Down Memory Lane

In 1964, fifty years ago, was a young student at the Free University of Amsterdam. With two friends I went to Austria during our summer holidays. Both also named Jan, so in the following pictures you will see Jan St (me) , Jan V and Jan Str. Camping in Tirol, hiking in the mountains. On one of these hikes we met Robert, a friendly German and an experienced mountaineer, who took us to the summit of the Wilder Freiger, 3418 m. It was a fascinating experience.

We were hooked and wanted to become mountaineers ourselves!


Wilder Freiger

We became members of the Austrian Alpine Club and the next year we followed a training course at the (in those days) famous Kaunergratschule. Here we got a thorough instruction in the handling of rope, ice axe and crampons, how to rescue somebody who had fallen in a glacier crevasse, we learned how to rappel down steep rock faces, to brake our fall on the snow and much more.

The course took two weeks, a balanced mix of theory and practice. As a part of the program we climbed several of the majestic mountains around the hut. Most impressive was the Watze Spitze with its hanging glacier.

After the training program, we felt confident enough to make our own alpine tours. We stayed in the same alpine region, but hiked to another hut, from where we climbed a few beautiful mountains, culminating in the Wildspitze, the second-highest mountain of Austria at 3770 m.

Here are more pictures, taken during these holidays. Most of them still in black and white. I found them in one of my photo albums, it was quite fun to reconstruct this part of my past, as I had forgotten most of the details. The last picture is a scan of the trip diary I kept during our stay. With information about weather and snow conditions, information about the route chosen, the difficulty (I – VI, I = easy, III= difficult)

To keep my family informed, I sent them postcards regularly. Later they had given back these postcards to me and I had put them in my album. Had completely forgotten that I had written on the backside of these cards. It is in Dutch, it gives a nice “travelogue” of our holidays.

A nice trip down memory lane!

Europe Trip 2013 part 2

From Salzburg it is not far to the romantic small town of Hallstatt, situated on the shore of a lake.We stayed there three nights, to explore the region. Besides enjoying the atmosphere of the place, we visited a few popular tourist attractions.


On our first day we took the cable car to the Ice Cave and the Five Fingers. The Ice Cave fills up completely with snow and ice during winter, even in summer this ice remains there.




We also visited the nearby Mammoth Cave (not that interesting) and then took a second  cable car higher up. Fabulous views of the Hoher Dachstein massif (2995 m). Nice flowers. And a mountain hut, with food and beer, reminding me of my younger days as a mountaineer..:-)





After our lunch we walked to the famous Five Fingers. A metal construction, resembling a hand with a beautiful view of Hallstatt deep down. Not suitable for people with fear of heights…:-) A popular place for paragliders




The next day we visited the salt mine. Hallstatt has a glorious past because of this mine. In the past miners mined the rock salt and to take it out they used slides. These slides are now a tourist attraction. Big fun!


An “attraction” of a very different kind can be found in one of the churches. Because of its location, Hallstatt had only a limited space for a cemetery. Therefore after not so many years old graves were emptied to make space for new burials. The skulls of the deceased were treated with respect, painted with names etc, and kept in a chapel. Very impressive.


After Hallstatt we continued our trip in the direction of Switzerland, passing on our way the Krimml waterfalls. Impressive falls, the highest in Austria and, according to the website, the 5th-highest in the world. That however is cheating, as the falls consist of three separate tiers!



We had planned to spend one night in Innsbruck, but instead decided to stay in the small, medieval town of Hall in Tirol, not far from Innsbruck. An unexpected, pleasant surprise.



Europe trip 2013 part 1

I will split this post in a few parts, because it covers a two-week trip through Europe, visiting Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein (!), Switzerland and France. I took more than 1000 pictures. Don’t worry, I will publish here only a few..:-)

We started with a long (750 km) drive from Amsterdam to Regensburg in Bavaria. This is a very old town and a Unesco World Heritage site.


It is located on the Danube river, has many beautiful buildings and is famous food-wise for its sausages. Less touristic than its neigbours Nürnberg and Salzburg, it was a nice surprise for us.

The next day we crossed the border with Austria on our way to a tiny hamlet with a funny name: Fucking. There is nothing to see, there is not even a shop, but every year thousands of tourists come here to have their picture taken with the signboard for the village. And so did we …:-)



Salzburg was our next destination, the town where Mozart was born. We stayed in Hotel Mozart, had dinner in Cafe Mozart, visited the house where he lived and went to a concert where his music was played. The Salzburger Festspiele had just finished, but there were still many tourists. A beautiful town with the castle Hohensalzburg high above the town.


We stayed two nights in Salzburg, the weather was splendid. We really enjoyed the Hohensalzburg castle, spent almost a full day there. The Hellbrun Palace, just outside the town, was fun, with its trick fountains. Unbelievable that an archbishop was responsible for it. Here is a collection of Salzburg pictures.

From Salzburg we continued our trip to Hallstatt, that will be part two of this report. Here already two galleries about the whole trip. First some pictures of the places where we stayed overnight. We like Guesthouses, Pensions, Bed en Breakfast places better than the big hotels.

And of course we had lots of food…:-) The German and Austrian cuisine are not very refined, but they serve in general huge portions. With lots of beer.In France we had a few times really fine dining.