Vöcklamarkt to Eugenbach, 25Km
Landhotel Gschirnwirt, 69 euros
Vöcklamarkt sounds like a Harry Potter summer camp and it lived up to expectations. Jakobsweg avoids the town altogether and Google Maps flatly refused to show directions to the guesthouse and so did Apple Maps. I found the place easily enough, at the edge of a wood and my room, No 17, was in the attic facing the woods. I shared it with six daddy long leg spiders which is more than you’d expect in one room because they’re not sociable animals. The rain started when I went to bed and that developed into a wild thunderstorm. Suddenly something came tumbling down the roof, perhaps a cat? I slept for a couple of hours and was then woken by what felt like a party outside on the roof. All manner of woodland animals were chasing each other up and down the tiles around me. They only briefly stopped when I switched the lights on. I don’t know how I managed any more sleep.
The Alps are much closer today. I can see the glaciers melting. In fact, Austria is looking more like what you’d expect from the movie. Everything is hills, green green pastures and cows. I heard my first alpine cow bells this morning and every farm I walk through is milking sheds, hay stacks and so on.
Walking in this landscape is a joy. Unlike our British farmers, the Austrian farmer always keeps the livestock safely behind electric fences. At milking time the fences are repositioned to allow the herd to cross the path. I had several scary moments with cattle in the past two years and a walker was killed by cattle on the Pennine Way just two days in front of me.
It’s the same with dogs. The Austrians keep their dogs under control. You won’t find a loose dog anywhere in the country. When they go walkies it’s on a long lead and muzzle. They give way as you approach and the dog looks at you like a common dog thief and backs away.
Tonight I’m in Eugenebach surrounded by hills and Alpine villas. The sun is shining and it’s a Whitsun holiday weekend. I didn’t book accommodation because there are several guest houses here. I walked into the first which was advertising rooms on Booking.com for 88 euros and paid 69 euros and it’s total luxury, even has shower gel. No Fantastic Beasts tonight! But do you know the best bit of all? It’s just 15Km from the centre of Salzburg. The hills are alive with the sound of music.
Free range chickens, electric fence