Thursday 10th August: Sigmund-Thun Gorge and Zell am See

We were quite late going to sleep last night because we lay in bed listening to the thunder rumbling around the neighbouring valleys, and watching the lightning flashes through the windows. This morning it was still very cloudy and damp so, after croissants and coffee for breakfast, we decided to visit the Sigmund-Thun gorge, which we'd spotted at the end of our run yesterday.

Wooden walkways wind their way up the gorge for about 320m, with the river Kaprun thundering up to 32m below. It's quite spectacular, with a series of waterfalls and deep whirlpools that the river has carved from the rock. Although it was busy, everyone was very patient taking it in turns to take photos.

The walkway ends at the dam for Klamsee, a turquoise lake. After recent storms and heavy rain, tree trunks lie precariously on the top of the dam, but none went over while we were watching!

We then decided to get the bus to Zell am See about half an hour away. As we were waiting at the bus stop, it started raining so, when we got there, we found a restaurant for lunch. It was great to find somewhere doing a range of lovely fresh salads. We've been a bit lacking in fruit and veg recently. The Austrian red wine is going down well too!

While we were having lunch, the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. We had a pleasant wander along the lake, stopping to listen to a youth brass band from Northamptonshire and watch some musical fountains. The town is very pretty, with more to see and do than there is in Kaprun where we're staying.

We were surprised to see so many muslims and, while we stopped for a coffee, John Googled to see if he could find out why. It seems that the local tourist board promotes the town to travel agencies in Middle Eastern countries because it's like paradise in the Qur'an… a lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Interesting.

Now we're back at the van having dinner. Luckily we made it back before the rain started. It's quite heavy and we have thunder and lightning again. Although we're quite happy tucked up in the van with books and DVDs for the evening, we're hoping this bad weather isn't going to drag on for too long. We have plans!

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