I had planned a day sightseeing, cruising on the lake and visiting Strobl and St Wolfgang. I had studied the timetable for the ferries and planned to make the final leg of the journey on the old paddle steamer, the “Kaiser Franz Josef 1”
However, as often happens, things did not go according to plan.
We caught the 10.00 am ferry from St Gilgen to St Wolfgang but when we came to leave St Wolfgang the engine would not start. An engineer disappeared down the hatch followed a few minutes later by the captain. After much clunking and whirring the captain emerged and with a shrug of his shoulders announced “ I am sorry but the ship is a little broken”
We had to wait to be rescued.
After about half an hour another boat came into sight. It was the “Kaiser Franz Josef 1”
We were going to get a ride on it after all.
The “Kaiser Franz Josef 1” is one of two historic ships run by the ferry company, the WolfgangseeSchiffahrt. It is an authentic paddle wheeler launched in 1873. It was named in honour of the ruling Austrian monarch. The ship has been featured in numerous films.
We eventually arrived at Strobl at 11.40 am, an hour later than expected and ready for a coffee. Suitably refreshed we went to the tourist information office to enquire as to,what to see in Strobl. The girl behind the desk asker if we liked ‘nature’? When we said “yes” she suggested that we visit the Blinklingmoos. Perhaps it was the foreign accent but I misheard and thought she said “Visit the Blinking Moos” Did she mean cows with an eye problem? She went on to explain that the Blinklingmoos was a nature reserve and only 10 minutes walk away.
The 100-hectare site of Blinkling Moss as we would call it, was originally a silted area of Wolfgangsee. Over the centuries layers of clay and peat have built up to create the landscape of today. It ranges from moorland and meadows to bog and wetlands.
It is an important conservation area containing over 40 types of plants some of them endangered species. It was declared a Nature Reserve in 1973
I saw lots of the purple flowers that I had photographed yesterday. I now think that they are Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
We caught the ferry back to St Wolfgang where we stopped off to look around the town. In the main square stands the famous White Horse Inn which was the inspiration for the operetta or musical comedy of the same name. It is about the head waiter of the White Horse Inn who is in love with the beautiful owner of the inn.
We just missed the 4.00 pm ferry and had almost an hour to wait. The weather had improved so we decided to catch the neat boat to come along. This first took us back to Strobl but we could sit back, relax and enjoy the cruise along the lake.