A Visit to a Castle, the Top of a Mountain and the Town of Villach; Touring Carinthia, Austria

Saturday a group of players and I took a day trip to the Landskron Castle outside of Villach, to see the views. MJ Pachl (USA/CAN) was with Wanda Howes and Julie Fidler (AUS) and Luisa (Nini) Gouveira (Portugal) while I was with Brits Shirley Fox and Pauline Fisher. We parked at the bottom of the slope and walked up to the remains of the old castle, which dates from the 14th century. Today, as a result of a fire in 1812, which mostly destroyed the castle, it’s merely a ruin, though the remains have been preserved since the 1950s. It’s a falconer center too and MJ and Wanda went to the bird show. We walked around the castle and noted that across the Ossiacher See we could see a chairlift going up the mountain.

After leaving Lanskron we drove to Gerlitzen and all of us but Luisa and Julie decided to go up the mountain. It was in the 70s at the bottom…MJ and Wanda had not even a jacket…at the top it was in the mid-40s! The first part of the trip was in four person cable cars. We got out at the midway station and found the souvenir shop as MJ needed a jacket! She found a very nice one and we then continued up the mountain, far past what we could see from the bottom. The second part of the trip was in four person chair lifts which did have the option of a pull down cover. We passed over walking paths where entire families were trekking and past some cattle grazing. Meanwhile we were in the clouds and the view was mostly obscured of the valleys below.

We got off the chair lifts and wandered over to a view site. There were quite a few hang gliders, who ported their own hang gliders up the mountain. As we watched, the fog cleared somewhat and we had good views of Carinthia, from the Worthersee to the Ossiacher See and more. It was beautiful…but cold! So we went into the restaurant (cash only) for soup or strudel depending on the person. Then we investigated the hotel at the top briefly before returning to the bottom of the hill.

Our last stop was the city of Villach, which has an old town, lots of shops and a lovely church (Wanda, Luisa and I climbed the 425 steps to the top, while others shopped.

All in all it was a really fun day and we all made new friends.

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