2020's Road Trip Diary: The Smallest In The World

While I managed to avoid the c word in writing so far, there is no way to ignore the pandemic this time around. There are travel restrictions, and even moving within Europe is difficult - and some times even impossible - so this obviously had an impact on my road trip diary. 

I try to see the positive aspect, because in 2019 I wrote that I did not have many plans for this year. So in a way I was lucky that I did not have to reschedule or cancel a lot of trips. The only one that fell flat was to visit Potsdam and Silver again - since this was near the end of the first Austrian lockdown. Summer was not even so bad, so I decided to make the best of it, packed my masks and headed to all the alpine passes within Austria that I always ignored for "bigger" and "better" goal. So 2020 proved the year of running around in my own backyard. However, as soon as the temperatures dropped, the numbers of infections climbed again - this time reaching horrifying heights - and I decided against any travel before the law imposed the second lockdown. 

As such, 2020 marks only two road trips. I covered 2536,6 km, which amounts to 4 fuel tanks, and three surprisingly delicious petrol station coffees, and one from a run down road side café, 8 Snickers, as well as 3 chocolate bars which I assumed were free of coffin but the opposite was true. There were also 6 water-bottles frozen to blocks of ice in the car. And I met the traffic light with the longest red period possible (20 minutes). 

However, it all started in Seefeld: 

The Mission: Schifoahn 

Date: January
Destination: Seefeld in Tirol  (AUT)
Distance Covered: 1080 km

This was the first road trip of the year, and going up high, I packed the snow chains, as well as the skis. Luckily, I needed only one of those. 

Seefeld is a little idyllic town in Tirol at 1,180 meters above sealevel. It is mostly known for its involvement during the cross-country skiing events of the Olympics. By now, it is a fully developed tourist town, with seemingly more hotels than private resistances. Even so, it is one of the lesser known destinations when people consider going skiing in Austria. 

Since I only seem to go skiing every second year, I packed my rentals and set off. And boy, I loved it! The slopes were just right for my level of skiing, and the mountain was never packed, so you could take your time and pick your route and enjoy the stunning scenery. There are two main areas, with the Gschwandkopf being the smaller one - offering more blue slopes and less people - while the  Rosshütte has black slops as well - even though I did not dare to go on those. 

Seefeld in Tirol

After a long day of skiing and soaking in the alpine sun (don't forget the sunscreen), I could relax in my hotel or take a stroll through the adorable little town. 

You can read all about it here! 


The Mission: Alpine Passing

Date: August
Destinations: Nockalmstraße - Goldeck Panoramastraße - Malta Hochalmstraße - Großglockner Hochalpenstraße - Gerlos Alpenstraße (AUT)
Distance Covered: 1456,6 km

This road trip came to life because I decided to visit places that I had side-swepped because there was always a bigger road trip possible .. so why bother looking at this alpine pass in Austria? 

This time I did not pack my skis but the hiking boots and mapped out a route. The first stop had been at the Nockalmstraße - an alpine road near the border between Kärnten and Steiermark. Its highest point is marked at 2049 above sealevel. It stands out because the curves are much gentler, making it a great experience for bikers - even the inexperienced. The Nockalmstraße consist of two peaks and a valley in between. 

There are numerous hiking trails as well, so you can spend a whole day hiking through the mountains off the road - reaching various mountain crosses, remote places, as well as seeing the road from a different point. 

I had set up my camp for this part at Bad Kleinkirchheim. This placed me close to the Nockalm as well as Gmünd - which hosts a small but dedicated Porsche Museum. After three nights, I packed my bags and set off towards the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße. These two places are relatively close, so I decided to use the time and take a look at the passes on route. 

And so, I visited the Goldeck Panoramastraße - a small and not exactly newly paved road up the Goldeck. It also proved to be a dead end! There are a few smaller and easy hiking trail towards the Goldeck - about two hours worth, if you hike from Martennock towards the Bergstation. 

Then I also managed to squeeze in Malta - while this might ring a bell for party island fans, but this is not it. In fact Malta is an incredibly small town which also proves to be the last town before the Malta Hochalmstraße. This alpine road is run by Verbund, who praise themselves for being Austrias most eco-friendly and green energy provider. Their connection with this alpine road comes from the fact that on top of it, lies one of their biggest impounding reservoir. 

Malta Hochalmstraße - verbund

The road itself it fun to drive with a lot of twists, it also houses the traffic lights with the longest waiting time - 25 minutes! In fact, in the time being you can take a look at a waterfall nearby. The reason for this becomes clear as soon as the lights go green: the road is simply too tight and has too many tunnels to house two cars next to each other. 

Once you made it to the top - depending on the traffic lights a margin of 40 minutes can be expected - you can enjoy a few hiking trails, a museum on clean energy, a sweet restaurant as well as an impressive view with breath-taking engineering. Since I was pressed for time to reach the Großglockner before the road closes, I could not explore the place. I definitely plan to change that the next time! 

My second "base-camp" was at the aforementioned Großglockner Hochalpenstraße. And once more, I did not get tired of being at the Großglockner. I explored new hiking trails, visited the museum again, as well as just enjoying the view and soaking the atmosphere. 

I left the place only once to take a look at the Gerlos Alpenstraße - which connects Tirol with Salzburg. I have to admit that it proved to be the weakest of the combo. In fact, I categorized it as "cute". 

Of course, I am going to share more detailed reports about this trip in the following year! 

Usually I finish these posts with explaining what I want to do the following year but in all honestly, I do not know what I want to do next year. Let alone what is going to be possible. So instead, I am going to share some buckets from my list: 

There is the ever present Deutsche Alpenstraße which has been forgotten for the last two years, and recently the Adriatic coast road in Croatia came to my attention. As someone who has been by the sea only once it hold my interests. 

Then one of the biggest countries is on my radar: Russia - but not just the cities Moscow and St. Petersburg. Who knows when this is going to be possible since this is riddled with a few difficulties starting with my car insurance does not include Russia and my passport is only valid until this month and I can't get a new one because of the lockdown.

Of course, I would love to see Silver in Potsdam again but that is not depended on me. Instead, I am going to keep my fingers crossed and patiently wait. 

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