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Kaprun

Adorable Chick

HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE Diary : Day 12 - 26th April 2016

Kaprun Town lies in the foothills of the Kitzsteinhorn glacier in the Hohe Tauern ( High Tauern) mountain range. It is considered as an inseparable twin of Zell am see town and is therefore often referred to as 'ZELL AM SEE KAPRUN, sharing just a 10 minute odd driving distance between them. The town holds the title of being a sports haven, throughout the year. Blessed with majestic hills, mountain ranges and innumerable waterfalls, the place can give Switzerland a tough competition in aesthetics. Historically a mining village with scarce connectivity, the town is today a tourist hub offering choices of hiking trails, adventure walks, museums, glaciers & even a spa. One can get to Zell am see and reach here easily by road.

After a dosage of WHITE that morning (read KITZSTEINHORN), the surrounding greenery was highly welcoming. It was a little past noon. We got off the cable car after the Gipfelwelt 3000 visit. It was lunch time. We requested Kata to guide us to a suitable picnic spot to gorge on our home made lunch boxes. She immediately led us into wilderness. We followed her to reach a small picnic area lying engulfed by mountains, forest trees and a beautiful brook. I simply can't recollect the name of the place. All I know is it was a part of one of the National Parks. There were wooden benches making the affair more easy and convenient. The benches had information boards circling around them. We were smitten by this deserted land, chatting up & relaxing for a while after lunch, sitting by the water side, walking around green meadows. There was also a play area for kids here that was explored.

As usual the thought " wish we could spend more time here" awoke. The well enjoyed break was followed by a drive to our next spot. Crossing green lands encircled by snowy mountains, charmed by the varied shades of brown wooden chalets that were decorated by flowering pots, bowled by the mild yellow flowers swaying in the meadows, we whizzed past the clean country roads yet again. Kata was very knowledgeable and professional. We joyfully exchanged life stories and experiences during the drive and were in awe of how she ended up as a taxi owner- cum- guide. An hour flew past just as the vehicle did, before we entered the village of KRIMML. This village lies at 180 degrees to the west of Kitzsteinhorn.

Tidy Desk

Our taxi halted in the parking lot of the KRIMML WATER FALLS. The Water fall area is easy to find and takes about 5 minutes from the village centre. We stepped out of the vehicle to find ourselves in midst of a thick forest area, developed enough to greet tourists. The number of vehicles proved that the crowd wasn't much at that time. It was exhilarating to catch a glimpse of the waterfall amidst the thick trees before we crossed over a road.

A short, joyous walk reached us to a 'stone tunnel' like entrance, leading to the falls. It looked more like a ancient passage way with no gates. After a few pictures here, we walked ourselves in. Holding a record for being the highest of its kind in Austria, the KRIMML FALLS begins its descend from a height of 380 metres, splitting itself into various tiers downward while hugging the mountain side it passes.

Due to being a glacial waterfall, its volume is greatly affected by the season. Its water joins the KRIMMLER ACHE river, flowing through the Krimml village & forming a part of the HOHE TAUERN NATIONAL PARK. To ease the difficulty of viewing this tiered fall in entirety, a pathway leading to a viewing ramp in its upper tier was initiated & completed. Today, tourists can enjoy better views of its magnificence. The sound of heavy gurgling reached us before we witnessed the bountiful falling of water down the lower tier, running to a height of 140 metres. We occupied a suitable place on the rocks near the fall. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't capture the entire waterfall from any angle where we stood.

Time was running short for a climb up the pathway, to get better pictures at the upper tier. We settled for whatever little we got to see. It was fun to hop rocks and get sprayed with bulky drops even from a good distance. Time flew. We bid farewell to this 'record holding' fall. Back on track, Kata drove us for another hour to get the MAISKOGEL , a local, family mountain resort, in Kaprun Central.

With kids' amusements & rides for the summer and skiing opportunities for the entire family without age bar, in winter, the resort is busy throughout the year. Of course the main attraction here is the Alpine (roller) Coaster MAISIFLITZER, that twines its body around like a giant sized sleeping Anaconda over the entire area, standing a few feet above ground. The eateries and shops, especially the ones providing hiring of gears and required equipment, offer perfect support . We were happy to find the place almost empty when we got there. Looked like we had the huge coaster all to ourselves. One look at it from a far distance, it seemed like a cake walk, running quite close to earth and easily achievable.

Unlike the ones that plunge from great heights, this was just curving around a relatively same plane. We bought our tickets at the counter and the fun began. The seats were made of plastic, mildly caving into two slots, fit enough for two people to ride it one behind the other, by slightly 'L' bending the knees. A high comfortable back rest supported the pillion and a 'cycle type' handle was available for the so called driver. The only saving grace was a brake handle that was fitted in the side, to be manoeuvred by the pillion. We all seated ourselves and the ride began. It felt like we were in mid air, gliding over the mountains and green meadows. We were free to apply brakes. The track curved its way swinging us inside out before we got high up the mountains.