Tannheimer Valley and Vilsalpsee

Our last excursion from our base in Durach where were staying with Karen’s cousin Wolfgang and his wife Ingrid was back over the border into Austria. On the way we drove up through the wonderfully named Oy-Nesselwang which of course encouraged Wolfgang to say Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy! From there we continued driving higher to Oberjoch before turning to our destination which was Tannheim. On our arrival we parked and then gathered some informative map booklets of the Tannheimer Tal from the Tourist Information Centre. As time was short the four of us took a tourist train through the town and up the valley to the Vilsaplsee, a lovely lake in the middle of some impressive scenery.

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When we left the train we passed a restaurant and could also see a hotel here at the edge of the lake. Clearly a great spot summer or winter. Along with many others we started to walk around the lake. the path was gravelly but it was quite flat. Wolfgang pointed out the various wildflowers that he knew on the bank at the side of the path as we went. Some made good photographic subjects, some were harder to get a good view of due to the sun and shadows.

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However as we walked the most impressive thing was the fantastic reflections of the scenery in the lake in all directions. There was virtually no wind which certainly helped with the reflections as it wasn’t particularly early in the morning.

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We chatted as we went and enjoyed the sunny conditions. After walking for quite some time we left the lake and some minutes later we came to a viewpoint for a small waterfall.

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Just past that there was a wooden building which turned out to be a restaurant at Vilsalpe. As we weren’t carrying water I popped in and quickly purchased some water. We were conscious of the time so we started our journey back along the same path for a while to the lake. Completing the circuit of the lake would have been good but the way was not clear due to a landslide some time ago and a rope was barring our way so we headed back on the same side of the lake that we had come. As we came in sight of the restaurant we noticed the tourist train we had come out on was heading back towards Tannheim. We had only missed it by a few minutes. Interestingly a change in wind direction had made the reflections we had photographed some time ago hard to imagine as the water was nowhere near as flat now.

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While we waited for the next train in thirty minutes time we made use of the restaurant toilets and purchased a few souvenirs. The lady behind the souvenir counter was from the Netherlands originally and was quite happy to chat with us. When the train returned we showed our tickets and boarded. Once back in Tannheim we changed forms of transport and were soon in Wolfgang’s car. As we drove we could see quite a few parachutes descending from the nearby high points. Wolfgang made a short detour to another nearby lake, the Haldensee I believe. We had excellent vistas down the lake to a scenic little town dwarfed by massive mountains as a backdrop.

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It was certainly a memorable way to finish our European trip as later that we night we were on a plane from Munich heading home after a wonderful time.

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