When Cuban spirit met the Alps
The first week was almost over, our road trip was now in a new phase. We got used to driving, especially our little explorer, we had covered already long distance and we could now continue at much more relaxing pace! So, after we enjoyed Slovenia as much as we could within our time frame, we drove to Austria, North Tyrol.
We made a couple of requests on Couchsurfing and got an invitation from Austro-Cuban hosts! Sounds promising, what do you think?
Tunnels, green slopes and snowy rocks
We entered Austria via a tunnel, which bypasses the mountain passes of the area north of the lake Bled. Aside from the vignette we bought for Austrian motorways, there are separate tolls in several tunnels.
If the weather is nice and you are not in hurry, the mountain passes offer stunning views. In our case, there were heavy clouds and fog, so we followed the highway. Nevertheless, the route was very beautiful anyway. We could not get enough from these towering rocky mountains, the typical Austrian villages, the greenery that was struggling to shake off the last snow.
North Tyrol, on the border with Germany
Our hosts are located in the village of Ebbs. Hills with farms, lush meadows, beautiful houses and hotels with frescoes. And to the east, as if setting the boundaries, a huge line of rocks, with snow still on their slopes.
As soon as we arrived to our hosts, it was something surrealistic to dive in completely Latin atmosphere in the middle of very Austrian landscape. The couple’s Cuban guy and his friend were smoking cigars in the garden and drinking rum. Cuban music, house decorations as if we were in Trinidad, barbeque… Well, we loved the spirit immediately.
It was probably the best welcome party that we had during our trip. Ektoras was playing in the garden, we chatted in the midst of barbeque and beers, having a lovely church at the foot of the huge rocks as our afternoon view. Not surprisingly, that evening finished with salsa dancing, and our hosts, Andrea and Carroll, became our friends.
What we saw, what we did, where we went
- Kufstein, the town on the River Inn, the second largest in Tyrol after the well-known Innsbruck. The castle of 13th century, old town typical of Tyrol architecture and the promenade along the river.
- Lake Hechtsee, just a 10-minute drive from Kufstein, literally on the Austrian-German border. It was the first of the lakes we visited in the area, and we enjoyed the shade of the trees and the mountains reflecting in its waters. It is also available for bathing and this one has an organized beach with a ticket.
- Lake Tiersee. Beautiful, with large green areas around it, playgrounds, restaurants and hotels. Very touristic, but worth a visit if you are nearby.
We had already been in Salzburg in the past, we also didn’t go to Innsbruck, nor to any other famous Austrian city. On the contrary, we really enjoyed driving around small villages around, watching farms with Ektoras, as well as all the scenery.
Lakes like Walchsee, villages like Lofer and Kirchdorf in Tyrol, right next to the Hefferthorn-Fellhorn-Sonnenberg Protected Park. These are the images we keep in our mind from our days in Austria.
But what was really important? Our new friends. Andrea and Caroll offered us great hospitality and did not hesitate to trust us their home on our way back to Crete. We enjoyed seeing them again in the end of our adventure, sharing our impressions and we wait for their visit to our house in Crete.
Smiles, good company, dancing, recipes, exchange of experiences, these were the most important things to us. After all, why traveling if not to get to know the different way of life? And what can be better than making new friends in every foreign place?