Episode 1: Portland -> Dorfgastein

Hallo from Austria!

Boy oh boy has it been an amazing first two weeks. From Dorfgastein, Austria to Salzburg, Austria and now Vienna, Austria. However, let’s start from the beginning. Our group of 7 flew out of Portland, Oregon straight to San Fransisco. From there we had a 10 and a half hour flight to London Heathrow airport(LHW). This is where our trip truly began and our 2 days of travel turned into 4 days of travel…

We had landed in LHW with a couple hours of layover time and decided to relax. After a few hours Ana, another group member, and I checked our flight and found out that it was canceled! Yes canceled! After a few hours of waiting and speaking with the airline, they helped us find a new flight the next day to Madrid then Vienna at 10am. However, this flight happened to be flying out of a different airport 1 hour away! The airlines supplied us with transportation to get there and they told us we would be able to get a hotel there as well.

After arriving at the new airport, London Gatwick, we went to the airline desk and told them our situation. At this point is was roughly 9:30pm and we had been awake for roughly 13 hours. The desk at London Gatwick told us that they had no hotel rooms to give to us seeing as they’re flights were canceled as well. Therefore, we were left with no hotel room. We stayed in touch with Linfield and the director of our school in Vienna as we tried very hard to find a hotel.

Around midnight we decided, as a group, to stay put and not find a hotel. While the group found a comfy spot in the airport, Ana and I managed to negotiate with a small hotel within the airport for a room to shower in, the catch: we had to wait until 4am. After agreeing and thanking them dearly, we waited the 4 more hours siting comfortably in the airport. Once 4 am came around we all rotated through the room to shower. Around 8am we checked into our flight and headed to Madrid. After landing and being on planes for well over 24 hours, we were finally off to Vienna. Along with flight cancellations we ended up missing our 2pm train on the 10th of August seeing as we landed later that day. We ended up finally staying in a hotel the night of the 10th in Vienna and catching the 2pm train to Dorfgastein on the 11th.

While in Dorfgastein we stayed at the Pension Theresa. Monday was our first full day that was filled with lots of hiking and eating. (Dorfgastein is located in the Gastein Valley and is part of the Austrian state, Salzburg.) Our hiking began with a gondola ride up the side of the mountain above Dorfgastein. From the top you could see the long mountain ranges and small towns neighboring Dorfgastein. You could also see the Spiegel See which is used in the winter time to create more snow for Skiing and Snowboarding.

A view of Spiegel See in Dorfgastein

On the way down we ate at an Alm. Alms are mountain farms where many people bring their animals during the summer. The animals typically recieve better nutrients while staying at the Alms due to the nutrients within the valley region.

Heading to the Alm!
The Alm we ate at for lunch.


After lunch we hiked down to the Mittelstation (Middle Station) of  the gondola. From there we rode the gondola back down to the bottom of the mountain. Ending our first amazing day in Dorfgastein.

And after our wonderful travels and amazing first day in Dorgastein, our adventure continued…

Stay tuned for more and thanks for reading!(:

Melissa Rockow

Ana on top of the mountain.
Herrmann (AAIE Director), Ana, Vanessa and Michaela looking out over the Alps.
Another view of the Alps while in Dorfgastein.