These photos capture three days in Bad Gastein, Austria. This is one of those beautiful Austrian valleys in the Alps that changes with the weather. Our first day here we had warm weather and met some of the greenest lushest grass we have seen on this entire trip. The next day it poured rain so we hunkered down to some BIG TIME slothing! When we woke this morning, the sun was trying to break through the mist and the mountain tops were covered in snow. As the day progressed, the green against the white was striking.
This valley has a a crystal clear stream passing through called the Gastein Ache – I love the name since “Bad” refers to the thermal spas found in the area. Apparently, this place was the stuff back in the day when royal figures like Empress Sisi and Otto von Bismarck came for spa treatments after Marie Curie discovered that radon therapy was going to be great for the body! Strangely, the fancy hotels built to house royalty now stand abandoned against the mountains, but tourism still thrives. This time of year is very quiet, but I can see that winter sports and summer hikers bring tourism to the area.
Later – we found out that this place was also a hotspot for the Nazis. Why the hotels are abandoned is because a Jewish man bought them, but never did anything with them. They have basically been empty since the 50s, but the man recently died, and the town is trying to make arrangements so the beautiful buildings may perhaps be preserved.
Needless to say, this place is spectacular. We are staying at the base of the valley along the creek. A walk to town means walking across the river, up its three cascades, up even further, then back down. Once we reached the top today, there was a bit of rain and when we looked back over the valley – a rainbow! We even found GOLD at the end of the rainbow – beer and cheese!
The three pictures below of Max – there was a dam of sorts built across the stream. A very steep half -pipe of cement was built as a water break of sorts, but Max was intrigued to traverse it. He took off his belt in case he needed a rope back up the incline. His tennis shoes, strength and momentum got him safely back to the top.
This was the drop on the other side of the cement dam that Max went out onto, so his travels were not without mama’s heart a’ pounding!
The picture below looks back on the metal structure that holds the cement dam.
“Hey, Washburne! Give me a smile!”
Alpine glacier water is so beautiful!
The images below show the largest of the waterfalls of the stream that flows through Bad Gastein village. Many of the old, most glamorous hotels have views of the falls. We thought we’d do a little photo shoot for North Face (Max’s jacket!).
We found our next rehab project! The house below sits right on the falls and below it is an old mill. Both in need of repair. In a few more steps into the village we would soon find that much of the town is boarded up.
These caves lead to the thermal and radon spas.
The view straight up from the village to the west.
Below, the three buildings are all beautiful old hotels with broken windows and main floors boarded.
A little bit of rain…
Brought us a rainbow…and we found…
Gold! The cheesemonger with Alpine Diary Cheeses.
Of course, the world knows there is incredible cheese here in Europe. I have been seriously curious about how these cows make such incredible butter, so I have been reading up. I learned about haymilk and haymilk cheese. Cows raised for haymilk are alpine grazed on the high meadows in the summer, and in the winter, the dairy herds are brought to lower fields where their diet continues to consist of pasture forage until it is too cold and they are given fermented hay from their pastures! This is the true meaning of “Grass Fed” cows. In the United States, unfortunately, most of our dairy cows and beef cattle are subsidized with grain diets. The diet is reflected in the taste of the product.
All over town and up the hillside are sweet herds of Alpine dairy cows with bells around their necks banging out the rhythm for a great salsa party!
And more gold at the end of the rainbow!
And another photo shoot of the cutie kid!
After enjoying some time in the village, we headed back down the mountain following a mountain trail that lead us back to our campsite.
The Alps and Bad Gastein inspired photography fun the last couple of days! Thank you Austria!