Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of home & place

Posts tagged ‘Oesterreichische Bundesbahnen’

My Tirol: Scharnitz and Porta Claudia

Where: Scharnitz, at the northern edge of Austria’s Tirol, next to the Austro-German frontier.
What: Porta Claudia, mid 17th-century fortifications directed by and named after Claudia de’ Medici.
BTW: Scharnitz Pass is technically not a mountain pass.

I’m interested in geography, historical relics, and the topography of European borders.

Scharnitz Pass is one of the lowest crossing points over the Alps at an elevation of only 955 metres (3130 feet) with the Wetterstein mountains on one side to the west and the Karwendel mountains to the other side in the east. The pass might better be described as a “gorge”, given how the Isar river traverses the valley floor between the two sets of mountains. Naturally, a road at this location would’ve been ideal as a vital north-south route for trade and communication, which is why the Romans built the stone road, Via Raetia, through the river valley. A 200-metre section of this old Roman road remains in the woods outside the nearby town of Klais. The location of the pass/gorge is also why the Romans built a guard station “Mansio Scarbia” here to control traffic between the northern outer provinces and the rest of the inner empire to the south.

One of the earliest records from the 8th-century AD/CE documents the establishment of Scaraza Monastery, known also as Scarantia#. The name evolved to “Scaraz”, “Scarbia”, “Scarnize”, and eventually “Scharnitz”. Today, between 1300 and 1400 people live in the Austrian town of Scharnitz in the Tirolean region of Seefeld. The town lies on the road between Innsbruck and Munich and next to the international border between Austria and Germany; the strategic importance of this modest town has never gone away.

“Porta Claudia” is the name of former fortifications on high ground at a narrow curve over the Isar river valley. In the midst of the pan-European Thirty Years War, Claudia de’ Medici, the Regent of Austrian Tirol, ordered in 1632 the construction of a strategic defensive rampart at the Tirol-Bavaria border to protect Tirol’s northern border from invasion by Swedish forces. The Bavarians overran the rampart in 1706, but fortifications were expanded in 1766. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote about passing through Scharnitz in 1786 on his journey into Italy. In 1805, Napolean’s army laid siege and destroyed the fortifications, freeing the path for joint French-Bavarian armed forces to enter Austria. Remnants of the retaining wall up to six metres in height and an archway through the wall are visible today.

I’m up and about at dawn, and within 50 minutes on an S-Bahn Tirol S5 train from Innsbruck, I’m about to satisfy my curiosity about this stretch of the Tirolean landscape in Scharnitz. With the existing Schengen treaty among participating European nations, anyone can walk, bike, or drive freely across the unguarded international border between Austria and Germany%.


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Fotoeins Friday: approaching the AT-DE frontier at Schrarnitz

I’m on board an S-Bahn Tyrol S5 train from Innsbruck, and the route’s northern terminus in the town of Scharnitz is within sight. Those mountains tower over the historic north-south path along the Isar river and through Scharnitz pass, and also mark the present-day border between Austria (AT) and Germany (DE).

I made the photo above on 12 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 and the following settings: 1/250-sec, f/16, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-cX7.

Hafelekar, Nordkette, Nordkette cable car, Nordkettenbahn, Hungerburg funicular, Hungerburgbahn, Innsbruck, Tirol, Tyrol, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

My Tirol: day trips from Innsbruck

As one of nine states within the federal republic of Austria, Tirol is well known not only for all-season access to the Alps, but also for a variety of other attractions.

With transport authorities IVB Innsbruck, VVT Tirol, and ÖBB Austria, Tirol state capital Innsbruck was the base from which I travelled to Alpbach (half-day), Brenner (half-day), Hall in Tirol (half-day), Nordkette (half-day), Scharnitz (half-day), Stubaital (half-day), and Wilder Kaiser (full day).


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Europe, May 2018: final 14 days (IG)

Above: “Monocle”, on ÖBB regional train near Kitzbühel, Austria – 13 May 2018.

From 8 May to 4 June 2018, I travelled through Austria and Germany for 27 consecutive days by train with a two-country Eurail rail pass. I obtained over 10-thousand frames over the four-week span: the mirrorless Fujifilm X70 with fixed-lens prime accounted for 8020 images (77%), and the full-frame Canon 6D with changeable zoom-glass accounted for 2449 images (23%). From this giant haul of pictures, the following provides glimpses and visuals to the final 14 of 27 days, including stays in Salzburg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, München, and Köln.

(The first 13 days here)

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Wiedersberger Horn, Alpbach, Alpbachtal, Alpbach Seenland, Tirol, Tyrol, Austria, Oesterreich, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: spring alpine morning in Tirol’s Alpbach

Spring’s at hand, and summer’s around the corner: among mountains, meadows, and buttercups, under a deep ocean of blue sky. This view faces south, across the Alpbach valley to the Wiedersberger Horn mountain at top-right (peak elevation: 2127 metres / 6978 feet).

I made the photo above at 840am CEDT on 14 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens 18.5mm prime (28mm full-frame equivalent), and settings: 1/500-sec, f/11, and ISO1000. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bIb.

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