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Alps, besides Norwegian fjords, seems to be one of two clichees where to find the perfect nature sceneries in Europe. I dreamt about the trip to Alps long time ago and this July realized it - by traveling with a car from Riga in overall around 4500 km. However, this time I am a bit frustrated after - I didn't manage to see even half of places I planned. 10 days for a car trip from Latvia to Alps when including also visit of Vienna is way too less and my first rendezvous with Austrian Alps barely touched the "surface" of them. It means just one thing - I will have to return there. Alps are like a narcotic, and I guess I have become an addict.

Here the map overview of my trip:



I will post photos in chronological order, but for Vienna photos there will be separate thread.

1. First encounter with a "mountain" we had already in Lithuania. I have always wondered what exactly is this artificial hill in Paņevežys-Kaunas roadside.



2. This is second day, in Czech Republic. Got a bit lost in Olomouc surroundings, but it gave an option to enjoy this corn field with hills in background. Czech Republic has quite impressive and scenic hills here and there too.



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5. View from Austria-Czech border back to Czech Republic. This wonderful town is called Mikulov - definitely it looks like worth a visit, but we couldn't afford to do that if we wanted to see something from Alps at all. :)



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7. So, with skipping Vienna, here one of the first small towns in Alps region. Unfortunately I can't remember it's name, but remember there were a nasty operator of gas station who almost started to scream to not allow us to park a car for a moment (although there were other cars parked).



8. The town itself was nice and very quiet. We tend to think that Latvian small towns are dead and silent, but Austrian ones aren't any more lively. I'm OK with that, as I usually prefer calmness.



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10. A few km further another spontaneous stopping, to enjoy a nice meadow with a lake, surrounded by Alps. Here we got scared by one "Commissar Rex" who fastly approached us from the nearby small road - fortunately it had a muzzle.



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12. Those tiny beings up there are horses.



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17. We decided to sleep in a car at the first night. By looking for appropriate place, we stumbled upon a pair of hippies, they looked like stepped out right from 60ies. I took a small talk with 30-year-old 70-year-old-lookalike (due to his long beard and hairs). It turned out, he is a grandson of an Estonian grandmother who emigrated to Austria in WW2 and didn't went further to America as many others. This was a hippies mini bus.



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19. However, we found a nicer place to sleep - it was on 1000 m elevation, with quite a nice views around, some 30 km from Mariazell town.



20. In the morning, there was a huge fog which disapperad very fast (in a minutes).



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23. Some non-touristic lake away from main roads.



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26. On the way to Mariazell



27. Mariazell is small town in central Austria, located in Salza river valley. Here is a nice viewpoint to nearby hills.



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33. I didn't saw any larger herds in Austria than a such a bunch of cows. I guess, those views with cow flocks on the Alps background are from Switzerland?



34. Scary skiing slope



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37. Overall panorama of Mariazell surroundings



38. Remote controlled airplane models are very popular in this area. Don't know why exactly here.

 

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The place is right next to Kedainiai and the hill is made of phosphogypsum - a byproduct of production of diammonium phosphate (fertilizers) from a nearby factory.
I assume they started to cover outer layer with ground now? Cause I remember 10 years ago it was white bright than most snow in the Alps. :D
 

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39. Some another village on the road.



40. Impressive cliffs some km further



41. There were a river flowing by



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45. Motorcyclists (as well as bicyclists) are very frequent on Alpine roads



46. Alps are quite different place by place - they don't stop surprise



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48. This is how the mountain roads are - rapid curves, sometimes steep ups and downs

 

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49.



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52. Hallstatt



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54. We took a swim in this lake next to Hallstatt - the rather cold water gave a good refresh after driving several hours in car without air conditioning



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59. Wanted to visit the town itself but happened to not turn of highway timely and drove into a tunnel which leads around town. Decided not to turn back but there was a viewing platform built right into the tunnel where one can park a car and take a look to Hallstatt and the lake:



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71. Krimmler waterfall was another great place



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77. Countless small water drops there, it literally takes your breath away, when you stand up there on the cliff

 

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78. View to Oberpinzgau valley from roadside, one of the most impressive views in a trip. Krimmler watterfall is down there, some 30 km farther (and mentioned Gerlos alpenstrase a bit farther).



79. Next to Kitzbuheler horn mountain



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81. Got a bit shocked about the prices of cable car up to the mountain, so became a bit confused and chose only middle station. But views were nice also from there.



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Thanks for wonderful pictures!
That artificial hill in Lithuania "depends" for the company Lifosa. It prodces phosphorus fertilizers and during a manufacturing process, gypsum is residual. So all gypsum goes to that hill
 

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Thanks, Xmaster!

92. Here some industry from Austria as well:



93. Here a view from our guest house in Umhausen, over Otztal valley:



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95. River and road flowing parallel



96. Umhausen is small village



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Next part - Neuschwanstein!
 
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