Some of you have recently asked for more pictures of my summer holiday - as I said I was spoiled to be spending six weeks in Austria this summer and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. We've had a spectacular deal all around: a cosy wood house on a working farm situated only ten minutes from Salzburg, the lake region and the Salzkammergut, great weather and tons of proper food wherever you go! Although the majority of my kids are too young to be hiking or mountain climbing, we have made the most of the grandiose walks you can do everywhere, enjoying spectacular views over the lakes and the mountains.
One such hike was a bit of a challenge: misreading the guide book, we stopped too early and did the hike for the fit and able, despite being spectacularly unfit and pushing a double pram with two kids and a bag, weighing an impressive 40 kg in total - up a steep mountain road that seemed like it would never end, but we managed to do it in just 45 minutes... and were rewarded with the most incredible views over one my favourite lakes in Austria: the Wolfgangsee. There's something unique, I think, about it and its neighbouring Fuschlsee in that they are surrounded by beautiful mountains, quite steep and clad in greenery - other mountain ranges can be a bit despressive if they're just bare-naked rock, but this one is covered in green pastures and dark forests and down below you see the most amazing colours in those mountain lakes... no need to go to the Caribbean (although the water temperature is more benign there)!
Once we had managed the steep ascent, we sat down in front of an alpine hut nestled into the surrounding scenery and the elederberry bushes that were once purported to avert lightening. We let the dramatic panorama that opened up in front of us distract us only for so long until we let hunger get the better of us and we could no longer resist the traditional snacks that tend to be served in such establishments:
Essigwurst (sliced luncheon-type sausages served in a simple vinaigrette), Maurerforelle or lit: bricklayer's trout... anybody clued into ethymology, give me a shout! (The same luncheon-type sausage sporting an incision into which you stuff sliced onion and mustard) and a generous portion of smoked and air-dried bacon on a slice of rustic rye bread. Other treats include Kasnock'n and spare ribs and the usual cold meats. They also serve sweet delights like rustic cakes and Kaiserschmarr'n and a host of home-made Schnaps and liqueur for the brave.
They have a great playground for kids and some sheep and cows on the surrounding patches of grass, but even if you don't have kids that need distraction after an exhilerating, but exhausting hike, this hut is definitely worth a visit, be it for the spectacular views or the comedy-adept waiters... if you're in the area, do make the detour. You can also drive up closer to the hut than we did (5-minutes' walk from the parking) or take the Zwoelferhorn cable car and do a steep descent of about 45 minutes (make sure to leave your high heels behind, though, sensible equipment is a must!). Whereever you're coming from, you're sure to love this place!
Am Sonnberg 7
T: +43 (0)6228 / 2596
M: +43 (0)664 / 9163095 (summer only)
Exit motorway A1 at Thalgau, continue towards Fuschl am See (B158).
At restaurant/inn Gasthof Brunnwirt turn right towards Faistenau / Perfalleck
then left towards Sausteigalm / 12er-Horn.
And as a rare treat, here's a picture of Max (3 and a half years) in his Lederhosen (the socks are NOT part of the traditional costume, though the bruises tend to be...)