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Weekend 3: Unaccomplished Plans

Saturday: Villach - Spittal - Penk - Villach

To get the most out of the day, I got up really early and took the 6:18AM train to Spittal. Little did I know it was only 20 minutes away and most stuff doesn't open until 9AM. I walked around town and saw they were setting up some kind of celebration (seem to be a lot of weekend summer celebrations everywhere). Finally at nine I took a gondola up the local mountain. And the usual view, blah blah blah...

I'd called the day before to reserve a Canyoning slot - of course the real reason I got up so early was that I was excited to try it out. By the way, canyoning is exploring rivers and rapelling down waterfalls and stuff like that. I didn't really see anywhere to go canyoning, so I called the company and found out it was actually in a different city (Penk). It was no big deal, because it was still early when I came down from the mountain.

I took a train to the Penk station and arrived with an hour to spare...except for the fact that the station was deserted and halfway up the side of a mountain. And the town of Penk? I walked up and down the track for about 20 minutes trying to think of what to do. There were three towns down in the valley and I figured one of them was Penk. There was no real path I could see down, so I figured the quickest way was straight down (I chose the middle city). After slipping and sliding down for about 20 minutes I reached a road, which I followed until I hit some houses. I was in luck, because the people living there told me Penk was just down the road.

So Mahler didn't just live out by the street where it would have been convenient for him to go to the store or something - he had to have a small cottage out isolated one or two miles out in the woods to do his composing. I guess it makes sense. It's up on a small hill in the forest overlooking the lake - very solitary. And I had some random desire to start humming one of his symphonies...

OK, not that lucky - I finally made it to Penk, but couldn't find the outfitting company. They happened to be across a river from the main Penk and I arrived, but 20 minutes too late. I ate and took a bus home through the valley disappointed (which is what I should have taken in the first place). I didn't cry though (really!).

Back in Villach I biked out to Silbersee (Silver lake), a small lake the locals use in the evenings or on weekends. The water was the perfect temperature, which is surprising for such a small lake. Went home...

Sunday: Villach - Mallnitz - Villach

The plan was to go to Raggaschluct - some canyon thing you can walk through. OK, the way I worded that sentence probably tells you I didn't make it there. Anyways, I went to a cafe in the morning and ordered what I though was carbonated apple juice, but it turned out to be apple juice with beer or some kind of alcohol. Not too strong, though.

I took the train to Mallnitz, which I judged to be close to Raggaschluct, but it turned out since it was Sunday there wasn't really any way to get the rest of the way except by taxi. So I wandered around Mallnitz. There wasn't really anything to do, but Billa (supermarket) was open - surprising since I thought all supermarkets were closed on sundays. Turns out in touristy areas they open supermarkets on Sundays. There was also some nature/science museum which I toured with the use of the Kaernten card.

Mallnitz is actually part of the Hohe Tauern National Park, which spans a section of Carinthia and includes lots of mountains and glaciers, so the place was really scenic. Usually there's a cable car which runs up the mountains surrounding the town, but it wasn't open yet. So it was kind of a disappointment to again not accomplish anything.

I took the train back to Villach in the evening and again went to Silbersee, which made everything better...