Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse and the Pasterze glacier

Zell am See Travel Blog

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We got up at 8:00 and had breakfast at 9:00. The sky seemed to be clearing. We drove up the Hochalpenstraße ("high alpine road") to the Pasterze glacier at the foot of Grossglockner. What a drive! The view was spectacular and the sky cleared for us as we got to the glacier. Before getting there, we had to drive over the Alps and start down the other side, a trip of 35 km. Linda was scared stiff but I was wishing I had a driver so I could rubberneck more. It had snowed rather substantially the night before. I stopped at a small inn near the top to take pictures and got talking with the proprietor. I asked whether the snow was normal and he said it normally snows about twice a summer but this amount was abnormal. He was shoveling what looked like more than a foot of snow.
The road to the glacier ends quite a bit above it. Linda stayed behind as I took a funicular down to what I thought would be the glacier itself. I discovered it only goes about 1/2 way down and the rest is a rather treacherous climb. I did it anyway, of course, and walked out on the glacier itself. On his return from an Alaskan trip, my dad had told me glaciers are dirty and this one certainly was, just dirt and ice but still very blue and you could look down into it. The climb back to the Talstation (base station) was brutal and I thought once or twice that I might actually die there. Eventually, I got to the top, found Lin and we started back across the Alps. The sky was even clearer and the drive was spectacular ‘til we entered clouds near Edelspitze. We stopped for lunch at the place we’d stopped at on the way back and had Gulashensuppe. We eventually made it back down, bought some carvings for the kids from a craftsman and ended up for the night at the town of Zell am See. We got a room at the Sporthotel Alpin at ÖS700/person including dinner and breakfast. After a nice walk around the town we waited out a rainstorm while having a drink, then returned and dressed for a delightful dinner. The meal included with the room was venison but I told them when we checked in that we didn’t like it much so they made weinerschnitzel for us. Delightful evening.
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Zell am See
photo by: b33tlejuice