Steyr to Grünberg steam train

Choo choo, we got the last train of the season as it steamed it’s way from Steyr to Grünberg. Sadly because it is the last journey it is only going one way, so only two of us could ride the train.

Engines are ready for the off

Time to jump aboard

And say bye bye to daddy – see you at the other end.

We enjoy looking out of the window.

It’s a good way to watch the world, before settling down for a picnic tea!

Nearly there and nearly dark!

What a fun train journey. The oldest narrow-gauge railway in Austria that we have ridden on.

Cycle to Ternberg

In the hope of a pretty cycle ride with a pretty destination, we set off on a bike ride to a village called Ternberg.

Although not a cycle path, we were on mainly small roads that followed the river Enns

The river was a beautiful colour and today the skies an amazing uninterrupted blue!

Arriving in Ternberg , apart from this old church, there was nothing!!

Evie was asleep, everything was closed and there was not even a park so l turned around and started cycling back.

Back along the pretty river, the autumn colours are just setting in.

And then we finally found somewhere open to stop for lunch.

Before finding a place where you could get to the river for a runaround.

And Evie was particularly excited to spot some ‘quack quacks’ – they were not quite so excited to ha e being spotted!

Next stop was Garsten, another small town with an amazing church – this one we got a glimpse inside. It was attached to a large ornate prison , guessing at an old monastery with a new purpose!

Leaving having found no parks, we happened across a place with a few fun items to play on. Time to leave and head back and see daddy.


We have a few days in the small but pretty town of Steyr (near Linz), as a base whilst Tim plays in a tournament. So first port of call for Evie and me is to hire a bike! Promptly enabling Evie to have a sleep and miss our first outing into Steyr centre!

On our next trip into Steyr we tried to visit the church that dominates the skyline. But you can’t get inside so instead we walked around the outside.

Time to pause for an ice-cream. Evie wasn’t in a very sharing mood with ice-cream today!

If you go along the Panoramaweg you get a nice view onto the private palace.

Time to hit the shops!! Trust Evie to find this one – but closed!

It was within a lovely courtyard fantastic for running around it.

Time to enjoy the architecture of the town. We talked about how every building was individual

And some were beautifully ornate.

Whilst others intricately painted.

The roofs were also pretty when you looked closely, using a fish scale shaped tile.

After all that time looking at buildings it was time to hit the park to enjoy the slides and swings.

Solda – Stelvio National Park

Arriving in time for dinner, what you have to love about these amazing family run hotels is their phenomenal half board food menus – a great way to start our visit here, especially when we thought we had arrived too late and would be eating oatcakes and cheese for tea!

Evie is ready and waiting for her 6 course dinner!! And they did not even charge for her!

Waking to this stunning view, after an extensive breakfast we set off for a walk.

First past this small swimming lake in the village, with amazingly clear waters (and as I found out the following day – mighty cold to swim in!), it held the most beautiful reflections.

Another chair lift for Evie to get us up High, the. We could set about enjoying the views….

Which were very grand…

And the bilberries which we picked till our tummies were full!

Following the 4a back down the mountainside we found ourselves back at the hotel….

Unintentionally in time for the small (large) lunch and cake buffet included in the half board! (Which by my equating makes it full board for the same money!)

…. best go run it off, we found this lovely park to play in – there were bits testing enough to keep us all amused!!

Back for a swim and then, what, more food??!!

Another day, another chair lift, this time up the other side of the Solda valley, best check the route first!

Up they go!

The terrain is different, with a few of these fun bridges to cross the boulder field.

An enormous boulder full of colour

And then the diciest of dicey paths – thanfully Tim was carrying Evie whilst my heart was in my mouth with fear.

Finally off the heart stopping path we came across this beautiful herd of cows high up the mountainside

Shortly followed by a herd of beautiful donkeys.

Shortly followed (no pictures) by a number of black squirrels!

A quick stop of at a mountain hut for a drink. Evie offers the local some of her apple to share!

Back again without plan to an included lunch at our hotel. Knowing how good it was once we realised there was a chance of making it we made a dash down.Time for more fun at the park in the 3 bears house

And a hello the the resident ducks

Before back for another swim and more food!!

Time to leave, blue skies for our journey. But not fully wasted as you can’t come to the Stelvio NP without…

Heading up the Stelvio Pass

What a road!

A total of 46 hairpin bends on a road that reaches a height of 2759m. What a view down the valley.

