Hiking in Bärenschützklamm, Austria

Hello readers,

this hike is from October this year, but soon I will be posting about a recent trip also! Couldn’t find the time to properly post in the past weeks.

So, in the second week of October me and my godmother went on a trip to a gorge that’s nearby my hometown. It’s very beautiful there, even more in spring where I went there twice in my life already. But the autumn colours were also great to see!

“Bärenschützklamm” basically means “Bears (Bären) protecting (Schütz[en]) gorge (Klamm)”. Wikipedia says that it has nothing to do with bears (I don’t even think we have many!), but comes from the slawic word “pršica”… which sounds a bit like “Bärenschütz”. I’ve said it out loud now a few times to hear the similarity and well, with some (ok, a lot of) imagination it works. Luckily I’m writing at home and not in a coffee shop!

It’s easy to get there by car, there is a big parking space, and I’ve never had trouble finding a spot. There is also a train going to “Mixnitz/Bärenschützklamm” by ÖBB train (from for example Vienna, Graz or Salzburg with Graz being the closest). From the train station it’s a bit of a walk to the gorge, but it goes through a nice town and by meadows. I went by car last time, so I can’t remember how long it really takes, but I would guess like 30 minutes to the parking spot. Then you hike some time through the forest, by a nice stream and then uphill. We started at about 10 am, the sun only came out later.

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At the entrance you have to pay, I can’t remember how much, but it wasn’t a lot (under 5 euros). Unfortunately I can’t find online information about the fee (something I should stop relying on, obviously). Edit: According to Wikipedia it was 3, 50 Euros in 2017 for adults.

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The hike from the parking spot to the hut at the end of the gorge should be about 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your breaks. It goes up most of the time, with ladders and bridges. It’s 164 bridges and 2500 steps on ladders (Source).

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There weren’t many people, but it was also cold and foggy. The steps were a bit slippery at times, but it wasn’t too bad.

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Unfortunately I lost my lense cap to the gorge! I wasn’t happy about that! But luckily I still own more of them. Just feeling a bit bad about my “littering”.

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After all of those steps (so many!) you have to walk a bit further through the woods to get to a hut, that offers food and drinks. From there you can even hike a bit more if you like. We stopped at the hut and then hiked back down. In summer it’s very nice to sit outside, but we only sat there shortly, it got very cold when the sun was hidden! In summer you can even have a picnic on the meadow, if you don’t want to get anything from the hut. They also have a vegetarian dish (lentils), which is uncommon for those huts, but very cool!

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Bergfex.at says it’s about 3:30 hrs to hike the whole thing. After the hut, we walked back down (you could also hike the gorge back down, but I think no one does that, since it would be annoying to get past the other hikers!), it mostly goes downhill from there, but still very nicely through the forest.

Compared to the last gorge I went to, it was such a nice hike! There weren’t tons of people (just a few) and you could really enjoy the views!

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On the way back the sun came out and we saw colourful autumn trees, which I’m fond of. I can see an elephant on the picture, but I might be the only one! An elephant without ears.

I found another picture on my computer from a hike to the same gorge in spring (taken by a friend), so you’ll have a comparison. Much greener and less fog! 🙂

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Hope you enjoyed my little post about this great hike!

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Travel Tip: Riegersburg and Zotter Chocolate Factory (Austria)

Our trip to Riegersburg and Zotter Chocolate Factory was about a year ago, in November 2015 and we had beautiful weather. I really recommend going there in autumn because of the colours, it just looks amazing.

Both, Riegersburg and the chocolate factory, are in the same area, easily reached from Graz. Graz is located in Styria, South of Austria.

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First, we went to Riegersburg and had Pizza at the restaurant (“Seehaus”) at the lake. The lake looked so nice, it must be fun to swim there in summer. Then we drove to the castle Riegersburg, parked in the town and walked up. We had to pay a fee at the entrance. I remember we couldn’t go inside the castle because it was too late in the year, but we enjoyed the place and the views anyway! Please check their website before visiting because opening times can change.

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Funny dude watching us

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Afterwards, we drove to Zotter chocolate factory and did the tour (we had booked it before by calling). These are the prices.

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You get to see a short film about the history of Zotter Factory and then the tour begins. Ours was with audio guides and the best part is that you get to taste tons of different kinds of chocolate! Even hot chocolate and really weird ones with Tequila for example. I especially remember the Tequila one being pretty good, so I bought some in the shop later to take it home. Also their Soja white chocolate, it’s very tasty!

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Last, we went to the zoo (price is included in admission) and looked at some animals. Unfortunately, it has gotten dark, so we couldn’t see some animals anymore. There were bunnies, pigs, horses, goat, …

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I really recommend visiting the area! There also are many different walks you can do and it’s especially beautiful in autumn. Maybe go a bit earlier than we did, to still see the inside of the castle Riegersburg! Also, there are many more things to see and do in the area, so we might even go there again some time!

Links

Riegersburg (Their homepage had some troubles loading fully in my browser, but if it works in yours, you can click on “Deutsch” and change the language this way!)

Seehaus Riegersburg

Zotter

If you like ham, Vulcano Schinken is close and easily reached by car.

Travel Tip: Portobello, Edinburgh

Since I’ve been gathering pictures of most places I’ve been to, I thought I’d share information and tips about the places I’ve liked most over time.

This one is going to be about a suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland called “Portobello”. I went there in summer 2015 and I very much enjoyed my time there! I remember finding Edinburgh a bit too busy and crammed with tourists, but Portobello wasn’t like that at all. Regarding Edinburgh I have to admit that we went there in July, one of the most touristic months! I enjoyed the city, still. It’s a very interesting place to go to and there is lots of things to see. Also, being a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I like the connection with J.K.Rowling.

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Portobello is full of thrift shops (I love browsing their stuff), small cafés and local people. There are many families with young children and pensioners. And of course, there is the beach. We didn’t go into the sea because of the temperatures, but it was nice to sit there and relax (also after busy days in the centre of Edinburgh!). We found out about many good places to eat via Trip Advisor. (I am starting to have a strange passion for this web page, looking up restaurants a lot. I guess, I’ve eaten in bad places a lot during travelling before!)

We went to eat at “The Espy” once because we read that it has the best burgers in town. It wasn’t the best burgers I’ve ever eaten, but they were still good. Also, it was a cosy place to sit.

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Portobello also has a history of being a well-known beach resort. Even though I haven’t seen anyone diving into the ocean, I am sure there are times when you can do so!

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We stayed at Ardgarth Guest House, close to the beach and in walking distance to the centre. It was a very nice place but unfortunately is closed now. I’m sure there are other nice B&Bs in the area, though. Buses go to the centre of Edinburgh all the time, and it’s a quick ride.

I really recommend staying there if you go see Edinburgh. If you just stay in the centre, everything is overwhelming, but with staying in Portobello it gets a bit calmer! It’s just a very nice place to stay at (and probably live in, also). Although I don’t think the Dire Straits Song “Portobello Belle” is about this Portobello. 😉

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