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On with our travels and back into Austria where an unexpectedly long day in the saddle caught us looking for somewhere to stay as evening drew in. The Gasthof Burg Heinfels caught our eye, partly because it was very obvious (!) but also due to its location immediately below the enormous castle, Burg Heinfels, which overlooks the tiny village named after it. Linked to the castle by an underground tunnel our accommodation proved to be a wonderful find with hundreds of years of history in its walls. It is claimed that the castle wealth is hidden behind locked iron gates at the end of this tunnel and, according to legend, if you dare venture down there alone at midnight on a full moon two fearsome dogs with fiery eyes will appear with the keys – funny thing is, apparently the treasure is still there! As if this weren’t enough, this modest little village also boasts the 66m long Punbrugge, bridging the river Villgratenbach.  Built in 1781 and open to road traffic until 1944 it is feted as one of Austria’s most beautiful canopied wooden bridges and is truly a masterpiece of Swabian carpentry. Photographing what is basically a long, dark tunnel at dusk without a tripod was a challenge!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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