So Monday dawned and I parked myself back in the office, ready for whatever the week wanted to throw at me. I wasn’t at my desk for long before Anni called and asked if I wanted to go back to the Wilderness Camps for more pictures with different school classes, and then pick up a visitor at the station. I didn’t have to be asked twice. A scenic drive, and then over the mountains to Salzburg where we picked up Garry Oye, retired-wilderness director from America, who would be visiting for the next 10 days.
Whilst waiting for Garry to arrive I had time to squeeze in a (very) quick walk along the Salzach, the main river that runs through Salzburg. I ogled the Baroque architecture, and kept an eye out for any Sound of Music references. The streets were narrow and winding, and I nipped in between a few passageways that bizarrely cut through the buildings, shortcuts known as ‘Durchhäuser’. It was impressive, but I thought fondly of Tamsweg’s quiet streets where everyone you passed said hello, and you didn’t have to fight through a throng of tourists to get anywhere.
The week flew by. With Garry visiting, and Vlado Vancura in the office (who’s normally based in Slovakia), there were lots of discussions about contrasts between the USA and European Wilderness – policy, legislation, wildlife, tourism. I soaked up all the knowledge I could fit in my brain.
The evenings I had dinner at Max and Anni’s home with the team, and also took my bicycle out to see what I could find. Full points if you guess mountains, forests or rivers… I would pick a direction and set off – it’s hard to get lost in the Lungau so I would just cycle wherever I fancied. When my legs got tired or I got hungry (normally hunger came first!) all I had to do was reorientate myself with the mountains and cycle back. Cycling makes me feel like I’m flying, it’s that combination of speed and balancing that I’m probably only noticing because it’s been years since I’ve actually cycled. Why didn’t I get back on a bike sooner?! There’ll be many cycling adventures in future weekends now for sure!