A Dam Tour at Last


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Europe » Austria » Salzburg » Zell am See » Kaprun
August 12th 2011
Published: August 12th 2011
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Mooserboden ReservoirMooserboden ReservoirMooserboden Reservoir

View from the dam across the Mooserboden Reservoir.
So after deciding not to go to the dam yesterday, I got up early today and went there again on my own, as I was the only one of us who wanted to see the dam, hopefully beating the queues. I was in luck as once I got there I was able to buy a ticket and get straight on the bus. The only downside of being there that early is that the buses go in pairs and they don’t set-off until both busses are full, so I had to wait on the bus for a while.

I had a slight scare when I got there in the car as they directed me into the multi-storey car park and I realised just in time that the car park ceiling wasn’t high enough for the car and the roof-box. I then had to turn round and drive down the entrance road to the car park, much to the confusion of all the cars coming up what was supposed to be a one way road. I think they just dismissed it as the insane acts of a mad Englishman and forgot about it. Once I eventually managed to explain my problem to
Mooserboden DamMooserboden DamMooserboden Dam

On of the two dams holding the Mooserboden Reservoir.
the lady who was directing everyone into the car park, she let me drive up to where we had parked the day before.

Getting to the upper dams (there are three in total – one lower down and two at the top) first involved a bus journey, which went through some very long tunnels. Then there was something very strange called an angle railway. This is basically a level platform big enough for two busloads of people (hence them going in pairs), which gets pulled up the slope that is obviously too steep for coaches. Apparently it is the longest such railway in the world. There is then another bus ride to the top.

Once up there, everyone is pretty much free to go anywhere they like. There are also a number of hikes that start from there. Looking at the sign, they were all several hours long and all but one of them were marked as black and, judging by the helmets, sticks and other gear that some people had, they are obviously not a gentle afternoon walk with the children.

I booked on a dam tour, but it would be an hour and a half
Lower Reservoir Lower Reservoir Lower Reservoir

The view down on the lower reservoir from one of the upper dams.
before one left that would be in English, so that left plenty of time to walk along both dams (there are two of them at the top) as well as climb to the top of the rock that separates them and to visit the Visitors’ Centre. The theme of the centre was power and ice, but there were no English translations in there (the only place where this has been the case) so it was all a bit hard to follow.

Our son is definitely going to stick with his German lessons at school whether he likes it or not.

The dam tour was worthwhile, but, unlike the Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam, the actual power station is down in Kaprun, so that is not part of the tour. Our guide explained the system of pipelines to collect the glacial melt-water and deliver it to the reservoirs and then to deliver it to the power station. We also got to walk through one of the dams and we saw how they are constantly measuring any movement in the dam, just in case the movement is not what they would normally expect. There were only a handful of English so our guide did the tour in both English and German. I’m not sure what jokes he was making during the German piece, but they were all laughing and those jokes didn’t seem to be translated into English. No worries though as we were there for information and not jokes, and we certainly got plenty of that.

After the tour, it was a case of reversing the journey to get back down to the car again. I drove back to Rauris and met the others walking back from the swimming pool. That was handy for them as it was literally about to start raining again.

A restaurant in Wörth had been recommended to us so we drove down there to eat. It is by some fishing lakes and apparently you can catch the fish and they will then serve what you have caught to you in the restaurant. The rain and the fact that it was early evening meant that the fishing was not really an option, but also, the restaurant was fully booked so we had to drive back to Rauris anyway.

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