I really like Austria (at least, the little I’ve seen of it just recently). We were on the border between Bavaria and Tyrol for our anniversary and it was the first time I’d done more than pass through a narrow sliver of the country on the south-eastern tip of Lake Constance to photograph a wedding.
The weather was typically autumnal and between swathes of fog – through which we came across a carpenter who now has some of our hard-earned cash – the sun broke through and showed us once more how lovely the forests and rolling landscapes along the very fringes of the Alps can be.
Germany is nice and I really enjoyed being in Franconia a couple of years ago. The Black Forest is very impressive if you’ve not spent time around trees, but I grew up playing golf in the pine forests of Hampshire and Surrey. Great swathes of forest with access tracks cut through them are more of a pleasant reminder of my late teens and early twenties than an impressive display.
Austria, though, is somehow warmer. Think of the orderliness of the Swiss, the wooden-framed houses and green pastures between towering peaks. Then take away the formality and add a little more warmth, and you get the impression I have taken away from the few days I spent there.
Where the geography of Switzerland dictates that almost every spare piece of land in the mountains contains a house, cow shed or cable car tower, the abundance of space means that the lake shores amongst the forests of western Austria are left to their own devices. Driving along the shores of the lake in the picture, at Plansee, I was almost reminded more of Scotland than Switzerland: the trees leading right to the water’s edge and not a hint of a meadow or train line to be seen.
I hope to return and start exploring further eastwards as time goes on.