Leaving the Hall aire the next morning we discovered that the charming (if a bit nosy) Swiss lady was too. She was a camper, not an official! Laughing as we said farewell (in German) we headed along the valley and it was good to arrive finally on a stellplatze. We paid 4 euros to park next to a scrub of land called ‘Konigsfeld’, which indeed many local cats were strolling around as kings.
It was Sunday lunchtime and at least 5 vans were leaving as we arrived and all were making a bizarrely and remarkably over-zealous use of the tiny drain, positioning themselves in the most awkward of angles to dump their waste water ‘look at me! I’m doing this legally.’ How unusual!
The town still exudes a well-heeled and cosmopolitan air, with many young people driving flashy cars or riding roaring motorbikes, and the old centre is comfortably historic with beautiful patrician houses (the silver-mining Fuggers’ Palace is now a nunnery), a grand high street and a simply beautiful church.
Surprisingly not a cathedral, the Pfarrkirche is the largest four-aisle Gothic church in the entire Tyrol. Inside it has carved wooden pews and very prettily decorated guild poles, the tall decorated candle holders that feature religious or allegorical scenes.
Locals of five centuries and today alike are proud of its towering 15,000 copper tiles, now a pretty vermillion green.
We meandered through the open cloisters around a garden of roses and fountains before finding the walking way up to the Schloss Freundsberg, a steep climb up out of the town with super views of the valley below. The Counts of Tyrol guarded Schwaz from this Burg, but today a different type of ceremony was taking place.
Having sold a house and bought a van they had been across to East Europe and returned via Greece and Italy to the Alps. They were us, six years ago! It was lovely to swap experiences and memories with them before an arriving Czech van split us up.
When we reached the top at 10.30am, opening time, we realised with disappointment that it was ‘ruhetag’ or closing day. Back down in the town centre a half an hour later for a welcome coffee, locals were peeling off layers in the building heat and tucking into ice creams and strudel. Ah well.
We considered routes through Italy, France and a return through Switzerland but in the end decided upon the Fern Pass to get us closer to Bavaria, and hopefully without taxing Bertha’s power steering too much…