Return from the Mountains

I’m back! Hello everyone, how are you all? =D

Austria was amazing! We were backpacking along the Adlerweg (‘Eagle’s Way’) trail for the first two weeks, which took us through a changing panoply of stunning mountain vistas, dipping down into the valleys to visit towns every few days. Unlike my family’s usual habit of camping for our summer holidays, this time we were staying in accommodation the whole way, from guesthouses to hotels to remote mountain refuges. I must say, Austrian accommodation leaves French, Swiss and Italian hospitality standing when it comes to comfortable rooms, useful storage space, cleanliness, and oh my goodness the loos! It was truly the most comfortable backpacking experience I’ve ever had. The food, on the other hand, was less spectacular. It tended towards fatty cheese, cream and dubious dumplings fried in (we suspected) meat fats… not the best for a vegan like myself! However, I survived with only a few concessions to vegetarianism, and we found the most amazing vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Innsbruck (the capital of the Tirol state), which served the best meal I have ever tasted. Ever. I’m still dreaming of it…

We reached Innsbruck by the start of the third week, and decided to stay and explore the area rather than walking further westwards on the Adlerweg. The city was a bit of a disappointment, but the mountains to either side were stunning. The Inn Valley seems to lie between two geological areas, so that on one side were ethereal spires of the white limestone that we’d been walking through for most of the trip, while on the other side was a darker, brownish rock full of iron ore and colourful, glittering mica. We did several day walks around the local mountains, taking gondolas and chairlifts up from the valley, but I think our last day in the area took the biscuit. It was a frankly grueling ascent up to a fantastic ridge of broken stone (I nicknamed it Stegosaurus Ridge). We had to wend our way over and through this shattered rockscape, guided only by the red-and-white flashes of paint that marked the ‘path’ along the ridge. Thousand-foot-drops to either side gave a magnificent sense of height, and although it went on for an exhaustingly long time, dancing through the stones felt phenomenal! We topped out at the summit of Glungezer, and then had to run down the thousands of feet we had just climbed up to reach the chairlift before it closed – we made it, with 3 minutes to spare! Talk about going out on a high =D

During the holiday, I drew every single day. I had no books to read (far too heavy!), so it was my main entertainment in the evenings. The landscape certainly provided plenty of inspiration! I’ve included a gallery of the pages from my sketchbook, excluding the more ‘doodle-ish’ ones, in the order that I did them. I think you can see some progression over the 3 weeks!

I was considering counting some of the drawings I did towards Week 2 of Art Camp, but I’ve decided not to, as I would rather put the things I’ve learned over the holiday into practice in the imaginative sketches I need to do for that assignment. I’ve set up a Timetable (yes, it deserves the capital letter) for the remaining two months or so of the summer holidays, and I’m setting Thursday nights as my deadline for Art Camp assignments, beginning this Thursday. That way I can spend the weekend focusing on A Wren’s Tale and post each new page on Sunday night as usual. Yay! Organisation!

Hope you’ve all been well over the last 3 weeks, and I look forwards to talking to you much more regularly now that my trips away are over =D *bounces*

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