Bad Gastein

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August 1st 2009
Published: August 6th 2009
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We seem to time our travel to be on rainy days so we bundled ourselves up and caught the tram to our stop and we were off and running. It took about 9 hours to get to Bad Gastein by train via Salzburg but well worth the effort.

Bad Gastein was our choice to do adventure travel options mainly canyoning. After checking in (and being up graded to a private room - like the place even more) we headed down to book ourselves in for Canyoning the next day and sort out some food. With luck the chef here is fantastic with food and ordering the special for the day (a 3 course meal of soup, main with salad and dessert) we headed up stairs for some well earned sleep and to get ready for canyoning.

Canyoning, what it is? Well it’s an adventure sport that involves negotiating your way downstream safely through the maze that nature has made of small waterfalls, pools with strong flows of water and the odd rocks and obstacles’ along the way that are covered by either sliding down them, jumping across or jumping into them.

Jay and I rocked up to the starting point with a little bit of trepidation - we both have a healthy respect of heights - and a nervous smile was on my face at least. Loaded up with 2 full wetsuites, a flimsy pullover thing, life jacket, booties, stack-hat and harness we waddled our way looking like the Michelin man up the hill to where our starting off point was to be. We stopped on a bridge and looked over the edge of 2 raging waterfalls and our bravado left us there and then...we are not jumping off that! A bit more of a walk and now even more nervous than before we climb over the barriers and make our way to water level.

Down on the rocks we had to jump into the water and stand to the side away from the current whilst everyone got in safely. Okay no problems, think Austrian Alps, think snow capped alps and then....cold water. Refreshingly cold water... okay, bloody freezing water. By now I am awake and ready to move in order to warm up a bit as we slowly make our way to our first obstacle.

I will say right now that I am so proud of Jay. Being one of only a few guys in the group he was singled out several times to negotiate the obstacle first and assist the 1 of the 2 guides at the end of the obstacle to ensure everyone made it down/through safely meaning he had to go first most times.

The canyoning was a huge success and after about 2 hours of working our way down the river we came to the final 2 obstacles....did I mention the waterfalls earlier.... hmmm I did. Yes well they were the final 2 obstacles for the day and I am ever so proud to say, we jumped off them both. I had egged Jay on when we were assessing our option to be able to climb up a rope to safety or jump at the final viewing point at the “you can get out from here and not jump” location. I put it to Jay with all my false confidence to get him to jump with the all famous line “if we don’t do this we will regret it” phrase that I knew would convince him to jump and hell if he went there was going to jump there was no way I wasn’t going to jump as well. A good 10m each and the tricky thing is once you do the first you have to do the second, there is no way out. We did them and we were so buzzed afterwards I we will definitely be doing canyoning somewhere else before our journey ends.

We also walked around the small town of Bad Gastein which is a sleepy town in summer with plenty of hikes/mountain bike trails etc to do but I would imagine that winter it would be a different pace altogether. There is a glacier in the background and the highest mountain in Austria, Glockenburg 8 isn’t too far from here either. The mountains around are still snow capped and the melting snow feeds into the many rivers around. Through the middle of the town there is a raging waterfall that makes the most thunderous noise as you get nearer. We wandered around for an afternoon and called it a day.

Our last full day in Bad Gastein and we decided to go and visit the Liechtenstein-Klammwaterfall, Apparently one of the bigger waterfalls in Europe. With an hour or so drive to get there and a very scenic half hour walk of various sized waterfalls with masses of water flowing over, it’s very loud walking through here and all you can hear is the sound of the flowing water trying to push its way past the many rocks and drops to get to the smooth steady river below, the rocks above are almost closing the canyon in and are dripping with water then we make it to the end and clearing where the Liechtenstein Waterfall is. It is a huge drop, probably about 50 or so metres and the river it feeds into looks very innocuous as it almost dribbles its way into the canyon that we’ve just walked through.

Our next stop is Budapest and we are really looking forward to seeing what it has to offer.


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