Eurotrip 2012- Grünau im Almtal

Grünau im Almtal is lovely. If you love nature, the woods, rivers and mountains- this is the kind of place you’d definitely like to be.

Driving up to The Treehouse where we were staying (the first of the official Busabout hostels that we stayed in) the scenery was stunning- because I fail in some respects, I literally have no photos of how bloody beautiful this place is. I was too busy smashing my face up against the window with my mouth hung open in awe. But trust me, all you need to do is a wee Google Images search of the place to see what I mean.

Our stay here was a bit of a mixed bag-
First of all when we got in, we’d skipped on the lunch that was being offered as we were trying to save funds where we could and instead had eaten a hearty breakfast at our hotel in Vienna (which was free) and piled up on snacks along the way. But it resulted in us having to wait with our luggage by the front desk for about an hour and a half while the whole bus ate before anyone helped us out. To be fair there isn’t a ton of staff- but had I known that that’s how things would have played out, I would have opted for the lunch to avoid the confusion/wait.

Soon the bus was gone with most of the passengers as only a handful of us were staying, and finally we were able to get checked in. There was a bit of confusion as we’d asked for a double bed and we’re two ladies… so there was some back and forth – “double bed?”, “Yes. Double Bed.” “Are you sure? It’s only one bed?”. “Yes. Double. Bed.” Awk.Ward.

We finally settled in, showered and changed for the warm weather and went downstairs in the hope of renting some bicycles to ride out to the Almsee. We noticed as things went on that there was a group of people who’d been staying at The Treehouse for a couple days (some I think a week) together so they were really comfortable and it felt a bit awkward, like we were infringing on their territory. They would just go behind the bar and serve themselves and treat the place like home. And I know it’s meant to feel like your uncle’s cottage or something but I think Roisin and I both felt like it was a bit too relaxed bordering on disrespectful. I would never serve myself at a hotel, or even my uncle’s house without asking. Just seemed… odd.

Gerhard the owner got us some bicycles for our ride, he has a strange sense of humour but he is a lovely guy who clearly loves his work. He seemed to insinuate that we wouldn’t make it out to the Almsee and get back for dinner but we did manage, although we got caught in a pretty epic storm.

The ride down the massive hill to the town’s center is incredible. We rode for ages and ages and then this storm came out of nowhere again resulting in no photos :(. On the way back the rain finally subsided so we went for a dip in a particularly shallow part of the Alm River. The water is SO cold. So, so, so cold but so clear. It’s really good drinking water as well.

Then we continued our way back into town where we grabbed some Ritter Sports from the Spar (I must say that people in town were looking at us quite strangely as we were completely soaked from the rain) and started the holy, moly, crappy ride back up the hill. Funny that we didn’t really notice the mahhhaaaasssive incline on the way down to the town. Just enjoyed the ride. But let me tell you, there is a HUGE hill scenario from the Treehouse down to the town. Good. Lord.

We made it in time to shower quickly and head down for tea. The home cooked meals that they have are fantastic. Really, really good stuff. Again, had a bit of an awkward bout with the other people staying there, couldn’t really gel. So we played cards, some board games and watched some “Roseanne” before heading up to bed completely knackered.

The next day was rainy so we just chilled in the house all day. We played cards, enjoyed the tasty meals, watched some sitcoms and enjoyed being out in this house in the woods. But again, weren’t overly keen on the forced socialization aspect. We’re pretty easy going but there was no seamless integration with the rest of the guests. That night we decided to chill out with a few beers and ended up having a great conversation with Vasilis our Greek busabout driver. He ended up being one of the best friends we made during our travels. Such a lovely guy. He currently lives in Prague so we had quite a few discussion about our distaste vs. his love of the place. We chatted politics, travel etc. Then some local university students stopped in to have a few beers and we all played cards together. It was nice to hang out with people who were more our speed. Roisin took out her guitar and we all had a bit of a jam and went to our beds late.

The next morning we went for a wee walk in the rain again- I was trying to get some decent photos to show the beauty of the place- but due to the fog it was a no go.

Then the bus pulled up and it was time to go again. Said bye to Gerhard and The Treehouse and started our trek to Salzburg. Home of The Sound of Music and birthplace of Mozart.

K

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