Climbing up above the pass there is a whole area of fascinating history. I expect it would be even more fascinating if I could have translated it well. But 1st world war barracks UP HERE!

Even crazier (possibly) is that the mountain opposite, Mt Ortler – the tallest in the region at 3905m – prisoners of ways were made to drag heavy guns to the summit. I mean wow- what a ridgeline to fight on. it is truely hard to imagine. cold but beautiful

Look closely and you can see the remains of the old barracks

And the remains of a gun turret

Last summit picture before we head down and the cloud comes in. Evie has enjoyed her walk around on the high tops. She prefers the rocks to the views though I think!

A mountain Heisse Schockolade mit Sahne – Evie enjoys the Sahne!

The cloud descends as we descend back down the 46 hairpins, but it makes for some beautiful scenery again.

Out of the valley and en-route, but I had noticed this had been advertised as a sight to visit by our hotel (quite a long way away!). So we stopped.

The drowned village at Graun im Grinschgau, with only the church tower remaining.

Time to leave this place behind and move onwards in our journey.

Lichtenstein – a beautiful walk in a beautiful place

Driving up the mountain road to Malbun, Lichtenstein, we arrive for one night only. In truth because we have never been before, so thought it would be good to visit.

A beautiful mountain scene with sheep wearing bells and that sound that means one thing only, you are in an alpine setting.

After a swim and a good breakfast, Evie experiences her first chair lift – she’s not too sure but not obviously scared either – just wondering how you move through the air above the trees.

This takes the initial bit of uphill slog off the start of the walk (plenty more of it) as we join a section of the Lichtenstein Panoramaweg along the Furstin-Gina-Weg. And what a panorama it was!

Looking back down on the valley of Malbun.

Even at the end of September there are a few alpine flowers hanging on in there.

Tim waits but a tricky little section – you can’t see the wire rope in place to help you through it!

Worth the climb, the views are astounding.

We picnicked and make the decision not to do the circular walk intended (the next section looked unsafe to carry a Bean on), so turned back.

Turned into a very good decision as a freezing strong wind whipped up which made the ridge line walk difficult so we were pleased not to be even higher on trickier terrain.

We spotted a friendly marmot on the way back down the mountain. What a joy to see a marmot up close. It then disappeared down its burrow.

And then back at the bottom Evie disappeared into her own burrow whilst we had a drink.

A brief stay, too expensive to stay for long!! But beautiful.

Next time we will visit the castle, but it’s time to hit the road for our next stop….

but not before dinner en-route!


With a couple of park stops en-route, the old city Heidelberg is our first destination. We arrive in time to enjoy an evening walk down by the river Neckar.

We are lucky enough to get these gorgeous reflections of Heidelberg Palace in the river.

The next morning begins with a very important Baby-chino to start the day.

Schloss Heidelberg – took a while to actually find the carpark. But once we did you walked through beautiful grounds and the. Get to the castle / palace. A mix of buildings through the times, as seen from this entrance.

An intricately carved building behind, a building I would guess is the palace as you cannot get into it.

Plenty to wonder around outside though…

And a fantastic view over the whole of Heidelberg.

Down to visit the big barrel. And no kidding…. built in 1751, with a capacity of 220,000 litres (although now shrunk to 219,000 litres, it is the biggest wine barrel in the world.

So big there is a large platform on top of it, or you can stand under it.

And before you see the big barrel you see this ‘big barrel’ – still pretty big, just not enormous! In another of the buildings is the pharmacy museum.

If you weren’t busy chasing a Bean around then there were lots of interesting rooms and information boards about pharmaceuticals through the ages. I didn’t get to fully read any of them!

A beautiful old window

Time to leave the castle and head to the Fenicular

We went up the modern one. There is an older one that goes higher, but on the day we visited it headed straight up into the cloud. So we headed back down as we had a long drive still to do.

Heidelberg was a beautiful city and definitely worth a visit. We only brushed the surface and I left feeing there is plenty more to see.

The Ferry – Hull to Rotterdam

After getting an early dinner on the ferry in the hope of an early night and settling Evie, we head back towards the cabin. But not before Evie sees the dance floor and insists on a boogie!

Evie finally falls asleep – after enough dancing and a few books.

Woken by the ferries alarm, off to breakfast to set us up for the day. Then it’s time to head down to the car deck, where Evie made sure that our sticker was on ‘just so’ (or just so not).

