Where the heck is Feldkirch!?
Well, it’s actually in Austria and seriously close to Lichtenstein but probably like you, I too had never heard of Feldkirch until very, very recently.
So this morning I departed the Burger King-managed hostel I had stayed at in Bertesgaden for the last few nights. In fact, last night I was treated to an Alpine storm. It was both thunderously loud and magically illuminating.
Check out this image where I somehow capture a lightening bolt!
I woke super-early to catch a mega early bus at 6:55am and captured this still, peaceful image of the sun breaking through the clouds.
There was hardly a car on the road and therefore no noise and only the cool, mountainous air to breathe in. As I walked a very pleasing 50 feet to the bus stop, I felt great and ready to start the next stage of my journey.
Take note though, the planning of this next, interim stage has been the most difficult I’ve had to-date and it was really quite stressful. Then consider that as a planner, a strategist of sorts, a person very much into intricate detailing, for me to say that really means it was so – hence why I’ve ended up in a place I’ve never previously heard of. Factoring everything, this is definitely worthy to go under the stressful situations section of the blog but this would be too hard to write accurately in detail.
Here’s a taster though:
Well for starters, I would not be staying in Innsbruck, Austria – a valley within the Alps and a place I had always wanted to visit since arriving in Austria two weeks ago. Basically, accommodation is very scarce (or expensive) at the moment in this region. Hostels are simply full. I even tried further into Germany but the closest and easiest city to reach public transport wise was the mighty Munich. However to stay there is mega bucks with 40 to 50 euros for a place in an 8 bed dorm per night!
The reasons for all this are of course, simple: The time of year and the fact that it was the blasted weekend. Both wholly relevant. If people are coming here for a holiday, typically they have booked well in advance. Good for them, not good for a day by day or week by week backpacker.
I had to even consider hotels but they were grossly over-priced for the region so another ‘no-go’. Transport was also proving super, super difficult. Don’t get me wrong, it was actually easy to find a government run train transportation but averaging 50 to 60 euros for one way was insane. Comically, even if you paid that price you were still in the same vicious circle of having nowhere to stay! I had to somehow find an answer to both these serious dilemmas and fairly quickly and I was beginning to rack up the hours now to no avail… Why don’t I just stay on where I’ve been staying if worst came to worse? They too were of course fully booked.
Staying in this Burger king-managed hostel didn’t help my cause as the staff hardly spoke any English but also for so many other reasons. A few basic things you come to take for granted in a hostel are: a basic kitchen, preferably with a hob (but a microwave at a bare minimum). A kettle and a common room area. Easy.
They offered not one of those! Whilst none of those unspeakably annoying things had an effect on me looking for places to book, another would. This blasted place does not have their own Wifi and instead they rely on a cloud based Wifi offering allowing one hour a day when you subscribe. To improvise and maximise usage, I went through three difference account sign-ins for my three different electronic devices and maxed them out for two days running just working out a plan to move on. Well, maybe 90% of the 6 hours anyway. Like I said, really stressful and I cannot wait for the busy season to end and tourists can go back to their normal existence.
So in the end, and completely mentally drained, I found something which looked to be a solution but it would mean a long day of travel. Amusingly I still haven’t exceeded more than four hours on a single bus or train. My Dutch travel companion in Albania will smirk when she reads that, hey Theresa.
Check out the convoluted route I ended up taking:
At a high-level, I would in total catch three buses and one train. This started from Berchtesgaden (Germany) back to Salzburg (Austria), then to Munich (Germany) before a quick stop in Innsbruck (Austria) before reaching my ultimate destination, Feldkirch (Austria). I know, right…
With rest stops, this was nearly a 12 hour day and somehow I managed to get the total price for 45 euros. A train from Salzburg to Innsbruck alone (bare in mind I’m a couple of hours past Innsbruck now), was between 50 and 60 euros. But that saving was only just the transport side of things, there was accommodation too remember. Feldkirch proved to have at least two hostels and I booked one of them immediately when I saw it was a) available and b) at a cost of 29 euros for TWO nights. (I had recently been seeing 40/50 for one night in Munich).
And that folks, is how I ended up in the medieval city of Feldkirch!
Don’t be fooled though, with a rail and bus station, this was still a busy little town and further confirmed when I saw another H&M store here. Unbelievable as I commented in my Vienna post with this surely being by far the most populous shopping retail outlet in Europe. I actually had a pleasant couple of days here in Feldkirch and amongst being able to catch up on the weekend’s Bavarian adventures for the blog, I was able to explore some of what this city had on offer.
After these images I reveal my next destination…
First up, here’s where I’m staying:
That building certainly deserves a mention after I found out it was built prior to 1350. Jeeesssuuss.
What’s more it has a fascinating history as you would probably expect for something so old. First off, it was used a leprosy colony! Suffers were outcast from the main town and so found refuge here, 15 minutes away by foot. It was also later turned into an infirmary before being a residential house for a number of years and now, eventually a youth hostel.
That was some of lower Feldkirch. Time to take on some higher vantage points!
Again, a lot of the pathways into and up the woods are shaded by the trees so whilst it is undeniably warm, it is far from unbearable – even when climbing up hills.
We can find some truly thought-provoking moments from the strangest of places:
And for my favourite vista of the day:
Not bad at all hey for a place I somewhat randomly chose!
I met a couple of really nice German lads shown here – although you’re never, ever gonna guess what makes there journey so unbelievable…
Try these images:
I find myself still completely incredulous to their story, even as I write these few lines. Yes, they are skateboarding between countries.
Having started in Germany, they’re now in Austria and the plan is to head to Genoa, Italy (that’s miles away, look it up!) and down the beautiful Italian Riviera hopefully making it to the Cote d’azur. Not ambitious at all…! (That totally gives me an opportunity to plug my old KingsOfEurope road trip with the lads and ex-misses). Starting with The start of the Cote d’azur with the lads and then A present to remember. (That last link will raise an eye-brow or two and hopefully in a good way!).
I’m actually glad I went back to take a look at the old site as I’ve only now realised how much my ‘blogging’ has evolved. How I crave for how easy it used to be by comparison to now…
Back to the lads, just take the time to imagine some of the many challenges they could and would face along the way. I couldn’t do it – could you? Then also consider they have pretty reasonably sized backpacks too! Having picked up one, I’d have said between 6 and 8 kilos at a complete guess.
Whilst travelling you really do get to hear some incredibly adventurous stories and mightily impressive people and of all ages.
So folks, with so much expense of recent times, I’ll be heading east, right?
Confusingly, I’ll be heading west into the single most expensive country in the World according to: