After saying some very difficult, tear-filled goodbyes to our wonderful host families in Graz, it was time to get on the road to our next adventure.
First stop: Klagenfurt. Klagenfurt is a mid-sized college town with a long history. Some highlights of our city walking tour were the several interestingly shaped fountains (dragons and other things), seeing an original Ernst Fuchs painting of the Last Supper, walking through the Klagenfurt market, and a quick visit to the ‘Wappensaal’, or ‘Coat of Arms Room’. Nearly every inch of the massive walls were covered with different Klagenfurt families’ coats of arms.
After lunch, we headed out to the Wörthersee, a glacial lake just next door to Klagenfurt. It was like the Caribbean of Austria! The water was a brilliant turquoise blue-green, and the water was warm. All around the lake were amazing views of the Alps. We took a boat tour around the lake (of course stopping for ice cream in the middle), and then got on our way further into the mountains.
Next stop: Palfau. A few hours later we arrived at the Gasthof Eschau, our home for the next two nights in Palfau. Gasthof Eschau is a family-run inn with cozy rooms and friendly owners, nestled between multiple mountain peaks. Part of the land is used by the Free Life camp for hiking, archery, a high ropes course, and rafting equipment storage/preparation. We were excited to get settled and see what the next four days had in store for us.
After a hearty meal of Wiener Schnitzel and potatoes, we talked about the week’s coming activities and got ourselves oriented. The next day would be a full day of hiking, followed by full days of rafting, geocaching, team building, and raft building. It was a busy week! Stay tuned for the low-down on those activities very soon.
((Unfortunately, as we write this entry, our internet connection is not stable enough to support photo uploading. We will try and find a better connection soon to post another few group/individual photos if possible. In any case, each of the students will receive access to all of the program photos after they return to the US on Monday. They’re all dying to show you all their photos, too!))