Wednesday 27 September 2023

Austria: Kanisfluh (Sept. 11)

Our first full day here in Bizau promised beautiful weather, sunny and dry at 26 C (78.8 F). Since the forecast for the following days looked a little unsettled, we decided to tackle our "biggest" hike right away.

Kanisfluh is the name of the mountain visible from our hotel room, and today we were not only going to look at it, but to get to its very top. It is a famous landmark and even has its own wikipedia entry in English - click here if you want to read it.

Looking to the left from our balcony at 7:44 in the morning, the sun was lighting up the valley. 

Looking straight ahead, the Kanisfluh was just beginning to catch some sunrays on its eastern flank.

After breakfast and changing into our hiking gear, O.K. drove us the 10 minutes to Mellau, where we took the funicular up the steep mountain slope. Since we were going to walk to the very top on a round tour with still plenty of steep up and down hill hiking, we decided to forego the long way up all the way from the bottom of Mellau.

aboard the funicular

Just got off the funicular - not done anything yet!

There was still enough height to cover on steep, rocky paths, often only as wide as my two feet - as comfortable as in the picture below only at the beginning and end. 

I puffed and panted my way up, needing several breaks, but I made it - and was rewarded with great views and the feeling of having accomplished a good, strenuous hike.

Almost there! But don't be fooled - it was harder than it looks to go that last bit to the top.

Looking back on the way down. Yep, we've been up there.

silver thistle, native to this area and a good weather indicator (closes when rain is near)

Just a shed, but I liked its position against the dramatic mountain silhouette and clouds.

Continuing the round tour, we stopped at Wurzach-Alpe for a shandy. "Alpe" is the name for a place high up in the mountains, usually not inhabited for more than a few months each year from around May until September. An Alpe usually consists of a wooden house, sometimes hardly more than a hut, surrounded by pastures where cows (and sometimes goats) stay to graze all summer. They are milked every day by the people living on the Alpe, and more often than not, much of the milk is used for making cheese right there. Many - but not all - of those places offer food and drink to hikers and walkers, and we took advantage of that (we still had water in our flasks).

private chapel at Wurzach-Alpe

Who wouldn't want to rest there?

Sorry - wrong order, this was at the top.

Returning to Mellau via the funicular, we decided to drive to Bezau (not to be confused with Bizau, "our" village). A former colleague of O.K.'s was staying there in a camping ground with his wife, getting their caravan ready for the coming season. They are firm skiers and have been enjoying winter camping and skiing at this same place every year for over 30 years.

We payed them a surprise visit and sat down for a while in the sun for a chat before driving back to Bizau.
At the hotel, it was time to shower and dress in fresh clothes, and then dinner - again out in the garden under those large chestnut trees.

The first full day here had brought great weather and the most strenuous of all our hikes of this holiday, getting up to 2,044 m (6,706 ft).


  1. Wow! What a view! That's an amazing hike, Meike! What a wonderful start to your Austrian vacation!

    1. I was glad we did it, it truly was a great start.

  2. Agreeing with Ellen here...what a view! Your cardiovascular health must be amazing, Meike. I'd probably die if I attempted a hike like that! The pictures are so beautiful. In fact, one of them is now my computer background. :)

    1. Goodness! You should hear me puffing and panting when I go uphill - I am out of breath very quickly, although I can walk for hours on (relatively) even ground without a problem. Without frequent rests, I would not have been able to get up there. A minute or two is usually enough to catch my breath, but I am nowhere near as fit as I used to be.

    2. PS: I am delighted to know that one of my mountain views is your current computer wallpaper :-)

  3. The Massif has never looked better, and neither have you.
    The mis-en-scene could be the opening in a John Le Carre film.
    Perhaps O.K. the invisible man is an Intelligence Analyst after all.
    The photo of the Massif's eastern flank caught the morning sun.
    The camera caught the thrill as you ascended higher and higher.
    The private chapel is a holy place like the Jewish tabernacle.
    You and O.K. deserved your dinner under the chestnut trees.
    I would have kept a silver thistle pressed in an old book pf poetry.

    1. We had to make do with admiring the silver thistles (there were many!) on the spot where they grew, and only take pictures - it is absolutely forbidden to pick any plants on those mountains, the ecosystem is too fragile for that. (But I bet some people still do, and I admit I took a small pebble with me, more or less heart shaped.) It is for O.K.'s sister; she died the year before we met, and we place heart shaped stones on her tomb when we find them during our hikes.

    2. I will remember those heart-shaped stones on the last resting place of O.K.'s sister.
      *How sad,* as my mother would say.
      How beautiful too. We need those little wayside chapels, whether we have
      supernatural faith or not.

  4. I'm a bit behind but I've just spent half my lazy breakfast time enjoying the enlarged photos. They brought back my younger days when I wandered up and down the hills of the English Lake District although the scale is very different with your much vaster landscapes.

    1. I have never been in the English Lake District, but from photos I believe it is very beautiful and I would really enjoy hiking there.
      The Austrian Alps are probably rougher and higher, but I don't know for sure.