Admittedly we’ve not been on such pretty or mountainous roads as yesterday but I’m less excited by Austria which seems to have a higher tree and snow line and is therefore less dramatic and craggy. There also seems to be fewer blossoming geraniums that seemed to spill from every window box, roundabout and pot in Switzerland. Instead though we have more castles; more attention to detail in the buildings themselves with even simple balustrades of balconies being cut to attractive and repeated shapes; miniature bell towers atop many private houses; wonderful living maypoles with the fir tree branches still growing at the top and church spires in a fascinating array of pointy or bulbous shapes, with an obvious ‘Ottoman’ influence.
This is true of the meadows also: there is the slightly bazaar sight of lots of little huts (on grass with no cattle) scattered over every meadow on the mountain, no matter how high up. When we came through on the way from Italy last year we saw people actually cutting the patch of grass adjacent to their hut with hand mowers and scythes. There are no houses near by so they come to tend their tiny patch of mountain specially. I asked my Austrian friend about them when we got back and she said it was to do with subsidies but Dominique or Rodger, if you can shed(!) any more light on this very peculiar scheme of mowing the very mountainside by foot I’d LOVE to hear more! Yo can just see some huts if you look carefully at the meadows in this photo.

Tonight we are parked down another forestry track just near a ski area. We took a little look around the piestes and it’s very odd to see them without the snow on. My highlight of today was buying a pair of really good quality second hand rental skis (new to the shop last year) for just E150, thank-you for helping me with those Grandpa! Not only will they be great for Iran, Bulgaria and Turkey but they’ll be way superior to the rental skis in Scotland that are only replaced every 10 years or so.
I apologise for the ropey lay out of my blog by the way but always in a rush when we're blogging and haven't had time to sit down and work out lay out yet...


  1. Please tell me at some point you have had a yodel or at least run up a hill singing 'The Hills are Alive...' Loving the blog, so glad you made Paris. Keep posting! xxx

  2. Hi Alex and Becka,

    Its great reading your blog whilst I am sat in a rather chilly Scotland (almost feels like I am there with you) Looks like your having such a fantastic time! Have fun and I will keep reading x Much Love Emma-Fleur

  3. Lovely to hear from you guys!
    Failed to yodal I'm afraid after I saw some other tourists doing it and got put off!