Days 29 & 30 – “Is that Ray Mears?” and climbing misnomers

Sunday 12th August

Well, what can I say? I may not have convinced Ray Mears to follow the Blog yet but he does appear to be stalking me!

Sunday was an easy day 1100m up to a lovely tarn/lake or, as they say in the these parts a ‘See.’ [pr. zee]. We of course played the compulsory game of, ‘First person to see the See.’

7 hours in total but 2 of those were spent either lying on a hot rock or drinking coffee with the locals.

I can see the See!

Anyway, we are sitting by the See quietly munching on cheese, bread, ham and Pringles when, out of the corner of my eye I spot a man hiding behind a rock. He is the spitting image of Ray Mears. Now, when I say, “spitting image”, I must admit that he was about 100 metres away and, remember, hiding behind a rock. But, he was wearing green and sporting a large pair of binoculars. I mean, who else could it be?

This highly zoomed in poor quality photo is offered as proof positive of a Ray Mears sighting.

Now, there is of course a slim chance it was just some bloke in green studying Marmots. Certainly Mr. Mears instagram site suggests he was, at that precise time, entering a restaurant in Walthamstow for Sunday lunch but, he would say that wouldn’t he?

Anyway, we escaped my stalker and on our way down we stop at a relatively new ‘Alm.’ ‘Alm‘ is German for pasture land but has these days become synonymous with a small hut or house where you can get food and drink. This one wasn’t even on the map but I thoroughly recommend a visit if you are ever in these parts. The Straßburg Alm is a small home at 1,735m belonging to the local herdsman. He is around 700 years old but as fit as a flea. A smoking flea at that.

I bought a coffee. Mrs P declined. I chatted in my bad German to 3 locals. You know the kind of thing; ‘Ya‘ [yes], ‘Nein‘ [no], “Ich verstehen sie nicht” [I don’t understand you] and the ubiquitous; Ha, ha ha! Sehr lustig.” [ha, ha, ha! Very funny],” which is used when you have no idea what they are saying but like to pretend. Warning: This last one can backfire, particularly at funerals.

Our 3 friendly locals had driven up the dirt track for lunch in their Sunday best of lederhosen for the man and one of the women and a dirndl for the second lady.

Just as I was asking to pay the owner appears with a tray of schnapps for all in attendance. 8 in total plus himself. We toast England, Austria and Ray Mears before he charges me the grand sum of €2.50 for the coffee and nothing for the homemade schnapps.

We love Austria.

Monday 13th August.

Went climbing at a place called Starkenbach near Imst. Sport climbing. The rock is lovely. Very steep. Quite hard but fun. The only downsides are the proximity of the main road/motorway (after a month of mountain peace and quiet the busy road about 100 metres below us comes as a bit of a shock) and the fact that some well meaning person has been up and, in highly stylised font, added the names of each climb to the bottom of each route but, mixed them all up! I really have no idea what we climbed.

The stylish, if inaccurate, route names

Taking photos of sports climbing and making them look exciting is tricky so I didn’t take many but I will leave you with the following: Mrs P just hanging out at the bottom of a climb waiting to belay me.

Ready to belay at the Starkenbach climbing area

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