Becca Jane St Clair

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European Road Trip Day 5, Part II – Seespitz and Achensee

[Finally blogging about our trip to Germany and Austria we took in September 2010!]

When Tim and I were discussing all of our options for our trip, Tim mentioned the Achenseebahn, and told me about a cruise we could take around the Achensee on the Achenseeschifffahrt. And very conveniently, you can take the Achenseebahn from Jenbach to the Achensee (at Seespitz) and you could even ride the Zillertalbahn up to Jenbach from the valley, too.

I love riding on boats, so I asked Tim if we could go on the Achenseeschifffahrt…of course, this also meant riding on the Achenseebahn, so Tim wasn’t going to complain!

The Achensee is the largest late within Tyrol, spanning 9.4km and 133 metres deep at it’s deepest point. The Achensee has Trinkwasserqualität, which means you could dip a cup in the lake and drink it without any filtering. The Achensee is an alpine lake, bordered by the Karwendel mountains and the Brandenburg Alps (notice we’re out of the Zillertal alps), and the water temperature rarely reaches above 20°C. Despite the cold temperatures, the Achensee is suitable for surfing, but we did not see any surfers in late-September! The water itself was a beautiful shade of green. Tim calls it “toothpaste green”, but it just reminds me of pine trees. I’m surprised the water is potable given it’s shade of green!

The cruise originates at Seespitz, right next to where the Achenseebahn stop is. By the time the train had gone halfway up the mountain, we had collected a few more people, so there were about a dozen people boarding the boat at Seespitz. This by no means meant we had a quiet cruise! The Achenseeschifffahrt is used by tourists as a sea cruise, but is also used as transportation between the small towns bordering the Achensee. At one point, a bus worth of tourists boarded, only to debark at the very next port. Tim and I had purchased a complete trip around the lake.

We packed our flasks and some snacks, but were highly disappointed to see signs informing us not to eat/drink food brought onto the boat. Checking the prices of a cup of tea or coffee on the boat, and we could see why! The prices were quite steep, but they had a captive audience and if we wanted to drink a cup of tea without getting in trouble for drinking from our flasks, we had no choice. Later on in the cruise, after the top deck had filled up with lots of people, we did see several passengers pulling cans of coke out of coolers, but Tim and I still felt uncomfortable bending the rules.

We met several people while on our journey, too. I was attempting to take a photo of Tim and I by extending my arms out and hoping I could get us both in the picture, when an Italian gentleman sitting near us offered to take our photo for us. As the boat started to fill up, Tim and I had to share our bench with other people, and we wound up sharing with a German gentleman who had a very large, professional looking Nikon camera. He attempted to talk to us, but I don’t know many technical terms in German, Tim only knows railway technical terms in German, and the gentleman spoke little English, but between our strange mix of German, English, and just pointing at things, we did manage to “converse” with him….though Tim thinks the only thing the man was trying to point out was that his camera was bigger than ours!

Our cruise was cold, despite the beautiful day. Then again, we were high up in the Alps, so what did we expect? At one point I was bundled up in 2 jumpers, a fleece, scarf, gloves, and hat. I was very glad I had thought to stick scarves, hats, and gloves in the car while we were packing!

We had a great time on the lake, and once we got back to Seespitz, it was a short wait for the next dampfzug to take us back down the mountain.

[If you click on the photo once, it will take you to that photos page. If you click on the photo again, you will be able to view it full size. I have no idea why WordPress made it so complicated!]

[Photos taken by either myself or my husband, Tim and are all © Tim and Rebecca Lockley]

Next post – campsite tear down and set-up, complete with reviews of both campsites we stayed at.

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