We are ‘resting’ ahead of a 3 day mountain tour which will see us spend 2 nights in one of the highest mountain huts in Europe I believe. The Brandenburger Haus, 3277m. There will be a LOT of walking 6-8 hours each day, with big glacier crossings each day and one summit. So, super heavy rucksacks too. So, as I said, we are resting.
We have moved to the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl valley in the Ötztal region of Austria. And no, for your information I am not making these names up whilst semi-submerged in a bath. They even have their own blog by way of proof of both their existence and my sobriety: www.obergurgl.blog.
We will be staying one night at the lovely Ötztaler Naturcamping site where we will pack our kit before heading out in the morning.
Gandalf has driven 980 miles to get us here so I think it is high time you were introduced.
Gandalf is a 2006 T5 VW Transporter which was converted by the previous owner to such a high specification and with such attention to detail that VW California drivers (VW’s very own and VERY expensive Campervan) often mistake Gandalf for one of their own. He is 1.95m tall (in stealth mode), 4.89m long and 2.28m wide. The living space, not counting the ‘pop top‘ where we sleep is pretty small. Around 3m x 1.8m. He is our home for the next 4 months. The pop top sports a fully sprung bed which is only a bit narrower than a double bed and about 1.9m long. Access is via the front seats and requires a perfect mix of strength and flexibility. It is VERY comfortable.
The front seats are both ‘Captain’s chairs,’ meaning they swivel round to face backwards. There is a bench seat in the back which can roll out to be used as another bed though we only tend to use this when we are in stealth mode. [Stealth mode: A form in which the van is set up to look like a builders van so it can hide in places it shouldn’t be overnight. E.g. places where we don’t have to pay for camping.]
There is a sink and tap fed by a 10 litre tank (not enough and a right bugger to fill up every day). There is a double gas burner stove and lots of storage.
Gandalf does not have a fridge. Fridges take up a lot of space and usually only have a bottle of white wine and/or some beer. They also drain battery power. The solution? Buy fresh food. “What about the white wine?” I hear you shout in unison. Simples; we drink red wine.
There is a tow bar attached Atera Strada DL3 bike rack on the back with 2 rather old but great mountain bikes. A must for getting around on rest days and fetching fresh bread. (Or, even just going for a ride.) I would very highly recommend this type of rack. The bike platform slides away from the tow ball to allow good access to Gandalf’s back doors.
Keeping Gandalf clean and tidy is very important. We have a lot of kit in a small space. However this is a simple and quick task. Simply stand roughly in the centre. Attach dusters to each hand and spin round several times. Job done.
Enough for today. Best go pack my rucksack. So much for rest.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We will be in the mountains for the next 3 days. I am unlikely to be updating the blog. Not because there will be no signal but because I will be too tired. Tune in on Wednesday/Thursday for tales of daring do…