lakes tagged posts

Hallstatt is the Heart of Austria’s Beautiful Lakes District

Austria's village of Hallstatt reflected in the lake of the same name

Hallstatt

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hallstatt is reflected so perfectly in the lake that it is often described as one of Europe’s most beautiful villages. The Chinese admire it so much they’ve built an exact replica. But it is just one of many “screensaver worthy” scenes in Austria’s Lakes District.

Set between the foothills and the Alps, this region, called Salzkammergut in German, is about 300 kilometers west of Vienna and just an hour’s drive southeast of Salzburg. With 76 lakes and soaring limestone mountains, the Salzkammergut offers exquisite scenery and water sports not to mention hiking, biking and fishing.

It is difficult to believe there are so many different blues, but each lake lays claim to its own unique shade. Centuries-old, flower-decked wooden holiday houses, simple lakeside cottages, and rustic boat sheds adorn each lake shore. Wildflowers carpet rolling fields; woodpiles are stacked with designer precision (Austria wins Olympic gold for wood stacking); small boats tootle on the waters; huge trout and arctic char slither underneath; walkers and cyclists breathe the clear mountain air.

The name Salzkammergut...

Read More

Photo Friday: Rocky Mountaineer Train Vistas through the Canadian Rockies

This view of tranquil Lake Kamloops is just one of the many exquisite views from the Rocky Mountaineer train through Canada's Rocky Mountains

I took this picture for Photo Friday at Lake Kamloops while riding the spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver in British Columbia to Jasper in Alberta. This privately-owned, daylight-only train adventure offers sensational itineraries through the Canadian Rockies.

It comes from a proud pedigree of two great railways, the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Rail, which played a key role in the settlement of Canada.

The president of Canadian Pacific Rail believed tourism was vital to the railway’s success and he famously said back in the 1880s, “If we can’t export the scenery, we’ll import the tourists.”

And import them they did with both companies developing grand hotels to entice travellers along their routes. More than 130 years later Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf guests still stay in spiffed-up, Victorian-era edifices like the Banff Springs Hotel, Chateau Lake Louise and Jasper Park Lodge, now all run by the esteemed Canadian hotelier Fairmont.

The be...

Read More

Photo Friday: Hiking around Gelmer Lake in Switzerland

Gelmer Lake is part of a massive hydro-electric system in the Bernese Oberland

I took this picture during a hike around the gorgeous aquamarine Gelmer Lake not far from Grimsel Pass in the Bernese Oberland mountain area of Switzerland.

To get here you drive on a spectacular road that climbs, in large zig-zag bends, through canyons of wild beauty. This is Swiss hydro-electric country and all the lakes here, like Gelmer Lake, are man-made but that doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful. The color of their waters is exquisite and they are rimmed by wildflowers in summer and framed by dramatic granite rocks and snow covered mountain peaks.

Europe’s steepest funicular goes to Gelmer Lake

We took the Gelmerbahn, which is Europe‘s steepest funicular with a gradient of 106%, down the mountain from Gelmer Lake. It’s quite a hair-raising adventure which is topped only by the walk across the narrow swing bridge which sways 70 meters above the Handeck Gorge, offering a fantastic view of the Handeck waterfall.

Grimsel Hospiz

We stayed nearby at the beautifully restored...

Read More