This week has been full of everything you’d expect in a week living in a van.
And emptying your own shit and piss into a small hole in the ground.
I think I want to add an addition to the weekly as I think it’ll be fun to capture the highest points of the week and also the lowest points of the week. When you’re solo traveling you are susceptible to a varying range of emotions and I think it’s important to not only capture them at my highest but potentially lowest too.
Highs and lows for the week
High Moment: Sunset at Lake Seebensee. Mirror reflections. Red golden mountains. Had the place to myself. UNREAL.
Low Moment: Finally finding somewhere to empty my toilet after nearly 3 weeks of it being used. Not. A. Good. Time.
I’ve basically spent the entire week in Austria, aside from some crossings into Germany just because google maps takes me there. I’ll be honest, Austria has never been on my list, and sorry, WHY?
WHAT. A. PLACE.
Honestly, one of the most incredible places I’ve been to. Despite the Austrians absolutely hating the van life community, which has presented its challenges. It’s been one of the most fun countries I’ve ever been to.
Incredible mountain passes, blue glacier lakes, tooth-like mountain peaks, quintessential alpine villages, and cheaper than the UK. What more could you ask for?
The weekend saw me hike one of the highest peaks in a certain district in Austria, not going to lie I can’t say, nor spell, it so I’m not even going to bother.
But the hike was in the Lunersee area and was one of the most magnificent lakes I have ever seen. Getting the cable car from the valley below, the alpine lake loomed above the hill, and as the cable car crested what an amazing first site. Getting the first cable car was a bonus, as meant it didn’t have too many people to spoil the view. That and the morning sun and blue sky combo was a dream.
From there, I hiked 1200m or so to summit Schesaplana, which is actually a peak in Switzerland. On the way back down I took the Austrian way on board and stopped for a pint at the alpine hut halfway down.
From here my plan was to stay at a campsite so I could shower properly, empty my toilet and plan my next adventures.
However, the ATM in Bludenz had a different idea. Swallowing my bank card and leaving me without cash was one way to make sure I couldn’t book a campsite for the evening.
However, some silver linings. I had parked in a lay-by, mostly in a sulk because I was still sweaty and dirty when I was approached by an Austrian man. Expecting him to tell me to move on, he actually suggested I followed the dirt path a little further up to a parking place where there would be a BBQ, seating, a fire pit, and a small lake where I could swim.
He wasn’t wrong. Thank you Mr. Random Austrian man, this welsh boy swam the dirt away!
Just my luck the following day, Monday, was an Austrian bank holiday so no supermarkets, etc were open. Luckily I found another ATM and managed to get some cash out as a safety net should I need it.
I stopped over in Germany for the night as I nipped across the border to get into a supermarket. Turns out they were closed too.
From there I drove by the Neuschwanstein castle, one of the longest suspension bridges in Europe, and a few other cool villages and towns before reaching the next hiking spot, Sebensee.
I got there quite early so thought I’d chill in the van, catch up on some bits and miss the crowd by catching the last gondola up.
That turned out to be the best decision for the trip.
After the incredible gondola ride to the trailhead and when starting the hike, I basically passed everyone as they had finished with the lake for the day and were heading back to their cars.
Two lakes and a hut beer were on the agenda and I had everything crossed that the sunset would be good enough to capture some pictures.
Hiking to the first lake, Seebensee, was fairly easy and what was supposed to be a 2-hour hike only took me an hour. Even still, when I finally got a view of the lake it was incredible. The peaks behind had some of the last light shining on them, whilst the lake below was shaded by them. I knew it would get better closer to sunset, so I edged around the lake and make the steep ascent up to the second lake, Drachensee.
This is where I’d grab a beer, watch the sunset on the towering peaks above me, and listen to the multitude of languages in the hut whilst they were all having their dinner.
As I could see the final lights setting in the sky, I finished my pint, threw on my backpack, and danced my way back down to Seebensee.
Oh boy, I wasn’t ready for what was to come. The water was even more still than earlier, but the mountains that were behind me, were now in front of me and their mirror-like reflection in the lake was such an incredible sight to behold.
I sat for a little while, wondering how this all happened and how I got here. Overwhelmed with emotions as 2 years ago, almost to the date, this all nearly ended. Yet here I am still able to enjoy and experience moments like these.
I was alive.
I am living.
Till next week,