This post is written by Katie, about her solo trip to Belgium, Germany, and Austria.
Today we woke around 8am, had breakfast (including eggs with extra garlic and onions for Yu), and then I caught the 10:35am Post bus 542 for Gosau (Euro 11.60 RT). I enjoyed Dachstein so much yesterday that I decided to go see Dachstein West today.
I had strongly debated what to do today as rain was forecast pretty much everywhere in Germany. Although I have two German rail pass days left, I decided to stay in Bad Goisern mainly because it seemed like it might stay sunny and I would not have much time to see a new place with only one night and most of my time spent on the train (although I do love just riding on trains). It was luckily easy to extend my stay at Herberge Mörtel Mühle (Euro 85.50 for three nights in a 7-bed female dorm on Booking.com) for another night since only one other woman was booked to be in the female dorm.
The Post bus 542 was rather empty, and arrived at Gosausee (the final stop) after about 40 minutes. I checked the return times, and then went to look at Gosausee. The trail around the lake looked so nice and peaceful that I almost decided to change plans and hike it instead of (or perhaps before) taking the cable car up to Dachstein West. However, I stayed with my plan and went and bought the Euro 13.80 lift ticket. Then I realized I had forgotten sunscreen, and went to a little shop and paid an excessive Euro 5 for a tiny canister of ‘sunscreen’. The ‘sunscreen’ ended up being a plant-based balm, but I bought it anyway since I did not want to burn!
The cable car took only 4 minutes to reach its terminus. I grabbed an English language trail map (more like a cartoon map), and set off. However, apparently I mis-read the map because I soon found myself to be on what seemed to be a difficult via ferreta / rock climbing route (confirmed by a sign). I was completely unprepared for this (both ability and gear-wise), so I turned back and walked back down the mountain I had worked so hard to climb.
Then I tried again, and actually took the suggested 2 hour ‘Zwieselalm circular route’ that passed by four huts that offered food and drink. Very close to the terminus of the cable car were Gablonzerhutte and Breiningalm. So many people streamed off the cable car right into these huts! After walking a short bit further (but up a hill) I reached Sonnenalm, which also had a lot of people that just hiked to it. Then after walking across a meadow and down a very steep incline, I reached Zwieselalmhutte. This hut contained just hikers. I did a short detour from here, but then made the wide loop back to the cable car terminus. I stopped and sat on a bench, but when I heard thunder rumbling, I headed for the cable car station. I sat on a bench near the cable car station for about 35 minutes and watched the clouds roll over and across the mountains. I eventually took the 3:15pm cable car down.
Once back near Gosausee I went and looked at the lake for a while as I waited for my 3:55 Post bus 542 to return me to Bad Goisern. I noticed that there was a short, optional multi-level via ferreta on a rock wall along the lake trail. It seemed to be mostly level B/C, but the access to it is really easy and it seemed like it would be a good place to refine skills. I had came into this trip wanting to try via ferreta, but ending up skipping the town in which I had planned to do it (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany) due to it raining pretty much continuously there during my time in Europe. If I had known that the trail around Gosausee had such an accessible route, I probably would have tried to find a place to rent equipment so I could try it out!
I walked to the bus stop at 3:50pm and the bus arrived right at 3:55pm. I arrived back in Bad Goisern around 4:35pm and went to the grocery store before it closed at 5pm (since it was Saturday). Then, since it had rained recently in Bad Goisern and it was still wet and cloudy, I went back to the hostel instead of wandering around the city.
Once back at the hostel, I ate my banana, bread, and yoghurt drinks. Then I worked on planning out my return journey to Brussels and booked a dorm bed in Brussels for the next night. It is hard to believe my journey is coming to an end!
My new room mate arrived around 7:30pm. She is only staying for one night, so we will both be leaving tomorrow, but it was nice to have a bit of company for my last night. She’s Korean, but had been living in the Czech Republic for over a year now. She had a car, which had to make touring in the area much easier!