Sticker finally in place, we are all set for the off – the European adventure 2019 begins.

Castle Hill

An hour out of Christchurch, on the Arthur’s Pass road, and this area of amazing rocks was our final trip out in New Zealand.

It looks pretty spectacular from the road and makes you want to go and run around in it

Climb the rocks

Hide in the rock holes

Walking to get the views


And generally enjoying the views

What a great day to finish our New Zealand trip with !

Around Wanaka

So we decided on Wanaka for the final week of our big New Zealand trip. We knew we liked it as a place, and feeling pretty exhausted by this point, a place we could relax. Whilst we were here the first snows arrived on the tops!

We got an Air B&B house with a garden and set about having a few easier days.

The Bike

There are some great bike tracks that run along the lakeside, and some mountain bike tracks that connect up with them.

Evie has taken to bringing her helmet to me to indicate that she wants to go out on the bike, and if she can’t go on the bike, she also loves riding the washing basket!

We went off a few times along these lovely paths with great views and even had a go at one of the tracks but we had to go super slow so she wasn’t bouncing all over the place.

On one track we came across this little hedgehog that was collapsing. We fed it some of Evie’s milk which it stood on its hind legs and caught the drops, and left it some food in the hope it survives (to later discover they are considered pests in New Zealand).

Rob Roy Glacier

Up over 30km of gravel road and through a couple of fords, you arrive at the car park for the Rob Roy glacier track and the Mt Hutt track.

With beautiful views even driving to the car park, it’s a walk that remains spectacular throughout.

Over a swing bridge and up through forest. There are a couple of impressive rock overhangs that you wouldn’t want to walk underneath at the wrong moment.

A river with massive boulders.

An impressively high waterfall

And then the beautiful glacier. Here Evie demonstrates her new mountaineering skills clambering over rocks and along footpaths, showing utter determination at ever stumble!

Back down, noting the geology of the mountainsides, more lovely scenery.

It’s clearly exhausting!


Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea are beautiful lakes to swim in. Absolutely crystal clear, a refreshing dip in these is a must if you love swimming.

The Blue Pools

An hours drive from Wanaka, these were not (in our opinion) worth driving to. Stopping at if you are headed along this road up the west coast then definitely yes.

They are about a 10 minute walk from the road, but the are stunning – the water clarity is something else again.

To make matters worse for our long drive out, this is one of the only, and the worst places, where we have terrorised by sandflies! Enough that all you wanted to do was get back to the safety of the car.

Mt Iron

A short walk just on the edge of Wanaka up a small hill. However, although the hill is small, the 360 degrees panorama is big with great views all around.

Wanaka town

A small and touristy town sitting at the end of the lake, with a gorgeous backdrop, some nice cafes to sit and enjoy the view from and lots of outdoor shops. There were also parks and a great skateboard park – this was Evie’s favourite place to hang out in town!

Auckland- the big smoke!

I don’t normally mention our accommodation, but we landed super lucky with an Air B&B in the Wellington suburb of Auckland, which was very close to an easy train journey straight to the centre, whilst being an oasis out of the centre within a city. It even had a pool and hot tub, and hosts that made us cake!!

Mt Wellington

So this mound was literally opposite our house so I popped up it one morning with Evie and we had a cracking view over the whole of Auckland

Auckland Wharf

Straight off the train in the central Britomart station, and we headed towards a very modern part of this city around the marina. Apart from boat spotting, there were many many bars and cafes….

…. but also nice chill out areas and a big paddling pool

Devonport Ferry

From the main ferry terminal, for not much money (it is a commuter ferry), a trip over to the older town of Devonport gives a really good view back to the city

Devonport itself was a charming historical town,

with an amazing massive tree!

And a good playground

Buskers Festival

We happened to land in Auckland when the 4 day buskers festival was on. Which were high quality street performers. We spent a bit of time watching them and their impressive tricks

I don’t know if it was part of the weekend, but within what I imagine to be an exhibition hall, it was set up full of different sports, chess etc and lots of people enjoying dancing salsa in the middle of the day, which was lovely to see.

The moving marina bridge

Not exactly a highlight, but it was quite cool to watch the marina bridge go up

One Tree Hill

Finishing our time in Auckland, we walked the short distance up One Tree Hill.

Topped by a monument important to the Maori

One Tree Hill also has superb views over the whole region

Descending back to the car, moving on again. There was definitely more we could have explored around Auckland and another couple of days could have been well filled.